Tag Archives: Cabbages

Super Sunny Sunday with seeds! #Gdnbloggers

Hold on, this could be a bumper blog. I have lots to share!

Today started off with a seed check in. I was thinking about what seedlings I have, how i might keep rolling with growing season and what I might sow next. It turns out that there were quite a few and at varying stages of development. I would have expected that the chillies would be a further on. However, they have been growing with less light and heat that they might want. The plants have only just been moved to warmer and more light part of the house, so I am hoping that this will go someway to nurturing them a little more. Tomatoes are actually quite fluffy and feathery, and could probably do with being potted on. They are few in number, in comparison to previous years. Last year, there were thirty something plants and we have lots of green tomatoes. Hopefully, these will be enough; but me being me, there will be probably be further plants bought and in a episode of hysteria. Today really was going to be about taking stock, reflecting and remembering to enjoy the allotment.

 

(You can see the youtube version here)

Remembering the allotment, started with a Rhubarb rummage. Okay, so it happened on Mum’s plot, but it was a rather positive experience. Mum inherited quite a bit of rhubarb, and today some of it was harvested.

This looked like fairly heavy duty, industrial strength rhubarb; I am convinced that my hands were zinging with its acidity after I had finished chopping it all up. I am not yet sure as to what I might do with it, and there is a something like eighteen pounds now in the freezer. That could result in a fair bit of crumble, preserves and perhaps a batch of homebrew. That said, there is already some rhubarb wine stashed safely away.

You can also find the youtube video here.

The whole concept of taking stock, also involves reclaiming the plot. This is happening slowly, and I am realising just how much I have missed playing on the plot. This really isn’t going to happen over night. It has, after all, taken me a fair few years to get this far. Again, there are plans. The sort that can be changed, are on a short list and can be done in a manageable way. Having a long list of things to do, just makes it harder to get back into the swing of things. It did help that the sun was shining today! Otherwise, the rather grey and melancholic pathetic fallacy with the weather can rather make it difficult to take a walk down to the plot.

It does look a bit green and leafy yes; there are lots of weeds, patches of grass and patches of bare earth that do rather need to be put to good use. The plot is not exactly a show garden. I wouldn’t want it to be. It is a working document garden; things change and all the time. There are also those amongst us, who might disagree with that I have been doing; if we all had the same opinion, there would be one very stagnant status quo, and no room for innovation.  There is potential for movement and forwards. It might not be immediate or quick, but it will  happen.

I can genuinely say, that I have felt that bit happier and less frazzled in taking stock today and also getting my hands dirty. I have a timely reminder of self care, and how it is important to look after yourself and every part of you. Lately, I have spent alot of time cooped up indoors typing, concentrating on two different school work fronts and not really made-yes, made-the time to play on the plot. Simply going to harvest rhubarb, to take this video has been something of a very bright, very apt reminder that it was time. Even seed sowing took on a therapeutic role today. I felt altogether rejuvenated really, and I haven’t felt like that for a long time. See, Sunday has been school work Sunday and for three quarters of a decade. That had to pause today. I had my work set out, ready and everything; there was even a post it list. Only the plot was what the psyche needed today, it was what the actualizing tendency and organismic self needed.

Person centred theory makes a lot of sense when it comes to the my allotment plot. Go read about Carl Rogers and his potatoes.

His were in a basement, mine happen to be under dirt.

The youtube version  of the video can be found here.

As well as taking stock and reflecting,  lots of seed sowing has been happening today:

The first session involved sowing sweetcorn and some further scarlet emperor. I have previously sown a handful of runner beans as well as some climbing french beans. However, a few of these have rotted away in the modules in being too wet and cold. I always find it a little tricky to get the balance right when it comes to how to much water to use. There are a few survivors though, and for these I am thankful.

(Video on you tube is here)

The second session of seed sowing involved sunflowers and marketmore cucumbers. It has been a while since I have last sown and experimented with cucumbers. So why not have another bash! For now, the polytunnel is out of action, but I would rather have the cucumbers outside anyway. Sunflowers are rather dear to me; again, I haven’t sown them in a while and the last time that I did they all rather keeled over in the cold. The ones sown this year are a single giant variety. In the past, these have been over six foot tall and have a mass of triffid like flower heads. It does feel a little late to be sowing them, but it does all feel like a good chance to do so.

(Video on youtube is here)

Having harvested  fair bit of rhubarb, I then thought about double checking the home brew from last year. Last year, there was a lot of homebrew experimentation and lots of learning experiences had. Most of the experiments have been put into bottles, but there are three demijohns waiting in the wings.  There is the rhubarb, strawberry and currant wine, as well as blackberry wine which is rather recent actually; as well as apple wine, this is taking it’s time clarifying. On the shelf though, we have strawberry wine. This was the first experiment that was ever done; and it does rather taste of cheesecake. Second, there is Blackberry, plum and currant, which is just as claret coloured as the blackberry wine. Thirdly, there is is Rhubarb, currant and gooseberry.  Not quite sure what will happen to them all, and how! I  might have to take stock and see if there are good homes for it all.

 

In other news. Good news; I made a list!

Not the sort that I would be checking twice, but that made by someone else. The lovely people at Waltons have very kindly placed me on their list of adventurous blogs!

You can find the list at https://www.waltons.co.uk/blog/9-more-adventurous-allotment-blogs. It would appear that I am in very good company with a few fellow #gdnbloggers.

It did make me smile, that the blog is more adventurous!   I guess that echoes one of many reasons that the blog exists and also how far it might reach and into the world.

I guess I should continue and with the whole adventurous allotmenteering! If that isn’t a bit of encouragement, I don’t know what is.

 

Potatoes, peppers and prepping Apples

Potatos and prep were the key words this week. As mentioned previously, we have had an abundance of Pink Fir Apple potatoes. This week we harvested the last batch. These have been by far the most productive potato that I have ever managed to grow. My potato growing adventures have not been without incident. so to have such nice good quality potatoes from the plot is something of a surprise. All of the spuds this year were in raised beds, and either in compost or farmyard manure. This does appear to have paid dividends.

In the poly tunnel, we have a mass of six foot triffids. Would you believe, that whilst I was away, Ma harvested a red tomato. Yes, I was upset too. You can also see her picking glads, some of which were as tall as her.

Grapes are on the turn, and whilst there is not many of them this year, they are rather sweet. The autumn raspberry cane has kicked off with lovely large fruit, whereas the blackberries are still somewhat thin amongst the boughs.

Ma has taken up the cabbages, as she was about to declare war on the critters that were nibbling on them. She has shredded them and frozen for winter saag dishes.

Then came the apples. Having spend ages chopping, coring and peeling. I have found a new gadget! This was tested in the falstaff apples, the worcester pearmain are too small as are the home grown concorde pears. if only I had thought of this two weeks ago! Would have saved me six hours of work!

Caging cabbages once more

One of the plot neighbours kindly gave us some cabbages today. Naturally, we had to sink them, and this became Ma’s project. She had already moved around some self seeded kale, so these went it with that. Didn’t lime them, or pop cabbage collars, so fingers crossed they will be okay. They were however netted over, to stop flying foes.

#NABLOPOMO: Cabbage Cage harvest

Since I have been away from the plot this weekend, Ma has been digging over the cabbage patch. It was slightly full of weeds, that Ma was a little affronted by, and also about to keel over. So, sending me the occasional match report, Ma took the cabbage cage on. And she did what is a cracking job. The weeds are gone. I should probably water the contents of the cage though, it does look a bit depressed.

Pottering on the plot 24/01/15

After a very long time, I wandered down to the plot today. Courtesy of my mum’s sister, I had manage to filch some strawberry runners. Probably not the best time of the year to uproot them, but I do have a plan for these things. There are three beds of raspberry canes that I planted last year. These are upright canes, that as of yet, still look a bit brown and sticky. Have yet to start sending off green shoots. I am told that these are two years old, so I would hotly expect some raspberry fruit at some point in the growing season. I forget now which variety is where. But the varieties are

  • tulameen
  • Malling jewel
  • Glen Cova

The earth around the canes is very bare. This only means that this is vacant space for weeds and other such nasties. In order to reduce this amount, I have slotted into the filched strawberry runners. Might even see if I can find some more. But these will hopefully send out more runners and the space on the beds will be maximised with soft fruit. Whilst I have grown strawberries before, and I have autumn bliss raspberries, I’ve never considered cultivating them both with this technique before.

Pottered around, heeling in the  rochester peach tree that had become a little lopsided with the buffeting wind. This is tree that started off life as a variety in Canada. I would love to have fruit from there, would be rather novel having home grown peaches in Birmingham. Not many buds have formed yet on any of the trees, sadly. The Braeburn apple tree may have a couple of buds that are still tightly closed. Otherwise, the fruit trees are looking rather scary and skeletal. Last year, the falstaff apple tree did provide about half a dozen apples. We also have a worcester pearmain, and syvia cherry tree, along side the victoria plum and concorde pears. The victoria plum fruited once, the pear tree has yet to fruit at all. My main concern about these trees is the frost once they get their blossom. I cover them, mum would rather I didn’t. She is rather vocal about that, and reckons that is the way to kill off the flowers.I am not prepared to argue, but should probably re-consider and be resilient and keep them covered.

Had a quick look under the cabbge netting. It’s all very green and leafy under there. Spotted some brocolli, but not an awful lot. And there are the tiniest of cabbages too. Think it’s time to whip out the blue pellets of doom. Whilst there is a crop in there, the slugs and snails are already snacking on what should be mine.

Thinking out aloud

In this gap, with the wind hurling its weight around and the potential to start sowing; I find myself speculating what I might grow. All plots are different, I know I would say that mine is stuck in its own little universe with its own microcosm. The site I am on, varies as to who has success with what. Plot 2 spends a lot of time under water when we have rain, and the open grown is heavy clay. This means that some things work and some just don’t.

With lots of raised beds on the lower half of the plot; this helps overcome
Some of the flooding issues. The top half-project othello-is largely open ground and the dips in the topography are flooded. Dips, which were where onions have been sunk.

Whilst there are early sowings of window sill babies, I have turned my attention to what happens next. A majority of the raised beds have sunk and need refilling. That is what the leaf mold will be used for. There are seed potatoes that need to be sunk. Might experiment with both open ground and raised beds. Beans would be the next thing. Both runner beans and climbing French beans to be grown up wig wams. Usually these are modularised in March. I would also like to retry celery and cauliflowers. I had some purple cauliflower seeds to try. I did try these before, a classroom experiment that didn’t come off as they got too leggy and keeled over. Have yet to do carrots properly. There is also fennel to consider; didn’t quite get the hang of it last year. Cucumbers were an interesting foray. With crystal lemon and marketmore being the only ones working. Might well be a polytunnel job. Another experiment might be the sweet crimson watermelon in the polytunnel.

Sweetcorn was curious. Did only end up with eight plants surviving. Not sure if I fancy trying that again. Was debating modularised cabbages in the vein as cauliflowers.

All these potential experiments. But will the Wendy, 4TB and poly cope?

crinkly cabbage and greens

cabbage_crop

 

To date, my success with brassicas has been confined to the cauliflowers that my aunty tish gave me as plugs. Even then, they were hybrids. The sort that make traditional gardeners boo and hiss. At the end of last summer, I plugged into some brought plugs, of assorted brassicas. These were a  risk, with no idea of any possible success.

Plugged into raised beds beneath either fleece or net, these were left to their own devices. One thing and one thing happened. Slugs and slimers ate them. They also got a bit leggy as i didn’t space them out properly. Not much has survived, even less has hearted up and formed proper cabbages. I had seen a handful of plants that had somewhat avoided being turned into a lace curtains. What you see above, is some evidence. A small crinkly savoy like artefact. A few of the external, outer leaves were rather lacy, and have been removed. Leaving behind a diddly heart. This is nestled into a bushel type thing, which resembles what I can only describe as spring greens. This didn’t heart up at all. It was just a mass of leaves with a stalk attached to it.

Think the plan is to steam as an accompaniment to casserole. Must admit that I am cheered by having cultivated a crinkly savoy cabbage. Encourages me to think a little closer on sowing some more of my own. The past history for those has not been good; with the slimers decimating them, and then cabbage butterflies doing their thing too. I do have netting this time, so perhaps that might make a difference.

Soggy Stuff

There has been a momentary pause in precipitation, and sunshine has broken out. Time enough, to go down to the plot and make a survey of what is standing. And with the sheer volume of water, standing is about right. The puddles seem a lot deeper than they were last week. Very cold, with the wind whispering on the plot. Though it was a balmy 12 degrees in the poly tunnel. Did peek in there, nothing has germinated in there. Which is not altogether surprising, given how low temperatures have dropped.

There is no new news on the experimental chillies that were sown. Though the mini cloches are perspiring as it were, quite happily. There are no visible signs of any chilli babies. This can of course take some time. Super hots have yet to be sown, simply as I haven’t got around to getting some compost. They will hopefully be sown into yoghurt pots and placed into a heated prop.

Baby leeks sown at the start  of the autumn term. Not doing to badly, are sat in the wendy house. Have been largely ignored, and don’t seem to have suffered. They are of course quite hardy. I remains to be seen how many of these will be come pencil thick and then make it through transplanting.

Baby onions have not been as successful as one would have hoped. Whilst there are lots sown in the plot, sets have to survive the torrential downpours. These seeds were sunk at the same time as the leeks. Very disappointing to see so few babies. Guess there is still some time remaining to sow some more directly into the modules.

Leaf mold is always an interesting experiment. These are sat at the back of the plot, and left to their own devices. Last year, a whole builders bag was used to fill a raised bed used for squashes. The plan is to use these in the raised beds. Whilst the resulting soil doesn’t necessarily have a great deal of nutritional value, it will fill the beds nicely. This is a certainly cheaper than buying lots of compost.

A small bed of leeks that started off their lives in my classroom. Not many survivors, but better than nothing. Am hoping that the leek babies you see above will do some what better than these. These were actually freebies, so in having something rather than  nothing is always a bonus.

The netted cabbages that are becoming very lacy; as though they were net curtains. Very disappointing, and there are valuable lessons to be learned here. There are slim chances that some of them will be salvageable. Sad, in that we like cabbages. Just have to take additional care and put in place further precautions.

A raised bed of assorted spinach, chard and some kale. There were stalks of nero di toscana in there as well. The problem with this entire bed, like the cabbages, is the sheer volume of holes that get made by  slimers. I suspect that this bed will remain occupied for sometime, and that there will have to be applications of the blue pellets of doom.

 

cabbage carnage and connundrum

I have tried to sow and grow cabbages. It simply doesn’t happen. This year, I had sown some from seed and also had some plugs. Plugs as the home made sown ones got munched on and I therefore, got very cross. Ma loves cabbages and greens. There is nothing better for home made saag, or for onion bhajis. Brassicas such as kale, go wonderfully with dinner when shredded and happen to be something of a superfood. Meaning that I want to sow them, I want them to be successful. They have their uses, but the costs of cultivating them are a whasit in the derrière.

The plugs were plugged in, in various places. Two raised beds and some open ground. Those in the raised beds, were covered in veggie mesh. All of the plugs, and the few that were home sown, all had cabbage collars. One line of preventative measure. All, were dusted with blue pellets of doom. The veggie mesh, was actually weighed down with bricks. I fully concede that was not done well, and something has still got in. Something to consider in depth and detail should I actually want to sow cabbages and brassicas with attention to detail. Definitely my own fault, you could say; most folks build a brassica cage. Now I know why.

I wandered down there today, aware that there was something green under the veggie mesh. Also aware, that most of it was gnarled and gnawed upon to pieces and resembled filligreed net curtains. I made the journey down to the plot, thinking that I have to put various cabbages and things out of their misery. And to be fair, I did. Those that had been reduced to nothing more than stalks. But I was stopped in my tracks, secateurs in hand from further snipping. There are many that have been chomped on. But there are others, that are starting to heart up, and don’t look so close to meeting their maker.

As you can see from the pictures, it is a very big green mess. A melee of cabbages-I don’t tend to follow the planting distances, though, i should-and at first sight it’s not pretty. I am inclined therefore, to leave them alone. Wait a while, to see what actually comes off.  Thing is, they might get munched on even more…..