Tag Archives: sweetcorn

Planting out…finally! #Gdnbloggers

You can also find the video here.

It is the Whitsun Bank holiday, the end of May Bank holiday, and this means planting out. The tomatoes and squashes that have been hardening off the last week or so have now been moved to the plot and plugged in. There are two varieties of tomatoes, roma and marmande, and a quite a few different varieties squashes. I think I have most of the courgettes and marrows, with Mum having butternuts and trailing ones.  All of the plants are in raised beds as I have had more success this way.  There is also a raised bed that has incredible sweetcorn with squashes nestled amongst it.

Aside from the tomatoes and squashes, I had bought some chard and spinach. These were plugged into the open ground, and it was a case of “Punam, plant your chard in straight rows.” Well, the rows are a bit wonky, and there also some wiry leeks placed into the ground as well.

Beyond this, I have also broken with tradition and direct sown runner beans and climbing french beans. Ordinarily, I would try to sow them at home and in modules. However, this year the at home germination rate has been dire. This therefore is something of an experiment, with seeds being sunk into the soil which in some places is rather heavy clay.

I would have direct some further chard and spinach-I have some chard, that in true trekkie fashion, is Vulcan chard-and would look pretty and be rather useful.

 

This is the first time that I am planting and sowing chard and spinach on the plot. I realise that these are going to need a lot watering; without being watered, and if they get too hot, the plants wilt and will also bolt. I am concerned about this, especially as Mama F has been known to leave minutes after having had breakfast to go water her spinach and chard.  I had thought that these were simple, something tells me that this isn’t quite the case!

Tomorrow, is another day and the plan is to continue with the plot. There are beds to be cleared and weeds to be pulled up.  The vulcan chard remains to be sown, and this will be the next thing to be done.

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.

 

Sinking Sweetcorn

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It has been sometime since I last had sweetcorn on the plot. It was only when revisiting my previous two out of three sisters experience, that I decided to have another go. Plus Mum wanted some for her plot. I have decided to have another go at two out of three sisters. It is two and not three as I will not be putting runner beans into the equation. Runner beans are something of a sore subject; they have currently failed to germinate twice, and also cucumbers seemed to have died a death.

I think there are twelve plants  (Incredible F1) in the picture above. In previous experience, I only had eight, so I am hoping for a better level of success. The plan is to plant squashes in between the rows; probably about three or four as they do tend to grow quickly  and take up a lot of space. That is if we don’t get a frost! The frost window closes in two weeks, so I am taking something of a chance. The squashes in question will need to keep growing and will also need to be hardened off as well before being put in situ.

The seeds were sown into pellets, and had come through in a matter of days. Subsequently, they grew quickly and were quite tall. I think we may have had a few casualties along the way, but there were enough plants to be shared between Mum and I. We both have blocks of sweetcorn. The one difference is that Mum’s are in open ground, mine are in raised beds. The raised bed contains a combination of multi-purpose compost and leave mold; and this will form a nutritious base to feed the plants.

You can see the youtube version here.

 

(P.S. I realise that I do sound a bit miserable in the video; I noticed it a week or so ago. Will try to get that sorted!)

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?

Summer Sortee of the Sukh Shanti garden

That’s Peace and Happiness, before you have to go translate it…

 

 

To the untrained eye, this looks a mess. However, if you were to ask me nicely; I could tell you what most things are and where. The gallery above, is a walking tour if you like of the half plot. I will try and get some specific bed pictures up. I appreciate that it looks like a great big green mess in the gallery. Today is the first day of the Summer holidays for me, so an opportunity to see what I need to do. It goes without saying, that weeds are a problem. This time last year, we had a deluge; and the weeds were well up to ankle height. As well as that, I didn’t have so filled raised beds. They are there now, and they contain crops.

Two more raised beds have, thanks to Pops, been constructed. I had scavenged last week, bags of garden waste. Sat on the plot for best part of a week, these were emptied today in the beds. I know that these are upside down, before you point it out! The pots are on the spikes, so that hopefully no one gets hurt. It is safe to say, that having raised beds has been a boon. Whilst the clay is fabulous, full of nutrients; the position of the plot means that the whole thing gets flooded. This brings pools of water, slugs and other things that eat crops. With the battle against the weeds. The areas of open ground where there are no raised beds, have been choked by weeds. The plan is to now pull up the weeds, cover with newspaper, and perhaps even black plastic on top of that. I have been avoiding that, thinking that raised beds are enough. At least the black plastic can be planted through, the newspaper and pulled up weeds can help the clay composition.

This is going to be one of the big battles. To be clear of as many weeds as possible, and cover the ground. With the beautiful weather that we have had, the clay is like concrete. There is now way a magic fork or spade is going to slice through it. It is just as bad, when it is winter.

As I sit here, the weather lady has just delivered her forecast. For the moment at least, the nice weather will remain. A bit of harvesting was done to today. A small amount of Florence Fennel. A crop, that I had forgotten that I sown. So was very surprised to the see the dill hovering amongst the leaves of the Astia Courgette right next to it. The Florence Fennel was sautéed with the Kestrel potatoes. Lovely looking first second earlies, with pink smudges that look like little faces.

In the wendy house, you will see the vast array of chillies and bells. We have in there a huge number. We have just to name a few, Nigels outdoor chilli, lemon drop, frauzauber, spanish mammoth red, early jalapeño, purple beauty and long red marconi to name a few. Those are the ones that were at least labelled. I think a few of them, have thrown a bit of a tantrum in the wendy, having moved from the classroom. They were perhaps not used to the different temperatures. As mentioned previously, we are having nice weather. A few of the chillies, have been a little burned, and perhaps are sulking because of that too. They are watered and fed regularly. I am still not convinced of treating them in a mean fashion. The resplendent purple rainbow chillis remain in the kitchen at home. There were seven of these altogether, only one of these is in the wendy.

Triffids rise again, on the plot. Not only are there squashes, but also sweetcorn and sunflowers. I had though that the sunburst sunflowers, were relatively small. Yet these are nearly as big as me. No quite giant, but bigger than I had expected. Very leafy, and yet to form any flowers. I do believe that the squashes may take over the universe. I have long expected and anticipated the leaves getting as big as dinner plates. In my experience, that is a good thing. That is happening, yes. Now, we are on flower and fruit watch. Already, we have had a few striato di napoli and astia already, in addition to two beautiful tennis ball sized summer ball. I have never sown a yellow courgette, so this was a lovely crop. Mama H and I are still at odds over the bush baby marrow. Resting on a brick, it is as big as it should be. Mama H wants me to wait for various dishes to have been eated, before I harvest it. If it explodes, it’s not my fault, all right.

 

Tomorrow is another day, and for the moment; it is summer.

 

Yours in anticipation,

 

Horticultural Hobbit

Pods and pretty flowers

Bolting mooli pods are now waiting for us. Mooli seeds were sown, when the packet advised. However, the weather has sent them into a free for all. A tiny root, but wild foliage with flowers and pods forming. I remember these from my childhood, when they would form on a bolted mooli in the garden. We’d pluck them off and eat them like sweeties. They were potent, and firey. Crunchy, like radishes and with a kick. I think Ma even curried them at some point. Apparently, they are eaten with beer in Germany.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=542900112426135&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

Two Sisters and the rise of the triffids in the one bed. With the warm weather, this bed has burst into life. Has a few purple anemones bloom, but as you can see the foliage is now really quite strong. There are eight Incredible F1 Sweetcorn plants in there, with four squash plants. There would be nine sweetcorn plants, but one was a diddly little thing that didn’t quite thrive as it’s peer group did.  This is two sisters, rather than three as there is no Running beans in this formation.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=542900222426124&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

Making more of one’s beds, just won’t be lying in them. Two futher raised beds. This are altogether odd, with the spikes that need to be put into the ground. There for security, I know, but I will have to dig up the concrete like clay to sink them.  No, I didn’t construct them. Pops did. I asked for the drill, so that I could. Alas, pops took it onto himself to do the job to his exacting standards.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=542905822425564&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

Pascali rose  and Kestral potatos. There are nine roses on the plot, posh ones that is. Eight of them are in bloom. I think Ruby wedding is the only one of the ten that has failed to get any foliage. Still looks brown and sticky. That leaves one, the name fails me, that has died completely. I am anticipating, the one blue slash purple rose to bloom. Whilst I’ve been looking for a bona fide, blue, bloom. Blue moon is one concocted by scientists. Blue roses don’t exist by virtue of Mother Nature.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=542566072459539&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

The Christian Dior rose, has a lovely bright red bloom.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=539232816126198&set=pb.186302798085870.-2207520000.1373829003.&type=3&theater

And this one is harry wheatcroft apparently

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=536217093094437&set=pb.186302798085870.-2207520000.1373829003.&type=3&theater

The summer holidays will soon be upon us, and with that, there is plenty to do and to observe.

Yours in anticipation

Horticultural Hobbit

Bonanza Bountiful

The last month or so, has meant that a suspension of major play. Whilst an eye has been kept on the plot, and things watered; there has no been the windows of opportunity to have some major undertakings. This week, however, was a turning point. With the weather here in Blighty becoming brighter and more summery; the plot has seen a bloom of bounty occurring. There are of course weeds, that is to be expected. In some places though, the weeds are as thick as they are high. So this will form the basis of the much of the work done over the summer. I would not want to be in the same position as I was this time last year when the whole plot was carpeted top to bottom with weeds.

What we have seen, is a bounty and a booming one. The warmth and the light as caused something of a surge.

Potatoes and Cauliflowers makes for Aloo gobi. The cauliflowers were from Aunty tish, white excel. I believe. To date, we have had two healthy shaped and sized specimens. Mother was excited enough harvest and text me a picture. I was at a concert at the time!  That was the first. The second, was harvested for Aunty Indra. But it was not alone. No, it came with orla new potatos. We had already harvested a dozen or so, that Ma curried with some snowball turnips and ruby swedes. These were beautiful potatos, really very creamy and I found them to have a distinct salted flavour. As though they were ready salted crisps. There are kestral potatoes to take up, in the next stage of harvesting. All the potatoes in the raised beds are currently flowering. Well behind, are cara and sante potatoes. These are however, in open ground. Must harvest the third, and also have broccoli to come home too.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=539233296126150&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

Garlic and Shallots

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Been a busy day today, trying to get the various garlic and shallots up. Most of one bed has been cleared, but there is still a harvest remaining. There is quite a variance in the size of the different crops. The shallots are really quite small in their clumps, but a vast improvement on the crop from last year. Half a dozen clumps compared to three or for last year. The garlic, is the most interesting. Some of the beautiful pink bulbs are huge! Easily as big as my fist. There are also those that are tiny, no bigger than say a onion set. These are also the ones more difficult to dig out. I daresay, that this is weather variable, and a dependent on when they were sown. I have yet dig up any onions. A disappointment, as hundreds were sown. Garlic is now sat drying with the dry weather; the foliage will be chopped shortly.

Beans and peas are a sticky point. There are broadbeans, with their flowers following you around the plot as though they were eyes. But no beans and peas, in that there is one runner bean plant, and one pea. My fault, as I haven’t paid as close attention to them as I could have.

Courgettes and marrows are getting altogether exciting.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=540787975970682&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

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Really must get around to harvesting them. The foliage is ever expanding, with leaves now being as big as dinner plates. The summer squashes are certainly doing well, though the like so patty pan and yellow scallop are somewhat behind. Have yet to see any sweet dumpling, or cobnut and any of the pumpkins.

Roses

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=539232816126198&set=pb.186302798085870.-2207520000.1373474111.&type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=536217093094437&set=pb.186302798085870.-2207520000.1373474111.&type=3&theater

Chillies and peppers

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That would be Nigel, he is on a roll.

With Moolis and radishes, I have established, that I don’t like them. Dad likes radishes, so he had a few of those. The moolis, however, have been a challenger. And have bolted faster than a prized horse. Rather than chopping them down, have kept them for the seed pods. These can be curried or eaten as a snack.

Swedes and Turnips have been going well. Lots of foliage, and small half tennis ball sized fruits that Ma curried. Tasted quite nice these.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=536864183029728&set=pb.186302798085870.-2207520000.1373474111.&type=3&theater

There are loads of weeds, and cabbages to be sunk at some point. I am rather sick of lobbing caterpillars too. One of the broccoli plants was completely obliterated by the little critters. I will be constructing further raised beds. The level of success, is in my mind, a product of raised beds. A good part of today was spent collecting bags of grass to fill them with.

Things are most definitely looking up!

Yours in anticipation.

Horticultural Hobbit

Casting a clout

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The fleece is off! Not quite June, by 24 hours, but let’s go!

Mama H and I took a walk down, bits and pieces tucked under our arms. All of the squashes were uncovered as were the cucumbers, sweetcorn and the one tomato that was down there. Mama H huffed and puffed at me; taking off the fleece there. Whilst I was planting out broadband and dwarf French beans, Pops came by. As you do. With two big bags of grass clippings. These were then tucked around the potato foliage. Looking a big ugly, if I might add. Pops pottered around too. Surveying, it’s a Dad thing. I haven’t put the leeks out yet.

Avalon and sweet dumpling have taken a hit. Big leaves eaten. There are smaller, leaves starting to come through. The sweetcorn is 3×3 with yellow scallop and patty pans dotted in between. Looking a bit windburned actually. This years ghost rider has rallied, it looked a bit ropey last week. Womble-wonder which courgette that is-is looking a bit on the petite size; whilst Astia looks all right. Baby marrow is similar.

Cucumbers didn’t look too bad. A couple of crispy leaves. Four of the second sized tomatoes were planted out.

Planted out some Cherokee trail of tears. With the runner beans looking a bit scruffy; not sure if they will actually survive.

Cauliflowers and kale didn’t look too bad in their beds. Having raised beds is certainly making a difference. I’m not quite sure what Mama H is going to do with all her fenugreek and spinach. It does all look very green.

There was a moment of hilariousness. Mama H picked up a big fat black slug, and launched it; screaming at the top of her lungs that I had a big fat slug. It didn’t land far. I then picked it up after and I’m afraid to say; it was euthanised by being slung against a wooden fence. Don’t think it felt a thing.

Not a bad start, eh?

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Burgeoning

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Have made something of a transition, in shuffling things around onto the window sill.

The cucumbers and the squashes have been brought home and placed into the four tier blowaway. I don’t think that in the time that I have had it; it has ever been this full. The contents is getting bigger and bigger; and need hardening off. Am bit fearful actually, for the cucumbers. Might throw a bit of fleece over things tonight as they have been sat in a semi warm classroom. If they don’t make it through the night, that will be a problem.

We almost have a block of sweetcorn. Just waiting on a few more to germinate for security. I witnessed yesterday. The leaves of the sweetcorn transpiring. I have clearly over watered them! It was a wow moment that you had to be there for.

Another batch of runners have been sown. As have loads of petite poise and kelevdon wonder pea. Handful of caulis have been sown too.

Will update further soon!

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit