Monday, 31 December 2012

White cap button mushrooms


I'm having a go at mushrooms.  Unfortunately, I didn't read the blurb properly when I bought the mushroom spawn, so I'm making do with multi-purpose compost as a growing medium instead of composted straw or horse manure, neither of which I have, nor do I have time to make, before the spawn is past its "best by" date.  I thought I was buying a kit....
So, in the garage, two deep trays of damp compost, sprinkle on the spawn (50g), mix in a bit and cover with damp newspaper. Wait for a few days...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

mystery squash


This was a random seed I found, in October, sprouting from the home made compost I used to fill the carrot growing bag.  So I potted it up and brought it in because I knew it was a squash of some kind and wouldn't survive the winter outside.  No reason really, just thought it would be interesting to see if it survives and what sort of squash it might be.
I'm guessing a butter-nut.

And an update on the overwintering peppers.  There were some tiny flower buds on, but they dropped off.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

last vegetables of 2012

Finished off planting out the garlic.  Only one looked as if it wasn't going to grow, all the rest looked pretty healthy.


Nothing more to do as there was more rain overnight and the pools have been topped up, so I fished out the last two celeriac from the water, popped back a couple of winter onions which had been pulled out by the birds, and left.

There is now no usable produce left from 2012.  (There are still some very sorry-for-themselves leeks and some tiny psb and some tiny cabbages, but I don't count them.) So I can safely leave the plot to its own devices until spring.  I don't suppose I will, as I seem to be addicted.  And anyway, where else will I go on fine afternoons?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

planting out the garlic

Boxing Day, I'm at a loose end, stuck in the house by the weather, cooking and cleaning over for the moment.  Leftover Christmas dinner tonight, so nothing much to prepare, I can't go out for a run as my hip joints are complaining and I'm trying to rest them for a while.

So as it wasn't actually raining, I had a walk to the plot.  There is nothing much to do because there is so much water and its too cold to start anything yet, so I decided to do some woodchip runs.  There is a great big muddy patch on the path outside my plot so I put a couple of barrow loads on that, it makes it less slippery if nothing else. Topped up some of the paths around the raised beds where the wood chippings had been washed away.

It has been dryish for the past couple of days, still raining occasionally but just drizzle, so the plot is draining a bit.


 

I forked over one of the raised beds (archive pic above), just to see what it was like compared to the rest of the plot, and it is not bad at all.  All the nasturtiums in the picture are dead now and I've been dumping spent compost on it.  It was dry enough to start planting out the garlic that I put in pots in November.


 I didn't get finished though as it was getting dark, so I will go back tomorrow, weather permitting. All the garlic I have taken out so far have had very little top growth, but have nice healthy roots growing out the bottom of the pots.

Even though there is no particular reason to go the plot, I always seem to find something to do, providing its not tossing it down or freezing, that is.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

still raining

Two days of incessant rain, and we are into the third.

And the forecast not looking good, it might fair up for a while tomorrow, then back to rain again until Christmas Day.

Perhaps the end of the world isn't going to be a sudden thing, we are just going to get wetter and wetter like Noah and his world in a previous millennium.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

celeriac

Surprise, surprise it rained again and guess what, the wet end is under water again.  This is getting very boring!
Two little diddy celeriac harvested from the waters.  There are small but flavour packed, I absolutely love them in soup. The difference in taste between these and shop-bought ones is amazing.   I'm told the leaves are very tasty, but there hasn't been any big enough to serve as a vegetable. Definitely worth growing again and worth plodging about for them.
They don't seem to mind the water, but I don't know what they would be like in an ordinary year.They might be as big as shop bought ones if they hadn't been under water most of the time. But, saying that, I planted some at the dry end at the same time as these ones and they didn't do all that well.
If the world ends tomorrow morning as predicted by the Mayans (allegedly), this might be my last diary entry.  It will solve the problem of my waterlogged plot anyway.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Heavy, man..

Two more scaffolding boards dragged up the hill to my plot, that's four so far.  They are blimmin' heavy! I'm thinking of getting the boys' old skateboard out of the loft; if I could think of a way of attaching it to the trailing end of the plank it would make transportation a lot smoother.

The plot is drying out a little, but still a fair bit of standing water.  From the look of THIS I'm doing the right thing in making raised beds.  I've been looking at hugelkultur beds but I think the difficulty will be acquiring the materials necessary all at once. Its a shame I didn't think of this earlier because I've just burnt all my woody stuff, so will have to scrounge.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

cabbage

The brassica tunnel has been surrounded by water for the past few weeks and I could see a couple of likely candidates for dinner in there, so I bit the bullet today and plodged through the moat to harvest these two Lilliputian lovelies.
They looked bigger from a distance.


I dug up one of the celeriac yesterday, it has been smelling the kitchen out since then, I love that smell! By the time I peeled it and cut off all the roots it was tiny, the size of a golfball, but wow, what a flavour it packs!  Much more than bought celeriac.
I put it in soup with all the other usual vegetables and the celeriac flavour cuts through all of them.  
Mmmm, tastes absolutely gorgeous.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The snow had to go somewhere...

...all  over the garden again.
I was going to mark out some more beds, but my measuring plank sank into the water.

But I did get an idea of how many planks I will need if I make raised beds for the wet end.  I think smaller 4 x 4 beds might be better to allow drainage between them, so 4 of those at £3 per plank, that's 64 feet.  That's just single height, It might be best to make the ones at the deep end double height, so that is another 32 feet. By my calculations that means 8 planks = £24 that is if prices stay the same by the time I get around to it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Ice

The water receded and left a thin layer of ice with strange tide marks.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Lo! There was land...

And the waters receded and lo....


I thought I might be going to have a skating rink....

Amazingly, there are still some battered-looking daisies flowering in the wild flower patch which has just emerged from the flood, some plants never know when to give up.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Rain again



Definitely looks as if raised beds are the way to go.

I thought my plot was bad, but most of it is above the water line, not like the one pictured below.





A pretty rural scene.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

overwintering peppers

My peppers were nice this year but not very prolific.  Because there is such a short growing season when starting them from seed, I'm going to try to overwinter the plants.

I cut my two sweet pepper and one cayenne pepper down to about 6 inches (15cms), took them out of their pots and trimmed the rootball a bit.  I then put them in smaller pots with fresh compost, a quick water to wash the compost around the roots, and put them on an upstairs, south-facing window sill.  Except for the odd splash of water, I can probably forget about them until spring.  Instructions for the above were got from a chilli website, but I don't see why it wouldn't apply to sweet peppers too. We will find out come spring.
Hopefully they should overwinter successfully and get going sooner next year.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

tidy shed - pics!

Well, one pic.

This may not look tidy to anybody else, but compared to what it was....

Too cold and wet to do anything, but I haven't visited since last Saturday and I was suffering from withdrawal, so took photograph, wandered about a bit and went home.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

tidy-up time

When I found myself standing outside the shed trying to reach something inside, I realised that it was Time to Tidy.
It was the rolls of plastic netting and the tunnel cloches that were causing trouble.
I wrestled them into submission, found an old recycling box which exactly fitted the cloches and left them with no room to escape.  The net rolls are tied up and confined to the back of the shed - outside.  That'll teach them!
Netting, weed fabric and fleeces, folded and sorted into boxes or bags.
I even swept the floor, well, bits of it. My ph tester didn't turn up though.

Weeded the raspberry bed of perennial weeds and sprinkled on some blood, fish and bone.  I will put some of the ashes from the bonfire on the bed in the spring to give them boost before fruiting.

Dug out the last of the potatoes from the last grow sack.  Enough for the dinner tomorrow. We'll have them with the fattest of the leeks.  I'm giving up on the rest, too thin with the flower stalks occupying most of the girth.



Wednesday, 14 November 2012

hedge clipping

Its another lovely gardening day.  I don't think it has rained for almost a week!

Went to the plot to plant some daffodil bulbs, but got distracted by the perfect bonfire day.

So instead I clipped the spirea hedge down by about a third and burnt the clippings as I went.
Which was good because I love pruning things down but get fed up with disposing of the big pile of clippings which is the end result.
So three good things all rolled up together:  pruning, bonfire, no pile of clippings to be disposed of. The downside was a blister on my palm.

Now the hedge is cut back I must have an extra 16 sq ft of garden, but the spirea is so invasive, I know it is only temporary, so I think I will leave it for the wildlife.

Acquired some more planks from my nextgate neighbour so I will be able to continue the bed and path system further down the plot.

I think I will leave the "wild flower bed" alone and plant some of the daffs there.  That's the first bit of the plot to disappear under the water table when it rises. But if it doesn't rise we might see some pretty flowers.  At the moment there are daisies coming up, which is surprising and nice. Once the soil was dry enough to step on, I weeded out the dock and sow thistle, buttercups and dandelion to let the other more unusual plants have a chance. There is some milkwort (I think), marigold, love-in-a-mist, nipplewort, forget-me-not and hopefully lots of other things I know not of. I'll be interested to see what survives the winter. There is usually a big show of speedwell, which I have always previously weeded out .

I have given up on the sweet potatoes.  Three bags of compost and no roots bigger than my finger.  So I don't think I will bother with that again, it is just not warm enough.

I used the compost to fill pots for the various bulbs I bought a couple of weeks back.  Some bulbs have gone in the front garden, some I have put into pots so I can move them to places that need brightening up.  A couple of pots are for inside, hopefully for Christmas, and the rest are going in the allotment to cheer me up.
The rest of the compost went to fill the raised beds.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

leaf mould

Lots of leaves in the front garden, so I spent 10 minutes filling 4 bags to make leaf compost. Very cold, it felt a lot colder than the 4C it said on my thermometer. Apparently beech leaves are the best, but I've only got sycamore, so they will have to do.
I will take the full bags to the allotment to rot down, as they always end up as unidentified, slimy, unsavoury, plastic-bagged lumps at home.  And they always end up in the rubbish bin.

Took a bag down to the plot when I went out for the Sunday paper.  Bought some more firelighters while I was there (at the paper shop, not the plot).  I think I use more firelighters than wood.

For the first time, really, I managed to get a proper fire going today, clouds of acrid smoke everywhere and, wouldn't you know it, I had nothing left to burn!

Covered over the bean trench.  (I must make a note to check next year's harvest of runners to see if it is worth the effort of making a trench.)The wet night had softened the cardboard somewhat, but it still showed through.  I'm hoping it will subside over time.


For some reason, I decided to fork over the next bed down (I think I'm going to have to give them names or numbers for the purposes of this diary, although now I think of it, that's what the plotplan is for) and was interested to see a whole load of sprouting seeds just under the soil surface.  That's when I remembered, too late,  the vetch and winter tares I sowed about a month ago. I really didn't think they would have germinated this late in the year.

Used my onion hoe to go around the winter onions.  The hoe is good in that it is very sharp and cuts the weed seedlings off at root level, and because it has a short handle, you have to get right down and have a chance for a really good look at the onions.  I noticed some had been moved, presumably by birds, and a lot had been chewed, presumably by slugs.  And some had been planted upside down, presumably by me!

I also had a good look at the leeks and they look very sad.  They really suffered with all that water,  they don't seem to have grown at all over the last few weeks. And they don't grow much once it gets really cold, so that is probably it for the year.
This is just a picture of my plot on a sunny autumn morning.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

bean trench started

Had to go back to the plot today to water the new trees, (I woke up in the middle of the night, remembering that I hadn't watered them in, oops!) They looked okay, but how can you tell with bare overgrown twigs?

While I was on with apple trees, (I've got five trees now, almost an orchard!) I scraped back the chippings from around the bases of the old apple trees, chucked on some growmore, raked and weeded it a bit and put the chippings back.
Just thought...perhaps I should do the pear tree too.

Made a start on the bean trench by roughly digging over one of the beds, making a trench, lining it with some of the cardboard. (It might have been easier with newspaper, but the tidy person in the household had put all the papers out in the recycling last week, hmph!) I put in raw kitchen waste, phacelia, bean and nasturtiums stalks, any old organic matter which wouldn't re-grow.
I haven't closed the trench yet as the cardboard is very rigid and will probably stick out of the soil, it might be softer after a night on the soil.


plotplan

Friday, 9 November 2012

New apple trees planted

Planted the apple trees, a Kidd's orange red (a dessert apple)and a Howgate Wonder (a cooker), both M26 cordons, which means they will grow one stem, no side branches.  They stay quite small, especially if they are pruned correctly, and don't take up much space.  According to the labels they can be planted as close as 0.5m.
I was going to put them in pots, but I discovered at the last minute that I didn't have enough of the right sort of compost to fill the big pots I had for them. I guessed a wheelbarrow full would have been enough, wrong!
They had to be planted as soon as possible, so I dug two holes, square ones because that apparently discourages the tendency of the roots to go round the hole (why this is a bad thing, I'm not altogether sure).  I sprinkled some Rootgrow on the roots and used the compost I had, a mix of mp and garden compost, to three-quarter fill the holes and then topped them up with garden soil mixed with dried chicken manure.
(I have since remembered that I have another bag of compost at the back of the shed, which I could've used. Doh!)
The hardest task was figuring out how the tree tie worked! But I was right about the stake and the pot, it just wasn't going to stay firmly upright especially if it is planted in loose compost rather than compact soil.


plotplan

Thursday, 8 November 2012

planting shallots

My new apple trees came today!  Yey! I love getting things in the post! (And with them came a free huge piece of cardboard, which will do nicely for the bean trench I'm going to start when I get the time and weather. The cardboard is about 10 feet long so will do the whole bed in one go.) I haven't got the pots ready for the trees so I dunked them in a bucket of water and went to the plot to survey the plant pot scene, now I know what size roots I'm dealing with.
The instructions say that they need a stake 1.8m above the ground, but I don't think that will work very well with a pot because there won't be enough soil to anchor the stake firmly. So I might have to put them in the ground eventually as they get bigger and need a longer support. But I might just be worrying unnecessarily, I sometimes tend to over-think things (other times I don't think at all).

 
Planted the red onion sets and the "red sun" shallot sets. So now yesterday's plotplan is up to date.
Prepared the bed as follows:  Dug over, forked over, raked over, tried to get as level as possible, growmore added (no onion fertilizer left), raked again until it was as fine as I could get the damp, clay soil.
Shallots: made shallow drills, made biggish holes at 6-8 inch intervals in them with the fat dibber (sharpened broom handle), filled the hole with a mix of mp and garden compost, sat the set ontop. Then pushed the sides of the drill together, covering the shallot sets. 20 sets
Red onions: Similar to shallots, but because they were very small, didn't make holes, just filled the drills with compost, sat the sets in the compost about 6 inches apart, then covered the drill over, same as shallots. 50 sets


Cut the phacelia, the peas and the field beans down and I will put them in my bean trench.





Wednesday, 7 November 2012

plotplan

plotplan
(Onions sets not really there yet, I was just checking I could still remember how to do my new style plotplan )

rubbish burner


I acquired an unused incinerator from the next-door neighbour, one of those old-fashioned galvanised iron dustbins with a chimney in the lid...
 
like that above, but not so rusty. So I lugged it down to the plot and had a little burn up, now that the bonfire ban is ended.  It was much more successful than my previous attempts at a bonfire.  It crackled away for about an hour while I got on with preparing one of the the beds to receive the red onion and shallot sets.
The soil is still pretty damp and quite lumpy, no way would I call it friable, but it will probably have to do.  I got the soil ready but didn't have time to plant the sets before it got too dark (4 o'clock!).
I get a bit spooked out by the allotments in the dark, so I don't like to stay too late.  I'll probably have time to get them in either tomorrow or Friday.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

pony manure

I acquired 4 bags of pony manure somehow. It consists of lots of straw and is quite fresh.  So I think I will create a bean trench and put the manure in over winter, and it hopefully will have rotted down by the time comes to put beans in.

Friday, 2 November 2012

shallots, onions and other bulbs

Wilko's are doing 3 for 2 on bulbs, and shallots and onions are included!  So I got some red sun shallots, which were the first and most successful variety I ever grew and some red onions, which I will try yet again to grow successfully. Also got some daffs and dwarf irises and tulips for the front garden.
MGG had been there the day before and he bought the shop up. They were making space for Christmas stuff, and selling garden gear at 99% discount! None left by the time I got there.

new style plotplan

Roughly dug over the compacted bed, top dressed and covered over the next bed east. See latest new style plotplan.  Let me know if it doesn't work properly.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

tucking up for winter

Finished organising the beds on the north side of the west end of the garden.  I now have 6 beds with nothing much in except some phacelia and field beans, oh and potentially the winter tares I sowed, which I'm not sure will come up. Then the brassica tunnel containing psb, cauli, and cabbage.

Then the old-fashioned raised beds area, which has kale and winter onions. East of that is unhappy looking leeks and happy looking celeriac.
And then the euphemistically named wild flower bed.

I roughly dug over one of the beds that was a path last season and is therefore badly compacted. I then added a top dressing of organic chicken manure, and covered it over with weed suppressing fabric. I'm thinking I might do the same for the next bed south as it is in a similar state.

 I will be interested to see what it the soil is like come the spring, and whether it might be worth doing this with the whole plot in future winters.











Sawed up the little apple tree and took off some spare branches from the others.  They are probably going to come out next year anyway, unless they shape up and produce some decent fruit.
This is the apple crop of 2012. (And a few potatoes for the dinner.)  Not that I'm blaming the trees for the scarcity of apples, it was the rotten spring that did that, but the apples haven't been great for the last two years.  There were plenty, but just not very nice tasting.

Monday, 29 October 2012

making beds

Another nice day.  Not exactly warm, but neither is it cold, just a bit damp.

Monday is washing day, but I had a minion to do it this week, and I already had the main meal sorted for this evening.  So nothing to do but go to the lottie.

I remembered to take the saw with me at last, so I cut up three long lengths of wood from behind the shed into  pegs to support the planks on the bed dividers. So that's two more beds now delineated and with astroturf paths between. Looks a bit cobbled together,(forgot to take pics as it started to rain proper, but I will get some later) but it has that authentic make-do-and-mend-allotment look about it.
(pix below as promised)


Fortuitously, it has worked out that when I've made the beds 4 ft wide and paths about 18 inches, and starting from the shed end, the brassica tunnel, the first fixed feature I've come to, has fallen on a bed not a path!  Result! I wish I could say it was good planning and measurements, but sadly, it's more down to good luck.





This plotplan is not right now, I have just counted, there are six beds north of the brassica tunnel not four as shown on plan.  Back to the drawing board....


Saturday, 27 October 2012

garlic planted

Mostly bright,clear and cold, alternating with occasional dark, showery and cold.  2C this morning in the greenhouse but by lunchtime it was up to 16C in there.

My sweet potatoes won't like those low temperatures.  I had a rootle around in one of the bags to see if they were anywhere near ready.  The tops are supposed to die back around end of October and then the roots are ready to be cured, but they are showing no sign of dying back and are still producing new leaves. But being impatient and knowing it was only going to get colder, I had a rummage.  Couldn't find anything apart from a few pink roots. By the time I had realised that those roots were the immature sweet potatoes...
It was too late to save that bagful.
I turned to my favourite website forum for advice, allotment.org.uk, they have a thread going on sweet potatoes.  So I need to keep them warmer and give them more time.  Apparently they grow a lot bigger, late on in their growth cycle. I can't heat the greenhouse, it has zero insulation so it would be like trying to heat the back garden.  All I can do is raise them off the concrete floor and insulate them a bit.
So there they are, the two remaining bags, tucked up and cosy-ish.  They got a bit battered looking as they had to be detwined from the bench shelves and legs, and had grown tendrils into every corner of the greenhouse. I had contemplated putting them in the bath as the bathroom is always lovely and warm and the watering would be no problem, but I thought the family might object.  The electric blanket was another thought, but even if I could get a cable through to the greenhouse, the blanket is brand new and unused, and it wouldn't improve it to put soggy grow-sacks on it. So they have to tough it out with the old camping mat and some bubblewrap. Poor things, they are just not up to the north-east climate and I don't think they will appreciate 2C at all.

The sunshine has turned the allotment into 2% snow and 98% mud.  I took the tray of 2 inch pots that I bought at Aldi last year, to the plot and planted garlic cloves in them.  The ground is definitely too wet to walk on.  I'm going to leave them at the plot in the cold frame, but I'm not going to put the lid on as they should be quite tough enough to survive the winter, they would if they were in the soil.  I didn't need to buy any new garlic bulbs as I saved the biggest ones from last season's crop. I've still got plenty left over anyway, I'll have to think of some way to use them up, although they do seem to be keeping quite well.


Bought a new bag of multi-purpose compost as I'll need some for the new apple trees when they come, and discovered I've got a flat tyre on my wheelbarrow! I have no idea how to mend a puncture in a wheel like that. Internet here I come!

Now that the leaves have mostly come off the old apple trees I can see that one tree has two small apples on it, that's the apple crop for 2012. And one of those had been got at by the birds!

Friday, 26 October 2012

First snow

Went to the plot for the first time since Sunday.  That's the longest gap for a while, autumn draws on.
Very cold this morning, the thermometer in the greenhouse said 5C.  I don't think there was a frost at the allotment, but a really cold wind made it feel near 0C.
The ground is drying a bit, but still too soft to walk on.  I'm thinking I might plant my garlic cloves in modules until the soil is workable.  Surely, it is bound to dry up sometime, isn't it?
I cut down the autumn fruiting rasps.  There were still some new berries and new leaves coming on, but too late....
I stacked the cut canes under a cover to keep them a bit dry for the bonfire season due to start on 1st November when the council's garden fire ban ends.
Excavated some Charlottes from the gro-sacks.  Not many more left.
little and large

Spent a happy half-hour disentangling some more weeds from the astroturf paths.  When the feeling had disappeared from my fingers and toes, I decided it was time to go home.
A lovely evening, still light at 5.30pm, (although that will change when the clock goes back at the weekend) it has been a lovely clear cold day, which is a change from the last three damp and foggy days.
10.30pm, snowing tonight!

Friday, 19 October 2012

plotplan


Fennel and "last ofs

I forgot to tell you, dear diary, that last week I had one of the few success stories of the year.

Hidden and ignored in among the weeds were five or six Florence fennel bulbs which hadn't withered away like the rest of the garden! Most were small only a couple of inches across, but one, the star of the show, was as big as my hand. I just wish I had remembered to take a photo of it. Very annoying!

Apparently they are quite tricky to grow, and I have completely neglected them, apart from the occasional weeding. Perhaps that is the secret...ignore things more and lots of luck.

I have never eaten or cooked fennel before, so after consultation with MGG, I halved the big one and cooked the others whole. They had a lovely delicate aniseed y taste. The outer leaves on the big one were a bit tough but the inner and the smaller ones were very nice indeed. I didn't do anything fancy to them as I like to see what a thing tastes like, au naturelle, before I start messing around with it. So I steamed them and served them with a very mild cheese sauce, along with new potatoes and the last of the runner beans and a juicy lamb chop. Mm-mm....

Another "last of" is the beetroot. I pulled them all out because the were getting in the way of my new path and beds arrangement. Typically, they ended up in the middle of a path rather than a bed. There were about twenty, some so small they went straight on the compost heap, but the rest I cooked, sliced and pickled.This time I just cooked and sliced the beetroot and poured on some ready made pickling vinegar. I hope they turn out better than my pickled shallots (see entry for 8th August 2011)which were a disaster. The instructions in my book said to steep the shallots in brine overnight before they were put in the spiced vinegar, which I duly did. But, almost a year later, when I opened the jar, they turned out much too salty to eat. As I don't like wasting anything, even a whole jar of inedible shallots, I washed them a few times and left them in several changes of water until a lot of the saltiness had gone, and then I warmed them through with the Brussels sprouts. They were very good, well I thought so. The rest of the family seemed a bit doubtful. Such stick-in-the-muds!

There isn't much more left in the garden, some potatoes, brassica, celeriac, leeks and winter onions. It might have been possible to plant more things for over winter, but it has been such a miserable year and the garden has been constantly wet, I just haven't had the heart.  I can't even get my garlic cloves in its been so wet.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

plotplan


cane connectors

Finished taking down the beans....There it was...gone.
I had used these Figo connectors
to construct the A frame and they were very good, only blew undone once and that was just one joint.  They were much more tolerant of odd sized canes than the last ones, (below)....which work okay with short canes that take only a little stress, but not for anything a large as a runner bean frame.

Also the slots in the round ones were too short and the material they were made of was too rigid to grip the canes well. But I think they would probably work well with the purpose-built tubes that the manufacturers sell to go with the connectors.
As you can tell I'm always up for a good gadget, but just a little too mean to go the whole way (I didn't buy the tubes)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

time to take down the runner beans

I decided it was time to take the runner bean frame down.
What I would like to know is, who's bright idea was it to put netting on it for the beans to grow up?... and under...and through...and around... It has taken me an hour to disentangle that one side of the bean frame.  
Note to self, don't do that again!  Usually I grow the beans up teepees and all I do is slide the canes out, leaving a pile of bean leaves and stalks on the ground.

I've done the worst bits and it is starting to rain, so I will finish it tomorrow.
Before I left the allotments I checked out the uncultivated plot next to mine and it was pretty wet too.  It also had way, way more brambles and weeds than mine.   So maybe I'll stick with what I've got.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

more rain

Lots of overnight rain so I had a walk down to check out the water table, and I wanted to take some photos of my new pear tree area. (See last post) I'm not sure why I do this to myself, I would probably be much happier if I didn't see it.
No surprises....
 The brassicas don't seem to mind, but I'm not sure how the leeks are coping.
 Below is the wild flowery area, seems to have turned into a water meadow.

 There is nothing to be done about it except work around the flooding.  A future plan could be to build double height raised beds, fill the bottom layer with rubble and topsoil on the top.  But that might be a plan for the next tenant as I think it is probably too much for me, both in monetary and physical terms.