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,, 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!

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