Sunday 7 March, 2004
Lots of veggies sown this weekend, and preparations made for future crops.
- Parsnip, Tender and True
- Beetroot, Libero RZ
- Tomato, Harbinger
- Tomato Super Sweet 100
- Pepper, Jumbo
- Pepper, Sweet Nardello
- Pepper, Hungarian Hot Wax
- Lettuce, Saladini
- Spring Onion, White Lisbon
One of my challenges this growing season was to keep better records of sowings, soil inputs and harvests. Although summaries will be posted here I'm also going to be recording the detail in a database which the saddest reader will be available to view. It will be extremely useful to be able to look back at what varieties did best where and with what inputs and techniques - otherwise I'm liable to make the same mistakes every year.
Saturday 21 February, 2004
Another busy Saturday, thanks to the clement weather. I got out into the old pigpen (rotovated last weekend) and made beds for and planted broad beans (Stereo) and early peas (Douce Provence and Pilot). The pigpen is about 30 feet by 40 feet, and I'm using a system described by Eliot Coleman - 4 foot beds, each separated by a 12 inch path. The width of the bed allows access from both sides, reducing soil compaction and making maintenance a whole lot easier. The pen has been divided down the middle so in total we've got 12 beds measuring 4 feet x 18 feet.
Monday 16 February, 2004
The schedule arrived today for the local horticultural show (Saturday 18th September 2004, Cochrane Hall, Alva). Dan and I joined this year for the princely sum of £2 each. We're planning to exhibit in at least a few classes each. It's all quite serious - there a loads of rules about what you can and cannot do, but apparently exhibitors come from far and wide. For a top prize of £8 (for a hanging basket), that's pretty dedicated.
I'm focussing on the Baking and Preserves section so we'll have scones coming out of our ears, as practice gets into full swing.
Sunday 8 February, 2004
This weekend has seen the start of the serious work surrounding the growing of vegetables. A sowing and planting schedule was produced yesterday, detailing which varieities of which vegetables I'm growing this year, where they are to be grown, when the sowing dates will be and the method of cultivation. Apart from planting shallots today's tasks included the sowing of early leeks, Startrack, possibly for showing at the local Horticultural Society show (I'm a new member this year and have never been to a show) but most certainly for munching come the autumn. The method of growing I'm adopting again this year for many crops, including leeks, is the soil block.
Saturday 17 January, 2004
This morning I planted our garlic, 42 cloves in total, 6 rows of 7. Traditionally garlic is planted on the shortest day of the year and lifted on the longest, timing I've always kept to until this year. I'm a a little later than usual, but it won't make any difference to the end result.
Related article: Growing Garlic.
Saturday 17 January, 2004
This morning I lifted the last of our parsnips, so that I could fork some well-rotted manure into the raised beds in preparation for this year's sowing. I expected them to be quite large considering the length of time they've been in the ground, but not quite this large!
This bad boy in the photograph weighed in at 5 1/4 pounds and measured nearly 2 feet in length - enough to make a few gallons of roasted parsnip and parmesan soup and have a few left over for chips, roasters and parsnip pastry. Parsnips aren't something we've had great success with in the past. Germination is always a problem, even with fresh seed (which is a must for parsnips - never use last year's left-over seed). I understand It's not possible to transplant them, so it's direct sowing only, but it's testament to how tasty they are that we persevere year after year even with such a high failure rate.
Thursday 8 January, 2004
Yesterday a very large cardboard box was waiting for me when I returned from work. At first I excitedly believed it to be my new digital camera (the fantastic Sony 717), but on closer inspection it was from Chase Organics. Disappointment soon turned to excitement again as I realised the package contained our seed potatoes, shallots and onion sets.
We're only growing 2 varieties of spuds this year - Red Duke of York for earlies and Desiree for main crop. The seed looks in good condition, and will now spend a couple of weeks in the cool, dark garage, until the first sprouts are visible. At that point they will be transferred to egg boxes and moved into the front hall of the house where the light will encourage stronger shoots. Sometime in March the earlies will go in the ground, with the Desiree following a couple of weeks after.