Monday, 29 April 2013

Fruit Bushes

If you've read my page from last year you may have noticed that the first thing I ever planted was 6 gooseberry bushes. They're doing well so far.

Then in January of this year I bought 6 blackcurrant bushes and planted them along side.

At the end of the row was my asparagus from last year, but that failed, too cold for it I think. So I decided to extend the fruit. I've added 3 redcurranr bushes, never grown them before and added another 2 blackcurrants.

Don't think the currents will do much this year, but hoping for good things from the gooseberries.

I bought the blackcurrants as bare rooted plants for about 6.50 each over the internet. Seemed a good price at the time until I found that B&Q are currently selling potted, more mature plants for £6.98 at the moment. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Get Those Tatties In

It's late for planting potatoes, but there's no point in putting them in until the ground is ready and warming up.

I've started planting mine this week, I'm going to have 5 rows:-

1  of Epicure - An early potato which should be ready in Late June / early July.

2 of Desiree - Main crop - A great roasting potato

2 of Golden Wonder - Main Crop

I particularly chose Golden Wonder and Desiree as they're reputed to be slug resistant, I lost about a 1/3 of my crop last year due to slug damage.

Potatoes Ready for covering with 12" soil.
Some people prefer to plant potatoes at soil level and then regularly earth up as the plants grow, that is you rake the soil up over the plants as they grow. This is a lot of work, I much prefer the following method:-

I dig a trench about 6" deep across the plot, using a string to try and keep a straight row.

I then space out the seed potatoes, about 10" - 12" for main crop, 8" - 10" for earlies. I then dig along side the trench to make another trench piling the soil up over the seed potatoes, to about 12" high.

The 2nd trench acts as a walk-way so I can get along to weed and because the potatoes are 12" deep there's no need for earthing up.

And here's another tip, that will make your money go that little bit further. Each seed potato should be about the size of a golf ball, any that are much larger than this can be cut in half to give you double the plants, as long as you make sure you have a bud on both halves. Try to make sure that each half is of equal size.

Any Large Seed Potatoes Can Be Cut In Two
Make Sure Both Halves Are Of Similar Size And Both Have Growing Tips 

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Blank Canvas - Start Of The Season

The title of this post is a little misleading in two ways.

Allotment At The Start Of The Season
Firstly, it gives the impression that nothing has been done with my allotment this year, which is far from the truth.  I started digging on the 3rd January and by the end of February I had dug the whole plot, not just the 2/3s that I used last year but also the 1/3 I hadn't used but which was sprayed with weed killer back in September. Angus also delivered a load of manure which I'd spread over the section of the plot which wasn't manured last year, the bottom half.

In the past week or so I have also rotovated the whole plot, to break up lumps, dig in the manure and get the ground ready for planting, I've been rushing to do this as the soil was nice and dry thanks to the recent lack of rain but as this week the forecast was somewhat wetter I wanted to finish before this arrived.

Secondly, although in the photo it appears empty there are some fruits growing. When I started working on the plot in January 2012 I planted 6 gooseberry bushes, they will hopefully produce their first fruits this year. In August I planted a row of strawberry plants, again they should fruit this summer, all but 2 have survived the winter. And in February I planted a row of 6 blackcurrant bushes, these were dry-rooted so I don't think they'll fruit this year, although they look healthy enough, covered in leaf buds.

I'm also doing a bit of an experiment, if you ready my page on the Dores website about last year  about the 2012 season you'll know my broad beans were a bit of a failure, in part because of the shock to the plants of moving from growing at home to out in the wilds of the allotments. So this year I have planted a double row of broad bean seeds directly into the ground in late February. There's no sign of them yet, so I dug up one seed yesterday to see if they'd perished in the cold, but it was sprouting away happily. We'll see how they do.

Before I Began

I took this photo before I did anything to my plot.

January 2012: Before the first spade full was lifted.