Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Update and Piccies 6th May 2009

Well, after a weeks holidays we've managed to get all but 7 1/2 beds sorted and planted on the allotments, unfortunatley the weather hasn't been brilliant, so we didnt manage to get quite as much as we'd have liked done, but whats left to do shouldn't be too difficult now! As can be seen here, the first earlies are now breaking through, the overwintering celery, garlic and onions are doing well, salad is coming along nicely, and the broadies are flowering well, so we should start harvesting in the not too distant future!

Another panoramic view looking accross the plots, everything to the green netting (on the brassica beds) is ours, 2 full plots next to each other, set up with bark chipping paths and wooden edged 'no dig' raised beds (that still get dug, tho as they arent walked on they are much easier to turn over than they were when we took on the plots!)

So, a more detailed view of plot 1, the beds to the right of the picture (in front of the greenhouse) contain overwintered celery at the front, with broad beans behind, the perspex glazed shed extension (behind the white chairs) has 3 large tubs, 2 of which contain sweet potatoes and the third has 6 pepper plants in it! The greenhouse has been planted up now, with 9 tomatoes, 2 aubergines, 4 chillies and 4 peppers + french marigolds to keep the white fly away! Directly behind the greenhouse are the strawberrys, blueberries and herbs, in individual beds, both the strawbs and blueberries are flowering well, and most of the herbs are flourishing. Beyond this is a row of 5 beds, each of which has an end bed to the right containing flowers and fruit trees, conference pears, branley apples and an eating apple. The main 5 beds (which are 4' by 10' each) next to the fruit trees contain (from front to back) Runner beans, peas and broad beans in the first bed, french beans (under netting) in the 2nd bed, another bed of runner beans and peas (still to be dug and planted), a bed for turnips and swedes and finally a bed for borlotti beans and more peas / mangetout (still to be dug and planted)! Beyond this is the plastic walk in greenhouse, that was put back up this week and planted with 5 growbags of peppers, 4 plants each of 5 varieites!

The second run of beds contains (front to back) 140 overwintered garlic plants, 120 overwintered sturon onions from set, 140 overwintered red onion sets, 120 spring planted onion sets, 140 onions from seed (some spare space in here than may take some of the outdoor toms too), then a bed for carrots and parsnips (still to be dug) and finally a large bed of maincrop spuds, containing 40 tubers!

So, only 3 beds left to dig and plant on this plot!

The view down plot 1 from the plastic walk in greenhouse! The beds still to be dug are the one with the black plastic on the corner, and 2 to the left of it!

Plot 2 Panorama, from the front! Again the beds are pretty much planted up!

On the right of the picture, the greenhouse contains 11 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 4 aubergines, 10 chillies, 6 peppers and some companion planted french marigolds! Beyond the greenhouse is a small bed of salad, beetroot and spring onions, then 3 beds of spuds, 2 first early beds (20 tubers each) and 1 larger bed of 2nd earlies (40 tubers, 20 each of 2 varieties), beyond this is the raspberry fedge!

The middle row of beds contains 9 courgettes (under the plastic cloches) edged with flowers (for the bees), then 3 large beds (still to be dug) for squashes and pumkpins which will be companion planted with our sweetcorn and some sunflowers (for the bees and to try and keep the squirrels away from the sweetcorn), then the comfrey bed, another bed (still to be dug) for more sweetcorn and squash, then a bed whick is half full with Jerusalem Artichokes, the other half of which will take our overspill of brassicas!

The final run of beds (to the left of the piccy, beyond the muck heap and pond) is our brassica bed this year, 6 beds all netted, containing 20 sprout plants (2 varieties) 20 broccolli plants (3 varieties) 20 caulies / romanesco broccolli, 20 Golden Acre Primo cabbages, 20 Red Drumhead cabbages, 20 Greyhound cabbages!

At the bottom of the plot is the Apiary, with the 6 crowns of rhubarb growing in front of it and blackberries behind it!

To the immediate left of the fedge (behind the grey compost bin) is the area we had the strawberries in the first year, unfortunately it proved to be too weed infested, so we had to move the strawbs, so the plan here is to dig another bed, 15' by 4' and use that shelted area this year for our outdoor toms and peppers, quite a big job to dig and edge it tho, so this will probably only happen after we've got the other beds dug and planted!

So, a closer up shot of the greenhouse on plot 1! Looks very bare atm, but give it a few weeks and it'll be like a jungle in there!

Plot 2's greenhouse, with the outdoor toms on a tray on the center path!

The interior of the walk in plastic greenhouse, 5 growbags with 4 plants each of 5 varities of peppers! Big Banana, Sumer Salad, Chocolate Pepper, Worldbeater and Sweet Pepper! We've had much better success with pepper germination this year, so have had to try and find homes for almost 100 pepper plants, but as we're hoping to dry and freeze enough peppers to see us through the year, it shouldnt be too much of a problem for us to deal with a glut!

Inside the perspex shed extension, showing the sweet spuds growing away nicely and the newly planted 6 peppers!
The pond on plot 2, teeming with tadpoles and looking much better after we did some work, rebuilding the edging walls and relocating the liner (which had slipped down on one side, limiting the depth). Our plans here are to get a solar powered pump and to build a small waterfall in the bottom left corner, perhaps planting the area with wildflowers and a small almond tree, this will involve removing the damaged dacking and clearing the area, rebuilding the retaining wall between the muck heap and the area and generally building up the soil depth, fortunately the 2 compost bins at the back of plot 1 look to be ready for use!
The 6 crowns of rhubarb (Timperley early) growing next to the apiary! We've had huge problems with bindweed at this end of the plot, so we've used some recycled car mats (free from another plotholder) to cover the ground between the rhubarb in the hopes of helping to keep it under control, fingers crossed it works!

So, the front of plot 1, the overwintering celery is going to be allowed to go to seed so we can harvest it for celery salt, and the broadies behind are going great guns!

The first runners are just poking through (next to the bamboo supports), the first peas are now podding and the last sowing of broadies have just been planted! The area towards the rear of the bed next to the peas wil be used either for catch cropping or for some of the outdoor toms!

Lee decided to pick me some flowers, so first he grabbed some mint (was lovely on the morroccan style lamb chops), then he brought me an armfull of rhubarb! Typical man! Lol!

Have to say tho, the rhubarb was lovely in a crumble! We'll have to get harvesting and freezing some more soon, lots of folks on the plot have had their rhubarb go to seed this year, so we've fingers crossed that ours doesnt go to seed yet!
The greenhouse at home is now getting a bit more empty, I'm going to be sorting out the grow bags in there this afternoon and planting up the 18 tomatoes in them, then potting on the 3 aubergines and masses of peppers and chillies into pots to allow us to move them in and out as required!

So, what exactly have we got growing this year? You ready for a mega list??
Parsley, Coriander, Basil, Rosemary, Mint, Chives, Sage, Thyme and Peppermint.
6 crowns rhubarb, 65 Raspberry Canes (in fedge), 5 blackberry canes (around edges), 6 blueberry bushes, 2 pear trees, 3 eating apple trees, 3 cooking apple trees, 1 cherry tree, 1 grapevine (trained up the front of the shed, we've plans to build an arbour type extension to support it a bit better, hopefully this year), 160 strawberry plants, 40 in the plot, 100 in planters and 20 in hanging baskets!
3 varieties, 140 plants
140 Sturon from set (overwintered), 140 Red Barron from set (overwintered), 120 White onions from set (spring planted), 100 Ailsa Craig from seed, 25 Bunyards Exhibition from seed, 50 red barron from seed. 60 spring onions (so far) Total 575 maincrop onions!
Musselburgh, 120 seedlings growing away nicely to be planted once the first early spuds are out!
40 first earlies, 40 second earlies, 20 early main and 20 late maincrops! Total 120 tubers!
Sweet Potatoes, 3 tubs full, 9 plantlets in total!
20 brussel sprouts (2 varieties), 20 broccolli (2 varieties) 20 caulies / romanesco broccolli, 60 cabbages (3 varieties, golden acre primo, red drumhead and greyhouse, 20 each)
Broad Beans
70 plants (3 varieties)
Runner Beans
24 growing, another 24 to be planted!
Borlotti beans, 24 to be planted!
French Beans
50 plants of 3 varieties!
20 planted (1 variety), another 3 varieties + mange tout to be planted yet!
9 plants (2 varieties)
Marketmore (1 plant, we lost 2 others of another variety!)
Jerusalem Artichokes, 1 bed full!
Swedes (2 variety), Turnips (2 variety), prsnips (2 variety) carrot (4 variety) all still to be planted!
80 plantlets of 3 varieties in total, poor germination this year!
Squashes / Pumpkins
50 plants from 8 varieties, waiting to be planted once the weather warms up a bit and the frost risk is passed!
60 plants (overwintered) Lathom self blanching!
25 beetroot seedlings, 6 lettuce salad bowl, 8 lettuce little gem, 6 lettuce iceberg.
Radish, 4 varieties, still to be planted!
38 in the 3 greenhouses, 12 specific blight resistant outdoor toms, another 40 to be planted out once the weather improves!
36 on the plot in greenhouses, 68 still to be planted up into pots in the back yard greenhouse! Total 7 varieties!
54 plants of 9 varieties in total!
Nicotiana, Foxgloves, Sweet Peas, Marigolds, Asteria, Fuschia
So, even before planting carrots, parsnips, swedes or turnip, or even the rest of the peas and beans, radish and further crops of lettuce etc, then thats over 2200 plants already growing on the plot!!
And so, onto the Balance Sheet!!
Total Costs 2009
Rent + subs for 2 plots £100
Debris Netting £70
Seed Spuds £20
Compost £20
Seed Compost £5
Seeds £20
Miracle Grow feeder / feed £12
Growbags (4 for £5) £15
Total costs so far £262
Harvests 2009
Rhubarb (£1 a stalk in Sainsburys) £35
Spring Onions (£0.99 a bunch for organic) £1
Total Harvests 2009 £36
So, we're out of pocket by £226 so far this year, but that should soon start to change!
The Apiary Costs
Hives £140 for 2
Frames & foundation £75
Beekeeping suits £25 each, total £50
Apiary construction £60
Smoker ??
Total Cost approx £325 so far!!
Setting up the Apiary hasnt been cheap, but if we can become self sufficient in honey, plus aid pollination AND more importantly help to safeguard the survival of bees, then it will be a worthwhile addition to the plot!
Hope your growing year is off to as good a start as ours seems to be!


podster said...

I think I got all that, you have been busy.

Suzanne said...

Lol, yep!