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.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What a difference a week makes!

Well, 1st week of our holidays, weather has been great and everything on the plot is growing on at a tremendous rate! All of a sudden things seem to have started to grow by inches a day, tis fab!

The celery we've been growing for seed (to make our own celery salt) has just begun to flower, tiny but oretty white blooms! The Broad beans are absolutely covered in bean pods, and generally its looking like we could be in for a bumper year!

A pano from the top left o the plot looking back across both plots! We've chopped back the first growth of comfrey (it now composting nicely for organic tomato feed) to allow the second growth to come through, the brassica tunnels are looking amazing, the pumpkins are beginning to set fruit and the sweetcorn is now taking off!

Second sowing of peas n mange tout is coming thru, as are the turnips and swedes in the bed next to them!

Courgettes are now romping away and producing some very tasty courgettes!

Early Maincrop spuds are looking fab, as are the brassicas behind!

Dont think we'll get bored of the broad beans, but they are looking like a bumper crop this year!

The pear tree is absolutely dripping with pears, cant wait for them to ripen, think we may even have enough to make some pear cider with this year!

As you can see, the fedge is dripping with rasps, looks like we're gonna be making plenty of raspberry jam this year too!

Friday we decided to sort out the areas under the fruit trees and 1 bed at the edge of plot 1, by filling them with flowers that we know the bees like, so we took a trip to 2 local garden centers (I know we dont usually buy in plants, but its a bit late to be sowing some flowers for this year, so as we wanted to have some impact for the allotment judging in the next week or so we thought we'd cheat a bit! Lol!) to buy some herbs, verbennas and salvias plus a few bedding plants, however we spotted 2 more apple trees, gala and bramley, on offer, so ended up buying them and squeezing them into the MINI with us, as you can see, it made for an interesting drive back to the plot!

This area (behind the french bean and runner bean / pea beds) was one of the three we wanted to sort out, hence all the plants on the path ready for planting!

And afterwards, 2 more apple trees and lots of herbs and flowers to fill it up! The soil is very dry and lacking a bit in humus, so we top dressed it with some well rotted FYM (farm yard manure) and are going to keep on top of watering and feeding these beds!

The other 2 areas beneath the existing fruit trees, after clearing and planting!
So, overall we seem (so far, touch wood and fingers crossed) to be having a good year, crops are looking good, plot is relatively tidy and everything (apart from the parsnips) is growing! It'll be interesting to see how well we do come the end of the growing year!
So, onto the balance sheet!

Total Costs 2009

Rent + subs for 2 plots £85
Debris Netting £70
Seed Spuds £20
Compost £20
Seed Compost £5
Seeds £20
Plant feeder / feed £12
Growbags (4 for £5) £15
2 Apple trees £30
Herbs and Flowers (for underplanting 3 beds of fruit trees) £40

Total costs so far £317

Harvests 2009

Rhubarb (£1 a stalk in Sainsburys) £50
Spring Onions (£0.99 a bunch for organic) £4
Lettuces £6
Peas £6
Broad Beans £9
Cucumber £2
Courgettes £5
Broccolli £3
Strawberries £10
Raspberries £10

Total Harvests 2009 £105

So, we're out of pocket by £212 so far this year, but that is starting to change! Hope your growing year is going well!
Still growing this year............
Parsley, Marjoram, Chamonile, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbenna, Coriander, Basil, Rosemary, Mint, Chives, Sage, Thyme and Peppermint.
6 crowns rhubarb, 65 Raspberry Canes (in fedge) (Possible Bumper Crop!) , 2 pear trees (Possible Bumper Crop!), 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!
Garlic 3 varieties (Looking fab!) 140 plants
140 Sturon from set (overwintered (Possible Bumper Crop!)), 140 Red Barron from set (overwintered), 120 White onions from set (spring planted (Possible Bumper Crop!)), 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 (Possible Bumper Crop!), 40 second earlies, 20 early main (Possible Bumper Crop!) 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) - All Possible Bumper Crops!
Beans n Legumes
Broad Beans 70 plants (3 varieties)(Possible Bumper Crop!)
Runner Beans 48 growing, 2 varieties!
Borlotti beans, 26 planted!
French Beans 50 plants of 3 varieties!
Kentucky Climbing Beans 24 growing!
2 x 10' rows Klevedon (approx 120), 1 x 10' row Twinkle (approx 40), 1 x 6' row Mange Tout (approx 30)!
Courgettes 9 plants (2 varieties)(Possible Bumper Crop!)
Cucumbers Marketmore (1 plant, we lost 2 others of another variety!), 2 Telegraph, 2 Melonie, 2 Burpless Tasty Green
Jerusalem Artichokes, 1 bed full!
2 x 14' rows Swedes (2 variety, approx 60), 2 x 14' rows Turnips (2 variety, approx 80), 5 12' rows parsnips (3 variety, approx 100), 10 x 12' rows carrots (5 variety, approx 300)
80 plantlets of 3 varieties in total, poor germination this year! (Possible Bumper Crop!)
Squashes / Pumpkins
50 plants from 8 varieties
60 plants (overwintered) Lathom self blanching (for seed to make celery salt) + 60 seedlings planted on the plot!
25 beetroot seedlings, 12 lettuce salad bowl, 20 lettuce little gem, 8 lettuce iceberg.
Radish, 4 varieties, interplanted with parsnips + 2 x 8' rows!
38 in the 3 greenhouses, 32 outdoor toms, 12 varieties! (Possible Bumper Crop!)
36 on the plot in greenhouses, 14 planted up into pots in the back yard greenhouse, 21 in the plastic walk in greenhuse + lean to, 16 outdoor on the plots! Total 87 plants of 7 varieties!
54 plants of 9 varieties in total!
10 plants, 3 varieties!
Nicotiana, Foxgloves, Sweet Peas, Salvias, Verbennas, Marigolds, Asteria, Fuschia, Lavender, roses
Hope your growing year is looking as good (if not better) than ours!


Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,
Your dual allotments look absolutely great! I definitely admire your brassica tunnels. If i hadn't been so cocky after last year's harvest... Oh well, lesson learned.
How large are the allotments? I'm trying to figure out how much more i can squeeze into my back yard. And about how much time do you and your husband spend tending the garden each week?
Your accounting is something i need to do. As with baking bread, either it's financially sustainable or it isn't, but it's not smart of me not to know the cold facts. You & Mr. "Dobby" have done an amazing amount of work on that weed-infested patch.
PatF in Tacoma, Washington, USA

Suzanne (Mrs D) said...

Hi Pat, thanks for the lovely comments about our plots, they are appreciated!

Each allotment is 10 rods, which works out about 10m (30') by 25m (75'), so in total we've got about 500 square meters of space, less the paths of course!

As to time spent, we can get by with as little as 6 or 7 hours each once the digging and planting are done, then its just watering and weeding until harvest time. When we took over the plots we were spending every spare minute for 6 months down there sorting them out, but depends on what you want to acchieve!

Anyhows, hope this has been of help, for us its definitely financially viable as we harvest £2000 of fresh organic fruit and veg each year!