Well, the harvests of soft fruit are going well, the bees from our apiaries obviously did a good pollinating job, the summer fruiting rasps are absolutely dripping with fruit, took 3lb at the first pick alone! Strawbs are just about still producing, another 8lb or so the other day, but I think they are now coming to the end of their fruiting, there doesnt seem to be much more coming along, except on the new bed we sowed from seed, this one seems to have a few flowers still coming! The blueberries at home are plumping up nicely, and the cherries are ripening too, the peas and beans also giving us a lot, as are (of course) the courgettes!
Our brassicas are looking good, the sprouts and broccolli are bulking up nicely, should be a reasonable crop from them this year (we hope), but the star brassicas at the moment are the cabbages.............
............ These are really coming on well! The savoy type are beginning to heart up, as are some of my fave (Golden Acre Primo)!
The sweetcorn is also looking particularly good, and the underplanting with our pumpkins and squashes is also working well, its adapted from the native american 3 sisters bed system (we did try a 3 sisters a few years ago, but the beans didnt do anything much, so we've not bothered planting them in with the other 2 sisters ever since).
We've even got our first set pumpkin and squashes, with plenty more flowers still present! I cant wait for the plants to fully fill out, they do a great job of smothering any weeds, so a light hoeing is all they ever need, no backbreaking weeding!
Our last sowing of Dwarf French beans are now coming up, you can just about see them in this piccy!
The overwintering onions are bulking up really nicely, I've got a feeling its going to be another good year for onions!
The first sowing of leeks are doing well (apart from ne or two that have been nibbled by our furry friends), and the early runners (on the canes to the right of the leeks) are now setting beans, shouldnt be long till we can harvest our first runners of the year! The borlotti beans (on the canes to the left of the leeks) have also shot up!
The victorian purple podded peas are going to produce a great pea harvest, and the late sowing of broad beans are also going to do really well! The late sown runners (to the left of the broad beans) are also now growing on apace!
The spuds on the other hand are still growing, despite the blight, but as many folks have been telling us of a really poor spud harvest, we're going to leave them in as long as we can, to ensure we get the best possible crops! The ealry mains are relatively blight free (to the left), the late earlies are suffering a bit, but by treating with bordeaux mixture and removing the blighted leaves, we are keeping it somewhat under control...... so far at least!
The late mains (behind Fester - our scarecrow, whos decided to try and help us by watching out for cabbage white butterflies and catching them in his net) arent looking too bad either, the bordeaux mixture seems to be working so far (fingers crossed!)
We've been talking about our plans for next year on the plot, we've a plum tree on plot 1 thats never fruited (we inherrited it with the plot), that we both feel needs to come out, but where its located is rather overshadowed to the north, so we're not sure if we are going to plant another plum there, or whether to plant some other soft fruits instead. The area to the left of apiary 1 (on plot 2) which is currently covered with plastic (from where we peer through the fence to see what the bees are doing) is going to have a step put in and a proper leveling, plus be barked over, possibly with some flowers planted around it. We also want to plant a redcurrant and some goji berries (as we both like them, especially in spicey chicken broth), but as yet we're not sure where they will be going, I think the redcurrant will be going in the bed to the right, at the very front of plot 1, and the goji's may be going into the lavender bed to the front left of plot 1. Lee also would like to plant an almond and possibly some other nut trees (I want a chestnut tree, but they grow too tall for the plot!), but instead of planting them on the plot we may be starting an allotment orchard!
There is a 'tree nursery' that was set up a long time ago by Groundworks and is occassionally used by Red Rose Forest, but as its been untended (and overgrown until we cut it back during the prejudging allotment tidy up 2 weeks ago) and unused, we made the suggestion that the allotment society takes it over and plants it as an orchard! This was well received by all present, and with a friend of ours (Dave, our beekeeping mentor and good friend) having already set up (regenerated) a community orchard at Balmorral Road Allotments, we are hoping that if we can get permission, then Dave may be able to help us with lots of good advice!
If we are able to take it over, then as well as some heritage apple and pear varieties, we are hoping to get a few nut trees in there too! As our concil liason is busy with the allotment judging for the next week or so, we wont know for a while whether its going to be possible to reclaim the tree nursery and develop it as a community orchard, but thats something we are hoping will be possible for the future!
Anyhows, its been a while since I posted a balance sheet, so I thought I'd share the latest update with you!
Total Veg Plot Costs 2010
Rent + Subs for 2 full plots £100
Seed Spuds £20
Onion Sets £6
Chicken Manure Pellets £8
Plastic 'wannabe' Polytunnel £61
Bamboo Canes £8
Flower Plants £28
Scaffolding Boards £100
Watering Cans £8
Total Costs £ 374
The plot costs have gone up a bit recently, as Lee got the chance to buy 20 scaffolding boards for £100, so as we have some beds with poor edging (where the wood has had it), we decided to buy enough to sort out a few beds and rebuild the retaining wall on the rhubarb patch on Plot 2! Plus with the hosepipe ban we had to get another 2 watering cans to let 2 of us water at the same time with 2 cans each, to cut down the number of trips back and forth to the taps!Y
Total Veg Plot Harvests 2010
Rhubarb £ 25
Fartichokes £ 4
Volunteer Spuds £15
Broad Beans £20
French Beans £1
Red Onions £10
Total Veg Plot Harvests £ 208
So we're now £166 away from breaking even, but with most of the harvests still to start, then its possible we will soon have a positive balance sheet! There should be a healthy harvest either tomorrow (assuming Im home from work early enough to get it) or on our days off (wednesday and thursday) as we've rasps, broad beans, salad, peas, french beans and a few other things that we may take out this week, so I'll try and get another balance sheet up in the next few days!
Hope your balance sheet is looking good, and that your crops are growing on well and harvesting a plenty!
More updates soon, thanks for reading!