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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Huge landmark today, we've managed to harvest the first crop to make a full meal from the plot today!
The lettuce Lee is holding was one of the first batch we sowed, into the greenhouse border in March, and we've both been eyeing it for a while, but decided to wait until we had other edible crops to go with it before we harvested it!
Well, finally the first marketmore cucumber plant has produced its first edible cucumber, which along with the first ripe cherry tomato (from the plastic walk in greenhouse in the yard at home), some spring onions and radish from the plot formed the basis of our first plot produced salad!
As you can see from the piccies of the salad in the boot of my MINI, the radishes are rather large, we've been cropping them for about 5 weeks or so already, and the cucumber is 8" long and about 1 1/2" wide, and very very tasty indeed!
The radish were Juliette, very nice too, and the first single ripe cherry tom was cut in half and we both had some, very juicy, very fresh, very tasty and sweet! We've another approaching ripeness too, cant wait until they are fruiting constantly!

So, huge landmark for us both, and tasty food sampled that we've grown ourselves, huge confidence boost, cant wait until we are cropping regularly!
Hope everyone else thats growing has some early successes too!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Another attempt to get up to date!

As you can see, things are a growing on our Pumpkin Patch! Plot1 is growing nicely, with onions and garlic growing well, the Jerusalem Fartichokes are now at 3' tall, tatties are doing well, brassicas are growing nicely, sweetcorn is about 6" tall, courgettes are at 6 leaf stage, peas and beans are up and growing well, broad beans are flowering and the first pods have set, strawbs are ripening nicely (and getting munched by the slugs before they are fully ready!), goosegogs are swelling up and rasps have set fruit too!

On Plot2 (the Beanery) we've tatties, peas, beans, corn and pumpkins doing well, I'll post a few piccies in the next post to bring us up to date for any that would like to see, along with a few of our first crops!

As you can see here, the overwintering onions and garlic are growing on really well, with the cold snap we have had a few start to go to seed, but we've removed the flowers and will use these as our first batch (as they wont store well)! The spring sown onion sets and garlic are also doing well (they are the crops nearest the fartichokes in front of the pond at the back of this bed), as are the banana shallots and onions from seed! You can also see the first batch of parsnips in this piccy, behind the garlic and beyond the path that divides the beds horizontally! BTW, the discolouration on the beds is a generous application of Potash Mr D applied from the remains of weeds burnt in his new incinerator!

Inbetween the blocks of overwintering onions is our first few batches of carrots, which are doing ok, but they do seem to be suffering a little from the attention of the local wabbits! Something keeps nibbling the green foliage clean off, no evidence of slugs, so we can only assume its wabbits! Mr D would like to do something about it, but hunting on the plot isnt allowed, unfortunately!

In the plot1 greenhouse we've our first cucumber approaching edible size, with another 4 fruit forming too, we've lots of Naga Jolokia Chillies, some at 15cm long and ripe to pick (having some in a curry tonight!), and Big Jim chillies now at 11.5cm long, big enough to put us on the leaderboard of the Chileman Big Jim competition!

In the small plastic greenhouse at home we've much bigger toms than the unheated one on the plot, with our first fruit approaching ripeness! In fact, in pots at home the strawbs are growing well, the 4 heritage tatties we've got growing in containers all seem to be thriving, the cut n come again salad leaf we've been eating for about 3 weeks, and the herbs are doing great, I've been using them for about 3 weeks too, especially the chives and parsley!

This last piccy shows the minipop sweetcorn and pumpkins / squash (ghostrider and butternut) in the bed next to the greenhouse, with the brassicas just visible in the bed beyond (the one covered with netting).

In the bed behind the greenhouse you can see 2 rows of pickling onions and along the pea supports the peas that are growing through nicely!

The only areas we've struggled with are the asparagus bed, which has a total of 3 stalks that have shown, along with a mass of thistles and bindweed, methinks we are going to have to completely dig it out and start again with it, along with the herb bed next to it that also seems very full of thistle and bindweed (although there are 2 lovely foxgloves growing in there that we transplanted into it in the winter)! Other areas of the plot have lots of thistle, bindweed, mares tail and couch growing, along with plenty of annual weeds, but we are just about managing to stay on top of them by pulling up / digging / hoeing as we go along! Methinks we are going to be dealing with the perennial weeds for at least another year or so yet, not what we'd have liked after double digging the whole plot, but at least they are under control (sort of!)

All in all not bad so far for our first years growing! Neither of us can wait to taste the first meal totally produced from on the plot!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Getting up to date again!

Well! What a busy month April was! Unseasonably warm, glorious sunshine and very little rain, unusual for Manchester to say the least! We managed to get some piccies during the last week of April, but even now they are far behind where our crops are now, I'll get some more taken and posted very soon!

We spent most of the month weeding, watering and during the last week of April (when I was on holiday and Mr D was recovering from a hospital stay) planting out a large amount of the plants we'd germinated indoors and that have been growing on the bedroom windowsills for the past 4 to 12 weeks! As you can see in this general view of the plot our overwintering garlic (bottom right of the piccy) is growing really well, as are most of our overwintering onion sets (tho a few had started to go to seed, probably due to the dry conditions!) Also visible here is the brassica netting and its supports (canes with bottles / cans / plastic cups on top), one of the Jerusalem Fartichoke beds (infront of the pond and wooden compost bins behind the garlic) and the pea / bean supports!

This piccy shows our newly planted up greenhouse, 8 tomato plants (of 8 dif varieties), 12 chilli plants (of 11 varieties), 6 pepper plants (3 varieties), 4 aubergines (2 varieties) and a cucumber! The largest of the chilli plants are Naga Jolokias at about 4' tall, and are even now producing ripe chillies at about 4" long! We've used a string suspension system to support the tomato plants, which seem to be doing really well! (Tho the toms we have in the cheap plastic greenhouse in the back yard are already heavy with trusses of small unripe fruit, methinks we will soon be munching on fresh toms! Mmm!)

This piccy shows the inverted pea supports, the idea being that the pods hang to the outside, to allow easy picking of crops, whereas more 'normal' pea supports the pods hang to the inside! Whether it works or not is another thing that we will only know after this first growing season!

Empty pop cans make good cane toppers - to prevent you poking an eye out on them! Its good to reuse and recycle!

Behind the cold frame you can see the raspberries on the fedge, greening up nicely, hopefully a good crop of raspberries for our first year! We've also lots of flowers on the plot1 strawberries, aswell as lots on the hundred or so strawbs we moved out of plot2 and put into 2 hanging baskets and 3 oil drums that we'd cut into planters! (I'll post a piccy of them soon!)

This piccy shows the cucumber ramp, an idea mentioned upon the GYO Grapevine (see the links for a link), the idea being the cucumbers grow up the frame, the fruit hangs inside and the shaded area is good for growing lettuce is, and as it's netted its safer for the lettuces from the pigeons!
You can also see the first of our broad beans in a row along the path inbetween the greenhouse and the pea supports, and in the bottom corner the brassica netting!
This week we have been planting out lots of sweetcorn, pumpkin and squashes, french beans, peas and much more besides!
Further updates to follow soon, along with some more up to date piccies of where we are now, 2 weeks further on in mid May!!