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.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another Growing Year begins!

And so we start once more!

Although we did fairly well last year, harvesting over £800 worth of fruit and veg from our plot and a half, this year we are determined to do better, especially in terms of catch cropping, successional planting and better planning - to utilise the growing space more efficiently and to get 2 crops from each bed where possible, so much planning and thought has gone into our planning schedule for the year!

Our seed spuds have been chitting for the past 8 weeks (in the loft room, cool, bright and frost free) and we've a total of 120 tubers now ready for planting, 4 varities of First Earlies, 2 varieties of Second Early, 2 varieties of Early Mains and 2 varities of Late Maincrops, we're determined to do better with spuds than last year when we lost our later main crops to blight (much reduced harvests), so have dedicated 2 beds on plot 2 (5' by 14' each) to First Earlies, 2 beds to Second Earlies, 1 bed to Early Mains and 2 beds to Late Maincrops, and are going to keep a much sharper eye on them this year (we will deffo try and treat any blight as soon as it appears rather than leave it to chance like we did last year), and our choices of variety are mainly those that are blight and/or pest resistant, so fingers crossed we do a bit better than last year here!

The early spuds are due to be followed with frost sensitive crops, such as the 3 beds of sweetcorn that we've got planned, 3 diff varieties, which hopefully should give us some decent crops, and 1 bed will be for cucurbits, probably 3 plants each of 3 varieties of courgette! As with last year we'll be companion planting the sweetcorn with sunflowers to help keep the birds and squirrels off the sweetcorn, and also planting those beds with some squashes and pumpkins, to provide good ground cover (reduced weeding) and to double the harvest from the beds! We will however be planting them a little more spaciously than last year!

The 2 beds of second earlies and the one bed of first maincrop spuds will be used for planting out the leeks once they've had the spuds harvested, we did this last year and the 300 plus leeks we planted out are still going strong, with still over 150 left for us to harvest!

The beds that still currently are occupied by leeks will be the ones we are going to put the maincrop spuds in, any leeks that are still in the ground will be removed and 'heeled in' in a clamp for eating in the next few months! These maincrop spud beds will then be planted up with spring cabbages once they are cleared later in the year!

The 2 beds that last year had maincrop spuds in them have today been dug over and planted with spring sown onion sets, 200 in each 5' by 15' bed, a total of 400 more onion sets (half red barron, half snowball) to join the 150 stuttgarter white onion sets that have been overwintering on plot 1 (along with the 100 garlics (50 electrik from last years crops and 50 we bought from the GC - cant remember the variety off hand), all of which are looking good - not as far on as they were this time last year, but thats due to the colder and wetter autumn we've had this past year). We've also a couple of trays of ailsa craig onions that we're growing from seed, which will be planted out a bit later in the year! I dont mind if the onions from seed arent as large as the ones from sets, as they'll all be used, and will probably provide us with pickling onions as they did last year (we're still munching them now, rather tasty they are too!)

Mr D is going to dig over the 2 beds for First Early spuds tomorrow, and hopefully we'll get them planted out this week, then we'll move onto preparing the beds for the second early spuds for planting out sometime in the next 2 weeks!

Mr D has already got some early cabbages and caulis planted out on plot 1 (under a netting frame to keep the wabbits off them), and we've some more of each sprouting in the greenhouse at home. We've also started the first batch of toms and chillies, which seem to be doing ok, and the first batch of broad beans are planted out with the second batch just showing in the modules in the greenhouse, both of which are looking great!

Still lots more to sow and plant, but unlike last year we are going to try not to plant too early and end up with leggy and vulnerable plants, so we're not yet worried about being behind, that'll come in a couple more months! lol!

Hope your growing year is off to as good a start, and good luck for bumper harvests!