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, July 12, 2010

Yippeee, rain!! Oh wait........ not on the plot! :(

Typical, I spend the day in work looking outsde to see a sky that were filled with torrential rain, and get home (30 miles from work) to find that we've only had a light shower at the plot, and there's me thinking I would get away without having to water today! Lol! Ah well, at least having several watering cans make s it a bit quicker!

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
Seeds £20
Seed Spuds £20
Onion Sets £6
Growbags £15
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
Lettuce £10
Radish £10
Garlic £15
Strawberries £60
Raspberries £10
Peas £15
Broad Beans £20
Courgettes £25
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!


Shayla said...

I haven't lifted any potatoes yet to see what they are like. I think your idea of the orchard is a good idea.

Pete said...

A pagan witch, eh? Our vicar warned me about people like you! Fortunately, I didn't pay too much attention and saw the light and no longer attend church, so can make up my own mind. I love the scarecrow. Beautiful photographs; it puts my allotment blog to shame. I shall include a link to yours on my blog now that I have discovered it.


Mrs Dobby said...

Thanks Shayla, we all thought the orchard was a good idea, I've got to talk to the rest of the allotment committee first (I'm sort of the chairperson), but if we can get permission from the council, then it will be a project that may well bring the plotholders together more, something that can only be good, plus give us some extra crops!

Mrs Dobby said...

Lol IG! I have to agree, first year costs csn be high, but if you keep an eye out, there are bargains to be had! The 10' by 8' greenhouse on plot 2 was one of these, it was advertised on, free if you dismantle and move it! Cost us about £60 for some glass that was broken and new z and w clips, but definitely worth it!

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Pete, yup, I'm the one the vicar warned you about alright! Lol!

Glad you liked the blog and piccies, I'll reciprocate the link for you! :)

Green Jeannie said...

I have linked with you, because, well, have to say, your allotment (s) totally amaze me! Being a newbie to the allotment world etc.

I was surprised how expensive your Allotment fees were, ours are so cheap compared to yours.

I haven't liked to even think about what I have spent, although to be fair, most of my seeds came from Aldi or Poundland, and so far, they have proved to be very good.

Interested too in your words about Pumpkins. I have grown some from seed and have some in grow bags at home and five at the allotment. I noticed today how they do seem to take over, and smother the weeds.


G.J. Who is learning a lot!

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Jeannie! I'm glad we 'amaze' you with our plots, tho as we've had the plots for over 3 years now, we've had plenty of time to get them sorted, so there's nothing that amazing about them really! Lol!

Our allotment fees are the norm round here, about £45 per plot a year, plus subs of £5 a plot, tho when we reach retirement (quite a few years yet) then you do get them at half price, so that will be good (assuming we havent been able to buy our dream smallholding by then!)

It doesnt matter where your seeds come from, as long as they grow, then thats all that matters! If we had more time, then we'd shop around more for seeds, but generally we'll usually buy when we see them on offer! Dont worry too much about the sow by dates, (apart from parsnips), you will still get germination from seeds that are out of date, just may not be as many coming up as there would be with fresher seeds!

Lol, pumpkins are great, love pumpkin pie (I'll post the secret recipe we have nearer harvesting time), and roast pumpkin and squash with roast veg is fab!

Oh, and learning a lot? So are we! The day you stop learning is the day you may as well go to your grave, for from that day forth you will be dead inside!

Carolyn said...

Hello Mrs D, found your blog via Jo at The Good Life; gosh, your harvest puts mine to shame. This is my first full year of veggie growing and it's certainly not without its challenges! I love the idea of your balance sheet and keeping a record of your harvests. Maybe in years to come I'll have enough to do the same (have to get more neglected borders dug over first!). Will definitely be linking to your blog following your updates.

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Carolyn, thanks for the kind words about our harvests, some of our fellow allotmenteers say we arent allotmenteers, we're farmers! Lol!

Good luck with your first year of veggie growing, its highly addictive tho, especially when you overcome a challenge and get to eat what you've grown!

The balance sheet came from me wanting to see whether we were getting value for the money we spent, and I'd say we certainly do!

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