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.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Arbour / Pagoda grapevine support is finished, plus pictoral crop updates & balance sheet at 19th August 2010

 Once again I get 2 days off with a weather forecast thats less than perfect, but none the less, we managed to get a fair bit of work done before the rain arrived!

Yesterday we had a trip out to see if we could find something to top the uprights on the arbour (we found nothing that was at the right price, but we have hit upon an idea..... large pinecones!), but we did manage to find a bargain or two, a lovely birdhouse for £7 and a large redcurrant bush for £7.50! After a lovely lunch at Pat and Colin's (courgette soup, with courgette bread and courgette cake for afters!) we managed to get to the plot for a couple of hours (between the rain showers) and get a bit of painting done on the arbour (first coat on the uprights), then off to Stockport BBKA meeting about showing honey, along with candlemaking and making Mead! Needless to say Lee and I are now very interested in getting hold of some homebrew supplies to try our hand at making mead in the not too distant future!

 So, the arbour is now basically finished, its been painted, the birdhouse has been mounted at the back of the shed, and the bird feeders are hanging from the front, plus the 2 clematis have been planted in the beds directly in front of the uprights, next year they should grow up and over the front, making a lovely floral display!

 I've managed to get 4 lovely 6" celtic greenman plaques from ebay (spring, summer, autumn, winter), which will be hung from the front of the crosspieces, to cover the joints where they meet the uprights, I'll take some piccies to show you once they arrive and are mounted! All thats left to do now is repaint the shed, then find and mount some large pine cones at the top of the 3 uprights! I'd also like to set up a weather station of some type, possibly with a 'witch on broomstick' weathervane mounted on the arbour, but they are a bit too expensive atm, so I'm hoping that I may be able to either find one as a bargain, or perhaps get one for my Birthday!

 Lee planted the redcurrant and the clematis for me whilst I was painting, a relatively easy job, but one that left him with mucky hands....... mind you, not as mucky as me, I ended up covered in green paint!

 The redcurrant is a self fertile variety, we popped into the Vicarage Garden Center nearby, looking for a greenman plaque or something paganish for the top of the uprights on the arbour, and Lee spotted this redcurrant for £7.50, we'd seen them elsewhere for this price, but about 6" tall, so this lovely specimen just had to be brought back to the plot and planted! We cleared the bed and added some well rotted FYM before planting it, and are hoping that next year we can underplant it with a stunning floral display..... if we can learn what and how to grow!

The 2 frog tealight holders (at the top of the posts on the compost bin) were something one of our friends bought us last year for the plot, we've not yet found a place for them..... until now!

 I managed to get some general piccies of the plot today, once we'd done the bee inspections (Hive 7 now has 5 good queen cells in it, hopefully this will enable them to get a queen hatched, mated and ready for winter, even if we have to feed them), no-one got stung today (makes a change, its been 5 weeks since I wasnt stung!)! We've also got another super of capped honey in Hive 2, so hopefully it will be extracted next week!

So, as you can see, all the recent rain has caused a lot of weed germination, and with out attention being on the harvesting and building the grapevine arbour / pergola, they have got a bit out of hand, but hopefully we'll be able to get them taken care of soon!

 The sweetcorn, squashes, pumpkins, sunflowers are doing really well, this is one bed that doesnt need much weeding!

 The late sown broadies are just starting to crop nopw, the borlottis beans and late sown runners are doing well, but the purple podded peas are about over! We've left some pods to dry for next years seeds!

 The early runners are going great guns, and the leeks (although weed infested) are doing really well!

 The new strawberry bed we planted this year is coming on really well, these were grown from seed this year, so next year they should be well established and possibly be ready to provide us with a good crop!

 The late maincrop spuds are still growing, although they are fighting the blight!

 The main strawberry bed, pretty well established now after being cleared and replanted last winter, we're going to give it a good top dressing this winter and hopefully they will be even better than they were this year!

 The herb bed, flowering!

 Some of the toms in the greenhouse! We've had mixed results in the greenhouses, lots of crops, but because of this the string supports we set up have been snapping, so we've a few plants that are now growing in a heap, I've tried to retie the string on a few, but doing so usuallt damages the plant even more, so we've decided to let them be and use better string next year!

 The aubergines and peppers / chillies in the hothouse have done really well, despite the hot house falling apart around them! This is the reason we decided to treat ourselves to a proper coldframe before next year, we've seen one on another plot that we liked, but hadn't seen any for a reasonable price.....

........ this is the design we like, but online they were going for up to £50, until I spotted one in Argos sale, at half price! So, we bought 2 of them at £14.99 each! Next year the peppers and chillies and aubergines will be growing in 2 of these, not sure exactly which bed they are going in yet, or whether we will extend them upwards a little bit by using some scaffolding boards, we were hoping to have a look at them today, but then the rain started to fall!

Anyhows, cropping is going well, but with everything else that we've been working on we've not been concentrating as much as we'd like to, so with the weekend booked off as hols (for Lee's 40th on Sunday - BBQ on the plot with friends and fellow allotmenteers), its possible we may have another bumper harvest day on Saturday.... weather permitting!

Anyhows, onto the balance sheet!

Balance Sheet Update - 15th August 2010

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
Soft Fruits £16
Clematis £10
Arbour materials £ 40
Cold Frames (2) £30 (1/2 price at Argos)
Redcurrant £7.50
Birdhouse £7
Birdfeeders (for arbour) £10

Total Costs £ 504

The costings have again gone up, with the purchase of the bordhouse, some birdfeeders and 2 cold frames for use next year as our pepper / aubergine hothouse, a bargain at £14.99 each!

Total Veg Plot Harvests 2010

Rhubarb £ 35
Fartichokes £ 4
Volunteer Spuds £15
First Early Spuds £15
Lettuce £12
Radish £12
Garlic £85
Strawberries £65
Raspberries £35
Blackberries £8
Peas £40
Broad Beans £42
Courgettes £70
French Beans £50
Red Onions £20
White Onions £50
Cabbages £5
Peppers £4
Tomatoes £15
Turnip £4
Runner Beans £20
Broccolli £20
Apples £4
Plums £5

Total Veg Plot Harvests £ 623

So, a total nett profit of £ 129 so far this year, with a large amount of harvests still to come!

We've spent more on the plot this year than ever before, with the polytunnel, scaffolding boards, building the grapevine arbour and the 2 coldframes, but next years spend should be back to a much more usual lower level of just seeds, onion sets, rent, subs and seed spuds...... hopefully!

Hope your costs arent too high, your weeds are manageable and your crops are providing bumper harvests!

Thanks for reading!


RobD said...

Like the coldframe idea - but then I remembered the greenhouse sitting in the garden I still need to put up!

BilboWaggins said...

Verdant comes to mind whenever I look at your wonderful pictures.

I think everyone is having trouble with tomatoes this year.

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Rob, Lol, thanks for the reply! Good luck with errecting the greenhouse, is it a new one, or a 2nd hand one? Do you have instructions?

We've dismantled and moved 2 greenhouses in the last 4 years, can be a pain in the bottom rebuilding them, and always take twice as long as you think, but deffo worth it!

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Bilbo, yup, its very green, but most of it is weeds atm! Eeek!

Toms are proving a pain atm, I just wish theyd get a move on with ripening, usually I've got 20lb of passatta frozen for the winter by now!

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