Saturday, 10 September 2011

Allotment questions and photos.

My life seems to revolve, these days, around my vegetables. My apologies to those of you who have no interest in either fruit or veg!!! I am just loving the satisfaction of seeing something that is completely under my control and to actually eat things that I have planted is amazing.

I am really grateful for your lovely comments and I hope I can answer your questions, (Inkling), in this post!!

I have little book that I write countless plans in for the plot and I am going to be running a 5 year crop rotation system. Crop rotation means that you don't grow the same crop in the same place each year and this helps prevent disease and so on. For example, I have grown potatoes in bed B this year and they won't be back there for another 5 years. I have to write my plans down, and also where I have grown particular veg. or I will forget.

I have learnt this year to grow only veg that we are going to eat. It seems obvious, but its tempting to grow things and then it comes to the stage when they are ready and you realise that nobody in the house will actually eat it.

And delayed planting seems the way to go. I planted loads of delicious cos lettuces and of course they were all ready at the same time! We were practically eating lettuce for breakfast, never mind every other meal!!

I have bought myself a cheap greenhouse which is one of those plastic contraptions covering 4 or 5 shelves. I am going to keep it outside my back door so it is easy to care for. I will be able to plant my own seeds and then put the seedlings in the ground when any danger of frost has gone. This will be cheaper and I will be able to stagger the planting of the seeds. Hopefully!!

As far as having too much produce is concerned - this has not been a problem. We are eating lots of runner beans, french beans and cucumber and the excess I enjoy giving away to friends and family. My pumpkins are growing nicely and I can't wait to be able to give some of them away for Hallowe'en.

My winter cabbages are coming on nicely. I weeded them today and they look good. I have covered them with yellow netting which is very fine gauge and designed to protect them from bugs.I have loads left and will use it again I think. It lets the rain and light in still so all is well.

I have learnt so much this year and am absolutely chuffed to have grown so much. I have ordered some summer raspberry canes which I will plant alongside my autumn fruiting raspberries. That way I will have raspberries all summer and all autumn!!!

The plan this Autumn is to plant garlic and spring cabbage to over winter. I am going to order a load of manure to shovel onto the earth so that by spring the beds will be full of rich lovely soil. Tomorrow we are adding more gravel, this time to the side paths and soon my compost bins will be built from the old pallets I've scrounged. Next weekend is the Allotment show and I am entering the Then and Now competition to show photos of the difference we have made in a year. 


Pauline said...

Good luck with the competition. I'm sure you will be a hot contender!

Inkling said...

Very cool! Thanks for explaining things so well. I feel like I just got to take a gardening class!

I hear you on the lettuce. I did the same thing, and wished instead I would have just planted a third of a row one week, another third 10 days later, and the final third 10 more days later. Because I did it all at once, we had a few weeks of feasting, and now we're in the famine stage where I'm actually having to buy it from the market.

I found some incredible recipes via Google yesterday when trying to figure out what to do with all the beets I've got, as one can eat only so many roasted beets or beet and carrot salads. There was actually a molten lava chocolate cake that utilized beet puree! I'm going to boil up the beets and puree them, putting them in ice cube trays and then storing them in freezer bags so I can take out small amounts when I need them. It's a great way to sneak them into dishes that my toddler will actually eat.

Last night, I tried a King Arthur Flour recipe from their blog that used zucchini, whole wheat flour, and yogurt to make a chocolate cake. It is to die for, so rich, moist, and full of chocolate flavor. I confess to feeding it to my toddler for breakfast, but justified that it was made with whole grains, healthy yogurt, 2 eggs, and a veggie. =)

I so hope your work and skill is rewarded in the competition. The evolution of your garden has been so fun to watch, and it is just so beautiful.

Thank you again for taking so much time to explain and post pictures about what you do. I'm excited to try it out on my own plot here, provided that we get to do it next year. (Our church may sell the farm where we have our community garden, so it's all up in the air for now. But our landlord has expressed a willingness to let me use some of his acreage for a garden, so that might be a possibility......if we can first clean up the tons of garbage and debris he has hoarded over the years. The poor man knows he needs to clean it up, but he doesn't know where to begin. We've started helping him, but it takes so much effort to make even the tiniest bit of visible progress.)