2008, The allotment moves on.

21st Dcember 2008. Well the sun came out occasionally. We dug up some potatoes; found that the beetroot and some leeks have started germinating (in the cloche in the greenhouse); pruned the autumn fruiting raspberries; cleared the Achochas;

17th December 2008, Lovely sunny day. Prepared another bed ready for next year, with compost and membrane, it’s now ready to become a cloche. Pruned the broccoli – I’ll do anything to get rid of the unsightly caterpillar munched stalks. Put up the trellis in the new mini greenhouse. Collected some rough membrane being discarded and now to be used for a path. Recovered some tall metal posts which I can use for runner or pole beans. Recovered some plastic piping for making the cloche.

8th December 2008 Actually a nice warm day (6-8 C), delighted to report that the spinach has all germinated even through this last cold snap, picked some Brussels Sprouts (Wellington) and dug up a few Pink Fir Apples. Great…. and cleared the nasturtiums killed by the recent frost.

30th November 2008. Some of the Spinach seem to be germinating. Peppers andd Nasturtiums got killed by the frost two days ago.

22nd November. What a superb year! A few potatoes, beetroot, sprouts, lettuce, peppers are still in. Onions grown from seed seem to be going well, as are the broad beans and there’s some garlics both outside and in the greenhouse. Lettuce, spinach, beetroot and leeks have also been sown in the greenhouse. Cleared the last of the pole and runner beans.

Finally binned the gooseberries and redcurrants, they are not earning their keep.

19th October 2008 Panic Stations (well almost.) First we’ve had some vegetable rustlers, half the crop of one allotmenter’s dwarf beans and another person had half their crop of butternut squashes stolen, so panic to get the butternut squashes in.

Then we’ve also been attacked by Tomato Blight, which has wiped out the last harvest of one bed and the whole harvest of another bed. As I write this I can smell the cooking of a green tomato chutney made from the tomatoes salvaged from the devastation.  We’ve had a magnificent crop already, and there’s still a few going in the greenhouse.

So we cleared the two outdoor tomato beds, tidied up the strawberry bed, netted the broad beans, cleared the butternut squash bed, took the diseased tomato plants to the tip, collected half a dozen bags of manure (fairly fresh so added them to the composters,) cleared one of the flower beds and planted some garlics in the greenhouse.

5th October. The broad beans have been planted. Also started a rolling program for the paths between the raised beds, which involves clearing the weeds, laying doubled black membrane and then covering with wood chippings. Three done so far. Still cropping courgettes, tomatoes,

25th August. We’ve been very busy cropping – courgettes, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, achochas, beetroot, rhubarb, cucumbers, and now we’re started on next year. A few weeks back I sowed some onion seeds and they germinated very well, indeed sufficient to plant out a 12ft bed with 250 seedlings. This is an experiment, as I think that the autumn sets are heat-treated to reduce bolting . Also growing through the winter are lettuces, swede, beetroot, leeks, sprouts, cabbages, and purple sprouting broccoli. These plus squashes, potatoes and onions should keep us in vegetables for the whole winter.

15th July 2008. The courgettes are up and running, with the potatoes & broccoli and the first of the beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. We’ve been given a walk-in plastic greenhouse so we’re about to clear the space for it. Then all we need to do is to enable it to survive a Force 10 gale!

8Th July 2008. The broad beans have come and gone (must do more next year) and are being followed by Butternut Squash. The over-wintered onions have been lifted for drying. Their space is now beetroot. the potatoes are running well, as are the courgettes, today was the first day for the Miniature White Cucumbers (Dimara.) Strawberries have finished though possibly a late season handful will come. First leek today as well.

15th May 2008. Today was beans day. Planted out Coco Rose Barlotti dwarf beans, Yard Long pole beans, Czar runner beans, and also sowed the remaining seeds for them. Also planted out Green Headed Broccoli, and started the courgettes bed with eight ‘Tenerife’ plants. All the beds are in use now except the one reserved for the tomatoes. Need to clear the remaining seedlings so that we can use the polytunnel bed to plant out the Trieste White and Tenerife courgettes etc.

13th May 2008, We’re running short of space as usual, we’ve planted out the cucumbers, Cupidon Filet Beans, Wellington Sprouts, Purple Queen pole beans, and Lady Di runner beans. Still to be planted out are Coco Rose Barlotti dwarf beans, Czar runner beans, the huge black Yard Long beans, tomatoes and courgettes. Sowed some spring onions today. In the greenhouse, after it is clear of trays of summer seedlings we will plant some cucumbers (done)  some tomatoes, peppers and a squash.

5th April 2008. All the potatoes are now planted, lots of seeds are germinating, some leeks will soon be ready to be planted out. We’ve cleared the beetroot bed and I’m now doing a potato planter for the pergola area. Next I need to turn the compost!! The recent planting were Nicola and Pink Fir Apple.

12th Feb 2008. Planted Lady Christl and Charlotte potatoes so we’ve really started the new year. Yes we’re still collecting cabbage, sprouts and broccoli plus beetroot and we’re still enjoying the squashes and the red onions from the store plus the garlic though we’ve just finishing the last of the Pink Fir Apples.

The white and red onions and the garlics, all of which are over-wintering, are gently tottering along though the over-wintering lettuce seem to have been a meal for some slugs or whatever. The Broad Beans more than make up these losses, they’re going well (so far!)

It now looks as though we really to get moving on some of the seeds and some of the beans, so this needs to be done on Saturday.

12th January 2008 Lovely day to day. Cold, of course, but with some sunshine. The fleece and the netting had arrived so one job was to cut them to size and fit them to the small polytunnel from last year. The idea with the fleece is that I can keep the bed warm but it will allow rain to do the watering for me rather than having to move and replace the polythene all the time. At the moment this bed is allocated for trays of seeds, as it was last year.

The seed potatoes have now arrived and are due to be planted during Jan and Feb. I think I’ll do another polytunnel especially for the First Earlies.

Cleared the last of last years main crop potatoes, tidied the bed and covered with membrane. All the seeds etc have arrived, the fruit trees and shrubs have been pruned, the beds have all been prepared, so now we wait.

(There’s lots of little jobs that still need doing eg the netting on the fruit cage, the weeding between the beds, but we’re pretty much waiting for the soil temperature to go up.)

Additional Notes

Addendum, 171108. I went and bought some red beans at the supermarket in Cyprus. Well when I bought some two years ago I received very few and when they grew I wasn’t able to save seed for the next year. Now with 320 seeds, let’s see if I plant them 9 inches apart, they’ll take up 48ft by 4ft, that’s huge, I’ll just try one 12ft bed.

We’ve decided not to grow sweet corn and I don’t want to grow Peppers, for the same reason too much effort, too much land for insufficient return. Got to try to simplify what we’re doing. We’re going tp try Amaranth and Quinoa.

Broad beans and over-wintering Onions are in, we’ve started on next year.

A Summary for 2008 Superb, wonderful, Excellent – a cornucopia of the best England has to offer: Beans, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Beetroot, Courgettes, Squashes,Broad Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Garlic, Swede, Cucumbers. Passable, though the brassicas have provided a slow but continuous alternative to our main crops: Brassicas, Peas, Peppers, Sweet Corn. Bye the bye the Anna Swartz squashes are superb to taste.

Looking at 2009, then we are planning:

Beans, eight varieties; Cherokee Trail of Tears, Blue Lake, Barlotto, Purple Queen, Lady Di, Wisley Magic plus dwarf french beans Cupidon and Stamslaboon
Tomatoes, five varieties; Galina, Alicante, Gardeners Delight, Caro Rich, Golden Sunrise,
Potatoes, six varieties; Nicola, Lady Christl, Pentland Javelin, Charlotte, Desiree, King Edward
Beetroot, two varieties; Boltardy, Sanguina
Broad Beans, two varieties: Super Aquadulce, Grando Violetto
Courgettes, three varieties: Tondo, Trieste Whites, Virginia 3
Squashes, six varieties; Turks Tuban, Golden Hubbard, Butternut, Spaghetti, Blue Banana, Anna Swartz
Leeks, three varieties; Bleu de Solaise, Jaune de Poitou, Monstreux de Charentan
Lettuce, six varieties; Red Iceberg, Pablo Purple, Winter Density, Winteer Marvel, Winterbutterhead, Crisp Mint
Onions, six varieties; Radar, Silvermoon, Electric, Canaries, unknown
Garlic, three varieties to start with; unknown
Swede, two varieties; Invitation, Collette Vert
Cucumbers, three varieties; Miniature White, Lemon Apple, Cornichon, Long Yellow
Sweet Corn, one variety;
Spinach, one variety;

Peppers, six varieties; Anaheim, Golden Bell, Jope’s Long, Lemon drop, Lipstick, Sunnybrook Red, Chilli Peperoncini
Brassicas, eight varieties. Sanda sprouts, Red Drumhead, Later Purple sprouting Broccoli, Green Heading Calabrese, Sherwood, Precoce  de Louviers, Quintal de Alsace, Red Sprouts

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