Still smiling

Like a lot of people, I can sometimes find this time of year in the garden a little sad.

The optimism of seeding in Spring which turns to the realism and hard work of Summer (countered, hopefully, by lots of lovely, homegrown food!) are over till next year. So I decided to approach things differently this year. I have planted a huge amount of Winter Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Chard and Kale to fill up the empty beds. As I’m not expecting them to survive anything will be a bonus.

It’s more like a science project than gardening.

Winter Cabbages

The sun is shining but its time to think ahead as all good gardeners do!

Think about your winter veg, its now time to sow your winter cabbages, we’ve got ours already germinating in our lovely sunny green house. These young plants will then be potted on and ready for planting out mid to late August.

They will benefit from the late summer sun (if available) and establish their root structure in good time.

Happy growing!!

Rhubarb Update

Done some research on our random flowering rhubarb, apparently it’s because the plant is old. Which makes sense as we found the plant on the plot when we took it over when it popped up out of one of our paths.

I’ve now removed the flower stem as all the plants energy will go into the flower and so limit the yield from the leaves/stalks.

Made some rhubarb jam the other night which is great, recommend it on fresh bread or thick cut toast with butter!!

Flowering Rhubarb?!?

Our Flowering Rhubarb!

Our Flowering Rhubarb!

I’ve never really heard of a flowering rhubarb before but it appears thats what is happening to ours! We discovered the plant in our first spring which popped up out of the ground from a previous holder of the allotment.

We didn’t take any of the stalks off last growing season to give it a chance to develop. So far this year it has started early and is growing really well…

A little too well though as it has now sprouted a 3 foot stem with what appear to be flower buds at the top as you can see from the pic.

Netting Cages

To net or not to net – that is the question.

The cabbages and broccoli are doing well, we grew them from seed and planted them in with some good compost. We decided to build a netting cage over them to protect them for butterfly eggs and a hoard of caterpillars!

It was a good move as they are now thriving in their cage. Strangely one or two are showing signs of being eaten but the its only the outer leaves that have been attacked whilst the heart is doing well.

Thats what I like to see!!

Fruit Trees

We’re thinking about putting in a few fruit bushes in on the plot. These will good for a fairly low maintenance fruit crop for a few years, all we’ll need to do is to feed and care for them. Isn’t nature great! Now that’s what I call food for free!!

Courgettes

We’ve had a bumper crop of courgettes over the last few months, we got so many that we couldn’t give them away in the end. All the stops came out with creative courgette recipes to use them up, “Courgette Surprise” was my favourite dish!

But we’ve also managed to process and freeze loads which can be used for cooking over the winter period. They go well with a nice Sunday roast, just throw them into the roasting tray, still frozen, when you put your Yorkshire puds in.

The Unexpected Rhubarb

The plot was a blank canvas when we started digging and putting in the beds at the end of November last year. Around mid spring we noticed a Rhubarb plant which appeared in one of our pathways. Totally unexpected!! But very welcome!

So we’ve nurtured and feed the new comer and now its doing well having produced a healthy crop which will mostly go into the wine making. Its also a reminder of what the plot was like before we got there and it’s very nice to give the plant a new lease of life.

The design

After all this sitting and looking at the plot I have come up with the first stage design which I am sure will change but for now gives me something to work towards.

I have decided not to dig up the whole space but to opt for 6 separate beds with a working area at the top and an area at the the bottom for compost bins.  This design means that I can define the growing areas more easily and have pathways inbetween.

Having  paths allows better access to the growing spaces without having to walk over the soil.  It also means that if there is ever a time when I have nothing better to do I can grass seed them a little at a time but still have full access to the more important vegetable patches.

As much as I’m in this for the food I still want my  plot to look good!