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Kitchen Garden Magazine Allotments 4 All BBC Gardening
Current Month
Sep. 10th, 2005 @ 07:18 pm (no subject)
I had my first kohlrabi out of the garden yesterday. The thing was huge - a full 1.1kg (although that variety can grow up to 10kg and still be tender). Enough for a meal for four. I nearly cried, I was so happy. My favourite food in all the world, even better than my mom's pea soup.
I think the rest of the kohlrabis could do with more fertilizer. They aren't nearly as big as they should be. I'll have to look into getting loads more manure for next year. I'm getting a pretty good idea of what crops I should be concentrating on by now. Kohlrabi, lettuces, rocket, spring onions, kale, tomatoes in pots or hanging baskets, courgettes, green beans up the fence and maybe some peas. And a couple of carrots, because they are nice. Anything else is pretty much wasted. Okay, maybe one of those strawberry tons.
Basically, these are the things I eat the most of, that thrive best in my garden, that I can't get in a supermarket and/or that are so much fresher, tastier and cheaper when I grow them myself. Chinese leaves were a waste of space (the variety was loose-leafed and tasted very grassy in salads - urk). I reckon I have had about £30 worth of rocket from one bag of seeds I bought for £1.29. I do not understand why the stuff is so expensive in supermarkets, considering how easy it is to grow.
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Aug. 2nd, 2005 @ 11:29 am Flowers
Hi, I just joined this community and was interested in planting some flowers. I know its late to start but I just moved into a new place and want to spruce up the outside a little bit.

Are there any flowers that come up annually that I could plant this late in the year. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Jun. 11th, 2005 @ 07:52 pm (no subject)
Did my "potato harvest" today. Well, okay, I never meant to have any potatoes this year and they just popped up where I missed some digging them up last year, but still. Five pounds of potatoes more than I would have had. And now all I need to do is dig in a bit more manure in that patch, and I can plant some more lettuce and kohlrabi. \o/

crossposted to my journal
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Jun. 10th, 2005 @ 04:29 pm (no subject)
So far, it's been a really mixed success in my garden this year. Things would look much better if the potting compost I used for my seedlings hadn't turned out to be far too low in nitrogen. I use peat-free compost, which means that it had a lot of wood shreddings in it to compensate for that. Problem is that wood uses up a lot of nitrogen while composting. Normally, this is compensated for by adding blood, fish and bone-meal or something similar, but not this lot apparently. My seedlings have been out forever, but they just haven't grown, plus they turned kinda yellow. I'm so disappointed, especially since for the first time in ages I got them in nice and early in my mini-greenhouse. The only thing that thrived was the beans, of course, which is what made me think about the nitrogen in the first place.

I certainly won't be buying that brand of compost again. I should be eating my own lettuce by now, dammit.

But what the hell. Over the last couple of days, I've planted everything out and covered it with netting so that the bloody pigeons can't scratch it up. The plants look a lot healthier already. I also bought a pumpkin plant for Nathan yesterday (Halloween pumpkins!), plus 6 growbags and 2 bags of composted manure, also some assorted plants for hanging baskets. The pumpkin plant is now ensconced in a heap of manure and growbag contents. If it doesn't thrive there it won't have been for lack of nutrients.

Today I mostly spent scratching my arms and legs to bits while untangling bindweed from my raspberry canes so I could lay it out and spray it with weedkiller. I'd normally rather not do that, but I've given up when it comes to fighting bindweed with other methods.

So what am I looking forward to this year? Lots and lots of my own tomatoes so I can make green tomato chutney again, seeing what my artichoke seedlings will turn out like, my own rocket so I don't have to pay the pharmaceutical prices supermarkets charge, masses of raspberries (must start staking them soon!), kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, and maybe getting Nathan to wait for the Great Pumpkin.

crossposted to my journal
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Apr. 12th, 2005 @ 08:09 pm Things well under way...
Now we are in April the allotment is starting to take shape for the year.

We have lots of cold frames - aquired through ads in the local paper - and they are all pretty much full (sprouts, cauliflowers and various flowers). We have carrots starting under cloches, early peas (started in the attic), turnips and parsnips all planted. As the plot is fairly heavy clay we have bought *lots* of compost and filled drills with it to make sure everything germinates (last year we had lots of misses) - this technique seems to have worked - as the carrots and turnips are coming up nicely. All the potatoes are planted (5 rows) - though they are in mounds for easier earthing up, so may take a while to start showing through. The over-wintering onions and garlic are looking good and the summer onions are starting to sprout. The attic is full of seedlings - tomatos, chillis, courgettes and pumpkins - which will soon be able to go into the cold frames.

Spring has really sprung! What are you all doing?

Some picturesCollapse )
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use of weapons
Jan. 29th, 2005 @ 10:13 pm Fruit Bushes
Today we bought some fruit bushes:

Jostaberry - which is a gooseberry/blackcurrent cross.  The fruits look like blackcurrents - but are about twice the size and sweeter.  According to the books it will be a prolific fruiter - which will be nice.

Gooseberry (Whinham's Industry) - a red, hairy, dessert gooseberry.  Picking these will be interesting as it has vicious looking thorns.

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Jan. 23rd, 2005 @ 01:28 pm Po-tay-tos
Yesterday we took a trip to a nursery just outside Cheltenham (waves at veggiesu) to buy seed potato for the year.  You may ask why we traveled so far just to buy potatos.  Well, this nursery was having a 'Potato Day'; instead of the normal 20 or so varieties you can get they had around 100!  All the seed was laid out in a big glasshouse at the bag of the nursery and sold by the bag or by the tubor.  You'd be surprised at how manic it was!  While it wasn't quite the elbowing and shoving of the first day of the January sales, it was close!  All the varieties were labled with their disease and pest resistence, as well as culinary uses - so we were spoilt for choice!

In the end we bought:

First Early: Ulster Chieftan
Second Early: Anya (Salad)
Second Early: Cosmos
Main Crop: Records
Main Crop: Kerr Pinks
Main Crop: Golden Wonders
Main Crop: Romano

That may sound like a lot (we got 100 tubors - so we could end up with 1000 potatos) - but you have to factor in a certain amount of loss (last year we lost quite a lot with blight, I think everything is blight resistent this year, and slugs are a huge problem).  At 15p a tubor we got the year's seed for £15 - which compares favourably with the standard garden centre prices - and it was nice to get some less common varieties (Records and Kerr Pinks are very traditional Irish potatos apparantly - they are ones that Thomas' parents always grow).
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Nov. 7th, 2004 @ 03:06 pm Pumpkins
So - now that Halloween has passed - what can you do with pumkins?

Well - I found this very simple, but very nice, recipe for pumpkin soup:

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

    * 500 grams / 1 lb of pumpkin chopped
    * 30 grams / 1 oz of butter
    * 1 medium onion finely chopped
    * 2 cloves of garlic crushed
    * 3 cups of chicken stock
    * 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
    * 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
    * salt and pepper to taste

Chop the pumpkin into large cubes discarding the skin and seeds. Sweat the onion and garlic in butter in a large saucepan until the onion is clear. Add the pumpkin and sweat for a minute. Add three cups of chicken stock and the tomato paste, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Rinse a blender in boiling water to warm and blend the soup mixture. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

This soup can be made two days in advance and can be frozen for two months. Add the cheese when re-heating just prior to serving.

(Serves 4)

I didn't consider the pumpkins we had overly-large - but even after I had doubled up the recipe I still had 3/4 of the fruit left!  The rest I have baking in the oven so that I can puree and freeze it!
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feersum endjinn
Sep. 18th, 2004 @ 05:25 pm Potato harvest
Current Mood: tiredtired
Dug up me spuds last week, and I reckon I had about 30 pounds out of my 6'x6' plot. And not a spot of blight or disease on them. I'm pretty impressed, considering that the only reason I put them in in the first place was that some of my potatoes from my organic box scheme had sprouted and I did not want to throw them in the compost.
I'm now thinking that maybe they were so healthy because organic farmers are probably using very disease-resistant varieties. No matter which, they are lovely.
Bizarrely, my runner beans have finally set fruit like mad now. Bit late really, but I am happy with anything I can get.
My courgettes are still fruiting nicely, too. Such decorative plants they are.
The raspberry harvest this year has also been fantastic. I have frozen about five pounds, and we had raspberries for pud at least 7 or 8 times over the last four weeks. Lightly sugared with plain mascarpone or as Himbeerquark (lightly mash with a fork, sweeten, mix with one pot of Quark and fold in some whipped cream - to die for), I don't care. I just love them.
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Sep. 10th, 2004 @ 08:38 pm (no subject)
What to do with all that fruit and veg!
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