Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Well it's been a while

A great deal has happened since my last post in February. We decided that keeping chickens would not be the best idea at the moment. Finances are very low and we believed that we will not be able to protect them from the foxes.....shame. But it's not all dull and gloom. Since then we have done some upgrades and I think you all will be well impressed. I'll start at the beginning. As was stated in the last post, we are still at war with fantastic Mr. Fox, we bought some wire mesh fencing and erected it all around the plots in an attempt to keep him at bay. I must admit the site now looks a bit more organised but we still would rather the open approach, but there you are, sacrifices must be made.

The camera we had got broken and we were not able to acquire a camera until April therefore all the pictures in this post were taken during April.

Update #1
Outside Plots
We had planted a few crop over the winter period and a few of them made it through to spring. We had some broad beans which had a rocky start due to the brutally cold weather we had earlier on in the year but with a little pampering they recovered and began flowering in early April.

Broad Beans (express)

We also had a few spinach plants which too survived the winter planting and were ready for picking from late March. I would recommend this variety of spinach for winter planting. It requires very little attention and copes with the cold weather quite well. It is a red stemmed variety and can grow up to six feet tall if you let it.

Winter Spinach (mediana)

This next one we were very sceptical about, cabbages. We planted some last season and they all went straight to flower. We collected some of the seeds and were advised to plant them late in the winter season and make sure they were very well feed. So we did and they were looking promising. I am not sure if you all remember but in November I posted some pictures of the Cabbages we planted in the Polytunnel. Well we transferred some of them outside and hoped for the best.

Second Generation of Cabbages

The weather began to warm up in March and we decided to plant out a few crops. We started with Potatoes. We tried something a little different this time around with our potatoes. We dug the holes but before we placed the seed potatoes in we added a small layer of semi rotted leaf mulch. We are hoping that this will act as extra feed for the young plants as they dig there way through the tough clayey soil. It's a bit of a gamble, because there is a possibility that the seed potatoes will rot before they even begin shooting. We shall see.

The new Potato patch

We had a very very wet and cold winter this time around but things began to dry up as April drew near. So we planted out some Lettuce and the Rhubarb sprung back to life earlier on, I see Rhubarb and Apple Crumble in the coming months.


Lettuce fresh from the seed tray

One more thing before we move to what's been happening inside the polytunnel. Strawberries have been producing a large amount of flowers this year and we were expecting a very good crop in late June. (no pictures sorry).

Update #2
Under the Polythene
Our nursery has been upgraded. We have used the two mini green houses we bought from capital gardens and the extra protecting has proven very useful. They were filled with many different types of interesting vegetables and they all seemed to be coming on well.

The Early Development Centre

Before I go on I must mention something that may not make much sense now but will become very apparent later on. If you go back and look carefully at the picture of the old nursery you will see some tallish baby sunflower plants in the back. Well those were planted from some seeds I found in a garden in Clapham a few weeks before the picture was taken. Just keep this in mind for the next few posts.

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli we planted in the winter of 2009 have done very well and continued providing us with very tasty broccoli heads.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli in full bloom

As mentioned earlier we planted some Cabbages in the polytunnel over winter. We have been feeding them with home made liquid comfrey fertiliser and they seem to love it, as the leaves just would not stop growing.

Cabbages (and mint in pots)

Very early on in this blog I mentioned we had a mint plant, well this is one of the most amazing plants I have every seen. It kept spreading and no matter what the weather threw at it it just would not die. We dug it up in March and cut it up into smaller portions and planted them in pots to be planted out at a later date. They all took and began their lives as their own plant. Literally ever node which came into contact with the earth began putting out roots. We had so many of them the only way we could be sure they would not take over the entire garden was to give most of them away. Very hardy plants, I think it was a peppermint, dark green leaves with a purple stem.

We also planted a few Garlic which were from our local supermarket and they did well over winter too.

The Co-operative Garlic

I have a habit that may seem a bit obsessive or even intrusive. I cycle a lot around London and I come across many different types of plants and some are more interesting than most. Example: In Clapham I noticed the oddest looking sunflower plant, it produced deep red flowers, something I have never seen or heard of before (red sunflowers??), so I took a few seeds to try and grow some in the garden. I also found a very nice Lemon Balm bush in Tooting park and decided that it would make a nice addition to the garden. I heard that the bees can't get enough of their flowers. So I took a little cutting (with roots intact) and planted it in the polytunnel.

Lemon Balm

Well that's all for now. The weather has been improving and as a result more activities have been going on in the gardens. I will have more updates for you in a short while. June has seen alot of growth and the heat wave we have had at the end of June running into July has really challenged us. But more on all that next time. In the meanwhile stay blessed and keep digging.