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Penellype's Allotment

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  • I do like having a nosy at peoples growing areas, being a back garden grower I don’t see many.

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    • Really enjoyed reading your previous page of posts. Lovely photos. Sorry for not reading further back.

      Baldy and I both had success with Emir a few years back. Obviously very flexible as regards growing conditions. Good size fruit for small households too, but not so small that they're too tiddly to be worth bothering with. One thing I've noticed with melons is that they're always sweeter a few days after picking even if I think they're ripe. I've grown Alvaro too and really liked them. I also really like the Ogen melon seeds sold by Nicky's Seeds. Absolutely lovely perfume and flavour.

      I'm intrigued by the potato water for whitefly. Sorry if you've explained this in a previous post that I haven't read. Do you use water used for steaming or boiling potatoes?
      Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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      • Thanks for the kind comments, both of you.

        Originally posted by Snoop Puss View Post
        Really enjoyed reading your previous page of posts. Lovely photos. Sorry for not reading further back.

        Baldy and I both had success with Emir a few years back. Obviously very flexible as regards growing conditions. Good size fruit for small households too, but not so small that they're too tiddly to be worth bothering with. One thing I've noticed with melons is that they're always sweeter a few days after picking even if I think they're ripe. I've grown Alvaro too and really liked them. I also really like the Ogen melon seeds sold by Nicky's Seeds. Absolutely lovely perfume and flavour.

        I'm intrigued by the potato water for whitefly. Sorry if you've explained this in a previous post that I haven't read. Do you use water used for steaming or boiling potatoes?
        The potato water is just water I have boiled potatoes in, cooled, obviously, and sieved to remove any larger chunks of potato. The idea is that the starch in the water sticks to the insects, blocking their ability to breathe, so I am not sure that water from steaming would contain enough starch. It is quite tricky to apply as the normal sprays on bottles tend to get clogged with starch, so I use a large veterinary syringe (which originally came with some antibiotics for my horse). It is quite hard to cover the whole leaf, particularly as the whitefly congregate on the undersides, but what I am finding is that there are areas of leaf which still have whitefly and areas of the same leaf that don't, presumably because this is where I have managed to hit the leaf! There are still whitefly, but far less of them than there were before I started. I must admit I have got lazy recently and not sprayed for about 3-4 weeks, and I am noticing a gradual increase in numbers of whitefly, so I will have to spray them again next time I cook potatoes.

        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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        • Thanks. I tend not to boil potatoes but steam them, but might be worth making an exception. I hate whitefly but especially the grey woolly aphids my brassicas seem to get covered in some years. Will give this a try.
          Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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          • Another week - where does the time go? Not a lot has got done!

            Wednesday
            Not a very inspiring day - very dull with rain at times. I spent most of my gardening time at home, where I could nip indoors to avoid the rain.

            Thursday
            I don't normally have any gardening time on a Thursday but this week proved an exception and the weather was reasonable for a change. I spent about an hour at the plot cutting down the Oh Happy Day tomatoes and brought home another big bag full of green fruit.

            Friday
            A very wet day so nothing doing at the allotment.

            Saturday
            A busy day with no time for the allotment.

            Sunday
            Busy again but managed to get to the plot and water the seedlings in the growhouse. The spinach is germinating but there is not much sign of the lettuces. As some of these were old seed it is possible they won't germinate, or maybe slugs have eaten them off as they emerged, which happened with the fennel I sowed in the tunnel earlier in the year. Checked the melon plant, which is dying down, but decided to leave the fruit where they are for now as they don't yet smell ripe. Harvested a large, split carrot and some calabrese sideshoots. The mesh door to the tunnel was hanging open when I arrived and I assumed I must have left it like that.

            Monday
            Just a quick visit to check everything in between rain showers. I had hoped for a better day (forecast sunny spells and showers) but it was really almost continuous rain/drizzle. The door to the tunnel was open again. The fastening is basically an aluminium rod which slots into a clip (there are 2 clips, one outside and one inside), and I noticed that the outside clip looked a bit stretched and was probably not doing its job. I therefore put the rod into the inner clip, expecting it to hold. This arrangement has worked fine for the past nearly 3 years, with the door always remaining closed.

            Tuesday
            With rain forecast all day I made a quick trip to the plot first thing while it was still only drizzle. The door to the tunnel was again hanging open. This is really bizarre, as is the fact that the top wire of the fence between my allotment and next door is broken, which probably means it has been cut - its been like that for about 3 weeks, and I have reported it to the council. Nothing else seems to be disturbed or missing - it is really odd. It is just faintly possible that the tunnel door has been blown open by the wind - it was windy yesterday, but this has not happened before (although there is less of a windbreak now the trees have been cut down). I found a piece of string and tied the pole to the clip. If the door is open again tomorrow then human intervention is the only possibility.
            I harvested a beetroot and 4 baby cucumbers (about the size of gherkins) for lunch and legged it home as the rain started in earnest.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • Very odd. Especially if there's been no theft inside. Hard to know if it's better to get to the bottom of it (in which case, it's likely humans) or for it just to stop and remain a mystery.
              Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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              • Originally posted by Snoop Puss View Post
                Very odd. Especially if there's been no theft inside. Hard to know if it's better to get to the bottom of it (in which case, it's likely humans) or for it just to stop and remain a mystery.
                When I went down yesterday and this morning the door was still shut. I think it could be the wind, coupled with less wind break from the cut down trees, or possibly a cat pushing against the net being enough to dislodge it. Anyway, hopefully the string has solved the problem.
                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                • I hope so , pen

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                  • Wednesday
                    Not a bad day. The tunnel door was still shut again, and hopefully I have solved that problem. I spent about an hour at the plot, removing the melons from the growhouse as they had completely died down. There were 3 melons which I brought home to ripen. As there were still quite a lot of fruit on the strawberry plants, I moved a couple of the pots to the growhouse in the hope that they will ripen. I also removed the french beans which had finished, did a little weeding and cleared a few fallen leaves.

                    Thursday
                    Not much gardening time, so all I did was nip to the plot for some beetroot.

                    Friday
                    Rather damp and showery, so I spent most of my gardening time at home. I did spend a short time at the plot during which I removed the tomato supports and rearranged the ground cover to keep the cats off. While doing this I uncovered a large number of slugs.

                    Saturday
                    Rather unpleasant outdoors with a wet morning and generally windy, so apart from a quick visit to harvest lettuce and pa choi in the morning, I left the plot alone.

                    Sunday
                    A bit more time and slightly better weather some of the time. As it was 1st of the month I took my camera down and took some photos (which I will post later). I also removed the cucumber plants, which had died down, and some of the lettuces which had bolted and were encrusted with aphids. Then I cleared some of the fallen leaves, although with gales forecast over night I wasn't particularly thorough. Harvested 2 strawberries, one from the tunnel and the other from the growhouse.

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                    Monday
                    Overnight gales had caused trouble at home, breaking off my beautiful pink cosmos plant at ground level . I therefore went to the allotment with some trepidation, expecting to find nets littered everywhere. The nets were actually fine, but the runner bean tripod had been blown over and was leaning on the roadside hedge, One of the thick bamboo canes had been snapped off. I was going to clear leaves, weed and generally tidy up, but I suddenly had a large amount of bean plants to find room for in the compost bins. This meant a complete change of plan and I emptied the top half of the big bin into the wheelbarrow and several trugs, then turned the bottom half into the smaller bin, which was only about 1/4 full but has been housing my trug of horsetail. I then put the fresher stuff back into the big bin along with some of the sheep's wool I got from my sister. The trug of horsetail went in the black dalek with the rest of the wool for now. I then swept the leaves and bits of compost off the path so that they didn't turn to a horrible sloppy mess when it rained later. Having finished that I then cut up some of the bean plants to get rid of as much as I could. I then harvested some beetroot and a couple of split carrots and retreated home as it was starting to rain.

                    Tuesday
                    A lovely sunny morning. I spent a couple of hours at the plot and finished removing the beans. Tidied up the canes, cleared up more leaves and did a bit of weeding. I also spent some time pondering where to put things. I have several trees and bushes in pots, and while the blueberries will probably need to stay in buckets because of their need for acid soil, I really should plant the minarette cherry, blackcurrant and gooseberry. I also have a kiwiberry, which may or may not survive as it didn't look happy int its pot, a chilean guava and an apricot tree at home that is clearly not going to produce any fruit where it is, so I may take that down to the plot. The question is where to put them - once planted I can't then move them. The blackcurrant and gooseberry should be fine in the shade, so I will plant them near the fence, providing I can dig big enough holes. I think the kiwiberry can also go near the fence, but I will keep it in a bucket as it may otherwise get far too big. The chilean guava can go in a bucket so I can move it around and see where it is happy before planting it. I decided the cherry was fine where it is, again subject to being able to dig where there may well be tree roots. I didn't have time to start planting things today, but hopefully there should be some reasonable weather in the next week or 2, so I might be able to get started.
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                    • Photos taken 1st November

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                      The beans that have since blown over. Although they were still green, there were no beans or flowers left. the rhubarb has almost completely died down now.


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                      The growhouse now contains 2 pots of strawberries and some spinach seedlings. The lettuces I sowed have not appeared yet. The nasturtiums in the bed behind are still going strong, but may well get killed by frost in the next few days.


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                      The melons have gone from the hotbed. Lettuces behind are bolting and the beetroot is being eaten.

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                      More bolting lettuces and pak choi under the net. Empty potato buckets behind.



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                      Parsnips under the net waiting for some frost. The courgettes in the bed behind have just about died.
                      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                      • Inside the tunnel

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                        The brassicas are getting bigger and the calabrese is finally starting to produce heads.

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                        Carrots are being harvested. the leeks are growing well.

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                        Brassicas from the other end and empty cucumber pots.


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                        Strawberries on the shelves.

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                        These 2 are both from a seed packet labelled Romanesco. The one on the left is forming a head and is clearly romanesco, but the one on the right looks suspiciously like a cabbage, which is very disappointing as I only have 3 plants.
                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                        • Pen my Romanesco plants aren't forming heads either I'll leave them a bit longer but it does look like I'll be eating just the leaves.

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                          • Originally posted by Bren In Pots View Post
                            Pen my Romanesco plants aren't forming heads either I'll leave them a bit longer but it does look like I'll be eating just the leaves.
                            Its not only the fact that there isn't a head. The leaves are a completely different shape, much rounder than on the other 2 plants.
                            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                            • Really struggling to keep this up to date at the moment through lack of time and inability to remember what I did when. There have been several days when I didn't make it to the allotment at all either because I was too busy or the weather was so unpleasantly cold and foggy that I couldn't be bothered. So this is what I have done since the last update:

                              I planted the minarette cherry tree where it was. There weren't too many tree roots so it wasn't too hard a job. There was surprisingly little horsetail (I only found 1 root) which is encouraging. I covered the soil and root ball with the weed matting to keep weeds down. there was half a trug full of soil left, so I piled it on one of the raised beds to spread out later.

                              The courgette plants were almost completely dead so I removed them and protected the bed from cats with a net. I also removed most of the rest of the lettuces, which had bolted.

                              I took the chilean guava to the plot and potted it up into a large pot that originally housed one of the blueberry bushes, using the remains of a bag of ericaceous compost. The plant was very pot-bound as I expected, so hopefully it will be happier now. I put it next to the fence and may plant it there next year if it doesn't mind being in the shade.

                              The spinach I sowed in the growhouse is growing slowly, but only a couple of lettuces have germinated from a huge number of seeds, probably because the seeds were old.

                              Other than that most of the time at the plot has been spent clearing leaves, removing a few weeds, trimming back nettles and pulling yellowed leaves off the brassicas. I also tidied away the frame from over the hotbed, which I had left in place in case the melons needed tying to it (they didn't).

                              I've harvested quite a few decent sized carrots, all of which are damaged to come degree, either by splitting or by slugs or carrot fly. I think if I grow carrots next year they will need to be in one of the raised beds or have their own net if they are in the tunnel now as carrot fly is clearly a problem in there. I've also found a few edible strawberries from both the tower pot in the tunnel and the pots in the growhouse, although to be honest they have very little flavour and the stalk end has remained green. Most of the fruit rots, splits or gets eaten by slugs, so I am not sure whether I should have cut the later flowers off really!

                              I also harvested a decent head of summer (!) calabrese, which has been incredibly slow to form. There is another, smaller one which should be ready soon, and I have also had some sideshoots from the earlier plant. I've started cutting shoots from the biggest romanesco plant too - you can cut the outer shoots and leave the middle of the head to grow.
                              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                              • Another 10 days... where does the time go?

                                There have been quite a few days when the weather has simply not been suitable to go to the plot, and in any case the ground got so wet that walking about on the grass was chewing it up. It has dried out slightly now.

                                At this time of year most gardening is of the destructive type. I harvested the last of the pak choi and some nasturtium leaves a week or so ago, then removed the pak choi and remaining lettuces as they were well and truly bolting. After a cold night on Thursday the nasturtiums got frosted, so I spent a good hour on Friday morning removing them and carefully picking up all the seeds I could find so that they don't become weeds next year. I then covered the bed with weed matting to keep the cats off.

                                Other than that I picked up some of the fallen leaves and had a good weed around the raised beds and in the tunnel. I harvested a decent sized leek, some calabrese sideshoots, a beetroot and a huge but very split carrot.

                                I haven't been down to the plot today as the job I most wanted to get done was paint the fence at home. Mild and dry they said. Mild was right, and it looked like being dry from the radar when I started painting at about 10am. By the time I had finished the back fence it was starting to rain... Hopefully it will be ok, as it was not heavy rain, but I'd really wanted to get the arch done as well.
                                Last edited by Penellype; Yesterday, 04:59 PM.
                                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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