My crop 2018 #BlaugustReborn

BlaugustRebornLogo2018

So part of the reason I haven’t blogged about gardening in some time is that I simply haven’t had time to grow anything. Last year I gave up my allotment and even my little back garden was neglected as I focussed on my teaching.

This year I’ve managed to carve out some time to grow a little something, so I focussed on things I know my wife and I eat a lot of, tomatoes and cucumbers.

At the end of last year, I obtained some plastic greenhouses, on sale at the end of the season, so I got them set up. I’ve also set a few to grow outside and with the incredibly hot summer we’re having in the UK this year, they’re doing extremely well.

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Cucumbers 
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Tomatoes

Do you grow your own vegetables? What are you growing this year?

Leave a comment below.

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Blaugust 2016 Day 16 Epic Battle

Today marked the end of a two month battle with a boss fight, or at least that’s how it felt afterwards. I’m talking about my fish pond. For the last couple of months the pond has been close to empty of water, seemingly a leak draining it every time I topped it back up. I tried everything prescribed on various pond sites,

Brandy Bottle Lily in full bloom

I removed the edging rocks and made sure the liner was in the right place, I topped up the water and poured milk on the surface, which apparently causes a whirlpool type effect at the site of the leak, I spent  several hours visually inspecting the liner around the water level, I scrubbed the now ten year old liner of algae in case I was missing a hole but no joy. I even cut out two massive root sections of the Brandy Bottle lily, almost two thirds of the entire plant that covers the surface of the pond.

This weekend was my last resort. Replacing the liner with another would cost close to £200 or a pre made fibre glass one, closer to £400. I climbed into the now dry upper shelf of the pond and inspected inch by inch, lifting creases and removing more algae. Eventually I found it, a couple of inches below the water level, a one inch gash, partially hidden by a fold. So I removed more water, cleaned and dried the hole, patched it, double patched it and refilled. By last night I was jumping for joy, the pond stayed filled. The sense of satisfaction was incredible. Hours of work had been poured into thi little hole, time I’d much rather have spent gaming or gardening. 
Today I installed a new pump to feed my filter/waterfall and set up my old pump to act as a fountain. The thing sprays a good seven foot in the air and looks wonderful! I just hope my fish are as happy as I am!

Happy Fish!

This post is part of Blaugust 2016, an initiative to Blog throughout August. For more information visit the Tales of the Aggronaut Blog

Blaugust Day 6 – Allotment 2016 progress

I’ve not posted a great deal about what I’m growing this year, but as I’m taking part in Blaugust over on my main blog at knifesedge.net, I include this post as part of that and cross post it as usual.

I had a health issue earlier in the year that put me off my feet for the first couple of months of the season, which put me right behind with the preparation so much of the land I intended to claim back and dig over is still covered in grass. As a result I’ve been giving notice from the management of the site that I need to get the fallow areas covered to prevent seeds spreading to other plots. Failing to do so will result in me losing the plot, which I definitely want to avoid, but finding time to get it all done has not been easy.

Today I managed to get a full four hours down there and have cut down and covered a large patch with thick membrane that will stop weeds coming through but let water in so I’m now about 3/4 through the job. The hardest part will be clearing the now overgrown compost bins (seen at the top of the photo) but I’ll get there.

Today clearing my daughter’s over grown flowerbed, which sported one lovely flower (not sure what this one was called) I found a family of baby frogs. I found one on the plot last year so to find a few of them is great. They’ll take care of slugs that love to eat my vegetables!

I dug over a few potato patches and got a good amount of Anya potatoes (left), a lovely nutty salad potato and some larger Charlottes and Red potatoes.

The rest of the plot is coming along nicely, with a good crop of runner beans and Yard Long red beans (that I picked while young and tender). The first few courgettes have started showing up as well and my tomato and cucumbers are starting to fruit, despite starting late.

So overall a good day and a beautiful one with barely a cloud in the sky!

This post is part of Blaugust 2016, an initiative to Blog throughout August. For more information visit the Tales of the Aggronaut Blog

Blaugust 2015 Day 15 Mid August Allotment Update

 Returning to my plot after over a week away, I didn’t know what to expect. The weather was hot and dry by all accounts and with no-one watering I was worried some had died off. Thankfully the opposite was true. A lot had grown and most impressive was the sweetcorn. The hairs turning brown is generally a sign that a cob is ready, so I cautiously picked one off and opened it up and it was a thing of beauty. I quickly went through and picked another half dozen cobs with dark hairs, leaving the rest to continue to ripen.

Cherry Tomatoes

The greenhouse had not faired so well. As it is fully enclosed, even the smallest rainfall wouldn’t have reached so the tomatoes and chillis, though fruiting are starting to look a little bedraggled. A good water and feed will hopefully get them back on track.

The Cucamelons, which I hadn’t expected to grow have actually done quite well and in fact one of the plants has started producing.

Chilli Pepper
Cucamelon plant in the greenhouse
Cucamelons

The Blackberry bushes have now fruited and most have ripened. It looks like I’ll need a full day of picking to get through all these. I see lots of pies and Jam in my future!
Juicy Blackberries

So all in all a pretty good haul today. Spinach, Kale, Corn, Borlotti beans, Squash, Cucumbers, a massive Courgette and blackberries.

Full Harvest for the day

As I was finishing up today, I came across little friend. I managed to catch him on film before he hopped away.

Blaugust Day 15 Mid August Allotment Update

 Returning to my plot after over a week away, I didn’t know what to expect. The weather was hot and dry by all accounts and with no-one watering I was worried some had died off. Thankfully the opposite was true. A lot had grown and most impressive was the sweetcorn. The hairs turning brown is generally a sign that a cob is ready, so I cautiously picked one off and opened it up and it was a thing of beauty. I quickly went through and picked another half dozen cobs with dark hairs, leaving the rest to continue to ripen.

Cherry Tomatoes

The greenhouse had not faired so well. As it is fully enclosed, even the smallest rainfall wouldn’t have reached so the tomatoes and chillis, though fruiting are starting to look a little bedraggled. A good water and feed will hopefully get them back on track.

The Cucamelons, which I hadn’t expected to grow have actually done quite well and in fact one of the plants has started producing.

Chilli Pepper
Cucamelon plant in the greenhouse
Cucamelons

The Blackberry bushes have now fruited and most have ripened. It looks like I’ll need a full day of picking to get through all these. I see lots of pies and Jam in my future!
Juicy Blackberries

So all in all a pretty good haul today. Spinach, Kale, Corn, Borlotti beans, Squash, Cucumbers, a massive Courgette and blackberries.

Full Harvest for the day

As I was finishing up today, I came across little friend. I managed to catch him on film before he hopped away.

Blaugust Day 5 – August begins and with it harvesting!

Despite some odd weather patterns here in the suburbs of London, the allotment is starting to produce in abundance. My Jostaberry bushes still have plenty of berries, but honestly I’m tired of picking them and the plucking off the stalks before freezing. So far I estimate I’ve had 8 kilos of the things and have made cordial, smoothies, crumble, ice-cream, frozen yoghurt and jam and still have plenty of bags full left in the freezer. The rest will have to be for the birds, mostly because now I have something new to pick – Blackberries!

Blackberries!

I was excited to see my plot had some established blackberry bushes. Year on year I collect them wild, to freeze for crumble through the year and they make delicious pies and crumbles with a few apples.

Kale, Beans, Cucumber, Squash and Blackberries

The squash plants are doing well, despite periods of drought, and I’ve already had two delicious fruits off them.

Cucumber

The cucumber plants are also doing really well. Two plants in a tub at home have already given us two decent sized cucumbers with more growing away nicely. At the allotment I have several in the ground which are doing less well but time will tell.

Tomatoes at home are flourishing. Lots of cherry tomatoes forming, though nothing has ripened yet. At the allotment, the tomatoes I started later in the greenhouse are catching up and have just started flowering, as have the chilli plants.

My experiment with Cucamelons doesn’t seem to have worked. The plants are barely growing, either outdoors or in the greenhouse. Not sure what I’m doing wrong but maybe it’s just not been consistantly hot enough.

Beans have given mixed results this year. Borlotti beans haven’t done especially but the French beans have been excellent and the plan to grow some in hanging baskets, inspired by my dad, was great. Sadly his own haven’t done much at all.

Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn, though not as tall as I’d expected, is producing plenty of cobs, much better than last year. Hopefully they continue to grown and
ripen.

This post is part of the Blaugust 2015 initiative. If you are interested in taking part, all the information can be found by clicking the logo below.