Author: hollymayroberts

Winter sowing! 

I’ve decided that it’s time to start sowing seeds. January has almost passed and although there is still a bit of morning snow on the ground, my trusty books and seed packets advise me that you can show seeds under cover in these winter months. 

I decided to plant some cauliflower in small pots, cabbage in modules, broad beans in a large piece of guttering and peas in the small piece of guttering. The guttering (with drainage holes) allows easy transplanting with minimum root damage and will be kept in the greenhouse. The cauliflower and cabbage are resting nicely on a south facing window sill as I doubt they will germinate otherwise!

Where possible, I get my seeds from Chase Organics, The Organic Gardening Catalogue. You pay a few pennies more per packet, but it is worth it for me to support non GMO and non chemical growing practices. I had great success from last years’ seeds, so fingers crossed this year!! 

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Guess the pests? Root veg damage alert!

Look at the damage! Can anyone help me guess the pest?

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Trail of destruction

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Looks like nibbles to me….

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But then nibbling the ends of the baby beets too? This damage looks like slugs????

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Nice of them to leave me some!

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Protection so far….

Is the pest of the soft and fluffy variety? Or could it be our chicken? Slugs? Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Pallet picket fence

We have loads of pallets lying around so decided to make a picket fence out of them to stop the chicken going on the veggies.

The difficulty in working with pallets is that they break easily so it is worth watching a few YouTube vids to find the right method for the right type of pallet. This vid (although long and annoying) was the one I found most helpful.

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Firstly we measured the picket fence spikes and used a jig saw to cut them out. You will also need to jig saw all the back bits as per the above vid.

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Next was brute force. You will also find that you can’t help singing Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”. I still have it in my head….

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Dealing with the nails…..

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Knocking posts in and screwing the pallets in.

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Finished product! I am awfully chuffed with our basically free fence!!! It just needs a bit of paint now!

Growing Cucumbers

This weekend is the time to unleash my cucmbers out of their small pots. Cucmbers need a lot of two things; food and water. It can get quite expensive to have huge pots of compost for each plant so I decided to put some manure in the bottom of medium sized pots to give the needy roots continuous nutrients.

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As you can see I have broken the semi rotted black gold up and filled the pots up half way.

I used last year’s climbing terrace made out of two old bits of wood and chicken wire.

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So all I have to do now is regularly water and train the plants through picking out side shoots and giving them a bit of direction :). Let’s hope the manure works!

Protecting From the Elements

Yesterday down the plot was all about protection. Although the sun has been out,  the wind is still strong and showers heavy. To give juvenile plants a start to get strong, I made a few shelters!

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Squash Protection
Two years ago I lost my first sowing of squash and pumpkin seedlings to torrential rain and wind. The second sowing of the year survived because of a triangular A-frame I made out of scrap wood. I decided to use the A-frame again this year to shelter the squash somewhat from the elements.

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Tomato Protection
I have an abundance of cucumber, pepper, aubergine, chilli and tomato plants so decided to use the rest of the potato bed and plant tomatoes to make space in the greenhouse. I feel very proud of the makeshift protective greenhouse.

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Brassica Protection
My cabbages have been destroyed by slugs. I am devastated due to the amount of time and effort I have put into making sure they are protected from club root. A fellow allotmenteer gave me some sprouts a week ago (a purple variety!?) so I planted them out next to the eaten cabbages. I’ve now put netting over the whole patch to protect from wind and butterflies.

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