Tuesday, 29 December 2009

blog makeover

I decided that the blog was long overdue a makeover, so I've made a start and loaded up a new header image. I'm certainly no graphic designer but I'm quite pleased with the result. The image currently on display is from our permanent allotment referred to as "Site 2". As you can see the local hill provides an idyllic backdrop to our plot as well as being a great place to go for a walk when you need a break from digging or weeding!

Over the coming weeks I plan to update elements of the blog so don't be surprised if it looks somewhat different from visit to visit. I'm still relatively new to the blogosphere and I'm keen to try my hand at a little web design, therefore the results may be a little unpredictable so please bear with me.

This is likely to be my last post of 2009 (yikes! where did this year go to?) so I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy & Productive (horticulturally speaking) New Year.

All the best, Michelle

Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas veg woes

Well it's a week to go until the "Big Day" and hasn't the time flown by? I haven't had a chance to blog all week as I've been busy with Christmas preparations.

Managed to get on site last weekend. Still very soggy up there and we weren't able to do too much apart from a little weeding. Came away with some more snowball turnips (they're doing great guns) and swede and a nice red cabbage from My Folks.

We had been hoping that the sprouts would be doing better than they had been up to now. The sprouts My Folks are growing look super and will definitely be ready for serving up with Christmas dinner. Ours, on the other hand, were looking very stunted and almost dwarf-like. On closer inspection I noticed some of the leaves had a white mould-like substance on them. After consulting my disease book I concluded some of the plants had succumbed to White Spot. There was nothing for it but to strip off the infected leaves and chuck them on the burning pile. We had to pull up a couple of plants as they were too far gone. According to the book, mild damp conditions and too close planting can cause the disease to occur. Certainly we've had the weather conditions for it. As a further precaution we've staked out the remaining plants to ensure they don't grow over each other and stripped off some of the lower leaves to keep them away from the soil. I don't know if this remedial action will help or not, but its a pretty safe bet to say that we won't be having our own sprouts with Christmas dinner this year.

On a happier note, I'll leave you with a picture of a little bit of natural decoration I found for our shed

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

wet, wet, wet

No, I'm not referring to the 80's pop group but to the dismal weather conditions we've experienced over the last few weeks. As many of you will have experienced first hand, heavy rain does not make for productive allotmenting !

We've lost the carrots. To be honest I think we were a bit optimistic to hope that we would get a harvest from such late planting. They had been doing really well up to a couple of weeks ago then it got too wet for them and they started to rot.

On a happier note, we've harvested some petit pois - very unexpected - and some snowball turnips which are doing well. The turnips have been a bit of a hit at home as I've been using them in slow cooked stews. I "disguised" them by cutting them into cubes roughly the same size as the potatoes and everyone just assumed they were potatoes. Result!!! Our Nicola potatoes have had mixed success. We harvested the whole crop about 2 weeks ago but about half of it had been lost either to some unidentified burrowing insects or voles. Cloddigger picked up what looked like a large spud only to find it was just the skin - a vole had perfectly gnawed out all the potato leaving just the skin. Amazing and frustrating in equal measure. However, I can recommend this variety for its taste and we'll definitely try this one again.

There are still things growing and hopefully we will be able to harvest the sprouts and parsnips in time for Christmas.

A dry spell is forecast for the next few days so I'm looking forward to catching up with some tidying and preparing for Winter this weekend, and hopefully some up dated photos too!

Monday, 7 December 2009

an unexpected award

Oh my goodness. How completely unexpected (but very gladly accepted!) a Best Blog Award from Maureen of the marvellous Allotment Heaven fame. I'm sorry I don't have a better prepared acceptance speech ready, but suffice to say it is a lovely surprise and I feel humbled to know that somebody out there takes the time to read my blog!

The idea is that by accepting the award you pass it on to 15 other people whose blogs you enjoy, and put a link to their blogs. I have chosen the 15 and hope they accept the award, but will understand if they don't as it isn't everyone's cup of tea.

If you accept the award and pass it on, don't forget to let the people you pass it on to know. And so, in no particular order, here are 15 blogs that inspire me: