Thursday, 20 December 2012

Grow Your Own Seed Circle 10.

My seeds from this circle arrived today.40 different packages in all shapes and sizes,all for the price of a Large Letter stamp.
The varieties are listed below

Blue OSU
Rio Grande.
Orange Russian
Yellow Cocktail
Black Cherry
Early Tanana
Black Russian
Cheethams Potato Leaved
Black @ Brown Boar
Red Pear
Poire Jaune
Kenilworth St George
Chocolate Cherokee
Pink Brandywine
Ponderosa Pink
Banana Legs
Golden Grape
Yellow Currant
Darby Striped
German Lunchbox
Matina (potato leafed)
Sweet Pea Currant
Hundreds and Thousands
The Amateur
Hahnstown Yellow
Kibits Ukraine
Yellow Pear
Galina's Yellow
White Beauty
Golden Jubilee

Now I need to research them

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Tomatoes.2012 not a great year

From various sources this year I have tried to grow various tomatoes this year.
It probably wasn't the best year weather wise to try this.
Early Tanana
Slovenian Black
Alpatieva 905
Monkey's Ass
Mortgage Lifter
San Marzano
Principe Borghese
Tasmanian Chocolate
Dwarf Mr Snow
Sweet Million
Beijing Yellow
First In Field

The only one that didn't germinate was First In Field.Not really fussed as they were a freebie from Dolmio.
I got no ripe fruit from Tasmanian Chocolate,Dwarf Mr Snow,Sungella and San Marzano.
I don't have a problem with the San Marzano since they were part of a £1 shop purchase last year.Even last year they were very late and sparse.
The Tasmanian Chocolate and Dwarf Mr Snow were from a seed swap and part of the Dwarf Tomato project.I have read elsewhere that people were not enamoured with their results and I have to agree.To my mind these are not stable yet and the differing plant sizes and leave shapes need to be sorted out.Mine obviously didn't realise that they were supposed to be 4 foot compact plants.
I was surprised by the Sungella but still have seeds and will give them another try next year.
My allotment is a graveyard for tomatoes that succumb to blight every year.Thus I tried Losetto F1 which were supposed to be blight tolerant.I also had plants of Shirley,Harbinger and Maskotka hanging around so gave them a try.True to form the allotment showed early signs of blight and thus I didn;t expect much.Through judicious leaf removal I got a decent crop from all of my plants until some allotment creatures decided to take chunks out of my tomatoes.
For my early tomatoes I tried self saved Koralik which had very small fruits but quite tasty,Early Tanana which were early but pretty tasteless and will not be grown again,Latah which after a bit of sun were pretty tasty and will be grown again.Strangely Koralik were one of the last varieties that I got fruit off of.

For cherry tomatoes I tried Reisentraube,the taste was nothing spectacular and they took too long to redden up even though I had some in a greenhouse.I also had a couple of Sweet Millions which were fine and I will grow them again.

On the beefsteak front I grew Monkey's Ass and Mortgage Lifter  both of which had a good fleshy taste,the yield of the former was pretty poor though.

My yellow skinned tomato this year was Beijing Yellow obtained from a seed swap,good taste but not a great yield.

For the first time I tried a black tomato,Slovenian Black obtained from a seed swap.I didn't get masses of fruits but the taste was divine and this is a definate for next year.
The star of the show this year was Sungold purely for the taste,if anybody knows of a superior tomato to this I would love to know.

Today's harvest

 Wandered down to the deserted allotment and collected some Leeks,Autumn King and Flyaway F1 carrots,Helenor swedes and some decent sized Gladiator F1 parsnips.This is the first and probably last of the Leeks since the rest are still like grass stalks.This a shame since I really enjoyed them earlier in the year.
I also harvested some Falstaff brussels sprouts.
Hopefully this lot will keep me going until the pre Christmas dinner vegetable run.
There is loads of weeding and digging to be done but the ground is sodden after the frosts and rain of recent weeks so a delay is inevitable.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Seed Circle 2

I have finally bagged up and sent my seeds for the Allotments 4 All Seed swap.This year I saved Reisentraube tomatoes and Black Hungarian Chilli peppers.
I got the seeds from Premier Seeds Direct on EBay.

Reisentraube tomatoes.
These were started on the 3rd March and potted on on the 29th March,27th April and relocated outside in mid May.Harvesting commenced in  late September.
Black Hungarian Chilli Peppers.
These were started on 3rd February in a heated propagator/and were up by   22nd /February where they were relocated to the windowsill.I potted them up on 10th March where they were relocated to the Conservatory.They were potted on to larger pots on 9th June.Then they were basically left until harvesting from October onwards once they had turned reddish.The seed was harvested from a number of fruits and left to dry until the seeds were hard.

Friday, 30 November 2012

End of another month.

At this time of year starting to garden at 3 o clock isn't the wisest of ideas since it is dark by 4:30.
I managed to dig over half of the vegetable patch that I intend to use for Cristo garlic.I emptied and replanted my hanging basket that has Pansies and Violas that I got cheaply from B&Q and potted up the Fuschias and Pelagoniums that it previously contained.The last of the spring bulbs went in earlier in the week Double Early Abba and Gavota tulips and some Carlton daffodils that I had hanging around.

I also harvested the last of my Black  Hungarian chilli peppers and planted some 20th Anniversary sweet peas in toilet rolls to overwinter in the blowaway.I got a handful of Sungold tomatoes which I fear will be the last of the season.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Seed circle 1

One of the joys of forums is that some run various seed circles.This I have joined the GYO Tomato seed circle.I have grown and harvested Early Tanana and Latah as my contribution.
In return I will get upwards of 40 new varieties to try next year.
Some of the varieties I am looking forward to trialling.
I originally got these seed from the Allotments 4 All last year.Without this I would never have heard of these varieties and hopefully I can introduce 20 other people to grow them.
They are both early season varieties so the bad weather and blight this year didn't affect them.
Early Tanana comes from Denali seeds in Alaska and if it can grow there the UK will pose no problems.
Latah originally came from Real Seeds who are well worth a look for something slightly out of the ordinary.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunny day and have run out of veggies for lunch.

With the prospect of frozen peas for Sunday lunch I had no alternative but to visit the allotment and harvest something fresh.4 good sized Gladiator parsnips,some Flyaway F1 carrots and a first harvest of Falstaff brussel sprouts was a decent haul and I managed to scoff some Autumn Bliss raspberries.I also managed a start on the roots of one of my tree stumps.
I also replanted some Senshyui onions that the birds had dislodged.
Earlier in the week I planted 2 rows of Super Aquadulce broad beans and cleared my Runner beans.
In the garden the trees have finally shed their leaves so another 3 bags of leaves were collected and the pond was tidied up and filled up a bit..I also pulled up the remainder of the tomato plants since there was no viable fruit left.
I also planted up another pot for spring with Carlton daffodils,Fire of Love tulips and Aneome Blanda.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A rare trip to the allotment saw the following harvest.Early Nantes carrots,Helenor swede,Gladiator parsnips and a rather overgrown Hungarian zucchini.I also dug over some soil ready for Aquadulce broad beans.
The Alium bed has been planted up for next year with Electric Red onions,Senshyu onions,Golden Gourmet shallots,Albigensian Wight and Cristo garlic.
In the garden I have been collecting sacks of leaves for leaf mulch.Last year's has been mixed up and moved and contains lots of worms and is decomposing nicely.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Allotment update

 The first Gladiator parsnip of the season coming in at 17 inches.
 Finally a picture in focus of my Falstaff brussel sprouts
 The Helenor swede is fattening up nicely.
The Marshmello strawberries bed had a bit of a tidy up and trim.
I planted a row of Cristo garlic and 2 short rows of White Lisbon winter hardy spring onions.
The next planting will be Senshyui and Electric Red overwintering onions.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A couple of day's in the garden

The recent weather has facilitated a general garden tidy up.I have collected 4 black sacks worth of rubbish and consequently found my lost Wedding ring.I now take it off every time I do anything in the garden or allotment.
I have looked at last year's leaf mould and stirred it up a bit,it is full of worms and seems to be breaking down nicely.I have emptied 1 compost bin and turned over two others.
The tomato graveyard is rapidly filling up and I am gradually pulling up my plants.The Tasmanian Chocolate and Dwarf Mr Snow have been exceptionally disappointing,so far I have had no ripe fruit.The Alpatieva 905 are a good size but something has been eating them likewise with the Beijing Yellow.
In the garden I have planted Blue Hyacinths,Iris Reticulata and Tete a Tete dwarf daffodils.
In pots for spring I have planted Carlton daffodils with Tete a Tete and Iris Reticulata,and one of Tete a Tete with Muscari.
Some of my pots from last year are already showing probably crocuses.
In seed trays I have started Calendula Fruit Twist,Cornflower Blue Diadem and some self saved Hollyhocks.
On the seed saving front I have bagged up Beijing Yellow,Slovenian Black,Harbinger,Mortgage Lifter,Alpatieva 905,Reisentraube,Napia Early Pointy Red and Alberto's Locoto.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Allotment update

For the first time in ages I went to the allotment.It was perfect weather for it.dry not too hot or cold and I got a fair bit done.The old onion patch was dug over and I planted of row of leeks.

On the harvesting front I harvested Green Delicacy kohlrabi,Flyaway carrots,Snowball turnip,Helenor swede,Ishikura spring onions,Greenleaf lettuce and Autumn Bliss raspberries.

The recent weather has finally killed off my tomato patch so I have harvested any that show any sign of colour and pulled the plants up.I have also dug up my Annabel french beans which were finished,I am leaving the runnerbeans for seed.

In the brassica cage I have finally got around to planting some Kale plants,I am sure that the resident whitefly will soon be feasting on them.I have some Falstaff brussel sprouts on the plants,I have also taken lots of munched leaves off.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


A pictoral history of my maincrop Picasso and Pink Fur apple potatoes
A row of Charlotte salad potatoes,three rows of PFA and 2 of Picasso.

The incessant rain of spring and early summer sees the crop growing.

Unfortunately the site got struck with blight so the stems were cut off and basically left in the soil.

The dreadful conditions led to my Picasso's splitting.

Some did come out clean and are now in storage,

This is the last of the Pink Fur Apple's which have provided me with a decent crop and will be grown again next year.

I spent yesterday afternoon digging up and over the rest of my potato bed,all that's left are a row of Gladiator parsnips.In front of that is the unweeded Onion bed which is my next job.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

A decent days harvest

 A quick trip to the allotment this week as the weather has been awful.
I did a bit of harvesting.Half a carrier bag of tomatoes,200 grams of raspberries,a hungarian zucchini and some Annabel dwarf french beans.

Gem squashes,Rumba onions,French breakfast radishes,Kohlrabi and some Flyaway carrots,

Some Chioggia  beetroot.I also dug up a couple of Picasso potato plants that unfortunately seem to have split and are a pig to peel.
The garden clear up continues and here is the tomato graveyard,all waiting to be emptied.
At least I still  have my Sungolds producing and still tasting gorgeous.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Tomato seed saving.

Harvested my first Beijing Yellow tomato today,the taste is nothing spectactular but I am saving the seeds.I also harvested some Slovenian Black tomatoes that have a much nicer taste and likewise am saving seeds from them.
It's a production line at the moment.
Harbinger,Reisentraube and Slovenian Black have been fermented,cleaned and are now drying.
Latah and Early Tanana have been dried and bagged up for the Grapevine seed circle.15 packets of each will hopefully be enough.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Bargains galore

Had a little wander around the Poundshop and B@Q's reduced section.If they are too lazy to water I will take a tray of 24 Pansies for a pound even if a few slots were empty and some others obviously dead.A bit of water and some pruning and I have a winter bed.The Violas were half price but again they will fill a bed.
The Pound shop provided Tomato feed,Hyacinths and Crocuses,again a winter/spring pot sorted out.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Today at the allotment

Went down to the allotment before the weather turns and harvested yet more French and Runner beans.I picked Headstart sweetcorn and a Little Gem squash together with Autumn Bliss raspberries for lunch and my first Snowball turnip and Blauer hilds radish.
A bit of time was spent snapping off blighted tomato leaves.
I also got a Comfrey plant and some Strawberry plants from my kind allotment neighbours.
I also got my Thompson @Morgan order Ferline tomatoes,Aubergines,Salad leaves,Calendula and Cornflowers all for £2.10.
In the garden I have had my first Mortgage Lifter tomato,it was a good size and had a nice meaty flavour.I will be growing these again next year.

The garden tomatoes have appreciated the recent hot spell and are developing nicely.I am finally getting some decent Sungolds.I have harvested some Partner F1 gherkins.
I have started saving seeds from Reisentraube for the Allotments 4 All seed circle,Mortgage Lifter and Harbinger.
I have finally got a red Alberto's Locoto pepper to go with my ripening Napia Early Pointy peppers.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

This week at the allotment.

The weather this week has been glorious so much time has been spent at the allotment.A lot has also been spent in the garden sorting out various tomatoes.Plantings include Grandpa Admires,Brune d'hiver and Austrian Greenleaf lettuce,Corn salad  and Oriental mixed green salad leaves.
Harvesting has included Gem Squash,Annabel french beans,White Lady and Painted Lady runner beans,Charlotte and Pink Fur Apple potatoes,Flyaway and Early Nantes carrots,Red and White onions,Chioggia beetroot and Autumn Bliss raspberries.
The tomatoes are reddening up nicely.I have now had Shirley,Harbinger,Losetto and Maskotka.

Today I harvested my first Hungarian Zucchini's that I received from the A4A seed circle.

My entry for the three carrots,all fused together.After the poor start to the carrot growing season I am happy   with anything that I can get.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Seed saving Tomato seeds

A simple guide to saving your own tomato seeds.
Here is Early Tanana,Koralik,Latah and Monkey's Ass in their containers at various stages.
Stage 1 remove seeds from the tomato,I tend to use a penknife.I put them into containers,add water,give them a stir,cover them and leave for 3 days.I label the pots.I stir this smelly mixture on a daily basis.Then I pour off the water and rinse several times in a sieve.I then pour the seeds onto a plate and cover them with kitchen tissue.I then put them somewhere safe and forget about them for a week or two.

After a week the seeds should be dry so I use a pair of tweezers to separate them and place them on a plate.

Then they get bagged up and labelled.I then put them away until required

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Strawberry runners

With the advice of Monty Don on Gardeners World,Our Plot at Green Lane blog,Allotments 4 All and the people at the Allotment shop,I have been sorting out my Marshmello strawberry runners.
First job was to clear away the straw,then I cut off any leaves that were brown or shrivelled.
Then I filled some pots with compost and played hunt the runner and untangled it.
Some had already rooted in the soil so I cut them off from the parent plant and gave them a good watering.
I placed a runner in a pot and weighed it down with a couple of stones and hopefully they will take.
I also brought a few runners home, potted them up and pinned them down with a paper clip.
Looking forward to having numerous new plants later on in the year.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bank holiday weather

Left for the allotment in sunshine,harvested a few bits and it rained,walked home and 5 minutes later bright sunshine.A typical bank holiday
 Today's harvest Pink Fur Apple potatoes,Gem squash,Headstart F1 sweetcorn,Primo cabbages and White Lady runner beans.I also harvested the last of my Pentland Javelins and some Charlotte for a potato salad.
 A caterpillar on my nasturtiums.
I weeded my brassica cage after getting my neighbour to help move it.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Weeding.Planting and Harvesting.

A sad morning spent cutting off the haulms of my blighted Pink Fur Apple and Picasso maincrop potatoes.I have now got 5 rows of maincrops left in the soil.i just hope that I have some to store overwinter.
Harvested some more Losetto,Autumn Bliss raspberries,Annabel dwarf french beans,Pink Fur Apple potatoes,my first Gem Squash,Red Sun and Senshyu onions and a Black Beauty courgette.
I also made a new batch of Borage tea which I use as a fertiliser.
I planted up lots of lettuce Verde A Fogglia,Pink lettuce,Brune d'Hiver,Austrian Greenleaf and Rocket to fill up a bit of space.
In the tomato house is a lone Monkey's Ass tomato.I will probably use it to save some seed for next year.