You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.
A busy day today. I took delivery of a pile of muck from a local farm, Stanleys, in the next village. He was round 10 minutes after my phone call in a JCB with a £20 load and a promise of more if I needed it. I’ll dig this in around the plot were it’s needed as it’s really well rotted stuff avoiding the areas where I’m planning to grow root veg.
After taking the girls swimming we drove up to Whitchurch for the 14th Hampshire Potato Day. Whilst they slept in the car I had a quick look round and bought my seed potatoes for the year plus a couple of bags of onions sets. There was around 150 varieties to choose from, many of which you could buy as single tubers. And good value with 2.5KG bags for between £3.50 and £4 or 15p per tuber (7 for £1), and bags of onions sets for a £1.
I bought three 2.5KG bags of Casablanca, Kestrel and Bonnie. And smaller bags of Arran Pilot, Charlotte, Lady Christl, Pink Fir Apple and Salad Blue. I’ll set them out in egg boxes later to chit.
The show varieties will be grown in 17litre polypot bags using Medwyns Potato Mix and whatever is left over will be in the ground at the shared plot or alloment. I can’t wait to get started.
Another job on the show veg front is almost complete. The pipes are in the raised bed and ready to be filled. Eventually I’ll construct an environmesh cover to keep the dreaded carrot fly out. There’s 12 6″ diameter pipes and 16 4″ diameter (the ones that I started with last year). The first job is to fill up half a dozen of the larger pipes ready for the parsnips. I’ll be sowing in a couple of weeks so will fill the pipes up next weekend and allow them to settle before sowing a few seeds in each one and covering with fleece until they germinate and can be thinned.
Looks like an alien installation at present!
Today there was a welcome delivery on the doorstep, an order placed with Medwyns of Anglesey had arrived, the final piece for my show veg attempts this year.
After grinding up calcified seaweed last year (never again) I’ve invested in a bag of the powdered version which will go in the long carrot mix. There’s also some Nutrimate Gold, Perkla, SB Plant Invigorator (an expert at our Hort Soc Gardener’s Question Time swears by the stuff so I thought I’d give it a try), green split canes, plant support clips (for the onions), and some more seeds. Yes more seeds! Beetroot Pablo F1, Parsnip Gladiator, Stump Carrot Sweet Candle, Marrow Table Dainty (with Cabbage Ramco and Cauliflower Cornell to follow) and interestingly some free trial seed packs of courgette and stump carrot which I will try out.
And the last bit of shredding is finally complete. 8 bags of 75L F2S done.
So in the next couple of weeks I’ll be mixing and getting the pipes in ready for sowing mid-February. Whilst most sensible veg growers take it easy over December and January, those that want to show to a decent standard are kept pretty busy. Fingers crossed I’ll be exhibiting at the NVS Southern Championships at the New Forest & Hampshire County show this year. I already have the feeling of being behind after having a break over Christmas. Ah well I’m sure I’ll catch up. Have a good weekend everyone!
After a chat with my friend I share a plot with in the next village I’ve come away with some more seeds. I think between us we could cultivate half of Wiltshire! So I’m consolidating our collections and planning what to grow. And there’s a few varieties I’ve not heard of:
Radish – Rudi, Sparkler 3
Cucumber – Stimora Mix F1, Marketmore, Paska F1
Courgette – Patriot F1
Lettuce – All the Year Round
Radicchio – Palla Rossa
Cabbage – Derby Day, Winnigstadt, Drago F1, Durham Early
Cauliflower – Goodman
Beetroot – Golden Detroit, Cylindra
Carrot – Merida F1, Autumn King 2
Leaf Beet – Canary Chard
If you’ve grown any of these varieties I’d be interested to hear what you thought of them.
UKVG readers will know that I have been seeking their advice on what seed potatoes to purchase this year.
Last year I visited the Hampshire Potato Day at Whitchurch which was excellent with 100s of varieties of potatoes plus onion sets, shallots, garlic and various stalls selling seeds etc. Well worth a trip and I shall be popping down there again on Saturday 29th January. For more info visit their site.
Then I started looking for other events locally and was amazed to find they are popping up all over the place – here’s a list of ones that I can reach within a 40 minute drive for example.
And the great thing about them is I can buy single tubers (were normally from seed companies you have to buy at least 10) so I can try out new varieties and have a greater selection.
So here’s what I’m going for:
First Early – Arran Pilot
Second Early – Charlotte
Maincrop – Pink Fir Apple
I will also be growing Kestrel and Blue Belle for show (and eating) as well as Winston (as I’ve heard some people like the taste so I thought I’d give it a try as it’s the no1 white potato on the showbench as well). Plus a few other single tuber purchases that take my fancy.
Most will be grown in 17 litre polypots that was quite successful last year although it’s important to keep up with the watering.
Well let me know what you think and if you are visiting a Potato Day near you that you can recommend.
You may know that I don’t just grow veg in the Two Chances Plot, I am partial to some colour and dedicate a bit of space to flowers either as companion planting to the veg or in their own bed.
I grow quite a few from seed and here’s the current stock list:
Swan River Daisy – Summer Skies
Sweet Pea – True Fragrance Mix & 20th Anniversary Mix (although I may not grow these again since I discovered I’m allergic to the cut flowers)
Sunflower – Harlequin F1 Hybrid, Giant & Russian Giant
Aster Apollonia Appleblossom
Dwarf Candytuft – Fairy Mix
Rudbeckia – Marmalade
Alyssum – Golden Queen
Nasturtium – Jewel Mix
Pot and French Marigolds - which are my main companion plants and grown in bulk from seed to put in the greenhouse and around the plot.
And then there’s the Dahlia tubers which I stored overwinter last year (with some failures) but have left in the ground this year (under a thick mulch) to save time and space. The Dahlia bed at the height of summer:
So what’s your most effective companion plant on the plot? And is there a flower(s) you just can’t do without in the garden?
There are a few projects on my mind for this year. Regular readers will remember I had some success at this last year. And I finally got round to building a proper compost bin and took on my shared plot in the next village. I even grew some long carrots and parsnips in pipes for the first time. So what’s on the cards for 2012?
- A covered potting area – I currently have 2 options for potting on, either on the bench in the greenhouse or in the workshop at the back to the garage. In between the end of the garage and the greenhouse is a 8 foot square area which is north facing, so has no real growing potential as it’s shaded by the garage and is just gravelled at the moment with a log pile and compost bin. The project is to build a covered area with two sides that will house a bench for potting and store compost bags etc underneath and have space to store logs down the side. With easy access to the greenhouse and back garden it would be ideal and allow me to do some useful in those winter and spring nights were you still need a bit of shelter to be comfortable. A great way of increasing the usable space in the garden and relatively low cost as well. Not a simple project though (for me) so I’m hoping my Dad will be on hand to assist!
- Extend the compost bin and have a cage for leaf mould.
- Get the new half allotment into shape and add some well rotted manure to the shared plot to improve the soil.
- Dedicate a small area for the children to grow stuff.
- Be more wildlife friendly – a few bird boxes and places for bees etc.
- Add more to the Hort Soc website and blog (I am now Treasurer as well so I hope the books will balance at the end of the year!).
- An Asparagus bed up at the allotment.
- Sort the two lawns out – they’re a bit of a mess and need some attention this year to get rid of the worst of the moss and weeds. I don’t want a Titchmarsh standard lawn but something that looks less like a field will do!
I’m hoping that by writing this stuff down I’ll actually get round to doing it. Time will tell!
So what garden projects do you have planned?
I like lists. And here’s the veg seeds I currently have in stock (or will have in the next month). As there’s 43 types of veg and over 100 varieties I’m not saying I’ll grow all of them this year but I’ll give it a go!
Is there anything that would be on your list year on year without fail?
Aubergine Bonica F1
Beetroot Burpee’s Golden
Broad Beans Bunyon’s Exhibition
Brocolli Early Purple Sprouting
Brocolli Late Purple Sprouting
Brocolli Early White Sprouting
Brocolli Sprouting Redhead
Brussel Sprout Bedford
Cabbage Golden Acre Primo
Cabbage Offenham 2
Calabrese Aquiles F1
Cauliflower Snowball A
Cauliflower Deakin F1
Carrot Royal Chatenay Red
Carrot Nantes Frubund
Carrot Sweet Candle
Carrot Early Nantes
Carrot Early Nantes 2
Carrot Amsterdam Forcing 3
Carrot Amsterdam 3 Sprint
Carrot Early Nantes 5
Carrot (Long) New Red Intermediate
Chard Swiss Chard Bright Lights
Chilli Pepper Cayenne
Chilli Pepper Jalapeno
Climbing French Bean Sultana
Courgette F1 Orelia
Courgette F1 Defender
Courgette Black Beauty
Cucumber F1 Carmen
Dwarf French Bean Borlotto Firetongue
Dwarf French Bean Purple Teepee
Dwarf French Bean Pencil Pod Black Wax
Dwarf French Bean Prince
Dwarf French Bean Sprite
Garlic Purple Wight
Herb Summer Savoury
Jerusalem Artichoke Unknown
Kale Dwarf Green Curled
Leek Lyon 2 Prizetaker
Lettuce Artic King
Lettuce Little Gem
Lettuce Lollo Rosso
Lettuce Webb’s Wonderful
Lettuce Tom Thumb
Lettuce Winter Density
Mangetout Oregon Sugar Pod
Okra Clemson’s Spineless
Onion Red Baron (red)
Onion (set) Radar
Onion (set) Electric (red)
Onion (set) Troy F1
Onion (set) Hercules F1
Onion (set) Centurion F1
Parsnip F1 Picador
Potatoes Pink Fir Apple
Potatoes NVS Amour
Potatoes Salad Blue
Potatoes Blue Belle
Pumpkin Rouge Vif d’Etanps
Radish French Breakfast 3
Rocket Va-Va Voom
Rocket Wild Rocket
Runner Bean Moonlight
Runner Bean Stenner
Savoy Cabbage January King 3
Shallot Hative di Niort
Spring Onion White Lisbon
Spring Onion Paris Silverskin
Sweetcorn Lark F1 Hybrid
Tomatillo Purple de Milpa
Tomato Gardener’s Delight
Tomato Tumbling Tom Red
Tomato Golden Peardrop
Tomato F1 Incas
I’m not much of a geek but I do like a good stat now and again. So I took notice this year when the Annual Report from WordPress came along and here are the facts and figures for the Two Chances Veg Plot Blog.
This blog was viewed about 31,000 times in 2011 (compared to 13,000 in 2010). In 2011, there were 64 new posts (compared to 137 posts in 2010), growing the total archive of this blog to 211 posts. There were 206 pictures uploaded (compared to 561 the year before). So I’ve written less than half the posts I wrote in 2010 and had almost three times the number of visitors, obviously it’s not all about quantity!
The busiest day of the year was March 22nd with 205 views. In 2010 it was 137 views on December 19th.
Thanks to the top referring sites in 2011 who were:
Some visitors came searching, mostly for sweet peas, hunter thompson, two chances veg plot, celery, and snow. In 2010 sweet peas, big flower pots, flower, cauliflower, and gladioli were the most popular search words.
Visitors came from round the world including Trinidad & Tobago, Peru, Sudan and Northern Mariana (I had to look that one up they are a group of islands in Micronesia).
My posts may have longevity as 4 out of the 5 most viewed posts in 2011 were actually posted in 2010 (2 as far back as March 2010).
So there you go, does it mean anything? No of course not, it’s just a few stats.
That was 2011 and roll on 2012! Happy New Year everyone!