Tag Archives: pigeons

Brrr it’s freezing!

It’s been below freezing all week (since I planted the garlic, shallots and onions last weeked) so not the weather to be spending much time on the veg plot. Just an hour to dig out the compost bin and harvest a few veggies.

I paid £4 for one of those black council compost bins, it’s done the job over the last 12 months and produced a pretty well rotted compost. But I need more capacity so I’m getting some old pallets off a friend up the road and will be constructing my own ‘fast compost’ method shortly. More of that to come.

Today is not the day for such projects, odd jobs only and then back into the warmth. I finally got round to putting some plastic bottles over the lettuce (winter density) so hoping these will come on now. The parsnips and sprouts are still going, reckon we’ll have another 2 or 3 meals out of them. Then it’s just a waiting game for the PSB and that’s it from the plot of 2009.

Checked over the mesh tunnels that I made in the summer and they are all in good order. They did a great job keeping the cabbage whites and pigeons off the brassicas. Pretty easy to make as well, just three sections of water pipe with a wooden frame around, then covered with enviromesh and stapled to the frame, as you can see in the photo. Six foot long which is the width of my raised beds. They are lightweight enough to lift off and on the beds when needed for weeding and the enviromesh allows water through.

I have some cauliflower and onion seedlings that I germinated indoors and the pricked out and put in the greenhouse. I insulated the greenhouse with bubblewrap and this is just about stopping it freezing. They seem to be doing OK.

Now Saints vs Pompey live on TV, I don’t need to think long about that, back indoors!

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Winter Harvest……..

The plot is still producing plenty of veg at the moment. Today I braved the cold to pull up some snips, dig up some artichokes, pick some brussels and kale. It’s great having fresh veg as and when you want it.

This is the first year I’ve grown the much-maligned brussel sprout and they are fantastic, getting loads of sprouts off just half a dozen plants.

The purple-sprouting broccoli is looking really good, the sideshoots are starting to appear and I’m really looking forward to the first harvest of spears. Last year was a disaster between the caterpillars and pigeons so this time round they have been netted and have really filled out well and they should start appearing in a few weeks time.

Overwintering?

Well a lovely mild October has turned into a horrible wet November and my plans for getting in some veg to over-winter have been scuppered for now!  Last year I planted shallots (Grisselle) and onion (Radar) sets, garlic (purple Wight) and broad beans (Sutton) all in November.  All grew really well, within a few weeks the beans were a few inches high and the sets had lovely green shoots on them that saw them right through the winter including a pretty heavy snowfall in February (for Salisbury area that is – we don’t often see snow around here!).  We were eating broad beans in April and the onions, shallots and garlic were lifted at the end of June (some of the garlic and shallots are still in store).  This time round I’m tempted to leave it until March, if it dries out over the next 2 or 3 weeks I may have a go.  When I plant my sets I raise the soil up into a long mound and put the sets in about 4″ apart – the theory with the raised soil is more warmth and better drainage.  I then cover the area with low net to keep the birds off, removing when the shoots are a few inches high.  Well worth getting what you can in now as you reap the benefits next spring and have an additional area for sowing around July time when you lifted the onions.  I’ll post some photos if I manage to get them in in the next few weeks.

Veg currently in the ground on the plot are leeks, carrots, spring & savoy cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, chard, swede, brussel sprouts, parsnips and butternut squash.  All can be harvested now bar the purple sprouting which will be ready in late winter/spring (really looking forward to that as last year’s crop was devasted by caterpillars and pigeons – not this time round, the crop has been netted and plants range from 3-6′ high already.  We ate the first of the brussels the other day and they were superb, well worth the wait!