Saturday, 29 May 2010

Armed and dangerous and ready to give those beetles what for !!!

The bottle of Bio-Friend Plant Defence arrived today, sent to me from Stephen at
'Victoriana Nurseries' thank you Stephen ! I can't wait to spray the asparagus.
It will last a long time as 20mls make up a 1 litre mix which I will put in a spray bottle. You can read more about this product by clicking on the Victoriana link and going to the website and typing in the name of the product. I will keep you updated as to the effects, but if Stephen uses it on his crops then it's good enough for me.



I took this photo of some roses that I cut from my front garden, it's been there for years. It's is called 'Royal Romance' and was given the name when Prince Charles and Lady Diana were 'courting' they may even have just got engaged , so yes as you can see it's been there a long time. I just googled the name and it looks like it's not available anymore, shame !. Anyway this is the first year that I have had any decent roses that deserved cutting and bringing indoors, so I am delighted with it this year. I am ashamed as a plant-person to admit that I totally neglect it, never feed it, rarely treat it for black-spot, greenfly etc and now It's almost saying ' Look at Me' I am going to treat it to a good feed this week-end.

I popped over to Home-base today to have a look for any bargains going in the bank holiday events there. I spotted this pot of Swiss Chard called 'Bright Lights' they were looking so badly neglected, dried out compost, withered leaves, etc, so I got cheeky and asked at the desk if someone in charge could reduce the sorry plants and YEAH I got them for 90p instead of £1.99. I took them home cut off the wilted leaves and gave them a good long drink. I counted 16 plants and they now look great, so I will pot them on until they bulk up a bit before planting them out. I have always wanted to try this veg, so now I can.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Asparagus Beetle

Sorry to have to show you this horrid beetle photo, but we have an infestation of these nasty things on our allotment. The plot opposite mine has them big time and my poor little spears that are just coming through from the purple asparagus and the little ferny shoots that I'm trialing from Victoriana Nursery have them too. I wasn't sure how to deal with them, so I e-mailed Stephen from Victoriana Nursery and he gave some good advice and a link to his product that will help eradicate them. Here is what he said :----------

The beetles do no damage - its their larvae that nibble the emerging shoots and cause them to grow distorted like shepherds crooks.

The reality is there is nothing that will completely knock out the beetles as they emerge over a long period. Vigilance is the most important thing and pick off any beetles you see and more importantly cut any fern that you see tiny black eggs on (not yet I would think).

Something like

will kill some and put off a lot of the rest (we use it on our own beds - do you want some) and birds will help as well as will a hard Winter.

But ultimately you probably need to accept you'll get a few odd shaped spears each year; as you are not Tesco I'm guess that doesn't matter?

They will never kill the bed off.

SO some re-assuring words there from Stephen, which made me feel much better about it. I went up and gave a copy of his advice to my fellow plot holder and he and I went around picking off the nasty beetles and popping them in a bucket of water, there were so many, so hopefully we stopped many eggs being laid.

I hope you don't get them on your asparagus and if you do then I hope Stephens advice and his all natural organic product will help you.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

All in a good days work !

Oh what joy, after 10 days of feeling dreadful I think this horrid virus is finally on it's way. I didn't hardly cough today or blow my nose continuesly as I have for the last week, so I guess it's almost run it's course. I did see the practice nurse yesterday as I had a dull constant earache, she looked down my ears and they weren't infected but she said all my glands were up and putting pressure on the eardrum. I was told to give it 48 hours (tomorrow ) and if it's no better I will have antibiotics. But I hope that by tomorrow all will be gone.

Enough of my tale of woe, now for the real reason for posting. I did a few hours on the plot and have some photo's to share, it's quite amazing how everything is growing now that we have had some decent rain and a bit of sunshine. I got my french beans (Fasold) planted out, but as I haven't hardened them off I wrapped them in fleece and mulched them heavily with grass clippings which were very warm as they were rotting, so I'm convinced they will be fine. What a crazy year this has been, I can hardly believe that we are nearly at the end of May and some things are still not in the ground due to the weather. I still have all the squashes to go out.

Lots of flowers on the Broad Beans

I am expecting a good harvest of strawberries from this bed.

The Swedes are growing well

The, mangetout, radishes, spinach and beetroot are all through

Potatoes earthed up for the 3rd and last time

First real signs of the asparagus kindly given to me to trial from Victoriana Nursery Gardens these are ' Connovers Colossal' , sadly I can't harvest any this year.

Wheelbarrow planted with Pansies this year.

Flower bed freshly dug and dahlia 'Pink Giraffe' among other plants went in today.

I finally got some other colours apart from yellow in the wallflower bed. They were dissapointing this year as they were supposed to be mixed colours as last year.

Looking down the plot from the greenhouse

Tomatoes from' Victoriana Nursery' doing very well, these are 'Abraham Lincoln' and apparently are very large, yummy !!!!

Parsnips coming through, Yeah !! and I planted straight into the ground this year. Again from 'Victoriana Nursery' and are called 'Hollow Crown'

My first attempt to grow gooseberries this was a large 2 year old plant when I bought it last year, so I should have a decent harvest this year (I hope) it's a red variety, but they obviously start off green.

Can you believe that this photo was taken on 23rd March and see second cabbage photo below taken today, amazing !

Cabbages are now almost bursting through the netting.

Well that's it for todays work and planting. I hope in the next week to get the squashes out and the purple sprouting broccoli and the brussel sprout plants hardened off ready to put them into a bed as soon as it's prepared.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Hi Ya

It's been a while now so I thought I had better do a post. It's not that I haven't wanted to ! I just haven't felt up to it as I have been fighting off a cold or virus of some sort for almost a week. I coughed so much that my ribs hurt which in turn made me dread coughing. I caught it off Austin and he caught it off the little ones. I only hope that we didn't leave it behind on the Isle of Wight where we stayed with friends for 4 days ( Austin had it then) Anyway enough self pity it's on it's way now and today I felt much better, but it's left me feeling physically and mentally drained.

Luckily a lovely neighbouring plot holder and good friend has been opening and closing the greenhouse each day for me and watering when it needed it.

I cut our first cabbage of the year today and it was delicious. I sowed and planted them last autumn. They haven't hearted up yet, but we just fancied a cabbage so I cut them anyway, left a small cut cross on the stalks which will encourage some more little spurts of growth (hopefully) and there are lots more cabbages left for later on.

No photo's of the plot but there is a lot happening there. The mangetout are in and growing well. How they ever survived the really bad frost last night I will never understand as lots of people lost their beans (planted out too early) and most of us got our potatoes caught by it.

I have garlic doing well that has been in since the autumn, also some leeks getting bigger and more sown, the aforementioned cabbages, two types of beetroot, radishes, spinach, carrots, two types of parsnips all of these crops are showing through now Oh and some swedes these I have to confess to buying from Homebase reduced to 99p for 10 plants that looked like they wouldn't make it, but I love a challenge. They are all 10 doing well so far.

Little feathery fronds of Asparagus are just beginning to show and I noticed today that the gooseberries bushes, well the red one anyway is covered in tiny gooseberries (green at this stage !!)
I did take a few pic's in the garden this morning though.

These are tiny teeny gladioli that I planted from the little pipettes I found growing around the gladioli bulbs that I dug up to overwinter. I also left some bulbs in the ground and have noticed that they are coming up at last, but having these little new plants is the bonus of lifting some.

I know we had a cold winter, but amazingly these Mimulus survived in this same pot all through it. That has never happened before, they are usually a very tender annual, they should be flowering soon, so that's another bonus in the garden. The Violas did very well too.

These short and pretty Tulips have been brilliant, they have flowered for so long and survived the windy days and kept their petals. I love they way they have become wide and open almost like little peonies.

And here is my favourite, I will definitely grow these again every year and on the plot so I can have some to cut for indoors