Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Yes, I'm still here

Now that the majority of the pre-Christmas DIY jobs are out of the way, I can get back to my plot, and of course this blog.....

Holy shmo! I can't believe I haven't posted since way back in September! Bare with me, this could go on for some time.

Either the T.V over the past month or so has been really good, or I've been completely rubbish at keeping this little page of mine updated. As there is a greater chance of the latter - we'll go with that.

Ok, quick recap on what has been happening over the past month or so....

Everything is dead.

Ok, that's not strictly true, but when I visited the plot after a period of abandonment that's what first crossed my mind. Closer inspection revealed that in fact I wasn't far from the truth. If I've learned one thing in this, my first year it's that seasons do mean more than just the clocks going forward and back once a year. Things actually happen.

Working my way round I'll start with the cabbages. They're doing well, still under the netting with a few signs of slug damage I'm quite encouraged by how they're coming on, the same can be said of the cauliflowers. When doing a little light maintenance recently (hoeing to the well informed) I noticed that a couple actually have the "flower" (the white bit you eat), one of which is close to being ready for consumption! Imagine my joy!!

Brussel sprouts are all doing really well, despite what seems like an infestation of what I have recently discovered to be white fly. I was removing some dead foliage from the plants when I was surrounded by clouds of the little blighters!! Several remedies have been suggested to me, including the trusty washing up liquid/water solution - which was liberally applied last weekend, so we'll see what happens. Anyway, I plucked a few sprouts off the most abundantly adorned plant took them home and unfortunately realised that they were in fact too "loose" - I fear I left them on the plant too long. Oh well, plenty more where they came from...

Peas have now been completely lifted, the canes removed and stored and the earth dug over with plenty of compost added. A number of other beds have also had the same treatment - some new, some had been used previously. The runner beans have finally given up the game, and the recent frosts, although mild, were enough to finish them off. I hunted for the fattest pods I could find in the hope that they would still hold some mature seeds that I could harvest for use next year - there were a few, so fingers crossed I'll have my first succession (?). The same can be said of the French beans, but I am too late to rescue any swollen pods as the plants have started to turn to mush already, never mind.

The onions that I grew from seed (Bedfordshire Champions) didn't quite make it - and through no fault of their own. I simply didn't get them in the ground early enough. I am not growing from seed next year, and am going to stick to growing from sets - far easier, and more productive it would appear.

Courgettes finally packed up and buggered off for the winter - I don't think they'll be back. The butternut squashes never really amounted to much. That said, we had one of the little baby ones in a risotto for dinner tonight and it tasted really good, and there wasn't much wastage due to the lack of the large seed area on the fruit yu get on larger squashes. Lady HayWayne even commented that the texture was far creamier than the shop bought ones. Hopefully next years crops will be a little more succesful. I'm going to grow them on trelisses (?) next year.

Carrots seem to be doing ok, but I guess as is with all root vegetables, they don't really let on how well things are going due to the fact that the bit you're interested in is buried underground! I hear baby carrots are in this year - so we might have a fashionable Christmas dinner.

After about 3 hours digging at the weekend, my back started to grumble, so I looked around for something else to occupy my time. Weeds! The large area that used to be my strawberries, but latterly succumbed to bindweed, and various other pain-in-the-butt-weeds was next on my hitlist. I pulled up all of the weeds - which had mostly died and dried out, and using my relativelynewly acquired incinerator, burnt the lot. Most satisfying, and now I have a load of potash fertiliser to use...

I managed to create a couple of my very own "biomes" (those that have been to The Eden Project will know) from old bed frames and a load of plastic sheeting and bubblewrap. No idea what I'm going to do with them yet, but it killed a bit of time.

So, what next?

Over the winter months, whilst the plants (and weeds hopefully) are having a nap, I plan to make a series of compost heaps in the hope that next year I can speed up the composting process and start using my own home grown. I am also going to make use of all the leaves that fall on my lawn courtesy of the oak tree at the bottom of the garden, by making a kind of cage to hold them in and allow them to rot down into a leaf mulch.

Next year's just round the corner, and if this year has been anything to go by, I'm going to be a busy boy next year!

You may have noted a lack of photographic evidence on this posting, and that's due in part to the lack of me taking the photos in the first place, but also because I don't think there's much room left in this pos

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