June 2011


A quick trip to the allotment tonight to harvest some new potatoes. This is the first time I’ve grown potatoes, and I was very excited to see what lay beneath the soil after 12wks of waiting. To my surprise they seemed pretty good. There were a lot of very small ones to start with but to my relief a few bigger ones appeared after a bit. From about 6 or 7 shoots I got 1.2Kg. They are currently in the pot ready to accompany a sausage stew. I haven’t worked out how much I need to harvest to cover the cost of the seed potatoes, either way its pretty cool eating our own tatties.

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A question for any experienced potato growers. The leaves of the early (swift) potatoes are looking very pale and have some black spots on them. Is this blight? And should I cut the foliage off?

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After a week away; a cold, wet & windy week, we were surprised to find the allotment in full bloom on our return. The sunflowers are out, tomatoes forming well, and all the brassicas seemed to have doubled in size.

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In a 6hr allotment session today I managed to finally finish putting up the rest of the polyfence and plant out all the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. I counted 100 tomato plants, which were grown in three separate batches. For the new section of fence (MK 3) I’ve buried the polythene in trenches, to give a bit more support. I also made it wider to fit all the plants. Just need a bit of sun, maybe even a summer?

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I’ve been dreaming for years about growing enough tomatoes to eat at will, and to be able to make truly homemade sources. Doing a bit of maths yesterday my dream is taking shape. I want to limit each plant to 4 trusses (following advice), which would give upto 400 trusses in total. That is a lot of tomatoes! Obviously there is a long way to go to keep them alive and kicking right up until harvest time, but I think there is room for quiet optimism at a decent yield at least.

The batch I planted out in May behind the MK 1 fencing have been subject to some terribly windy conditions. One of the fence posts snapped a couple of weeks ago, and the fence now looks like a bit of a patch work. Nevertheless it still stands and the tomatoes are doing well despite. If they can live through that, maybe they’ve got what it takes to survive the Cornish summer!

Not been down the allotment all week as my attention has been given to sorting our van out for a camping trip next week.

I still have to build some more polyfence and plant out the rest of the 1st and 2nd batch of tomatoes that are bursting out of my little greenhouse. Also have some lettuce to plant out, and need to sow more gherkin, salad and spinach. I also want to sow out a patch of celery under a square clotch to see what happens.

We’ve had plenty of rain, which is great, but the winds have been pretty wild. I’m not sure if I’m going to find all my hard work in pieces once I get up there later.

Since putting up the latest section of poly fence we’ve had really high winds. I’ve been up the allotment a couple of times and everything is still standing. If it lasts this week at least I know it should last the summer. I had to put up a makeshift shelter for the courgettes around the mesh fencing that is already there. The biggest courgette was getting torn out the ground as its big leaves acted like sails.

In summary its all still there and I’m quietly optimistic.

A quick look around the allotment.

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Following a late night I woke at 5:45 to bright sunshine through the window. I managed to resist the desire to put the alarm on sleeper and got up. I left around 6:30 and it was already warm out. There was a lovely mist over the valley on the way to the allotment and I felt quite pleased with myself for getting up.

I had just over an hour to plant 4 chillies, another tomato and a few more aubergines. I also watered the tomatoes and aubergines I planted yesterday so they could make the most of what was forecast to be a very hot day.

The yinyan & Borlotti beans I planted a couple of weeks ago have started to germinate. I gave them a bit of water to encourage them a little. We had some good rain over the weekend but things are looking quite dry and there is no rain forecast till Sunday.

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                             Aubergine

Square of Aubergine and Peppers surrounded by friendly slug stoppa. Square clotch fits just over the top.

I was pleased to see lots growing when we went to the allotment this evening. We had a couple of jobs to do; put up some supports for our growing collection of peas, put up the other side of the poly-fence and plant some of the first batch of tomatoes. After getting all this done we had a good look around and found our first courgettes and peas to harvest. We also picked some more broad beans, spinach, rocket and a handful of strawberries. This is the first time I’ve ever grown, harvested and eaten any of this stuff, it was really exciting and motivating. Can’t wait to see what the next couple of months bring.

Harvest

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The Harvest

Tomatoes on the way to the allotment

   
Aubergines and tomatoes planted in between the poly fences. Courgette Taxi ready to pick.    

Tomatoes lined up between polyfences

Picking Courgette Taxi

   
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      San Morzano on the way