Thursday 25 February 2010

Weather Watch Wednesday...week 8 2010

Well as seems to be the norm of late and for this time of year nothing has been going on down the allotment or in the garden.

The weather has warmed up slightly over the last couple of days and we managed to reach 5degrees at one point. Snow hasn't fallen from the sky since late Tuesday evening and because of the warmer temperatures although it settled it melted quickly and was gone by morning. However the rain comes more often and not and most mornings are met with frozen fog.

dreary skiesDreary skies.

The gardens look damp and dirty and there still is no life in the hedgerows, however my Lily-of-the-valley is making a brave attempt and has started to show it's face but not any flowers as yet.

Lily-of-the-valley showing that spring is nearly here.

On the plus side I have finished knitting up the front of my jumper with a little (well actually quite a lot!!) of help from my Mum who kind of re-wrote a pattern that even to her educated eye made no sense...Just the sleeves to go now!

Haven't done any more crocheting as I am still waiting for the next installment of my magazine to arrive. I hired myself a book from the library on Tatting today though so I will have a look at that and see how I get on whilst I'm waiting for the weather to warm up.

I think spring is on it's way though, but I will believe it has really arrived once my crocuses have bloomed, it's nice to still have daylight at roll on summer!!!!

Thursday 18 February 2010

I got so excited...but it was short lived!!!!

Today I was very excited for two reasons. The first was that I have received yet another blog award.

blog award
This was an award sent to me by kella at Kellas musings on growing her own. It's sent to all those blogs that sparkle to her. I'm not entirely sure how my blog is sparkling as I seem to be doing an awful ot of moaning at the minute but I am very grateful and would like to forward this award too;

The everyday adventurer
Tpals Place
Ann's snap edit
Norfolk Kitchen

These are just a few of my favourite blogs and I would love for my readers to check them out...oh and please don't think if you aren't in the list I don't love your blog too...I am just trying to even out the awards that I send...I love each and everyone of the blogs that I follow.

The other reason I was so excited today was that whilst in 'Home Bargains' I picked up some asparagus for just £0.99. A great bargain and two different varieties...I also got some onion sets for the same price.

asparagus and onion sets
The bargains!!

I am really looking forward to growing asparagus even though it will be a couple of years before I benefit from it.
So why was my excitement so short lived???
By the time I got home from town we had snowdrops the size of 50pence pieces falling thick and fast.....AAAARRGGGHHHHH...When is it going to stop!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday 17 February 2010

11-17 February...Update 2..week 7.... 2010 this is my second weekly update so far..the title on this one is kind of long but don't worry it will be a lot shorter next week as it will just be the week number and dates...(at least I think that's the way I'm going with them!!) It states week 6 as it is the 6th week of 2010 and I figured this would be easier to follow in months to come...(or maybe not and I am just waffling to make a post that is more than a few lines long!!!)

So what have I done since my last post??? Well not much to do with the allotment to be honest!!

We are halfway through half term here in England and yesterday was a gloriously (though cold) sunny day and the perfect time for a visit to the allotment, however I had decide to do the 'Mum' thing and had 5 teenagers for a sleepover Monday night and then invited my nephews for dinner on the neither take several teenagers to the allotment at once....or....leave them in a house alone. So I didn't get to the allotment and today just hasn't been so nice...very damp and cold with heavy rain on and off. I know we have had warmer February's than this as I remember doing my first lawn cut in this first half term of the year...but not this year..._;(

Anyway I did go to the allotment once in the past week...and I do have to admit that I was dragged there by Kate who had got hold of some horseradish and wanted to plat it. Now we all know how wild horseradish grows so we decided to plant it on the back divider that goes into the field so it will not impeded onto any of our least that's where I told Kate to plant it and she has decided that it would be a fine place. Kate was very adamant we had to plant it the day she visited me as she has decided to plant her stuff this year according to the moon calendar and it was horseradish day according to the moon so it was planted. I have to admit to doing nothing other than keeping company and snapping a shot of Kate planting...but she did dig me up a couple of leeks so I got a little something out of it too!!

planting horseradish
Kate planting the horseradish!!

I don't know anything really about the moon calendar but I think I will have a little look into it to see what it's all about.

Apart from that I have manged to learn two new crochet stitches and had a girls night at the weekend with the kids which included baking, face-masks, Karaoke and was fun!!!...Did you want to see those photo's too??? No, of course you don't!!

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Weekly Updates start here!!

Well I have been looking out of the window the past couple of days wishing for the weather to improve and more often than not I see ice and snow flurries which is so not what I want to be happening. I was watching the white stuff fall thick and fast earlier today convincing myself that this time last year I was bust up the plot and that the days were sunnier, longer and a damn sight warmer...then I think to myself...'Were they really??? Am I just imagining it??'

With this in mind I have decided to do a weekly update...This is more for more own benefit so I can look back and see what is happening from year to it gives me a chance to rant a little about the appalling English weather...and to keep a kind of log as to what I have done and when to see if I am up to speed with things from year to year!!

So at present NOTHING is happening in the allotment...the gardens are still pretty much dormant although I do see the odd bulb poking through here and there.

I am in desperate need of fresh air and vigorous digging but I don't think it's going to be happening anytime soon.

On the plus side, whilst the weather has been so miserable I have completed three 'Wii' games, (Sudoku Ball, Escape the Museum and Cate West The Vanishing Files).

Got on quite well with the jumper I have started knitting.
Taught myself to Crochet...well a little bit and read some great books.

Next week I may have more to report...then again the weather may still be bleak...but if that's the case i will just rant a little more!!!!!

Sunday 7 February 2010

Got the spuds!!!!

Well as usual I have been keeping up with my usual blogs and was slowly realising that everyone was putting in their orders or buying in their potatoes already so this gave me a little incentive and off I went to make some purchases!!

Last year I grew two different types of potatoes and this year I am going to do the same although I have gone for different types. Although all the potatoes I grew last year got used I wasn't overly happy with the texture or taste which is why I have gone for different varieties this year.
Last year I grew Aaron Pilot and Maris Piper....I had never tried Aaron Pilot so that was a trial (one which I won't be repeating!!) but I have often bought Maris Piper from the super market and although they gave me a good yield I wasn't keen on the texture!!

This year I have gone for Rocket which is a first early and I grew two years ago and was very happy with and Maris Peer which is another trial as I have never had these before. Lots of people can give you advice on which potatoes to plant but as everyone's individual taste is different, I don't think they can advise you on what to grow...only what produces a good yield.

I purchased my potatoes form the end of the days potatoes are potatoes wherever they are bought and because we only have a small store in my town it stops me playing 'eeny, meeny miny, mo' for hours trying to decide which type to pick.

I did want to grow some King Edward potatoes too as they are my all time favourite potatoes but I didn't see any in the store but I haven't totally ruled out the idea yet...I think they are a main crop so I would be putting them in a little later anyway!!

So I have my all thats left is to chit them. 'What is chitting?' I hear some of my readers ask...and don't worry because just last year when i started looking at other peoples blogs I asked myself the very same question. I was new to this growing thing and had no idea you had to do more than buy and then plant the potatoes!! Anyway it turns out that chitting a potato is just leaving it in a cool airy place to start to sprout before you plant it in the ground.

Of course some say you should only leave three shoots on before you plant, some say you should leave all the shoots on, some say don't bother chitting at all. Basically there is no right or wrong to this.

Some things I have found out whilst reading up on chitting potatoes is that it isn't essential and if you get your potatoes late you can put them straight in the ground. If you chit your potatoes you will end up with your crop ready for harvest slightly earlier. If you leave all the shoots on you will have a larger yield of potatoes but they will be smaller than if you only leave three shoots. Commercial growers never chit their potatoes!!

So there you have it...chitting will be up to the individual. I think I will probably chit my potatoes this year as luckily they have always been chitted in the past as I store them under my carport left in their net bags and they happily sprout themselves.

I have heard of people setting up elaborate wire storage racks in their sheds especially for chitting their potatoes or standing them in egg boxes or leaving them individually in seed trays....but after all the research I have done I don't feel the need to do this at all....maybe it's a bit of laziness but it has worked well for the last couple of years so why tempt fate now!!!

For all of you who do spend time on your specific ways of chitting I applaud you for taking that extra time out...but it's not for me!!

Oh and there was going to be a picture but I figured who would really want to see my potatoes in their net bags (plus I have run out of camera batteries!!!