Author Archive: Steve

Massive radish, splitting onions and a strawberry bed

If you read my previous post, you will have seen I went overboard with the radish in the square foot bed. Well this weekend, I started to harvest them and in the process pulled up some rather large but tasty roots out. Most where an inch across, while some measured around 3 inches. The one below was one of the larger ones.

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Square Foot Bed

Last year I stumbled across the concept of square foot gardening. The idea is that you create a bed and divide it into sections to create a densely planted bed, and in each section you plant a different variety of vegetable or plant. Wanting to give this a try, I created a new bed over winter that was roughly 5 metres long and about a metre wide, filled it with fresh manure and compost, ready to be planted in spring. (more…)

How to Grow Cobnuts and Filberts

Cobnuts or hazelnuts are not very large nuts, but they are sweet, tasty and easy to crack. The trees are easy to grow and have the advantage of producing catkins or tassels of male flowers from midwinter to early spring. The female flowers are inconspicuous red tufts. Fortunately, both types are wind pollinated, which compensates for the lack of pollinating inserts so early in the year. There are several self-fertile varieties, so it is not necessary to grow more than one if you are short on space. They are perfect for providing shade in which to sit plants as well as to grow shade-loving plants. They are really a large bush, rather than a tree, growing to no more than about 4m/13ft high, which makes them suitable for a small garden, unlike many of the other nut trees. (more…)

Chillies

I wasn’t planning on growing any chillies this year, but for Christmas I received a gift set with three packets of chilli seeds and various spices and thought it would be a waste not to have a go at growing them. So in late January I sown a packet of Anaheim and a packet of Cayenne in the hope to have some fresh chillies come summer time. (more…)

The allotment from the start

First day on the allotment

First day on the allotment before I started doing any work.

I got my allotment in April 2012 after been on the waiting list for a couple of months. The plot itself isn’t very big, 12 metres by 5 but it keeps me busy. The first couple of days on the plot was spent digging it over and generally giving it a once over. My plan was to get my potatoes in and then work out where everything else was going to go at a later date. I had 9 rows of potatoes; 3 first early and the rest second early, and these were probably the most successful crop I had that year, weighing it at around 30-40kg.

The next couple of months was spent experimenting with different sowing techniques, planting out various herbs, strawberries and other bits and pieces, just to get into the feel of things. My aim was to find out what works and what doesn’t, and found that I had too much lettuce and radish, my french beans were the dwarf variety and didn’t climb up my frames, and that I didn’t sow enough onions. (more…)

How to Grow Potatoes

How to grow potatoesPotatoes are probably one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They can be grown in an type of soil even containers if you’re short of space. However before you can begin, you must choose the variety you want to grow and whether you want to grow first or second early, or maincrop potatoes.

First early potatoes are ideal if you want to harvest them a little quicker or short of space. They are normally ready to harvest within 8-10 weeks depending on the variety you decide to grow. They are also less likely to encounter pests and diseases. Second earlies can be harvested roughly 16 weeks after planting, usually from late June and into August. Maincrop potatoes are ready to harvest after 18 weeks from planting. Maincrop potatoes generally take up more space but are ideal for storage. (more…)

How to Grow Pumpkins

Originally from South America, where they have been part of the staple diet for centuries, pumpkins are extremely popular in North America, and it is from there that their recent revival in Britain has come. They are, in fact, winter squashes but are frequently separated from the other members of the family simply on grounds of their size and uses. The distinctive name of pumpkin is usually given to the large, round winter squashes. (more…)