New year's resolutions

by Jane Moore

The long chilly winter evenings are ideal for looking back on the year and reflecting on its triumphs and disasters.

talk_blog_jane1The long chilly winter evenings are ideal for looking back on the year and reflecting on its triumphs and disasters. Some triumphs are of my own making - my carrots were fantastic thanks to my sowing the seeds at the right time, unlike last year. But the disasters were beyond my control. The cabbage white caterpillar invasion springs to mind, not to mention onions that simply wouldn't dry off, thanks to the horrifically wet summer we had. This time of year is also perfect for planning how to manage the plot next year. So here are my allotment New Year resolutions for 2009:

I must grow crops that don't require regular picking as I don't live close enough to the plot to get there more than a couple of times a week. That's just not enough to harvest runner beans and courgettes, which produce inedible, gargantuan produce at the earliest opportunity.

I must grow more vegetables that are suitable for storing. Potatoes, butternut squashes, onions and shallots are great storers. They're no trouble to grow and are so welcome in these cold, long winter months.

Tomatoes have been a total waste of time for the past couple of years due to blight so I'm not bothering any more - I'll grow a couple of plants at home instead!

I still haven't mastered the art of successionally sowing lettuce seed. I usually start off well and then forget and they're all ready at one go. I'll try sowing them in stagess and planting out a couple of plants at a time this year.

I must do more weeding!

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Gardeners' World Web User 26/12/2008 at 12:31

The Death of Briggs and Stratton It started a year ago last month, the dream of a garden sketched out over lunch, Patios and arches and ponds stocked with fishes, was top of the page of a long list of wishes And under a tarpaulin the bright red mower, left in the house by the previous owner I dusted it down and out in the yard; I filled it with fuel and pulled on the cord The neighbours will remember for years to come, the day I got my lawn mower to run. The ground vibrated and the sky darkened over From the smoke that belched from my red Stratton mower The flywheel spinned with a terrible shudder as the chickens and dog retreated for cover The engine propelled with a cough and a fart And I positioned it where my orchard would start I mowed up and down and I paced too and fro Mulching the nettles where new grass would grow I day dreamed of straight cuts looking so nice That the gardening experts would call for advice When all of a sudden with a deafening sound Pieces of engine fell to the ground Silencer, exhaust and components of choke Lay on the grass all twisted and broke The officers called to propose a solution For my mower exceeded legal noise pollution They said “Son lets talk your procedures over, You really should have an exhaust on your mower” He made me feel slightly inferior As he read from a long list of legal criteria “A mower like this should have a silencer in it ‘Cause without it- it is louder than the current noise limit And to protect yourself from this spinning steel racket Some steel toe cap boots and high visibility jacket And to ensure our statistics don’t climb any higher We recommend a purchase from a reputable supplier A hard hat and ear muffs with foam all around Should protect your hearing and muffle the sound” I fancied myself as the new Percy Thrower but seriously let down By my red Stratton mower The grass don’t take long to grow under your feet When your mower’s impounded and clamped on the street Now my Stratton’s redundant amongst the mechanical clutter’ Cause I’ve bought a shiny new petrol bush cutter!

Gardeners' World Web User 28/12/2008 at 13:12

I just finished adding 3 new 50x4 foot raised bed. And a 15x15 potato bed for 1 potato plant started from a nice 2.75 lbs seed potato I acquired. I hope for harvest 600lbs from this plant. I started my tomatoes seeds 7 days ago they will be ready to plant out on 15th of febuary. I plan on growing oca this season

Gardeners' World Web User 28/12/2008 at 17:23

successional sowing would be great to crack I had to buy a lettuce which realy anoyed me in the summer I did manage to keep tomatos and cucumbers going for months, herbs and spring onions were consistent but lettuce there seems to be an abundence and then you realise you should have planted some more a week ago but never mind another summers on its way to try again.My new seeds for this year are carrots and garlic chives.

Gardeners' World Web User 04/01/2009 at 18:56

I have this heavy clay that I am finding harder to deal with but I have had very good results over the years but oh! dear hoping that the weather is better this year and I am not stuck in the mud and my garden continues to look lovely as i am the only one in the street that tries, all the others are young and healthy although they like my garden it hasn't mad them guilty about their front gardens becomming car parks and the back becomming the local tips, sad isn't it

Gardeners' World Web User 05/01/2009 at 20:22

Jane,I managed to get my lettuce planting reasonably sorted,where I did not have to buy any until November. a major problem I have though is my first attempt at growing brassicas over the winter. Luckily I divided 150 mixed plants with my father in law,and an allotment grower. Mine were doing superbly,until overnight I lost every plant to God knows what.All that was left was the stalks. It left a serrated edge on the stalks,almost like a saw blade. The same thing has now happened with the other two growers plants. I wonder if you have any clues what may have caused such quick devastation.? Regards,and good luck for this year. Spud

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