Month: March 2015

Pineapples

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Have any of you grown pineapples before? Using the tops?

I saw a pin on Pinterest and it showed you what to do and it looked really simple… so I tried… it didn’t work.  Now I’m like a woman possessed and I am desperate to crack this pineapple growing malarky! So tonight I am trying again.  And I have done more research.

The first key part was establishing what pineapple root buds look like – I guess these are essential because no root buds = no roots are going to grow.  I found this picture from this website – Rick’s Woodshop Creations – which also has some really useful information on how to grow a pineapple.

Pineapple Root Nodes – from Rick’s Woodshop Creations

So I’ve pulled a load of leaves off my pineapple stalk and I found some roots and some root buds:

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The pineapple stalk is now in a jar of water on sunniest windowsill in the house (the one where I germinate my chilli seeds… that’s another post) and within 2 weeks I should start to see some roots appearing.  Hopefully.

imageExcuse the compost on the windowsill, my chilli plants have obviously been having parties and chucking compost everywhere….

Has anyone else successfully done this?

If so how did you do it?  Any help would be gratefully received!!!!!

Thanks 🙂 xx

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Allotment 31st March 2015

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Mental weather here at the moment!  Went to the allotment today but was only able to stay for a little while before the weather just became too much.  This is the back end of my allotment and there used to be a 6′ high wooden fence here, it’s a little bit flatter now!  There is also now officially no felt left on the old shed i inherited.  Definitely a job that is going to require doing this summer.
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Happily though I have a rather handsome row of French Breakfast Radishes coming through.  This made me a happy bunny.  The other radishes in rows on either side are emerging too but these are definitely the current leaders.  I planted the seeds on 7th March so I’m pretty pleased considering the weather then took a turn for the cooler and is only just warming up again.

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Unfortunately our strimmer broke today.  Strimming is the job my other half does at the allotment so it left him at a little bit of a loose end. However he dismantled it and has located the problem, now to track down a new part.  On the plus side the engine still works and he was carrying it round “vroom vroom”ing at me.  At least it made us smile through the rain!

Will try again on Friday – hopefully it’ll be a little less windy and a bit more productive!

Happy allotmenting. xx

Potatoes

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This is the first time I’ve grown potatoes and they’re going pretty well. Won’t be long until we’re at the top of the bags. I’m topping them up with compost about once a week at the moment.

Oh, and that’s Bug. She helps out sometimes :)🐶

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Garden – Thursday 26th March 2015

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I finally collected my Thompson and Morgan order for post office today.  The package was too big to fit through the letter box on Monday and I’ve just not gotten round to it until today.  It was pretty exciting, I’d completely forgotten what I’d ordered so it was a lovely surprise!

I’ve found some interesting radishes to grow – Chinese radishes which I gather are hotter and ideal for using in stir fries.  It looks like they’ll take a little longer to grow than salad radishes and can be grown in to the winter as well.  Varieties are China Rose and Dragon.

Snake gourds were purchased for novelty value.  My other half has 2 kids so i thought they might be fun for them to paint a the end of the summer.
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Following my Olmec post I did a bit more research and discovered growing that combination of crops is known as the “three sisters” and there is a really interesting wikipedia article about it here – although I will definitely be laying off on the rotting eels… So I’ve done another grow bag this time with all three crops in.  My order contained some climbing Borlotti beans with the rather snazzy name of Firetongue so I’ve put those in with Swift sweetcorn and Harrier Butternut Squash.

Fancy carrots are a favourite of mine this year, so to accompany the regular orange varieties I’ve also purchased some Purple Sun, Purple Haze and Yellowstone.  Some of those are going in planters in the garden as well and will be accompanied by a ring of Lilia, Lisbon and Apache spring onions.

I’ve heard that mint is a great companion plant to grow with peas so I’ll be starting off some pots of that to be planted at the allotment – I’m hoping it’ll staying the pots otherwise I will not be popular with my future successor! Talking of peas I’ve found a dwarf, virtually leaf less variety called Bingo that looked interesting so they’re in a pot on the patio too.  I’m really looking forward to having a few veg plants at home for grabbing quickly when I don’t have time at to get to the allotment.

Finally, a few more coloured dwarf beans Concodor which is yellow, some Splendido which are a Borlotti variety and Amethyst a purple skinned bean.  I find dwarf beans really heavy croppers so only a few plants of each are required and we’ll have another freezer full to last us next winter.

Well, enough about seeds for now, hoping to get down the allotment properly this weekend.

Happy growing. xx

Allotment – Sunday 22nd March 2015

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I nearly didn’t go to the allotment this afternoon because the day had been so grey and a bit miserable, but I am so glad I did. Within 10 minutes of being there the sun came out, the coat came off and the dog was sprawled out in a warm spot.
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It’s a bit of a funny time of year at the moment because there isn’t much to do apart from dig.  I put some radish in 2 weeks ago and the Cherry Belle’s have just started to poke their heads above the surface, and the garlic I planted around the peas have charged off, but apart from that the only other things growing on the plot are the onions and garlic I planted last autumn.
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My tulips have at last come up though, although we have no flower stems yet, hopefully next weekend.

So, I did some digging.  Quite a bit of digging actually.  I’ve managed to turn a bit more over and get rid of a few more weeds. I wrapped some string around my sweet pea canes so that they have something to climb up.  I’m trying cordoning for the first time this year and once they’re a bit better established I’ll do a post about that too.

The red and black currant bushes which I was growing in pots last summer are now in the ground, although the loganberry and blackberry canes were more than dead.  I moved some of my rhubarb too because they were in the way of my other half’s plans for the area around the shed.
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Managed to get quite a lot done when it’s written down like that!

Hope you all managed to enjoy some of the sunshine too.

Happy Sunday,

A x

Growing like the Olmec

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As well as gardening and growing my own I have a fascination with history, especially ancient Greece and Rome, and the Central and South American civilizations.

The Olmec lived in Central America between 1300 to 400 BC and were one of the earliest cultures in this part of the world.  Tim Lambert provides an easy to read “brief history of the Olmec” here.

While I was watching Jago Cooper’s Lost Kingdoms series that I came across some clever companion planting – namely of the three principle crops of the Olmec people: (sweet)corn, squash and beans.  As far as I am aware, the UK is the only place the world that calls corn sweetcorn (although please correct me if I am wrong!).

The method is super clever and makes so much sense! You grow the squash to provide ground cover and keep the weeds down, then the corn and beans grown up through the squash, with the corn providing support for the beans.  This makes a lot of sense to me!  So I am going to do some experimenting, both in my garden and at the allotment, although I’m going to grow my beans up canes because they’re part of another experiment.

In the garden I’m growing some squash and corn in a grow bag, not much to see yet though as the seeds have only just gone in!  The varieties are Sunburst Squash and Sweet Corn Passion.
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For the allotment I’m going to grow plants on at home and then plant them out later in the year.  I need to find some window sill space and some little pots to get them going though!

I’m off to find some different varieties of squash and corn to grow! Happy growing 🙂

A x

Back to the beginnning

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One thing I really regret about when I got my plot was that I didn’t take a picture of it.

I don’t know why I didn’t, but I didn’t.  Instead I meekly emailed the lady who oversees the allotments in the area saying I’d take it and asking when I could start.

I wish I had taken pictures because it was a jungle – and everyone enjoys before and after pictures, especially when they’ve involved a lot of hard work.  I do have a few pictures from shortly after though and I thought I would share them with you.
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This was my first month of having the plot.  It had been vacant for 12 months prior to me taking it on and the weeds were around waist height.  I understand this is relatively short compared to what other people have taken on but a pain in the backside none the less!

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This picture was taken in late May and I’d managed to clear a bit more and find the rhubarb plant! I’d never liked rhubarb until my other half made crumble using stems from that plant, now I can’t get enough of it.

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The picture above and the one below were taken last June and things were starting to grow. The mound next to the shed was a pile of top soil and rubbish, including 3 sheets corregated tin and so much green fruit netting! I’d also managed to get almost all of the plot back under control.

imageSo that was the start of my plot.  I would love to see what other peoples allotments looked like when they got them.

Happy growing!

A x