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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Raspberries Complete and early Christmas gift

Proudly showing my new hoe

Checking the weather forecast last night it said that this morning would be sunny followed by rain in the afternoon. For once, they were correct. Picking up my early Christmas present sent from Tamara in Austria, an oscillating hoe (pictured above), I headed for the bus.

I arrived so early the local cafe hadn't even opened so I bought milk and water from the supermarket and walked to the plot. The sun burnt away the early morning fog as the allotment gates closed behind.

Normally I would advise any gardener to stay off the land when the ground is wet but this was the only opportunity I had to plant the red raspberries before three days of forecast rain.



It was hard going. The soil stuck to the spade and weeding was impossible. I did my best but will have to weed this trench again when the soil drys out. After twenty minutes of puffing and panting I managed to plant the last of the raspberries, this time red varieties.

The collection I have is made up of three varieties, two canes of each. They should give me harvests from mid-May until the end of October. The varieties, from Marshall Seeds, are...

Cascade Delight - An early floricane variety (see explanation below) originally from USA, cropping from June/July for about four weeks. Cascade Delight's long fruit-bearing laterals make it an ideal variety for growing at home and harvesting by hand. Very vigorous and reliably produces a good crop of large, conical berries with sweet red flesh. Cascade Delight is an ideal variety for planting in damp soil as it has excellent resistance to root rot. Height: Over 1m.

Tadmoor - One of the latest season floricane varieties (see explanation below). Tadmoor was bred in New Zealand and crops from late July right the way through to early autumn. It's spine free which makes picking easy, and it has strong, rigid stems and compact habit meaning it can virtually support itself. Height: Up to 90cm.

Polka - Polka is a special late primocane variety (see explanation below) from Poland which crops on both the new and old wood, making it one of the earliest and longest fruiting varieties, starting to crop from as early as mid-July and continuing right through until as far as October It's self-fertile and produces very high yields of the most exceptional quality fruit. It's a tough variety with good disease resistance and tolerance to poor soil, meaning it will crop very reliably throughout the summer. Height: Up to 1.5m.

Floricane (summer-fruiting) varieties fruit on canes produced in the previous year. After fruiting, cut out the old, fruited wood in autumn/winter and tie in the new growths to the support. Cut down cane to about 2cm (1in) above ground level at the time of planting. This will encourage multiple canes to grow from the ground.

Primocane (autumn-fruiting) varieties fruit on canes produced in the current year. After cropping, these should be cut down to ground level to promote the growth of new canes. Allow primocane raspberry beds to spread up to 2.5ft/0.75m wide but dig out any canes which start to grow between the rows.

By the time I finished planting them and consumed a few cuppa teas I started packing away my tools just as the first few drops of rain approached. Feeling very satisfied I closed the shed and headed home.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Planting Hot Chocolate


The plan was to finish planting the raspberries in the fruit garden but I ended up planting a rose.

Back at the start of Summer I spotted a beautiful rose on a friends allotment. Stunning colours that looked straight out of a Victorian novel. It was called Hot Chocolate and after searching the internet I managed to find that J Parkers were selling it.

Their website describes it as...

"Uniquely coloured buds of rusty orange opening to reveal warm velvety smoked chocolate brown. Contrasted nicely against very dark glossy foliage. Winner of both the Rose of the Year 2006 and the distinguished Award of Garden Merit this floribunda variety rates high with good disease resistance and repeat flowering habit. Floribunda roses are an excellent choice for your summer garden as they will bear colourful blooms in large clusters on each stem throughout the summer months, flowering June to September." 

To give it the space it deserves I moved the Hot Bin Composter from the side of the tool shed to the front so I could plant the rose in that location. As it grows it will have the backdrop of the shed side panel to really make a stunning display. This is also a location which can be viewed from the main allotment site path so hopefully everyone else will also appreciate it. 




Back inside my shed I lit the cooker to make a cuppa tea and noticed that a few plot holders were arriving. Ten minutes later we were all in the communal shed enjoying tea, biscuits and having a good chat.

By the time I got back to my plot it was getting dark so there was no time to finish planting the raspberries or the rhubarb crowns which arrived in the post earlier in the day.



I'll tell you more about them when I plant them. Bye for now.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Time to ponder

The grey weather continued and again I found an empty site when I arrived. Making the most of my time I set about cleaning one of the sheds. It's surprising how quickly they can become full and need a broom swept around them.

Having a think about the prospect of sowing some crops before Christmas

I walked around the allotment, visualising how it will look next Summer. Taking out the measuring tape I worked out the width of the path between the beds, 2ft I'm thinking. At the moment I'm not sure what material the path will be constructed of, but I know that I don't want grass.

While cleaning the shed I found a few packets of Shallots, Onions and Broad Bean seeds. If the weather is on my side next weekend I could peel back a few feet of the plastic in Bed 3 and maybe plant a row of Shallots, Onions and Broad Beans.

Bed 3


There was no point staying too long, it was cold and thinking can also be done at home by the warmth of the fire with a mug of tea in hand, so I headed for the gate as the light faded with a headful of ideas.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Don't know why I visited the allotment

View looking across from plot from the corner of Bed 1

Not been able to get to the allotment all week so I was disappointed to fly open the curtains to find that the greyness and the rain has continued into the weekend.

I arrived on site around lunchtime and was not surprised to find nobody around. It's been a devil of a week with the weather, either heavy rain or light rain nearly every day with the exception of Wednesday, but typical, I was in central London that day.

Am not sure what I was expecting to achieve by visiting today. I opened the shed but it was even to dull for a cuppa tea. Checking the temperature gauge it told me the lowest point these past few days had reached -6*c!

Some positives did come out of my visit. It gave me the time to just walk around the plot and plan what needed to be done next. The two beds outside the tea shed have never been touched. The plan was to leave these until Spring but on reflection, on the next dry day (whenever that will be), I'll strim the grass to ground level and cover with a large sheet of plastic - similar to Bed 3. At least that way any growth will be stopped from taking hold.

Standing on the path of Bed 1 (left) and Bed 2 (right)

The ground in Bed 1 and Bed 2 is very uneven and from what I can see I'm guessing it was used to grow potatoes. There is also a difference in height between Bed 2 and Bed 3, a difference of around 1ft. There is a large area of iron sheeting which may have been a compost bin.


Bed 1
Bed 2
There should be a path here between my plot (left) and my neighbour

Another fine pile of wood chippings


As I left there was another delivery of wood chips. I'll be back soon and have a few barrows for putting around the trees in the fruit garden but for now, it was time to get home.

Tell me in the comments what you are doing in your gardens at this time of year.

Friday, 23 November 2018

v: Potting up Helenium and Fruit Trees



In this vlog I'm planting grafted fruit trees are planted along with Heleniums for summer colour next year and to help the bees and butterflies.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

First Raspberries Planted

The weather forecast has been predicating a cold snap and it certainly arrived this morning. It was very windy on site and that made filming a video quite difficult. I filmed another monthly tour of the plot which you can watch here... http://www.seansallotmentgarden.com/2018/11/v-november-tour-nov-y1.html

After a few mugs of tea to keep warm I set about digging out a trench for the yellow Raspberries from Marshalls (https://www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk/raspberry-plants-all-gold-primocane-pid6941.html). Each of my beds measures 12ft wide and traditionally you would plant raspberries 2ft apart but seeing as I wanted all the yellow ones in the same strip I planted mine 1ft apart. I'll have to keep a sharp eye on them in the future and be on top of the pruning. The entire plot may look big but when I worked out everything I want to grow, like every other garden, some plants have to be squeezed in.

Raspberries, v. All Gold

The variety I've planted is All Gold. I grew this around 20 years ago back in Wales and love the flavour. It's an Autumn fruiting raspberry and described as...

"producing attractive yellow fruit for lovely autumn colour. The same vigour, habit and cropping potential as Autumn Bliss but with superior, sweeter-tasting fruit. Will fruit well into autumn - even after October - and being short, the canes need little or no support. All Gold is perfect for the home gardener or those with smaller fruit and vegetable plots."

I do plan to erect supports but didn't have all the materials to do it at this stage.

By 3pm it was getting far too chilly so I packed up and headed home.

v: November Tour (Nov Y1)



Quite a lot has changed since the last plot tour.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Getting the raspberry trench ready



Day started off quite warm, 19*c. Nobody on site which is surprising for such a good weekend day.

The plan was to skim the top off a length within the fruit garden but ended up doing a good job of weeding with fork and hands.

Jim & Barbara arrived at midday with a new bird bath for the side of their pond. Now is the time to start thinking about feeding and keeping the birds topped up with fresh drinking water.

The ground is wet and making the task much longer. The main part of the bed is quite free of weeds, it's only the edges that require a firm hand to take out the clods of grass.

19*c when I arrived at 10am

By 3:30pm the temperature was down to 8*c and quite chilly. The moon became visible at the same time so I packed up and headed for home. Raspberries will have to be planted another day.

Friday, 16 November 2018

More Raspberries Arrive


Another set of raspberries arrived in the post today from Marshalls. The varieties are...

2 x Raspberry Cascade Delight - An early floricane variety (see explanation below) originally from USA, cropping from June/July for about four weeks. Cascade Delight's long fruit-bearing laterals make it an ideal variety for growing at home and harvesting by hand. Very vigorous and reliably produces a good crop of large, conical berries with sweet red flesh. Cascade Delight is an ideal variety for planting in damp soil as it has excellent resistance to root rot. Height: Over 1m.

2 x Raspberry Tadmoor - One of the latest season floricane varieties (see explanation below). Tadmoor was bred in New Zealand and crops from late July right the way through to early autumn. It's spine free which makes picking easy, and it has strong, rigid stems and compact habit meaning it can virtually support itself. Height: Up to 90cm.

2 x Raspberry Polka - Polka is a special late primocane variety (see explanation below) from Poland which crops on both the new and old wood, making it one of the earliest and longest fruiting varieties, starting to crop from as early as mid-July and continuing right through until as far as October It's self-fertile and produces very high yields of the most exceptional quality fruit. It's a tough variety with good disease resistance and tolerance to poor soil, meaning it will crop very reliably throughout the summer. Height: Up to 1.5m.

Floricane (summer-fruiting) varieties fruit on canes produced in the previous year. After fruiting, cut out the old, fruited wood in autumn/winter and tie in the new growths to the support. Cut down cane to about 2cm (1in) above ground level at the time of planting. This will encourage multiple canes to grow from the ground.

Primocane (autumn-fruiting) varieties fruit on canes produced in the current year. After cropping, these should be cut down to ground level to promote the growth of new canes. Allow primocane raspberry beds to spread up to 2.5ft/0.75m wide but dig out any canes which start to grow between the rows.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Planning the fruit garden

My yellow raspberry canes (variety All Gold) arrived today so I took them to the allotment late afternoon. Nobody was around. I popped the kettle on to boil and unpacked the canes from the package.

I placed the canes into a bucket of water and will plant them on my next visit. This quick visit was mostly spent working out distances and where the raspberries along with the other fruit will be placed. Gladys arrived and we had a chat as we walked around her allotment.

Click to see larger plan
Bamboo canes represent planting positions

The familiar pattern of sudden temperature drop and dusk descending over the allotment site arrived; it was time to head home.

-------------------------------------------------

All Gold Raspberries
I grew All Gold Raspberries back in the late 1990s. They are a beautiful yellow raspberry with a lovely taste, am looking forward to eating these again.

- A novel variety producing attractive yellow fruit for lovely autumn colour. The same vigour, habit and cropping potential as Autumn Bliss but with superior, sweeter-tasting fruit.

Primocane varieties flower and fruit on the first year's growth, and are exceptionally easy to maintain and care for. They will fruit well into autumn - even after October - and being short, the canes need little or no support. All Gold is perfect  for the home gardener or those with smaller fruit and vegetable plots.

Why buy primocane raspberries?
- You can pick primocane raspberries until the first frost.
- Plant & eat same year! Primocane varieties flower and fruit in the first year.
- They are asy to maintain: simply cut back to ground level in January/February.
- Short, sturdy canes need less support and are easier to grow - perfect for smaller gardens!

Primocane (autumn-fruiting) varieties fruit on canes produced in the current year. After cropping, these should be cut down to ground level to promote the growth of new canes. Allow primocane raspberry beds to spread up to 2.5ft/0.75m wide but dig out any canes which start to grow between the rows.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Planting the Cherry and Apple Trees

It was good to get the trees into the ground. The cherry and two apple trees now sit in their permanent place. As they are classed as 'patio trees', they won't grow higher than 4ft.

l-r Apple (Elstar), Cherry (Van), Apple (Jonagold)

I dug a trench to mark the start of the fruit garden which will be bordered with a line of lavender bushes and a wildflower section of poppies and cornflowers.

The ground around the fruit trees will be covered in cardboard with wood chips spread on top. A sort of no-dig fruit garden.

Late Autumn and Winter is the best time to plant a fruit garden. As long as there is no hard frost forecast in the days after planting, everything will be just fine.

As the sun set it created some beautiful colours across the allotment site

Sunday, 11 November 2018

How much rain?!

Got to the allotment early afternoon. Gladys, a few plots from me, was packing up and about to head home. We sat in the sun, it was quite warm, and chatted about life.

Over on my allotment the ground was sodden from all the rain overnight. Looking at my rain gauge, which I had emptied yesterday, was nearly full. Overnight 31mm of rain had fallen! It's no surprise then that social media was full of local streets under flood water.

Over 31mm of rain fell in 12 hours

I packed up and walked home. As I did I noticed how colourful the streets were with their yellow, orange and brown leaves gently falling from the trees. I got home 40 minutes later and settled in with a warm cuppa tea.

Terrible Rain

Terrible rain storms overnight. Local social media is showing streets under a foot of water. Sun and dry weather if forecast for later today. Hopefully the plot hasn't been washed away.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Cold and miserable

What a day! Nothing but coldness, dark clouds and showers. It's now 4:30pm and dark.

Took another look at the location where I was planning on having the Vegepod and decided to move it. That means the start of the raised beds will be moved by 6ft. I may take the opportunity to make them deeper than planned, I'll work that out later.

Vegepod is now on the right

After a few hours of slipping in the mud I decided it was time to have a cuppa tea then pack it in for the day.

Looks like I got home just in time as the rain is throwing itself against my window as I write this. Time for another cuppa tea to keep warm.

Setting up the Kettle

With the temperature dropping by mid-afternoon it was time to set up the kettle station in the shed. I made a shelf from scrap wood, enough to hold the portable stove, box of tea bags, milk, sugar and a cup.

Time for a cuppa tea
Now the portable cooker is set up I can stay longer and have lunch on the allotment
The solar powered lights are also set-up and needed as its now dark by 4:45pm
When the door is closed its quite toast when making a cuppa tea


Vegepod Visit the Allotment

Vegepod visited the allotment today. I first met the Australian couple at a recent RHS London show, but originally saw them on a video by MuddyBootz Nigel when he visited the Shrewsbury Flower Show back in August (see video below). I liked their product and thought it would come in very handy for growing seeds. This product featured on the Australian version of Dragon's Den but there it's called Shark Tank.




After a few rounds of tea and dodging between rain showers I attempted to start building the pod. I completed one section but the temperature had dropped and daylight was fading so I packed up and headed home.

Saturday, 3 November 2018