Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Gertrude Franck bed

So it goes...Gert reigns supreme yet again.

Same photos as the other blog but for slightly different reasons

Gert's bed is there, with the green framed netted portion over it. I know it's hard to see in amongst the flooding but it's there. And it's been the most successful bed in a really cruddy growing year. And I pulled some parsnips from it today, plus an onion [yes, an onion. Just the one. Because in every other year they have all had white rot in that bed. So something is going right somewhere]. I left all the other onions, as they were Long Red Florences and they are just starting to regrow and I want to save the seed from them. So although it pained me greatly - I left them there.

So here, back home, once the wet clay has been asked off - are the spoils of today. I also got some leeks from Mark's Leek bed...grown from my own saved seed [Bleu De Solaise] from the perennial leek bed. 

So, I have also decided to have a new layout of the lottie if I can find the time this year to do it - now it has flooded I think it's time to change things a little.

Anyway - here's to a better 2013 for us veg growers. I can't wait to put 2012 to bed. A soggy, flooded, wet, claggy, sluggy, sodden bed. Bleurgh.

*P.s...the good thing about the flooding was the sheer number of drowned slugs one sees whilst walking in wellies to the shed. Ha!

Some good news!

 No, it's not that the plot flooded. Which it did. 2 days before Christmas. Which meant no veg could be harvested for any of our festive meals. Which was annoying. Also, I have been collecting various fruit plants for Christmas pressies and they were totally sodden so I couldn't give them away either. But...

The actual good news is that we went down today and the waters had subsided. I had worn my wellies so could traipse through the 2 inch deep with water paths - whereas Mark could only stand by...whilst I pulled some leeks [Bleu De Solaise, from my own saved seeds from the perennial Leek bed] and 1 Stamme Onions [hazaah!!!] and some Avon Resistor Parsnips. Which needed a spade to dig them out - although it was more the suction keeping them in than the usual frozen soil issue.

So - 2 more successes from the Seed Circle. I will be getting more of these parsnips as they were absolutely delightful roasted, buttery and smooth. Nicest ever I'd say. So 3 will be left to go to seed in 2013. Roll on the new year! And the new A4A Seed Circle seeds, which will be coming hopefully in the near future.

Happy 2013 one and all!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Sowing onions

To get large onions, you need to sow early. I don't grow for champion sizes, but do like a large onions so I get started as soon as the Winter Solstice is here. Which is today. So I've sown my first batches of onions. 7 Varieties. Morada De Amposta - Rossa Savonese - Simane - Tropea Rossa Lunga - Long Red Florence - Rossa Savonese. 

Sown into little pots - about 100 seeds per pot - covered with grit - watered and stuck into the prop [again, not heated, just with the lid on].

The Random Approach Day 1 Week 1

 So, the sowing starts. The random approach where I put lots of different seeds into weekly packets, and will just sow each one, each week, transplant whatever comes up, and the whole lot in it's randomness will be grown on Mark's bit of the lottie with overflow around the garden. 

 First pack, a nice line is drawn. 

Looks like onions and lettuces to me. I could check but I'm not going to. 

In they go. 

Grit to cover. 

Today's date. And I've watered that line, and it is in the heated prop [which hasn't been turned on yet - it's just for protection].

And happy winter solstice to everyone.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Random Approach to GYO

I've decided to try a different approach to sowing seed this year. 

I'm going to pack up a range of seeds to sow each week, so every Sunday all we have to do is to sprinkle the contents onto a half seed tray and water in. 

Then prick out, grow on and plant in their own bed at the allotment. 

If they look like they are going to climb - we'll pop a cane in to let them. 

Mark has agreed to put them all in his bed at the plot. 

So I have printed out one seed pack per week from Jan 1st to 8 Oct 2013. 

Later today I will go through my seed stash and put pinches of appropriate seeds into each week's packet. 


I've been through my non-tomatoes, non-peppers, non-HSL or seed saving, and non-needs to be sown in situ stash - and have hand picked seeds for each week between 18th December 2012 and 8th October 2013.

Some, like a huge bag of mixed lettuce, I've put in a pinch every single week.

The others, I've looked at the months they can be sown, and either sown at the start of the season, or split down into 2 or more sowings.

I've noted them all down in my book so I can reference them if needs be.

Let the sowing 9 days time.

Friday, 7 December 2012


I'm not really a festive type, but do enjoy making stuff, and I know my students love to as well. They also love indoor working during the winter and foraging. So...we foraged loads of sticks this week and all the next week's sessions will be spent making decorations. 

I've just made this one in about 10 mins. Yes it's lopsided but it will show the students that they need to cut or drill dead centre. 

And another - easier with thinner twigs I suspect.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


And the benefits of knowing people around the world who swap seeds.

So 2 days ago my Heritage Seed Library 2013 Catalogue came through the door, and today whilst I am sat here working at home devising workshops...I get a swap from Germany...

I can choose 6 packs from the HSL catalogue, and Nellie has sent me 4 varieties from Germany - one jet black broad bean [wow], Schwarzsamige; a Climbing French Bean Berner Landfrauen, and two tomatoes, Ultra Early from Moscow and Pendulina a yellow hanging basket variety.

Is there a better way to start December? I think not.