Failing tomatoes

Tomatoes are probably one of the most rewarding crops to grow yourself. Not because they make it cheaper than buying in the shops, we’ve definitely learnt that is not the case this year! But because unlike the shops you get amazing tasting tomatoes and can get all sorts of varieties ranging from beef tomatoes to black cherry tomatoes. For us it was one of the first crops to be allocated space in our plot.

 

We have since learnt the hard way that growing tomatoes outside is a tricky affair.

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Every single tomato in our allotment got blight! Being the first time planting tomatoes we didn’t know you could get blight on tomatoes, and thought maybe we were silly to have planted some next to potatoes, but that turned out not to matter as other tomato crops that were planted nowhere near potatoes got it! So each one has come out.

There is hope for us yet though as we have also planted some in our garden at home. These too are outside but they are isolated from anything else growing in the garden and are planted against a wall in a sheltered area. So far they have an abundance of green tomatoes on them and no sign of blight, so we still have a chance of getting homegrown tomatoes.

So we’ve learnt for next year to invest in some tomato greenhouses, and keep them away from everything! You’ve got to try everything once I guess!

Edited by Laboro Marketing Solutions www.laboromarketingsolutions.com

A good crop of potatoes

In our first year at the allotment potatoes were a must for us. They can be reasonably hard work at times, but are normally guaranteed to succeed. We planted three varieties, giving us a crop early in the season, mid-season and late season.

Mound up soil as soon as they are at a good height.

Mound up soil as soon as they are at a good height.

 

Before anything we made sure the soil was well turned and fed, and gave our sprouting seed potatoes a good chance to grow before planting them. We made sure that we mounded up the potatoes at every opportunity we had, and kept them well watered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Try and not interfere with your foliage too much while the crop is maturing.

 

We actually missed the flowering of the early season potatoes and didn’t  realise until a few weeks after that they were ready! Luckily they all came out fine and nothing had munched them. This meant that there was a slight overlap with the mid-season potatoes, so we had a lot ready at once!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cut back the foliage when the crop is ready to harden the skins

 

We didn’t want to pick everything at once so went about digging out every other potato plant. We were then told that cutting back the foliage of the potato plant would help harden the skins of the potatoes, so we gave it a go in the hope that it would help the potatoes keep longer. Since then all the potatoes have been picked and they all came out great, so this is a technique we will definitely use next year.

 

 

 

 

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We did have problems with the late season variety of potato. Almost 75% got munched by creatures, and they came out very small. We think we may have put them in the ground a bit soon, exposing them for a longer period when they wouldn’t normally be active. But it might also be that everything is becoming ready a month early at the moment!

 

But part of growing your own is having failure among success. Even with the last batch munched we got around 10kg of potatoes to last us!

 

Edited by Laboro Marketing Solutions. www.laboromarkeingsolutions.com

 

Long time no see!

May I begin by apologising for being such a rubbish blogger! I have disappeared off the radar for a couple of months and struggled to find where to begin again! I promise I have been very busy saving the world. During the summer months I am a keen ecology field surveyor working with GCN, bats and reptiles, which means I no longer get evenings or daytimes free!

Our allotment has been extremely busy as you would expect for this time of year, and over the next few weeks I will share what each fruit and vegetable has done, what we’ve learnt and what we need to learn for next year. But I hope that all the followers with your own plot have had many a success!

So far we have had crops of potato, onions, shallot, garlic, broad beans, peas and courgette. We have lost our tomatoes down on our plot, but the ones up at our house are fine. The asparagus we planted has come through and gone to flower as too has the globe artichoke. We have a late surge of runner beans soon ready to pick, more courgette and butternut squash coming through also.

We are even trying to sneak in a couple more crops before it’s too late!

 

Like I said a lot has happened while I’ve been away and I will be going into a lot more detail soon.

 

Edited by Laboro Marketing Solutions. laboromarketingsolutions.com

Attack of the Mice!

Having spent most of the time making sure that slugs and birds don’t get at our crops we have forgotten about the sneaky mouse!

Last weekend we spent a good bit of time getting our courgette, butternut squash and pumpkin seeds planted up. We put them in our little greenhouses amongst other seeds and seedlings, but returned to find every single seed of that variety had been munched. They even had the cockiness to eat them in one of our seed beds and not even clean up after themselves!

So we have resorted to the peanut butter on a mouse trap method in amongst the seeds just so they know to stay clear. Let us know if you have any decent ways of keeping the mice away.

 

Edited by Laboro Marketing Solutions http://www.laboromarketingsolutions.com

We found gold!!

IMG_0957On our allotment we briefly shared a small section with the previous tenants while their winter crops were finishing. They fully moved out a couple of months ago but we hadn’t got round to weeding and turning the soil over in that section until last week.

Up till now we have come across a few potatoes while turning the soil over, but otherwise it has just been weeds. Little did we know that there was a rogue vegetable growing away unnoticed. On digging up the last few weeds I came across a weed that was fighting, so I got my fork to dig it out, and a parsnip popped out! We ended up with a dozen parsnips which because they had been left in the ground  longer then they normally would have were huge!

So keep digging because you never know what you will find!

 

Edited by Laboro Makreting Solutions http://www.laboromarketingsolutions.com