Go find some bargains!

This point in the year is a great time to grab a bargain at your local garden centres and DIY shops. Thinking for the winter and following year ahead you can pick up all sorts of tools and materials that will be sold cheap as it is the wrong season to be selling them.

For example, we have grabbed some mini polytunnels of varying materials that we can use to help warm a patch of soil next year and protect those seedlings next year from frost and predators, and they were better than half price! Fertiliser is another good bargain find, as it’s not used as much this time of the year, so large buckets go cheaply.

So do get hunting now as it’s never too early to start prepping for next year.

Alliums galore!

This year we planted as much as we could in the way of onions and garlic. Being our first year, we played it relatively safe in the types we went for. We planted white and red onion, shallots and garlic.

They were definitely worth it as we got a tremendous crop from all of them, and not a single one lost. I would love to say we had a secret to the success but it was just the basics of keeping them moist, weed free and giving them a feed of standard fertiliser.

They are certainly a rewarding crop as you don’t have to do too much to keep them alive, and you physically see the crop coming out of the ground!

 

We started them off in trays first in a greenhouse

We started them off in trays first in a greenhouse

Some were 10 times there original size

Some were 10 times their original size

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Not one single onion was lost!

We were told that garlics would produce multiple cloves this time of year, but how wrong they were!

We were told that garlic would produce multiple cloves this time of year, but how wrong they were!

The strength of container grown vegetables

Last year before we got our allotment we had a small hardstanding courtyard to use.  So everything we planted was container grown. This year having the allotment everything has been grown down there, and its been interesting to see the difference between crops.

Last year we had peas and Broad beans in containers. Compared to the ones planted down the allotment this year they were a lot smaller and produced less crop. We also had courgettes in containers, which were very successful and a space saver. They didn’t produce as much of a crop compared to the courgettes down in our allotment, but we still got a good haul from them.

This year we haven’t had to do as much in containers, but we still did to do a few things up at the house. We wanted to keep aubergines and chilli plants up at the house in containers. While seedlings they can very quickly suffer and both enjoy the heat of Summer, so having them planted on a patio allowed for that extra heat to reach them and keep a sustained heat throughout the day. We did buy seedlings late this year but as you can see we are getting a good number of aubergine and chillies through at the moment.

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Salad we have found beneficial to grow in containers at the house. Mainly because you tend to want to use it there and then when cooking so it makes it more accessible, and because it can come and go so quick it doesn’t take up space down the allotment.

Its not to say you can’t have containers down the allotment. We have people down our allotment who have created paths on their plot to make the beds accessible then planted containers along them to still use up the space. One plot owner has a huge bulk bag where he grows potatoes, so they can come in all shapes and sizes.

Let us know what has worked for you in containers, as next year we want to utilise our garden to produce more crops, so it would be great to know what works really well in containers.

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

Roast vegetable vindaloo

Our first recipe is up on our recipe page, and this week it is Vegetable Vindaloo! Please check it out and let us know if you give it a try.

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Courgettes and Butternut squash coming out of our ears!

Staying away from your allotment for a couple of days with courgettes maturing is a dangerous thing! We have grown courgettes from seed the last couple of years and have had big success both times. This year is the first time being planted out of containers and down the allotment, and to say they enjoy the extra space is an understatement!

We’ve got just under a dozen courgette plants growing and all are doing really well. We started picking back in July and every few days a new batch is ready. We try to get them at a good size so they are not too watery, but as you can see we do occasionally miss some, but they are still yummy nonetheless!

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A new crop for us this year is butternut squash. Part of the same family as courgette we gave it the same treatment, but thought being a bigger vegetable would make it a bit harder to grow. It has been a great success, and although we haven’t had anything to pick yet we have plenty that are coming through and by the end of next week should be ready to pick.

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For me courgette (and now butternut squash) has been my favourite thing to grow. They both took really well from seed, have pretty much looked after themselves and produced an amazing abundance of crop! The only downside is that we can’t freeze it to save it.

On top of all this they also produce amazing flowers for the pollinators, and of course for us to eat too!

Since getting a good crop we have tried to be inventive with courgette and have made a chutney along with a few dishes ranging from courgette and beetroot soup to courgette and cashew curry. My new page all about recipes using your homegrown vegetables will soon show you a couple of ideas for you to use up your courgette and other vegetables!

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Courgette, shallot & garlic chutney

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

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