Allotment Newsletter - Week 36

week 36 on the allotmentThis week has been quite busy on the allotment. I've decided to have a go at overwintering some vegetables this winter so I went on ebay and ordered...

The winter lettuce collection seeds have now been sown in plug trays. I received 3 varieties of lettuce and I've sown 24 of each. I have no idea how many will come up, will have to wait and see.

Today, I'm going to plant my onion sets. Earlier in the week I prepared a bed for the onion sets by turning over the ground and scattering two handfuls of pelleted chicken manure per square metre. I then went over the ground again, digging in the chicken manure. This should be sufficient for the onions, but I'll also feed later on in the season with a liquid chicken manure mixture I have started to prepare in a 200 litre plastic container complete with tap at the bottom.

I also need to sow the spring onions, cabbage and spinach in plug trays today, so it's quite a busy time.

Now is a good time to be thinking about planting garlic and I did plant some cloves out last week. The cloves were from supermarket bought garlic, but I have been informed that "Isle of Wight" garlic is what I need, and the best time to plant is October (I'm thinking mid September actually). I searched for "Isle of Wight Garlic" on ebay and found 10 bulbs for 10 pounds. I think I'll order these to plant out. Any I don't eat, I can use to plant out next season maybe. Some people may not like the idea of ordering seeds or plants off ebay, but It's surprising what you can find on there and I haven't had any problems with quality so far.

Courgettes have done very well this year and we've made a Moussaka with courgettes instead of aubergine (v. good). Also made a courgette soup and we've been shredding the courgette to include in salads. The yields have been so great that I've fed quite a lot of courgette to my chickens as well. They love pecking at it. Must remember to save some seed for next season.

Tomato's are ripening now. I've been growing Amish Paste which is a heirloom seed (not F1). The yields haven't been great but I think that's down to my lack of knowledge rather than the seed. Heirloom seeds can be saved and grown again next season and this years tomato's have been grown from some shrivelled fruit left over from the year before. Next season, I'm going to dig egg shells into the compost to provide calcium for the plants. Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium and a lot of my tomato's were affected by this (liming the soil solved this).

I grew beetroot for the first time this year too and that has done very well, Just planted the plugs into compost which I spread over the plot.

The corn is growing well and will soon be ready to harvest (next week maybe). I grew an F1 this year and I wish now I hadn't as I could be collecting seed for next year instead of having to buy it again. I will however be collecting peas as I grew a heirloom "Alderman". This grows up to 10 foot tall which means yields are immense. I'll be growing this pea again next season. In fact, peas can be overwintered but I'm going to leave sowing these till spring. I am considering overwintering broad beans though and have my eye on "Broad Bean Aquadulce" which they reckon is very good.

I also need to consider harvesting my spuds. I have King Edwards left in the ground and need to get them in sacks for the winter. I can then prepare the ground for something else. I intend to grow Charlotte and King Edward next year.

My onions are curing well in the greenhouse and I made some onion bhaji's last night to accompany a chicken korma curry (not my chickens obviously).

Thanks for reading.

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