Six on Saturday is new idea to me but a friend pointed me in the direction of The Propagator blog and suggested I join in. It was after a whinge about blogger’s block, so here are my first six:
The seeds on the golden rod are full and ready to blow away . This is a plant that self-seeds all around my allotment and it is either chop the seed heads down or spend time in the spring weeding. Laziness now means weeding in the spring – as usual.
I am trying to make hot compost and failing miserably because I just won’t make it exactly as it says on the tin. This is December’s pile and I have not built it big enough or put enough green material in it to achieve the heat. January’s attempt will remedy this rather pathetic temperature. They do say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. I have a little way to go with the compost.
The fennel in the polytunnel is ready to provide a crisp aniseed flavour to the winter salads over the next few months. It is one of the few vegetables I have managed to grow throughout the year. Spring’s fennel is on the other side of the tunnel and still quite small.
The catkins are already out on the hazels, dangling in the sunshine and these have survived the massive coppicing that we did at the start of the month.
This massive beetroot is still lying around and I was right that it wouldn’t make good eating because not even the slugs and snails have started on it. I didn’t aim for massive beetroot, I just wanted to save some seed and this grew.
And finally, lambs lettuce as a filler for my salads. I actually managed to plant these early enough for them to grow to a reasonable size before it got too cold.
What are your six for Saturday?
In the spring I built a hugelkultur bed because I had plenty of time on my hands, the tip was closed and I had a lot of wood and prunings. I thought now would be a good time to review how it has worked and whether it was worth all of that digging. The short answer is ‘Yes!’ but below is the longer answer.
Strawberries on the west-facing side of the hugel
I built it in March and then didn’t take many photos of it during the summer so I am afraid I can’t show what happened. The long side of the bed faces west as I read that it should be placed facing the prevailing wind to shelter what lies behind it. I planted strawberry offshoots from the allotment on the west side – Guarigette – half way down the slope and then lettuce seedlings below them on both the west and east facing sides. The west facing lettuce bolted before those on the east-facing side and so for a longer harvest of lettuce the east side is the place. On the east side I also planted spare coriander seedlings but they just bolted and seeded. However, the seedlings are doing well now and showing no signs of bolting and so for the first time ever, I have a fairly decent crop of coriander. I didn’t know October/November were the best times here for this plant. It is definitely not what it says on the seed packet.
Beetroot on the north-facing end
On the short end which faces north, I planted 6 beetroot towards the bottom of the slope because I wanted some plants for seed. I have left them because they won’t flower until next year but they are massive. I wrote about them in this post. The mulch that you can see behind the beetroot is Strulch which I had left over from using on my big flower bed so that I don’t have to go ferreting around to weed quite so often. It has worked a treat. I have only had to pull out 22 weeds from the mound and have had far more in the vegetable beds.
The biggest success has been the fact that it was a very warm and dry spring and early summer here and from March to now, I have only had to water it twice whereas during the dry spells I had to water the vegetable beds once a week. It is just as well it hasn’t needed much watering because it is not easy to water – it just runs straight off it if you are not careful. The second time I watered, I created little bowls behind the strawberry plants and watered into those so that it didn’t run straight off. It is for this watering reduction alone that I will build more of these beds both at home and on the allotment. What I do need to get better at is which plants to put on which side of the mound to maximise its different elements.
Have you built one of these and if so, what do you plant in it?
Oh it has been wet here in the south of the UK and that means I haven’t been able to get out and ‘do stuff’. I haven’t even really wanted to go down to the allotment so the harvest this week is from the garden.
I started growing vegetables in the garden this spring when I decided in the autumn that now would be a good time to start saving my own seed. I didn’t want to grow the plants on the allotments because the chance of cross-pollination is very high. So, I have grown some veg at home.
On Thursday I picked the very last of my tomatoes and removed the plants. Surprisingly, these have semi-ripened so a few days on the window sill should see them completely ripe and ready to eat. The tomatoes from left to right are Black Russian, Rosella, Costoluto, Sungold and Shimmer. All are delicious and I will grow them again next year.
The lambs lettuce is grown outside and has reached a good size. It is Vit and I am going to leave a few plants to set seed to see if it is possible to save seed from it.
The really strange harvest this week is my mahooooosive beetroot. I built a hugelkultur bed in the spring and planted 6 beetroot at the short end of the bed and left them to grow until next year when they will flower and I can collect the seed. It was a sunny day and so I cut the grass but caught one of the beetroot on the lawn mower which pulled it out of the soil. They have very small roots which don’t seem to cling to the soil much. Anyway, this beetroot is a whopper.
It weighs just over 3.5 kgs and I do not know what to do with it. I am not sure it will make great eating so I think I will have to chop it up and put it on the compost heap. I don’t want seed that makes enormous beetroot as I prefer my beetroot to be tennis ball sized. The only thing we can say is that Boltardy beetroot really do not bolt.
In my next post I will be reviewing the hugelkultur bed and planning my next steps.
I have linked this post to the Happy Acres blog where Dave hosts a Harvest Monday series every week. It is a fascinating place to find out about what other people are growing.