Monday, 28 September 2009

Blue Monday

Blue potatoes straight from the ground? - you'll be telling me the one o'clock gun doesn't shoot a cannonball next!?

So the blight got them in late august but i read that cut the shaws down before the spores can travel down to the tubers, leave for two - three weeks in the ground before lifting them. The slugs might have go them, but surely they had their full munching all my cabbage! Not bad a haul, but relatively small, and not a great yield from each seed potato - six on each roughly. Althugh ths year i used plenty of manure, next year need to feed regularly (with potash?)

  • Still a beautiful autumn afternoon, leaving them to dry.
  • The raspberries keep coming.
  • Final crop of lettuce, by now rather woody and overgrown
  • The challenge - Celeriac looking good!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Its a long way to Belmullet

So being away for the first two weeks of August marked the slugs perfect opportunity - as they swung in in their masses. Cabbages decimated but still retrievable...

Tomatoes bulking up well but not much sun to ripen them...

Lettuce's still producing with Romaine providing welcome juicyness to salad bowls bulk...

Spud hit by blight in mid August but should be retrievable having cut away the leaves... You're to wait 20 days before removing - which should be just in time for 13 Sept show. Mother in law had good advice re presenting vegetables at show - always on a doillie, and upside down (she says!)
Best use of produce though has to be the chutney made with my brother's plum glut in Belfast, my marrows from Edinburgh and apples from Maggie's mum's garden in peebles...International effort

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Cabbage update

An update on the cabbages - the summer primos's looking like this - picking has begun, whilst the Savoys have just gone in. I've now picked the last of the beans and peas, and finally got the sprouting broccoli who were looking really thin and almost beyond it...
the leeks look good though!!

Monday, 20 July 2009

The only way is up!

Not sure what this means for the garlic - maybe it's pointing to our latest subscriber, in the southern hemisphere where the growing season don't start til october!!


Greetingz friends around the world!

Another monday night - another evening with the radio tidying and doing the jobs undo from the weekend. There was a great couple of documentaries on - one about the Iraqi national football team,, who recently failed to get through to the World Cup, and then one about women in Cheyna...

Meanwhile - pulled a row of onions to make way for the leeks. The seedling were all planted at the same time but in an experiment I potted on with two different methods - in a deep pot (as I had the hunch that its the roots which get restricted and stunt growth) and in loo roll holders. My hunch proved right as the deep leeks were ready i.e pencil thick, whilst the loo rolls were drowned in their six inch hole!

Also planted out another batch of lettuce (number three?) - Romano's and lollo rosso...

Harvesting - I took in the last of the first of three rows of the broad beans so that i could make space for a final sowing of beetroot, and took the first Primo cabbage home for the freshest of coleslaw... Got the first three 5-inch courgettes, and lots of blackcurrents still coming

I hung the shallots to dry in the shed, and having got some red onions (for the coleslaw!) bent back the rest of the onions so that they can ripen. In a fortnights time will fork the roots and dry for the two weeks whilst we are in Ireland.

To do - pull the peas and get the spouting broccoli in, and pull the rest of the beans and get some Autumn King carrots in...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

maggie snatcher

Back still knackered so Maggie's moved in on the harvests. All the Arran Pilots are now out, the blackcurrents and redcurrents ready for their first picking, the bulk of the broad beans. Been scoffing broad beans in various guises (with chorizo, broad bean houmous)all weekend !

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A squash and a squeeze

It seems about this time every year my back goes - nothing to do with the haul of earlies! Came down tonight as we're off next week to Argyll and I wanted to both get my Maris bards out, and get my squashes and pumpkins in - the pumpkins were especially ready. Whilst i started on my two pins, gradually i sunk to my knees as i tried to get the bed cleared, and my back got progressively worse. But they taste delicious, and I even managed to get the calabrase squeezed in as well...

Monday, 15 June 2009

holding back

Whilst the french beans were planted back in April, the small pots seemed to be holding them back - so can't wait for first spuds to come out. Squeezed the beans along the back of the beetroots and cabbages whilst listening to Mak Radcliffe's evening radio programme, this week about new film about Joe Meek; if Telstar can't get the beans going, then I'm not sure will! I always like the fact that no matter how much planning you do, you have to react along the way, so lets see if they perk up...

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Courgettes

A good sunday morning spent constructing the hot bed for the courgettes. I've raised them up because this sorner of the allotment gets wet and seems cold - so by raising up i could use the first batch of compost from home... Three should do us!

Then a good monday evening then tidying up. My favourite time on the allotment - all is quiet, no-ones around, the day is done, usually something good on the radio, and time is called by the darkness. Potted on the kale, the pumpkins, the savoys and the calabrase. Planted more mizuna and some german black turnips and beetroots, and crammed in lettuces in between the autumn cabbages as a catch drop. Also stuck in the celeriac seedlings which seem to be stalling at 1cm high in the greenhouse - hope by covering them I can nurse them to fruition in a well manured bed.

The board beans have looked rather aneamic but think this is due to warm dry weather - have doused twice in last week and they are looking heathier and greener. I've now also got a system for putting the hose in the watering can and watering from there as this means I water the roots of the plants heartily and not the whole bed lightly. This has been leading to lots of 'capping' where the thin layer of water bakes in the heat on the top and creates a hard crust which is then difficult for water to penetrate.

An update on the tatties - all going well, and the first flowers are appearing on the first earlies (see above). When these flowers start to droop then we're ready, 10 or so weeks after planting. Lots of water in the next couple of weeks should swell the tubers so i can get them out, and get the pumpkins and squahes in.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Summer's here!

Forget cuckoos, midges and the rest - the first sign of summer is that the lettuce has arrived (well, and the sun has come out!) - first picking on Wednesday - looks good, tastes great!

Brassicas and the warm weather

Its been a fantastic week weather wise - had spent he last week hardening off the brassicas by placing out in the morning, and watching the night weather - finally after last weekends cold nights, there's been the break to summer. Everything's clamouring to grow now, and so couple of caldestine pre work morning trips to allotment to plant out the primo's and the brussels... Rosie came and took some courgettes, cabbages, brussels and squashes across to Fife - look ofrward to seeing how they do transferred to the Garden of Scotland!

Brasssicas love firm ground thats settled, then puddled in - dig the hole and drop in the plant with two cans of water... In Greece they do this, then leave for a month to encourage the roots to develop strength as they bury seeking out the's brussel waving not drowning

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Beefsteak, moneymaker and mango

Not content with bashing my hands at Sharon's today, took a late afternoon trip to the allotment. Managed to get tumblin tomatoes in Portobello yesterday, so once again looks like I'm trying to get tomatoes going - one in a hangin basket and two under glass. Popped into a grow bag with a pepper for company, Sandy watered in and got the water supply system set up for another try this year.

Today's the official start of the lassi season!! Also last picking of the purple sprouting broccoli.

working on the chain gang

Every now and again, its time to venture out of the eastside and into the heart of the city. The Duke of Buccleuch has been very kind and lent my good friends Colin and Sharon not only a cupboard in which to rest their weary machine-shaken bones but also a smallholding out the back which get sun for about 20 mins of the day - which is not bad for Edinburgh!

Sharon duly made a list of the jobs to do, stuck it on the back of the door and got stuck in herself! Give her a hand on the hammer and drill. Today was positioning three raised beds, striking stone and lorne sausage - jobs a good'un.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Nice breezy day - still slightly chiller than it should be and cetainly cooller than in Muck last week, especially at night. Any difference of more than 9 degree and the plants concentrate on surviving rather than growing! Plan was to paint the joint shed but showers could be seen out towards the Forth.

So as Tom and Katie had managed to get knockdown fruit trees for the shared plot, spent the morning staking out. Came across a bucket-load of established horseradish, which we had with beetroot for tea.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

May you never

Potting on the courgettes today as they are loving the hot greenhouse. Also managed to plant marigolds for bees, kale, calabrase and savoy cabbages - and as a final attempt at herbs sprinkled basil, parsley and chives into the carrot box. This weekend last year, doing much the same - getting the shallots, red onions, beetroot, lollo rosso, peas, brussels and leeks in...


Some days for planting and some days for building! Gorgeous day today, and managed to get down early for 9.30am with new radio, which takes a line in, and so I listened to Funky Nassau, the second song of which is ideal for bangin'... took the headstart as a chance to build an additional shelf in the greenhouse, and finally after prepping the roof last year, managed to get the stoop built. The shed has now entered the pantheon of dream sheds

- after much clattering got a frame for the clematis to cling to - even managed to fix the gutter before realised it still had the holes made for starting the peas off... You spin me right round...

Saturday, 18 April 2009


So I had got the plans all sorted in January, and seeds started off in the greenhouse in Feburary, and then along comes March, and a delicious pub lunch in the Halfway House up Fleshmarket Close of pork, celeriac, apple and cider stew. never had celeriac, but deliciously nutty, great with a pint of guiness and just what the worker wants rather than going back for the afteroon... so this is this year's challenge. Planted this morning in the greenhouse.

Seeds kindly left in shed by Tom and Katie...

Friday, 17 April 2009

Tattie post

Been a while coming but here's the first of the tattie posts. Spent today planting out the last of the spuds - the main crops... Advice often varies as to when to get them in - In ireland it's traditional to get them in St Patrick's day, in Scotland by easter. I'd just planted my earlies this year when i read a memorable piece of advice from old school allotment book - Get the earlies in late and the lates in early Didn't bother scrabbling about getting them back out!

Instead this year I've got them started after St Patrick's Day, and finished by my birthday, April 20th. This year the mice got away with a lot of seed spuds from the shed - including all the Anya. So the Maris Bard's went in first on March 19, with the Arran Pilot two weeks later...

Above are the main's ready to go out today (from left to right): Osprey (from Tom), Maris Piper and Blue (from John). And below are the shaws (from near to far): Osprey, Blue and two rows of Maris Piper.

May 3: the yellow bush at end has completely gone to green...

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The Sutton - Broad beans planted out

A beautiful spring day - we all walked up Arthur's Seat this morning with Colin, coming back to pick up lassi's at Jock's Lodge... Checked out where the trainline goes between Abbeyhill and Fishwives Causeway - it crosses under London road twice?! Then took advantage of the hot weather to plant on the broad beans - two sets of sowing - on the 28 Feb, and two weeks later in mid march.

On the radio - Celtic drew 1 - 1 with the jambo's whilst Kris Boyd refinding the back of the net... The Don's? Secured the top six with a one nil win over Caley Thistle - Mhon the Dons!

Purple sprouting broccoli ready to pick

Having taken out the hearts two weeks ago, side shoots are beginning to come through thick - picked for steaming

Potting on the Primo's

Last year's success story - the primo summer cabbages (see pic below). Already they are well establised and ready to be potted on. Not sure about the spring cabbages though - all leaves and no heart!

Sunday, 1 March 2009


No 45 - Looking west..... to Skye
No.45 - Looking east..... to Legoland

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A selection of images from 2008's cropping


So here's the bounty from last year - this year I'll be posting as I go

Thursday, 1 January 2009