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Oct to Nov 2012

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Oct to Nov 2012

Post  plantoid on 10/16/2012, 5:57 pm

October into November 2012

Someone’s been trick or treating on my PC and messed it up because I refused to play their silly games ........ well that’s my excuse for getting the complete system to crash big time and a very effective big time it was indeed.
Thankfully my square foot gardens have done much better so has stuff in MM in the greenhouse and pit pots of it in the mother earth part of the garden
( pit pots = a 2 foot by 2 foot x 1 foot deep [ 600 mm x600mmx 300mm ] hole filled with MM .
The three mature 60 foot tall oaks we have at the bottom of the garden are now shedding zillions of leaves as they start to go into snooze mode for winter .
Hardly any acorns formed this year for the mast was two months late ( mast = flower clusters ) and by then the unique formation period was over for all the trees .
I’ve been scraping up barrows and barrows of leaves for our weather here in the UK has been up & down like a YO-YO . The last few days have been almost to a frost with some strong winds in these parts . Santa Clause , I’m reliably told , will be bringing me a suck / blow 240 volt electric leaf blower that has a mulcher in it because I’ve been a good boy and eaten all my greens .... it’s nothing to do with me getting wrecked trying to sweep them up .... honest.

The last tidy up of all the flowerbeds and the veg beds produced four massive loads for my two wheeled muck barrow , this has all gone in the the composters , by this afternoon most of it has dropped to a fraction of the original amount put in. I’m trying to make two of my " Dalek " composters soley composted vegetable matter out of my gardens without adding any animal manures, save for the few forks of it to kick start the process. I’m not going to aeriate them either . The reason for this is as I get older and my disabilities kick me harder I want to see how little heavy work I can leave off doing .

I’ve receently been sent some collard seeds from Kay , I sowed some of them in trays of neat coir compost in the glasshouse becuase it appears to be totally weed & pest free . They sprouted and attained three inches tall in just over 14 days , they have been outside for ten days or so now to harden off and might be planted out tomorrow now that I finally have plenty of free space to play with.

In preparing for winter , strong winds , rain , sleet hail ,and snow etc. I’ve had stake up quite a lot of veg for they have made tremendous growth in their 18 deep mm beds ( this sits on top of 6 inches of ancient leaf mould that is well over 30 years old which laid on over two feet of loose straw based stable muck ).

Some of the big plants are :- 2 feet tall parsnip leaves , they were filing a full 3 x 3 foot bed , once up in the air tied to a cane or three the carrots in the same bed can start breathing .
Carrot tops almost 2 feet tall have had to be grouped in the one foot square thery reside in and captured into a length of pig fence wire to retain them . Cabbages have been a big problem , what should have been three per nine square feet have had to be chopped down with an axe , so that there is only one or two per nine sq feet. They were humungous with some of the largest clumps of capillary roots I’ve ever seen on cabbages , ranging from 18 inches across and six inches deep to over two feet across and nearly nine inches deep.

The kale , sprouting broccoli , broccoli , sprouts & several large cabbages have also benefitted from tying them to bamboo canes

The celery experiment we undertook has worked out well . Back around mid May 2012 I started buying celery from the shops , once a few sticks were taken off the hand of celery and eaten I cut the base of the hand off , putting the sticks in a drop of water in a poly food bag and placing them in the fridge at 3 o C .
I then took a thin sliver off across the whole base so it showed fresh celery rather than the dried calloused end ,& then carefully pared off a thin peeling right round the base edge about 1/ 16 thick x 1/8 inch deep. This was done to give the stump encouragement to send out roots.
I then painted the cut portions of the stump base in a liquid rooting compound and bunged them into some wet MM in the beds at one stump per sq foot so the the top was level with the MM . I’m pleased to say every one of the stumps has come up as a really healthy new hand of celery . I’ve started to tie blanching collars of old brown paper round each hand and also slipped a bamboo cane in the last few outer layers of the paper for some of the celery is close on two feet high . We snipped off a couple of sticks off the biggest plant as I was changing the collar for a bigger taller one .

Verdict : - Much better than the insipid shop brought stuff , slightly darker but a much stronger taste that is not bitter.

The soft necked garlics are to go in after the weekend , so will the small cloves from the stratified hard necked garlics I put inthe garden as an experiment in late June as we have dozens of small cloves . I chanced my arm hoping to get any decent sized cloves from the stratified cloves as it was rather late in the year for planting them .
They will all go in the fridge tomorrow ready for Mondays planting session.

All the glasshouse is cleared in readiness for washing out with soapy water and sterilizing with a garden disinfectant . We ended up with half a three gallon bucket full of part ripe and really ripe tomatoes , four capsicum peppers ( bell pepper ) and one small aubergene .
The Beefsteak toms were the best ripened & still hanging in the glasshouse followed by some really big Firline ones that were almost pink rather than red . There were a few yellowing sungolds but not much to write home about .

All the unripend toms are now laid out on some expanded polystyerene foam sheet in the office. They are still on sections of thick vine . The office is almost at outside temps but will not drop below 3 o C due to auto heating . This is an experiment to see how long it takes to ripen the toms rather than having everything ripen all at once in a dark drawer in a cool bed room or in abox with an over ripe banana to get them to turn red . Hopefully there will be some continuance of development of flavour from the ones on the vines .

Leeks in the veg beds are doing good as well , I’ve slipped a 350 mm length of white square plastic rain water down pipe over most of the bigger ones to blanch them at the necks .. we eat all the leek, never throwing away the green tops as they are delicious cut into 2 inch length and steamed , nuked or boiled as a green veg ..
I’ve included a few pictures of some of the carrot comp carrots ...... what can I say other than amazing .... Nantees 2 sown 10 April I thought they had all died
, they didn't start to show till the end of June .
Using the pond liner material grids has helped no end .. the spacings are fantastic , they weren't removed till the carrots were two inches tall .

All the giant runner beans are harvested , the biggest managed to reach 23 inches long and tasted fine with not a sign of stringiness or the armoured shields of shell so commonly found in big beans .
I’ve also been seed saving , tying a bit of plant fleece over a pollenated seed head and tying it on with soft thread.
The office now has a heady smell of dried / drying beans , peas, dill , chervill , nasturtiums fennel herb & florence fennel . Soon I’ll move the seeds into the airing cupboard for the final drying for a day or so then will vac pack them with the remainder of the oven dried rice I have left. I will be taking the site tip of using dried powdered milk in small stapled up envelopes of kitchen towel for the dessicant in future years but they will still get vac packed and kept cool & in the dark till needed.

The flower gardens are still producing well . People are astonished that we still have one white gladoli in flower , loads of geranniums , african marigolds , loads of dahlia’s in various forms & many varied coloured fuchia . If it stays mild enough most of the floweres will over winter . A ten foot high pompom dahlia is some thng to behold , so is a twelve foot one that you cut flowers off from out of the bed room windows of your old house.

Looking forward .. I’ve taken the plunge and ordered two full spectrum LED bulbs with about 20 blue and 40 red LED’s in them ( direct form China off eBay ) They are very low heat which helps stop the plants geting too leggy too quickly . I can’t obtain them anywhere near the Chinese delivered price here inthe UK or in mainland Europe . Add to this a three metre ( 10 ft ) soil warming cable with thermostatic control and a small electric fan I hope to set up my racing snake plant raiser on top of a redundant cabinet out in the office using a timer on the light to give sleepy time and gentle air movement to strengthen the plants .
Once things germinate and get to suitable sizes I’ll be potting them on using the glashouse and then when ready plant them out in the gardens .
I’v e gone this route for I found that there was a great tendancy for my direct sown seeds to get swamped by other crops before they attained a reasonable size , as I hadn’t realized that my crops would get so big so quick in MM . Plus I kind of get the inkling that slugs are not quite so inclined to munch plants that have four or so true leaves on them . Bigger plants also make it much easier for me to see and hold as well .
That’s all for now guys & gals have a good autumn & don’t forget plan ahead now for next year.

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Re: Oct to Nov 2012

Post  Kelejan on 10/16/2012, 6:33 pm

Plantoid, "WOW" Wonderful.
Are the scale weights pounds or kilos?
The vase of dahlias remind of my dad who used to grow all kinds of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

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Re: Oct to Nov 2012

Post  plantoid on 10/16/2012, 6:56 pm

@Kelejan wrote:Plantoid, "WOW" Wonderful.
Are the scale weights pounds or kilos?
The vase of dahlias remind of my dad who used to grow all kinds of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

The scales are in grammes .....454 to the pound ...one ounce is 28 .4 grammes (for ease of calculation ) We ate our biggest carrot without weighing it Embarassed

Here is some of the giant runner beans prior to geting sliced 7 blanched and frozen .

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Re: Oct to Nov 2012

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/17/2012, 3:50 pm

Shocked Holey moley, Plantoid, you are having great success with your garden! I'm sure it must be the poo. I only have goose poo, but could probably use some seasoned cow or horse poo in my compost. I'll look for it.


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Re: Oct to Nov 2012

Post  plantoid on 10/17/2012, 5:03 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote: Shocked Holey moley, Plantoid, you are having great success with your garden! I'm sure it must be the poo. I only have goose poo, but could probably use some seasoned cow or horse poo in my compost. I'll look for it.


Old farm hands advice ... " Look for it at the back end of the cow or horse ! " Laughing

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Re: Oct to Nov 2012

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