Archive for the ‘Crop Rotation’ Category

Growing Onions – “Non Conventional” way

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender February 10, 2013 Posted Tags: Comment 3 Comments
onion seedlings

This year I decided to grow all my onions from seed instead of from sets. I have grown enough to be self sufficient (or almost) for many years now, starting way back when I was growing them on my flat roof-top garden. See my blog here about that..  Then onto my garden shares and now finally on my Allotment..  I used to grow over 1000 sets each year but now cut down to about 400-500 as my two sons have moved out and don't need so many. I also normally do a packet of Japanese winter sets in September/October which I start using on 1st May each year as a filler crop to be used before the main crop is ready. So just before Christmas I planted out a whole bunch of onion seed, fired up the new electric propagator and within a week they were over an inch high!! Wow I was pleased.. then I

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Growing and Propagating Strawberries

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender January 21, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment 2 Comments
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The snow is upon us, which has prompted me to write this article. Many gardeners are worried that their Strawberries will die in the snow - Rest assured they WILL survive. They love the cold and snow conditions.. Fresh Strawberries from the plot are a great seasonal treat. You can have them as the traditional "Strawberries and Cream" and many many more ways.. Trifles, puddings, pies etc. etc. They are great for making jams as well. I use them and mix in with various other fruits to make jams and jellies. See my  "Strawpple Jam" here. Literally hundreds of combinations can be done with Strawberries. You can successfully grow Strawberries in containers as well.. See information here.         General The two types of Strawberries  that I know of are the normal fruiting type

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Growing Your Own Potatoes

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender January 19, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment 1 Comment
potato washingLL_rs

I’m going  into plot or ground grown Potatoes and Helen has done a separate one here about growing in containers. Home grown spuds always taste better than bought ones and you have a far greater variety that you can choose to grow. You can grow potatoes in most soils but prefer a slightly acidic soil. They are greedy feeders so you need to work a good amount of manure or compost into the trench when preparing. They should not be planted after or before Strawberries or Tomatoes as they may cause viruses to each other. Growing Potatoes are best grown from specially grown tubers and it’s not advisable to grow from supermarket bought as they normally have an inhibiter applied to stop them sending out their “chits” (growing shoots). Also don’t keep your own smaller spuds to gro

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Asparagus – grow from crowns or seed?

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender January 14, 2013 Posted No Tags Comment 1 Comment
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Many people don't know what they are missing when it comes to home grown Asparagus... (Boiled for 10 minutes, drained and butter splurged over them and a bit of salt sprinkled)    Absolutely Deeeeeelicious.. Well we think so... and so do my family past and present. We always had asparagus growing wherever we were living. We grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe and eventually had our own 12 acre plot with a 2 acre veg patch and huge asparagus bed.. Now my Allotment has a new bed as well. Like other perennial vegetables growing asparagus is easy to do but it takes a bit of effort to get started. It is nearly maintenance free once established. They do take up a lot of room for what you get from them (only a 6-8 week cropping period) but well worth it if you have the space. They can gro

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Growing Kale.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender January 4, 2013 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment No Comments

Kale or borcole [ Brassica oleracea ] is a versatile member of the cabbage family. It comes in a wide range of leaf shapes and colours, it is a very attractive and hardy vegetable that looks just as good in the flower border as on the vegetable plot. Although kale is usually thought of as a cold weather or winter vegetable, which it is, it can be grown almost all year round. Though in summer it is best grown in partial shade out of direct warm sun. Soil Preparation. Like all brassicas, kale grows best in free draining fertile soil. Well rotted manure or garden compost is best added to the bed in the autumn. Brassicas dont like very acidic soil so add lime before planting or do a soil check. A pH of 6.5 - 7.5 is ideal. They also like a firm soil. Sowing Outside. Seed can be

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Free home made cloches

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender January 1, 2013 Posted Tags: , , Comment 1 Comment
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Today  - 1st January 2013... That means its under two months till I aim to plant out my first broad beans and peas... I have some (slow to germinate) peas which are planted in guttering and some broadies waiting in the greenhouse to go out and I'll do another batch in a few weeks along with more broadies. So it's all go over the next few weeks or so. Along with my leeks and onions and a few trial early tomatoes that are busy germinating in my conservatory the season has officially started for me..  The plants are going to require a bit of protection if we get a really harsh end to the winter. Cloches are a great way of protecting your new planted out veg or flowers during bad weather. Once early Spring has sprung and the ground starts to warm up you can plant out a variety of plan

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Planting Garlic started off in pots

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 30, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments
garlic bulbil 1_rs

I never seem to be ready for planting my garlic directly in the plot in Oct / Nov each year so I start them in pots. Then when they have sprouted and started growing and the plot is ready I then plant them out (weather permitting). It is probably best to sow directly so you don't disturb when planting out but if one's plot is not ready there is no choice but to start them off in pots. Pics showing my tiny new bulbils with two normal cloves, last year bulbils and cloves ready for planting into pots in October.              I always keep some of the biggest cloves for planting out before I make garlic oil or freeze the rest. I also buy or scrounge named varieties on occasions. People say they also plant supermarket garlic - this is ok if its English grown but not if it's fro

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Home-made “Black Gold”

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 23, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 2 Comments

Today is one of the first days I have had a chance to get into my home garden due to work and rain.. So i’m making the most of it and getting some compost ready for potting my seeds this season. Home made compost is one of the best things you can do in a very small space at the back of the garden shed etc.. I have 2 dalek type bins plonked half under a huge fir hedge behind my greenhouse and they don’t get much sunlight at all. But they still make great compost. See my article on Composting here. I basically throw anything that can degrade into it and a year later its done. I hardly ever mix or turn it.    I don’t have much manoeuvring space so I have a short spade to dig the compost out of the bottom door, then into an old recycling bin and then taken to the potting s

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Keeping you tools in good working condition…

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 15, 2012 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments
sharpening spade with grinderLL_rs

Have you ever tried cutting bread with the back of the knife blade?  Not easy is it..  So why do you dig with a blunt spade? When did you last sharpen your hoe or your spade?   Mmmmm – for most the answer is probably never since you bought them.. Ok so lets start with a few tips here that can be done during the winter before the work really starts in the spring. Tool maintenance can be done according to how much use they get but at least twice a year.. Spades need a good sharp edge to pass through the soil, compost, manure and leaves (trash) etc. when you are digging. Not razor sharp… just a good sharp edge. This can be done really easily with a small angle grinder. A sharp spade will make your digging 100% easier – promise.. It will cut through rather than tear the soil

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Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 11, 2012 Posted Tags: Comment 3 Comments

Don't be too fussy for your composting materials.. (It may be wrong but it works for me and makes a good compost) At home my 2 dalek type compost bins just get manure, grass cuttings, shredded paper, vacuum cleaner contents, a bit of cardboard now and then, kitchen peelings (not from any blighted spuds), tea bags, egg shells, leafy hedge clippings, spent flowers, leaves, a bit of old soil and roots from pulled flowers etc. and a dash of fertilizer (occasionally). When I cut up and tidy my veg tops from the plot they all go into the bin as well. Basically anything compostable goes in to it. You are supposed supposed to turn it at least once a month or you can just aerate it by prodding through it wih steel rods to create air-holes.. but I normally forget and it still seems to work alb

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