Monthly Archive September 2013

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More on cabbage cuttings

Cabbage CuttingI’m very excited at the results since my cabbage cutting experiment. The sprouts that appeared from the roots of one of this years cabbages I ripped from the plant and they grew roots very quickly, the sprouts, really mini cabbages that grew when the main head was cut and which I removed and tried to get to grow roots – they took longer but have now started to take off. Most are still languishing, not doing much and getting mangled by caterpillars, but one has grown satisfyingly(see left)  and another is not far behind. Some of the others are definitely setting down roots but taking their time in growing on.

From taking cuttings to seeing new growth is taking about six weeks which is about a week longer than my daubenton kale cuttings. Isn’t the cutting to the left really pretty? Read More

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No really, last harvest of squashes – properly this time

SquashesLike two years ago, my squashes have been hiding from me. Tonight I have added three new crown princes (the whitish ones) and one small acorn from the allotment. Compare this to the harvest photo I put up a couple of weeks ago. Two years ago my neighbour knocked on the door bearing 2 giant marrows, saying that those were mine and did I want them back. It’s like an easter egg hunt in my back garden most years. The table in the pics is a coffee table and I tried lifting it, bearing in mind that I was trying not to scatter them all over the living room, I found it a struggle to lift. The colours are also changing, compare with the photo before, a lot of the green squashes are going pumpkin orange, which is cool. Read More

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Leek vegetative propagation, bulblets (clones).

Leek bulblets at base of leek flower stalkI’ve been told that if you are collecting seed from leeks and the seed hasn’t gone black by now (21st September) then drastic action is required. So I’ve cut the seed heads, put them in bags and taken them home. Collecting the seeds was not the only sustainable technique i did with the leeks today, i also dug them up looking for bulblets. Read More

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Striking cuttings from cabbages and a visit to Jekka’s Herb Farm

Rooted cabbage cutting (Greyhound)More experimentation has yielded results!. Well confirmed another’s research which is just as good. You’ll read such interesting sentences in permaculture books as “cut the head of a cabbage and when new heads appear replant them”. And then you think to yourself – what really?. Well, I tried it and it has worked, as confirmed by the photo to the left. I cut the head from one of my cabbages, ate it with my in-laws and let the stump resprout about half a dozen mini cabbage heads which I pulled off the stump and bunged in pots of compost. I then smashed the stumps with hammers, threw them on the compost heap and waited for the mini cabbages to sprout roots. With much scepticism I might add. Read More

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Pan Global Plants

I’ve seen this place signposted for some time, a brown “tourism” sign that says “special plants” on the A38 south of Gloucester. A sign that says “special plants” would normally pull me straight over, screeching to a halt in the car park and brandishing my credit cards, but for some reason I have held off for what is probably a couple of years. The only times I have ever passed the area have been days when I have been on duty, at work, and the place is about 25 miles from Bristol, where I live. Well I am on summer holidays, not going abroad, and I am a gardener who fancies an afternoon out – what could be better than going to a place called “special plants”? Read More

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Digging

Backyard in early autumnDigging or nodig, a subject touched on a little in my last post, is a subject that causes much disagreement amongst organic gardeners. For conventional gardeners it is a no brainer- digging creates good soil for growing vegetables. What conventional organic gardeners know that they don’t is that digging also releases a burst of fertility in the soil by causing the lifecycle of microbes to speed up with all that extra oxygen you have provided by digging. Read More

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The committee

CommitteeThere is a pest roving our plots causing distress and hardship to us poor allotment gardeners. No, it’s not rabbits, the cabbage white, green fly or slugs. Nor is it couch grass, bindweed, or brambles. It is the dreaded committee man, otherwise known as “the secretary”, chairman or busybody-with-too-much-time-on-his-hands. He roves the land dispensing such wisdom as “you don’t want to do it like that, you want to do it like this” and “tidy that up or you’re gone”. Read More

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Thoughts on compost

CatI’ve given compost some thought. Toby Hemingway and (other permaculturists) argue that compost loses much of its nutrients in the composting process, that up to 90% is leached into the soil. Others like John Jeavons and Charles Dowding argue that compost is the ultimate additive to soil for fertility. Permaculture insists that we look to what nature does as our guide. Plants live then die back mulching the soil year after year until a fine soil full of organic matter  is the end result. This will sustain itself forever more – your average forest does not require fertilisers, manure, composts or human beings. Read More

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Last of the harvest

My squash harvest 2013As sad as it makes me feel, this year’s season is over. To celebrate I have posted this pic of my squashes piled up on my coffee table ready to feed me through winter. It is not a massive crop but I am chuffed with it, 75% came from my back yard, which is a small urban plot. This pile obviously doesn’t include all the squashes I have eaten (mostly courgettes) and squash is not the only food I have grown, but it makes a satisfying spectacle. It feels like my own private harvest festival but without the religion.

This year I have also done well with shallots and onions and the few French beans I planted have rewarded me by glutting. I really am fed up with beans, now. Read More

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