Thoms diary

Members adventures in the Vegetable Patch all year round
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 6245
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Thoms diary

Post by lancashire lass »

Thomassio wrote: I'm trying to figure out what to do with my makeshift greenhouse, polythene creation. As the weeks have gone by and the sun has changed, it now doesn't get the sun until about 11:30. It wouldn't be a problem in a proper greenhouse I'm sure but as it's 'well ventilated'! It's temperature can range from 12 degrees at night to 42 in full sun! I'm taking care to open it when it gets too hot but I would still rather have it get sun through the day. Any comments from anyone?

When I moved to my house, the patio was in full sun and I planted out lots of pumpkins and other sun loving plants to take advantage of the sheltered spot ... then the neighbours ash tree burst into leaf and everything was in perpetual shade LOL. My garden is surrounded by trees and tall hedges so my greenhouses and polytunnel only get full sun from about 10.30am - 5.00pm in midsummer and the plants seem to do fine. Last year I did find the chillies needed as much sun as possible, but most other plants were okay. You could perhaps grow plants that can tolerate some shade such as salad leaves.
As for temperature swings, all greenhouses and polytunnels get hot in full sun and need the doors and vents open, and then closed in the evening to keep as much heat in. With the recent cold wet weather with sunny spells, it's a difficult decision in a morning what to do when leaving for work: do I open the doors and the sun doesn't come out and it gets too cold (some daytime temperatures have been about 12oC) or leave the doors closed and risk it getting too hot when the sun comes out unexpected. Small greenhouses (like those cheap 2 or 3 tiered) are notorious for getting too hot if the door isn't unzippered, whereas large volumes of air in a greenhouse warm up more slowly and cool down equally more slowly in comparison. In greenhouses, there is also the risk of scorching especially when the sun's strength is particularly hot - some methods involve painting cool glass (a sort of white wash) so that light is more diffused, or putting a temporary net which is basically shading on the roof (like they do in hot countries like Spain to protect crops such as tomatoes from being cooked)
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

I was clearly terrible at keeping my diary last year but still was very busy in the garden! I'm using up the last few tubs of passata that I froze down and still have more chillies than I know what to do with.
Life is very very busy and currently and is going to be getting far more soon so I doubt my 2015 updates will be regular but I intend to try and I will definitely be growing plenty.
Last year was mostly containers and my two 8x4 raised beds, but over winter I have added a third raised bed the same size and have another 12x4 raised bed that will be mostly for potatoes but possibly a squash or courgette in there too, so much more space. I have been digging plenty of manure into all but one bed courtesy of my ducks and some horse muck too. Now most are empty and covered in carpet.
Currently I have a bed full of onions and few large containers full of garlic. Over winter I've also got three apple trees in (Discovery, Jupiter and a Laxtons favourite) and hope to get one more apple and either a plum or damson in before the moth is over.
Soft fruit bed is also now well organised and I have got a dozen new raspberry canes (polka and autumn bliss) in, a couple of thornless blackberries, three blueberries and a gooseberry.
Next job is getting the chilli seeds in but I'm reluctant to get them started until I have made my mind up on a polytunnel as otherwise they will end up taking up too much space inside when it's still too cold to put them outside. I have been umming and ahhhing about a tunnel since last spring. I have a spot for one but can't decide weather a cheap 'blow away' will do or if I should treat myself to something larger and more permenant.
KarenE
Legendary Laner
Posts: 3460
Joined: 06 Apr 2013, 13:43
Gender: Female
Location: Northamptonshire

Re: Thoms diary

Post by KarenE »

Why don't you try a cheap blow away first, see whether you like it and whether it works? Then you could buy a more expensive one. It's what I did with my greenhouse.
Karen
Alpha chick to: Smudge, Matisse and Bluebell
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly, Willow, Mango, Coco, Dorian Grey and Pokey.
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 6245
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Thoms diary

Post by lancashire lass »

It depends on what you mean by "cheap blow away" - if you are referring to the "walk in greenhouse" like THIS ONE , please don't waste your money. Mine lasted barely 5 days and the whole frame buckled in the first strong wind - I wish I'd put the money towards a polytunnel like THIS ONE - thanks to advice from Bill (Norfolk), get the 25mm galvanized steel frame (not the 19mm or powdered frame) You'll need to also get some hot spot tape and an anchor kit like THESE (shop around - I actually bought mine separately from different ebay stores for cheaper and free p&p) Pity you didn't mention this before Christmas because KMS had a sale and I was so tempted to get another polytunnel (identical to the one I've got) for half the price. Have a look at their ebay site as well - sometimes it is cheaper than Amazon
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

Well I planted a little more garlic yesterday after being given a few freebies from a local garden centre. Didn't need more and trying to be economical with my space but free is free!
And today, I buckled. Chilli seeds are planted. At least the first batch are. The downside is that the descision was made on the back of getting fence quotes back (which in turn means I should have a small polytunnel up by the time they need to go outside.) I'm stunned at how expensive fencing is. Gutted, but trying to have a productive allotment garden whilst keeping it neat and tidy for DW pretty much means I have to go ahead and pay it.
Ideas for the polytunnel so far is a couple of cucumbers, tomatoes and my chillis. Not sure what else I will have space for but always open to suggestions.
Last year my tomatoes were a huge success grown out in the open but I'm hoping I will get a similar crop from less plants if I use the polytunnel.
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 6245
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Thoms diary

Post by lancashire lass »

Thomassio wrote: Ideas for the polytunnel so far is a couple of cucumbers, tomatoes and my chillis. Not sure what else I will have space for but always open to suggestions.

I usually grow a few tomatoes in the greenhouse / polytunnel just in case we get a bad blight year but preferably grow them outdoors where yield and taste tend to be better. Same goes for cucumber - I just don't bother with indoor varieties, especially as I hear so many people say how their cucumbers always seem to be on a suicide mission LOL and I find the outdoor ones are fine and healthier. So for me, chillies and peppers are best under cover. I tried melons last year but they need a lot of fuss especially with pollinating and I just could not be bothered with it. Some people will plant some first early potatoes in a tub much earlier than outdoors for an extra early crop before the others are ready.
Don't forget you won't have as much space in a polytunnel than you think - lots of stuff tend to grow bigger than their outdoor checked ones, so you tend to find yourself with too many plants. You could use the polytunnel to start off a lot of stuff early that later need to be planted out, and like-wise, some things can be started in late summer to grow protected in autumn and winter such as salad leaves)t' Bill (from Norfolk) does well with his polytunnel - have a look at his diary for ideas.
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

Very excited! I picked my allotment on Saturday! Heaps of space and a fair bit of fruit already established. Needs plenty of work but I happy to do it. Unfortunately I work away Monday - Friday and my DW is about to have twins! Allotment time will be slim on the ground but its actually in my mother in-laws name and she's a keen gardener with a small garden so I will really just be her side kick for now.
Ordered my spuds today. I have chosen Anya as a salad variety, then Kestrel, Pentland Javelin and Sante. Looking forward to getting them chitting and underway!
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 6245
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Thoms diary

Post by lancashire lass »

)c( how exciting!
Thomassio wrote: Unfortunately I work away Monday - Friday and my DW is about to have twins!

I shouldn't worry too much about that - when I get home from work I am too tired to go to the allotment of an evening, so that just leaves early mornings and weekends. Even so, early mornings are limiting to about a half hour at the height of summer and usually spent with a quick plant out of seedlings in a ready prepared bed or more usually, urgent mid-week watering. As for Saturdays, once I've been to the shops I'm not that eager to go out again so is my "day of rest", leaving just Sundays for the allotment. You'll find a way round it I'm sure)grin2( Good luck with the plot>gl<
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

Thanks LL, excited....and nervous!
First proper day on the allotment today, loads of weeding and a good dig over. Soil seems really good which is a nice surprise and relief! Just a good old tidy up really.
Picked up a load more spuds so I now have 8 varieties chitting in the kitchen. Added Cara, Charlotte and more red Duke of York to the 5 already going.
Heaps of onion sets and garlic and shallots left from last year that will end up going to waste if I don't plant them so will get them in and hope for the best. Trying to use thems got to be better than chucking them.
More seeds picked up today, some rainbow chard and swift sweetcorn amongst others. It's going to be a busy year but I'm really keen to juggle the garden and allotment along with studies, work and home life, if it works this year then it should be easier next!
Cleaned out the ducks today and scraped the surface layers of the wood chip covered in muck, into three sacks and will get that dug in soon in preperation for cucumbers, squash and courgette I think.
Pollytunnel ordered today too took advice from here and went with a cheaper one to trial, 25mm galvanised version with anchor kit too. Hopefully should be able to use it earlier in the year to get a few bits started for the allotment, then one they are planted out, let the chillies and tomatoes have most of the space!
Busy, but feels good to be doing stuff. Next few weeks there's not much to plant so will probably end up tinkering with some fruit cage ideas and maybe get some canes set up to cordon peas and beans.
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 6245
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Thoms diary

Post by lancashire lass »

Thomassio wrote: Heaps of onion sets and garlic and shallots left from last year that will end up going to waste if I don't plant them so will get them in and hope for the best. Trying to use thems got to be better than chucking them.

It might be more work, but may I suggest you plant in individual pots now and leave indoors (a cool but not cold room) so that the roots can make a start now, then plant out when the soil is warmer. If you plant now while it is cold and wet, they will not do anything until the weather changes, and in the meantime, there is a risk of rot. It is getting late but you can still get a good crop off them all. As I'm finding with my garlic, some however, need a cold start to break dormancy - you could pop the bulbs in the fridge first and leave a few days before planting.
Thomassio wrote: Pollytunnel ordered today too took advice from here and went with a cheaper one to trial, 25mm galvanised version with anchor kit too

)t' don't forget the anti hot spot tape - you'll regret it if you don't use it
Thomassio wrote: if it works this year then it should be easier next!

One little tip regarding allotments - when the weeds have been cleared, this opens up the ground and exposes the weed seeds which will germinate with fervour in spring. It can be very disheartening and seem like an endless battle - it's usually the one thing that makes a lot of people give up their plots in the first 6 months. May I recommend that you cover beds with some weed suppressant (black plastic or similar) until you need to use them. Not only does it absorb the sun's rays and warm the soil up ready especially for potatoes, sweetcorn and your squashes, but any seeds that do germinate will usually die off without light. Be ready with the hoe too! Good luck with your plans>gl<
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

I would have if i thought i could get away with more pots LL! My chillies are already getting unwanted attention and soon will need potting on so tomatoes can take their place! Like i said, if the onions rot then i won't be too upset. I have heaps of onions and garlic in the garden already thats doing great so shouldn't go without.
Hot spot tape is also ordered and should all be arriving this week hopefully. Just need to stain the fence before I pop it in its corner.
Thanks for the advice, we have a fair bit of carpet down on the allotment and i will be up there again over the weekend I hope, so will make sure its sorted. Spuds are chitting away, i guess once they really get moving in late spring and summer thaen even weeds will struggle to compete with all that foliage (wishful thinking!)
Thanks again.
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

Well, the garden still looks like a bomb site thanks mostly to the ducks, but once the days get a little longer and temeratures start to creep up, the grass should make a come back and things will start to look a little better. Despite this, things have still been happening, the pollytunnel arrived and went up last weekend. It looks nice and smart, but already its very clear to me that ventilation will be an issue. I guess the nature of a small tunnel is it gets hot very quickly and cools very quickly too. So far it has a small raised bed style planter and everything else will be grown in pots and trays as I am away so often, I need to rig up some sort of self watering system.
Image
Image
The chillies are coming along nicely. I have tried to be a lot more restrained this year as I have literally hundreds of pods hung up dry and drying, pickles, chutneys, frozen pods etc. So far I have stuck to about 10 varieties but I have another 20 or 30 varieties sitting in my cupboard and I shall probably give in and do a few more!
Image
Image
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

So I have started. I have planted a small raised bed in the polytunnel, just a few salad crops, gem lettuce, rocket, spring onions and some mizuna. Half of it has germinated and the rest will hopefully follow soon, only doing those bits in there for now.
Next week I will plant out the early spuds and probably start a few tomatoes in the house. So far, so good.
I think another week or two and I will get a batch of carrots and beetroot in too.
billnorfolk
Legendary Laner
Posts: 1067
Joined: 07 Jul 2011, 13:24
Gender: Male
Location: Great Yarmouth Norfolk

Re: Thoms diary

Post by billnorfolk »

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together)like( .Going to get my Tomatoes under way at weekend indoors ,not going with early spuds this year ,main crop Casablanca in about another 3 weeks .Good luck with it all will catch up again with you later.
A leek in the hand,is worth 2 in the roof.
Bill's Diaries..... 2012 2013 2014
Thomassio
Lively Laner
Posts: 263
Joined: 08 Feb 2014, 19:01
Gender: Male
Location: Deepest Devon

Re: Thoms diary

Post by Thomassio »

The weather has been beautiful today, really warm and clear all day with a slight breeze. In fact the weather might have tricked me slightly and I have put a few rows of carrots, beetroot, spinach and parsnips in the ground today. About 3/4 of a raised bed. I have another bed full of onions and another still to be planted.
I also netted the bed to keep the ducks off it as they love hunting for worms....and eating seedlings. I also potted on my chillis and started my tomatoes. Last year I did gardener delight and moneymaker like Bill! I was going to again but I seem to have misplaced the seeds so I just planted my new varieties which are Roma and sweet aperitif.
First earliest and a couple of other spud varieties went in today too. Kestrel, Anya, and Red Duke of York. The Pentland Javelin are taking a long while to chit so a couple more weeks, same for my main crop Cara.
I unearthed an onion today as I want to pull a few early in summer for pickling but was surprised to see they aren't really any bigger than a set! I hope they put on a bit of size over the next couple of months as I'm counting on using a bit of their space in the bed for other summer crops.
Post Reply