Gardening diary week 51 - bee blog
December 16th to December 23rdLinks to weeks throughout the year
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Asparagus is one of the most rewarding crops to grow in the allotment. It has it's own permanent site and needs little specialist care. It gives a reliable return for being fed and watered and once well established even suppresses many of the weeds itself. It can be grown from bought in roots (called crowns) or from seed sown early in April.
In the foreground of this photograph are Leamington cauliflowers that should crop next spring. They were planted where the 2008 Maris Bard new potatoes were growing this year. In fact there is still one row of the two rows of potatoes I planted there yet to dig up. Asparagus chat
Friday December 19th muck Delivered. Cleared up around small cooking apple tree. Planted out more small tulip bulbs. Click here to see the pictures - view in IE
Our beans 2008 are nowhere near this big this week.
Sunday the 21 December 2003. As forecast the wind direction has moved around towards the North and snow is expected overnight. I spent some time in the allotment digging over the site where I will plant out next years shallots. In past years I would have made an effort to get some planted today - as the saying goes 'plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest'. However those planted on the shortest day in the last few years have bolted so I am going to start planting a little later this year.
Saturday 20th December The weather today was coming from the west with strong winds and rain, although there was a useful break in the rain this Saturday pm.
My experiment of growing potatoes and runner beans in the same place has had mixed results this year. I grew two rows of runners one on each plot. One row was started early with the beans sown on the the 15th of March and another some weeks later. Each had newly purchased Romano seed potatoes planted in the with muck and compost with runners sown on top and down the sides.
The earliest row produced less of both runners and potatoes - although I thought earlier in year, and judging by the size of the potato plants, that I was going to get good potatoes at the beans expense. Not the case, the potatoes plants swamped the the runners but produced a small crop of small potatoes.
The later row had both better beans and bigger potatoes. The beans were better because they grew quickly enough to get up the canes before the potatoes had a chance to swamp them. And although the potatoes had a shorter growing season it was apparently plenty of time for them to produce potatoes of a reasonable size.
It is all a bit of a riddle really - I guess the answer must lie in the soil.
Next year I will sow my earliest runner beans in the traditional way - without potatoes. The later ones, however will have spuds under them again as getting a clean crop of non sprouting potatoes at this time of year is still very useful and it means that I dig the soil over. Not only that, I now have all of the poles and canes stored away before any more winter weather gets to them.
The shallots that I planted out at this time last year got off to a great start and looked wonderful for the first few months of the year last year --- but shock horror --- they bolted. Hardly a single clump in the row didn't have at least one bulb that had run up to seed.
This year I have changed the variety for early and only planted two rows. I will endeavour to plant some shallots each week now for the next few weeks.
For the first time ever I have completely cleared and dug over the ground where I have been growing runner beans for the last few years before Christmas. This is because I had the extra incentive of digging up the potatoes that had been growing in the middle of the of the two rows of runner beans. This year I will select a main crop variety and sow them first before growing the beans up over them.
Planted out shallots in freshly double dug allotment.
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