22. APRIL

Things are working out just fine with my sowing seeds and transplanting into greenhouses on the allotment. It is quite a task filling four greenhouses, deciding what to put where but three of them are done to perfection. Just the latest one remains, that will be done tomorrow I hope. I still have about 24 tomato plants to find a home for but I’m sure it’ll get sorted out.

Today was the second phase, washing little flowerpots and sowing other vegetables – courgettes and sweetcorn. If all the seeds germinate we shall have enough to feed us and the neighbourhood.

One reason why the seeds are germinating so well is the compost I am using – Dalefoot. It is a peat free compost from the Lake district. Far the best I’ve ever used, I pay a bit more but it is well worth it.

8. FEBRUARY

I have to make most of this mild weather – today felt like a spring day again. The days are getting longer in the evening so I can do a bit more every day.

I had to finish the clearance of the raspberry patch, it was quite bad so it took a few days of fairly hard work. Amazing how well the weeds survived the winter – shame the pigeons don’t peck them, they prefer my chard!

Unfortunately the last two lines of raspberries were the worst. Not only were they full of creeping buttercups but also some strawberry plants made a comeback. First of all I wasn’t going to do a thorough job on it but then I just couldn’t leave it untidy so I did the usual clearance. It was worth it.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to visit a garden centre not far from from town, Russels in Baginton. I was given some garden vouchers and they accept them. What is even better they stock my favourite peat free compost – Dalefoot – so I can indulge. They also have a very nice cafe so lunch in there will be just the perfect end to the morning.

TOMATOES

I can’t imagine not growing tomatoes, I grow them every year and I have done so even before I had the allotment. I’m lucky to have a super greenhouse in my back garden – I treated myself for my birthday one year and got the best I could afford. It is a lovely Rhino greenhouse, I had a guy to put it up. He had all the necessary tools and it was amazing to watch. He made it look so easy.

It was in this greenhouse that I harvested the huge tomatoes today. I try to grow different ones each year, these ones are new to me – Cherokee purple. They are lovely to look at and great to taste. To grow them I fill the pots or the grow beds with a special compost I have, I get it from Dalefoot, their compost is totally peat free and they have a special tomato compost. The tomatoes just love it and I’m delighted with the results.

The biggest one was 571 g, quite a monster. I chopped them all up and roasted in the oven with some  olive oil and a few cloves of garlic. Afterwards I just blitzed it with a hand-held stick blender and seasoned the soup. Quite delicious, nothing but fresh home grown organic ingredients. There will be more soup as there are more tomatoes in the greenhouse on the allotment.

PEAT-FREE GROWING

I’m well aware of the current trend of peat-free growing. I use Dalefoot compost

I have been using it for a few years and I’m very happy with it. They have improved it by adding comfrey to it, there is a range of different kinds, depending what you want to use it for – seed propagation, potting up and, best of all, tomato compost. My tomato plants are the proof of that.

The compost is a bit more expensive than the usual product you get in a garden centre but it is well worth the cost.

SPRING IS HERE

Finally it all came together. First of all I managed to harvest my very first spring rhubarb – I think it is the tastiest of all the pickings.20210318_111901

Last year in the autumn I have acquired another greenhouse, a very old one at that. It belonged to an elderly lady who lived in a house right next to our allotments. We were very friendly, she was used to come to see me quite often . She had a little gate in her fence as her husband was used to have a plot on our site quite a number of years ago. She died a few years ago and the people who bought her house didn’t want the greenhouse so I rescued it. The structure was sound but as we dismantled it quite a lot of the panes of glass broke – it was very old and brittle. Anyway, with help I moved it all to my plot and stored it very carefully. My friend Dave said he would help me to put it together. Soon after the New Year he surprised me by getting the structure up and in position. It formed a neat group of greenhouses. Next job was harder – sorting out the panes of glass. As so much of it broke I decided to do a bit of mix and match – I ordered eight polycarbonate sheets for the side panels and decided that the rest and the roof would be glass. Had to buy some more glass but it all started to take shape. I’m delighted to say that the only thing to do now is to fix new runner wheels on top of the door – on order – and all is done. Nevertheless I have constructed my raised beds inside, filled them with the contents of one composter bin and a number of sacks of Dalefoot compost. This way I can have one greenhouse for tomatoes, one for peppers and chillies and one for aubergines and the occasional cucumber will be placed where I will find space. I am very happy but all this was possible only with a huge lot of work by Dave. Thank you Dave. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

DALEFOOT COMPOST

I needed to re-pot some of my tomato seedlings.¬† They were in pots with my new Dalefoot compost, the one called “double strength”. I was very pleasantly surprised how well the roots were formed.

 

These two tomato plants are now very happy in the greenhouse and many more will soon be ready to be moved. I’m delighted with the product and will be getting some more again.

A NEW WAY OF GROWING

Last week we went to visit our eldest son in the Lakes. As usual I did a bit of gardening there, weeding and cutting down old dry viburnum tree and, as the highlight of my stay, visited a nearby farm. I did read about them and heard about their produce but seeing it for myself was something else.

The farm is Dalefoot, they are in Heltondale and produce a large range of compost.

 

This particular compost is very good for growing tomatoes so I transplanted my seedlings into that. It says that it needs much less watering and I don’t have to feed it anymore. It is a winner on all fronts.