22 August 2008

The Good, the bad and the ugly

So glossing over the lack of an entry for the last 3 months... Work, holidays, busy on the plots, etc.

The potatoes went down with blight a couple of weeks ago, so I cut off the tops and waited the suggested length of time before digging them up. Which was today. The remaining spuds to be lifted were a few Salad Blue, a row each of Pink Fir Apple, King Edward and Maris Piper - I still have a few rows of King Edward and Maris Piper on the other plot that thankfully hasn't got blight. Well not yet anyway.

So a few hours later, the good...

'Action' shot digging up the Pink Fir Apple

King Edward

Maris Piper

Pink Fir Apple

The bad...

Some of the potatoes throw away due to blight, with added weeds.

A slug 'at work' - check out the centre of the picture,towards the top.

The ugly...

Not only an 'interesting' shape, but with scab and the beginnings of blight too.

So all in all a reasonable harvest from the potatoes. Not surprising they were pretty much on the small side, not too much slug damage (maybe the nemoslug works?!) and lost about 10% to Blight - which was a bit of a relief really. Probably lost more like 20% of the Pink Firs to blight, possibly due to their sprawling nature and being quite close to the surface? Still got the same number of King Edward and Maris Piper in the ground at plot no 2, although they went in quite late. Mrs D seems to think we've got a lot of potatoes but I did point out that they will store (once they're dry) and also that we'll get through them quicker than she thinks.

Will we grow them again? The Orla's that we finish months ago now - maybe. Nothing special on the taste front though. Salad Blue - doubt it, great from the novelty point of view and got loads of interest, but again taste wise just OK and blue potatoes don't look right on some occasions - and yes they so keep their colour when cooked! Pink Fir Apple - possibly, taste good but bit problematic with sprawling nature and if I do grow them again maybe not so many. King Edward and Maris Piper - probably, although if so it will be on plot no 2 where blight seems to be less of a problem.

Next year though I want to try some Charlottes and possibly some of the maincrop blight resistant varieties.

So what else is growing?

Or has been harvested in this case. The shallots were smaller than last year, but a reasonable crop from the Longnor on plot no 1. The others (name escapes me at the moment) on plot no 2 were rubbish - barely bigger than the sets that went in originally, but that did at least divide up to give me something to plant next year I guess.

The garlic has been dug up, dried out and plaited. It's actually bigger than last year as well so more than happy with this. Only grew half the number as last year so just the 27 bulbs this year - and from my own 'seed' saved from the previous year.

There's been a slow but steady stream of tomatoes (mainly Aurora) from plot no 2. The Sub Artic Plenty haven't really delivered on their early promise. I've still a lot to learn with tomatoes though and next year we'll be growing less plants and (hopefully!) watering a bit more consistently. The first chillies from the Ring of Fire as well. Amazingly something has been eating them (what eats chillies???!!!) and whilst the plant is healthy enough not going to producing that many at this rate. I've also had quite a few of the Hungarian Hot Wax - not as big as I thought they'd be (there's a theme running through this entry!) and seemingly varied in which ones are 'hot' and which ones are pleasant to eat!

Fruit - we had loads of summer raspberries (ice cream - yum!), but the Autumn ones are taking their time getting going. My pot grown blueberries have never done very well either, one of which hasn't had any fruit on at all this year (these are grown at home in a nice sunny spot). They could do with a 'partner' to aid pollination really. Typical crap bought from not very reputably source, you live and learn.

[Picture on other computer - arrgghhh, it was all going so well!]

The pumpkins appear to growing well this year, although only one fruit so far - that one being about the size of a football now.

Sprawling mass of the plant.

This years' soup and lantern!

I've been having great problems with my beans and peas on plot no 1. Basically they are being eaten before I get to them by something, quite what I'm not sure - suggestions please! Mice?

As a result I've not had any Broad Beans from this plot, but fortunately the other plot has been most productive on this front. The peas (Telephone) are also suffering, but only about 50% of them are being lost. The rest are eaten practically as soon as a get in the door but either one of the kids or their Mum - none have actually got as far as being cooked yet! The French beans are just beginning to start producing some beans and I was surprised to see this Borlotti Bean - didn't realise I planted any on that plot.

Finally one for those of you who like looking at pictures of soil - really that's going to be most of you even if you're not prepared to admit it ;>) This is the bed I've just dig the potatoes from. It was heavily manured last Autumn and looks really good now, even though I say so myself!

Hopefully another update before Christmas...