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Just a Quicky

We made it…just!

Its a long story but for now l just wanted to say how great it is to be back in Blighty!

The curry is lovely, the beer is even better and the fish and chips are wonderful! Oh, to be in England….

Autumn is looking great. I have never seen so much fruit in the hedgerows.

I will post more soon. Off to pub for Sunday lunch. Bliss.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Some wartime memorabilia

Over the past few weeks l have successfully bid for some wartime ‘Dig for Victory’ memorabilia.  Since l have started writing this blog l have searched the internet for additional information to help me in my postings, whether that has been in the form of posters from that period, leaflets, booklets etc. Some of them have obviously become collectable items especially the Allotment & Garden Guides and Seed catalogues. I thought l had secured a seed catalogue when l placed a bid at nearly £10.00. It actually went for nearer £40.00! Remarkable. So, in my quest to build up a little bit of WW2 history and with a limited budget, l only bid on ebay on items that really take my interest. These are some of them:

Dig for Victory

This is the leaflet informing people on How To Dig. Its all good common sense stuff but l must get myself a nice trilby and a waistcoat!

How to Dig

I hope you have all noticed how the digger has stepped back with one foot!

Cropping plan

I am really pleased l got this leaflet. When l read this l have this image of the characters from The Fast Show when they were talking very matter of fact dressed as men during the war, smoking pipes, ‘Vegetables all the year round if you crop wisely Mr Chummley-Warner!’

Cropping Plan 2

Janice surprised me the other day when she got me a Dig for Victory mug! How nice is that!

Dig for Victory mug

Weather here still remains dry. We had a drop of rain last Friday but l believe Brittany is declaring itself in a state of drought! No real rain since before Easter is making the garden very dry and very difficult to work in. There is a distinct lack of growth in nearly all the seedlings despite my watering. I have set up a new irrigation system in my plot ready for worsening conditions! How are things with you?

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2010 in May, The garden, Uncategorized

 

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Full steam ahead

Mr MIDDLETON says: Little and often is the golden rule with fertilizers; a little less rather than a little more.

MAY- 2nd WEEK

1. Plant out celery and celeriac.- Celery is normally planted out in trenches in single or double rows….celery being a bog plant requires an abundance of water. Dust with old soot often, to keep the celery fly away. Celeriac, which is grown for its turnip-like root, requires a rich soil and much feeding to get really good roots.

2. Thin out seedlings.- Many rows of seedlings will need thinning out from time to time. This can be done at one stage, though normal practice is to do it twice. The first time the rows are reduced and specimens left about twice as thick as is necessary. This leaves plenty to cover failures. The alternate plants are removed at the final thinning. With carrots the disturbance of the row loosens the soil and permits the carrot fly to lay its eggs near the roots of the plants, and the pungent smell attracts the pest. Immediately after thinning, the rows should be watered and naphthalene hoed in along each side of the rows.

3. Onions and Their Enemies.-

4. Plant Cucumbers.-

5.- Sow Swedes and Turnips.-

6.- Sow and Plant.- Sow maincrop beet and haricot beans. Plant out late cauilflowers and New Zealand spinach. Apply mulches to any fuit trees that need it. Protect beans outside if weather is unseasonable.

I have only just transplanted my celeriac so it is too early for me to plant outside just yet. I bought some celery plants from a new shop just opened in town selling only local produce. I’m all in favour of supporting anything like that. The plants have been slow to pick up but are putting on new growth now.

We had a drop of rain last week but with these winds the soil has soon dried out again and l am having to continue to water. Carrots are up but very slow in putting any growth on. Unlike my spuds under cover that are truly romping away.

Spuds under cover

A little pearl

A couple more weeks and we should be eating our first plate of new potatoes, with a big dollop of butter, of course!

Salad & Herbs

The salad plants are the cut and come again variety so there is no need to thin them. Of course, if you did, then the plant can also be used in a salad. I LOVE coriander leaf, especially in curries, so l tend to grow a lot of this!

Bean poles with willow

I have weaved some willow into the bean poles so that the sweet peas have something more to cling onto in their fight to get going. Even these small plants are sending out flowers already.

Me & Bertha

On a sadder note, l am afraid l have lost dear Bertha, probably to the fox. Every day l let them out into the field and it is  lovely to see them scratching about, having a dust bath, chasing off other birds but on Friday night Bertha never returned. She was a heavy girl and, as far as l know, never laid an egg in her life. She was a pet and a cuddly one at that! I will miss her.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2010 in May, The garden, Uncategorized

 

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Vegetable luxuries

Another entry from Mr Middleton’s ‘Digging for Victory’.

In these critical times the wise gardener is thinking of the winter supplies, and concentrating his energies on getting plenty of the utility vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips, swedes, artichokes, and winter greens are of the first importance. But it doesn’t follow that we should deny ourselves everything in the nature of a luxury, especially as some of the so-called luxury vegetables can be produced without interfering with the general Dig for Victory plans.

Variety is good for us, and the vegetable diet can become a little monotonous without the addition of an occasional novelty, just by way of a change, and to add interest to the proceedings. Apparently a good many of my listeners have been thinking along these lines, for l have had quite a lot of letters lately about such things as mushrooms, melons and pumpkin: to say nothing of asparagus, peaches, and strawberries.

Now l am not going to advocate the growing of any of these in war-time if it means neglecting the essential subject; but where they can be conveniently fitted into the scheme of things, to add variety, and make life a little more worth living, l’m all for them, in moderation, of course.

Anderson Shelter

Mr Middleton goes on to tell us how to cultivate mushrooms under some turf or in a cold frame; and to make use of every square inch in the garden by growing marrows on top of the Anderson air-raid shelter! He was way ahead of his time when he suggests after thinning out the seedlings of turnips, carrots, onions, lettuce and parsnips, not to throw them on the compost heap but to use them in a salad. I believe people today are paying a small fortune buying salads in this form!

He finishes off by adding:

‘One thing l like about war-time gardening is that l have less mowing to do; there isn’t much left to mow, so l can get on with the hoeing instead; hoeing between the vegetable rows is a much more useful occupation, and keeps the crops on the move, so don’t let the hoe go rusty.’

I couldn’t agree more! We have just had a spell of long overdue rain so it should be perfect. Have a great weekend and remember tomorrow is the 65th anniversary of VE Day.

 
 

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Thank God for Churchill

So people are casting their votes as we speak and, it looks like a Conservative government could be coming back in. I will reserve comment but suffice to say that the only true conservative leader this country has ever seen has to be the one and only Sir Winston! It was only through his sheer guts and determination that we eventually won the war. There was no room for the ‘shall we, shan’t we’s’ of this world. He was the right man, for the right job, at the right time. We could do with someone like him now! Deep breath and lets see what the next 5 years brings us all. God Save the Queen!

A true leader

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2010 in May, Uncategorized

 

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Sow, Plant and Hoe

APRIL-4th WEEK

Mr Middleton says: All pruning should have a purpose. If you don’t know why you are cutting a shoot, don’t cut it.

1. Sow Calabresse, Pickling Onions and Garlic.- Calabresse can now be sown in the outside seed bed. This is a form of cauliflower which provides a green head in summer and, when this is cut, produces shoots for winter use. Pickling onions can be sown. Queen Pickling or Silverskin Pickling are good varieties. Put the seeds in thinly on the onion bed. Shallots should be growing now and will benefit from a dressing of general fertilizer hoed in between the rows. Onions planted out in March and now established can also have a light fertilizer dressing. Garlic may be planted in exactly the same wayas shallots, except that the old bulbs are first broken up and the small sections planted separately.

3. Plant first leeks.- The first leeks should be planted now for those that are exhibiting or who like to have them early. Exhibitors must prepare their soil especially well, using manure and fertilizer. Leeks do like a rich soil. There are two ways of growing them- in trenches and in holes. The trench method is best for the exhibitor. It is made in the same way as a celery trench and is about 6-in. deep. The plants are put in 2- or 3-in. deep in single or double rows. As the plants grow they are earthed up with soil to produce well-blanched stems.

6. Earth-up Potatoes: Prepare Marrow Beds.-

9. Sow, Plant and Hoe.- Make any necessary successional sowings. Prick out celeriac  sown earlier. Dress shallots with fertilizer. Prepare outdoor tomato sites. Plant out parsley. Thin out Salsify to 6 in. Hoe around fruit trees and bushes.

This poster seems apt in the run up to the election.

I made some sowings of Early and Late Purple Sprouting Broccoli two weeks ago and they are just starting to appear, as are the Ruby Chard, carrots and Spinach. The ground is very dry now and l have had to water the seedlings to try and help them along but they never seem to respond the same way as when they have a drop of proper rain. Today was hot and sunny and it looks set to remain the same.

I am moving things out of the greenhouse and hardening them off outside. My leeks are too small to be planted outside yet but another two weeks should see them big enough. I have some Salsify seed and l will make a sowing this week. The garlic l started in October last year has really come on but…..it has the dreaded rust! Every year is the same and l think this will be the last time l try growing it. Its not worth the effort or the space it takes up in my plot that could be used for other crops. I can already see l won’t have enough room for everything l want to grow; its the same every year!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2010 in April, The garden, Uncategorized

 

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Planting Early Potatoes

March-3rd Week

2. Plant Early Potatoes.- Begin planting early potatoes wherever possible. In the south and parts of the midlands doubtless some can be got in now. They should be well sprouted and have the number of sprouts reduced to two, unless you prefer a larger number of small potatoes. Unhealthy tubers should be destroyed. Do not plant any that are suffering from dry rot, as they merely decay in the soil. By planting now, new potatoes can be obtained really early.



With the soil being so warm and dry l decided to plant out some early potatoes under cover. Rain was forecast today but never arrived, however, tomorrow looks awful and l couldn’t waste this opportunity.

I started by adding a good load of leaf mould and a sprinkling of organic fertilizer into the soil.

I then covered the whole bed with black plastic and, through slots cut in the plastic, l planted Belle de Fontenay and Nicola varieties.

The whole bed was then covered with perforated clear plastic pegged and strung down. I have used this method many times in the past and it is fool proof! By May we will be digging up the first new spuds. I know Mr Middleton didn’t have access to these methods but he would probably have brought a few on under glass cloches. Same idea just different materials.

Does anyone have any other ideas for bringing on some early potatoes?

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2010 in March, The garden, Uncategorized

 

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