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» What are you harvesting today?
by FloBear 18th August 2019, 8:12 pm

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» The Polytunnel
by FloBear 15th April 2019, 4:45 pm

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Post by freebird on 22nd May 2019, 8:59 am

Tbh Dandelion, I'm not sure I used anything. The crowns arrived when I was suffering from flu, and they were sitting around for so long that I was just desperate to get them in the ground.

Until I discovered Charles Dowding's no-dig, the plot would get a bit of mulch when I remembered. The last two seasons though, with Mr D's recommended thickness of mulch, I have had the best crops ever.

I think the answer to your question is that they will grow regardless of what you use, but you will have better crops if you can provide an annual thick mulch of something. No idea if animal manure is better than garden compost, but your suggestion sounds pretty good to me.

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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd May 2019, 9:24 am

The problem I get mulching with my homemade compost is that my heap does not get hot enough to kill the weed seed, so I get a bit of a carpet if green. I recall Compostwoman describing her "dirty" compost which was reserved for putting at the bottom of planting holes or trenches where the weeds wouldn't see the light of day.

I'm sure a lot if the magic of no dig is down to the regular application of lots of organic matter. Where I've tried it I got great squashes and sweetcorn. I've had to give in and dig this year, to try and control the spread of the horsetails. But it does give me a chance to bury some of my dirty compost !
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Post by Dandelion on 22nd May 2019, 5:33 pm

freebird wrote:

I think the answer to your question is that they will grow regardless of what you use, but you will have better crops if you can provide an annual thick mulch of something. No idea if animal manure is better than garden compost, but your suggestion sounds pretty good to me.

Thank you, that's reassuring. I had read an article which implied that asparagus was a really fussy character, and that you had to use manure. I think it's worth a try with my chicken manure.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 4th June 2019, 10:40 am

I've had my first peas (meteor) and carrots (Amsterdam forcing) from the polytunnel. Still having an odd courgette and working our way through the potatoes and the mange tout are vying for world domination.

I'm disappointed with my figs, they are full size and changing colour (they turn yellowish) and drooping / dropping off but they are dry and woolly.
It seems very early for them to ripen, even in the polytunnel, and I'm wondering if I've fed and / or watered them too much.
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Post by Chilli-head on 4th June 2019, 11:06 am

Still harvesting only rocket, though the broad beans (de Monica) are looking promising, if we get some rain as promised to fill them out a bit.

Oh, I also have green chillies ! On an overwintered plant from last year. Not an intentional overwintering, it was a pretty plant so left in the conservatory on the table there, and survived through.

Tomatoes are swelling, but some time to go yet.

Figs - don't I remember something about them producing two flushes of fruit per year, but needing to pick one of them off because in our climate they won't manage two croppings per year ?
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Post by freebird on 4th June 2019, 3:50 pm

First strawberries!
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Post by Dandelion on 4th June 2019, 7:39 pm

freebird wrote:First strawberries!

WOW!!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 4th June 2019, 9:48 pm

I've finished my strawberries!
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Post by Ploshkin on 7th June 2019, 7:51 pm

First broad beans today out of the tunnel. I'm not a big fan but they're lovely when they're very fresh and small. We've just eaten them with freshly dug / picked potatoes, carrot and mangetout - very tasty.
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Post by FloBear on 8th June 2019, 6:04 pm

I've just finished my strawberries though there are an odd one ot two still ripening. Broad beans are forming - I really like them fresh and the parrot is keen on them too. Sugar snap plants are a bit slow to get going, maybe I've neglected watering.
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Post by Chilli-head on 8th June 2019, 10:35 pm

I picked my first lot of strawberries today. And couple of onions.

I see tomatoes starting to change colour in the greenhouse too !
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Post by Chilli-head on 9th June 2019, 12:26 pm

Just had a look and broad beans are ready. I do like broad beans, picked before they go tough so they can be eaten with the skins on. I watch the poncey chefs on TV slipping each bean out of it's skin, and wonder if they realise they are thowing away most of the fibre and flavour !

I have some left over brassica of various sorts and a bit of spinach that I think will go together quite nicely as a substitute for the Greek "horta" in a spanokopita dribble
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Post by Dandelion on 21st June 2019, 4:16 pm

At last - some strawberries which are ripe, and haven't gone mouldy in the rain. Only five berries, but with a few tayberries they'll go nicely with some ice cream!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 21st June 2019, 4:24 pm

I've had my first two cucumbers. I had continued to grow them in the greenhouse in self watering pots as I had just found a growing method that seemed to work the season before I got my polytunnel. I decided to grow them in the tunnel this year. I made a hot bed in a couple of 18" drainage rings and so far the plants are doing well.
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Post by Dandelion on 22nd June 2019, 11:10 am

Are they little ridge cucumbers or long ones?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 22nd June 2019, 11:46 am

They're small ones Dandelion. There's only 2 of us to eat them so I find it better to have small ones
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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd June 2019, 4:27 pm

Up with my dad. He is picking cucumbers, long ones. I am a bit envious, my plants died so I had to start afresh, and they are still struggling.
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Post by Dandelion on 22nd June 2019, 10:01 pm

It has been very up-and-down as a season so far, hasn't it - unseasonably hot then equally unseasonably cold. It must have put quite a few plants under strain.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 22nd June 2019, 10:30 pm

First ever loganberries, a small handful of strawberries and another small handful of red dessert gooseberries.
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Post by Ploshkin on 22nd June 2019, 11:01 pm

Ooh, I must get loganberries going again, they make the very best jam.
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Post by FloBear on 23rd June 2019, 7:08 pm

My strawberries are more or less over now. Picked a tub of Autumn Bliss raspberries and some good-sized blueberries before I went away for the w/e. Broad beans starting to come on stream; I picked some small ones for the stir fry last week and when Mr Bear presented me with the culinary delight I couldn't see them. Turns out he took them out of the pods and wondered why I'd given him such tiny beans!
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Post by Chilli-head on 25th June 2019, 11:01 am

I had a dig last night, and one of my garlic varieties at least is ready to come up. Here's hoping the allium leaf miner has not ruined them.

Lots of strawberries to pick - the whole plot smells fruity. And - I am on the verge, I think, of successful spring onions ! They are usually rubbish, hardly germinate in my sandy kitchen garden plot, but the ones on the Hugel at the lotty are looking great.
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Post by Dandelion on 28th June 2019, 11:26 am

Strawberries - some advice please! We have a very modest row of new plants put in last autumn, and they have a fair crop bearing in mind thatthey are new. We had torrential rain on at the beginning of the week: haing seen the forecast the day before I picked any berries which were light red to avoid them going mouldy in the wet (which has been happening). I assumed that like most fruit they would continue to ripen off the plant. But they have sat in a little bowl on the windowsill looking at me for a few days and have all defiantly gone rotten without going red. Can you ripen strawberries inside or do you have to pick them when red?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 28th June 2019, 11:55 am

Unfortunately Dandelion strawberries do not ripen after they have been picked. This weather's been a pain.
If they aren't ripe enough to eat as they are, would they be any good for jam as you are supposed to use slightly underripe fruit for jam.
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Post by freebird on 28th June 2019, 12:11 pm

Another time Dandelion, perhaps pop some cloches over the plants to protect them, and something under the fruit to stop it laying on the wet ground.

Maybe mix your under-ripe fruit with other soft fruits to cook and make a summer pudding. Oh, no, you said it had gone mouldy.
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Post by Chilli-head on 28th June 2019, 12:23 pm

I was expecting a bumper crop of strawberries. In truth, I should have got around to picking them earlier, but with work, C-H Jnr on holiday after GCSEs, etc etc I have not had time. Last night I went to pick them, many of the biggest were mush. Some had turned to mush without reaching properly ripe red. I think my lotty is a challenging spot - heavy clay that can stay sodden for ages, but can also dry like concrete. They are in quite an exposed spot sun-wise, which also might be part of the problem. I'm half inclined to grub them up.

One of my blackcurrant bushes has been hit by aphids so hard it has no leaves left, just 5 currants on it. I wonder if that will survive. The problem of not having a proper winter.
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