Sunday, 3 August 2014

Food out, Rye Grass in

Just in case you think it's not actually us that does the work on our plot - I noticed the other day that all the pics on here are of veg, without any evidence of who's toil produced it - here's me digging up some onions. In a couple of hours at the plot we managed to get on with some harvesting and weeding, and sowed some green manure which will be a first for us if it germinates.

The autumn-sown onions and garlic, having dried out nicely and been brought home, have been replaced in the shed by the spring-sown ones, all of which I pulled up today. Onions have all done brilliantly this year, swelling to quite impressive sizes. Spring-sown shallots came up too, although they didn't fare as well as their autumnal brethren. They didn't seem to fancy the patch we had them in for some reason, it might've been too wet.

I then spent the next hour or so, digging over the remainder of the bed in which had been planted our first (Rocket) and second (Maris Peer) spuds. I've mentioned already that the first earlies had been total duds, producing paltry quantities of quite slug damaged tubers; unfortunately the second earlies have been almost as crap. The spuds are a lot cleaner and less damaged, and more uniform in size, but the number per plant is derisory. I'm wondering if in the two previous years we've been on the plot we've been spoiled by bumper crops which have raised expectations to untenable levels. I've still got two beds worth of main croppers to dig up at some point, and those plants all put on a good deal more growth than the earlies; hopefully there is a commensurate improvement in the subterranean situation with those.

Here's the patch I dug over today.

And the resultant crop. Pants eh?

Meanwhile, Kasia got stuck into some much-needed weeding and strimming, freeing the leek patch among others from the clutches of many an unwelcome intruder.

We finished the afternoons plottery by sowing some green manure seeds in the patch where the spuds had been. We've gone for a Hungarian Grazing Rye. I first heard about this stuff when on a free horticulture course offered by Tyneside Cyrenians (now Changing Lives). Good for breaking up a clay soil, it adds both nutrients and texture to the soil once dug in, and also does something quite nifty by releasing a germination-inhibitor into the soil thus hopefully reducing the number of weeds. If it germinates and grows properly we'll have a nice green mat of growth meaning we won't need to cover that patch over winter. We've got another green manure to try, Buckwheat. I'll let you know how these work out.


  1. Our Rocket potatoes were rubbbish and we won't be growing that variety again - slugs love them though we don't

    1. Glad to hear it's not just us! You had any more success with other varieties of earlies this year?

    2. We've not dug all the varieties yet but Casablanca are best so far


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