kgoral

Sep 282012
 

Today it is the last time I am visiting my plot. It is going to be taken over by a new student next week.

Looking back at the whole plot experience I cannot believe how much I learned. The learning process involved a lot of my own research into growing plans and was very much based on trial and error with some idea working brilliantly and other failing. It was also largely a group learning process with students plotting together and plotting next to each other. We learned by observing what is happening on neighbouring plots, adapting ideas of our classmates to fit our needs. Farewell my plot! I will miss working here.

Last crop – bouquet of sweet peas and cornflowers

Aug 272012
 

It is late August now and most of the plants are going into seed. Our plots look particularly attractive at this moment – wild, messy but also intriguing.

Lettuce pyramids

Collapsing structures – teasel at Martina’s plot

Japanese vegs past harvest time

Dill jungle

Late summer mess

Aug 142012
 

For a month now I have been harvesting vegetables from my plot. As a result onions and lettuce reappear in my meals without a stop. I have collected over 2.5kg of onions already and there is still more to come. I am done with broad beans and green peas though – the harvested lot ended up in stews, soups and freezer. A lesson for next time – succession in veg production is a wise idea.

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Recent changes – I have removed bean and pea plants as they were affected by chocolate spot. I replaced them with more onions and sunflower plants. There is still a chance I will harvest these before new student takes over my plot in October.

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Jun 142012
 

There are some new arrivals on student plots: Rory finally finished planting out his lettuce-made snail.

Jessie and Roslyn brought in a pair of scarecrows. He and she are hand-made of willow and sporting out carefully thought-through outfits.

Jun 142012
 

Viva is just a day away and my plants are still pretty tiny! My great disappointment – sweet peas. Looking at them I cannot believe they will ever reach 2m. At this moment they look overwhelmed by its tall bamboo supports.

On the other hand, some of the plants are doing well. I am very proud of my broad beans and peas – they grew almost up to the top of their support structures. Onions and lettuce look good and I even have some plants in flower.

Jun 042012
 

Slugs – one of the most hated pests in garden. Slugs – holes in plant leaves, eaten up seedlings. Slugs – slimy unpleasant surprise. How to get rid of them in an organic way? Here are my tried recipes:

Coffee grounds

I used them to form a highly aromatic barrier to edge growing seedlings of nigella. So far so good. One problem: coffee grounds wash off during watering.

Oat bran

Another excellent idea for a barrier. After wetting and drying they become rough and discourage slugs from entering. One problem: birds living in the birch hedge near my plot liked it a lot and within three weeks disassembled my barrier.

Bird-eaten bran barrier

Eggshells

I used them to edge two rows of beetroot seedlings. Not too sure whether it is an effective defence as my beets show signs of slugs’ fiesta.

Eggshell barrier

Birch twig barrier

Difficult to assess its effectiveness. On one hand it may work as abatis keeping slugs at bay. On other, dry leaves and garden litter get stuck between twigs creating a good resting place for slugs during warm day hours.

Slug gone

Organic pelleted sheep wool – as some swear it discourages slugs by sucking moisture out of their bodies and adds to soil fertility. I surrounded my lettuces with it. More info on www.sluggone.com.

Slug gone in action

Despite all these precautions slugs are still targeting my plants. I may have to go for a night hunt soon.

Jun 032012
 

With the arrival of warmer weather a lot of activity has been seen on student plots. We are all busy thinning, weeding, edging or building supports. Even some late sowing could be seen. The plot viva deadline is approaching quickly. Will our plants be ready for the 15th of June? Lots of hope, lots of frenzy.

May 092012
 

One of the quickest way to improve the overall image of a plot or a garden is to mow, edge and top dress. This week I took on two of these tasks: defining the edge and top dressing my plot with a mix of compost and bark. After all the manicure my plots looks very crisp and neat. Hopefully the layer of compost will help the soil to hold onto moisture better and keep weeds down. I found it also a good way of dealing with the crust on the top of the soil – remains of the frost at the end of March.

Contrast: top dressed patch versus untreated area