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Dores Allotments

John's plot 2014

21st October 2014

 

My 3rd year on the allotment and it's been a variable year, some successes and some failures.

During the winter I dug the whole plot and manured the top half which was last done two years ago.

Here's what I grew and how it fared.

Blackcurrants.

I put these bushes in two winters ago as bare rooted plants. This year they really came into their own, had masses of fruit off every bush. I'm sure this was helped by the early summer. Made jam, pies, cordial and still got some in the freezer.

Gooseberries.

These bushes were the first things |I planted back in January 2012. The fruited incredibly well however a badger managed to get under the fence took a fancy to them. Unfortunately the badger ate the fruit by pushing the branches to the ground which broke most of the branches. I did manage to rescue some of the fruit, but we'll have to wait until next year to see how badly the bushes are damaged.

Strawberries

I have a row of strawberries with I planted 2 summers ago, and last year I grew runners from these and planted a row under black plastic.

What worked really well is the plants under plastric fruited incredily well and earlier than the old row, giving a longer fruiting season. Had lbs and lbs of fruit.

Carrots

I grew two rows, an early variety and a late cropping. Had lovely small carrots from the early row from June onwards and they are now huge and still cropping. Haven't even started using the later variety, hopefully they'll keep overwinter.

Garlic

Started this off in September 2013 from some bulbs I bought from the Really Garlicy Co. in Nairn. They did quite well, a resonable crop, although some bulbs were too small to use.

Don't think I'd grow them again.

Potatoes

This year I grew earlies and main crop (Desiree and Rooster). Very disappointing, I'm affraid the blight got them at a bad time for me, so I didn't get up there and spray them. And what the blight didn't get the slugs got to. Very disappointing crop compaired to last year.

Really need to stick with slug resistant varieties next year.

Raspberries

Planted some canes in the spring, hoping for fruit next year. Although they grew well to start with they quickly turned brown and mostly died. Reading on the internet it looks as though they don't like being in freshly manured ground as the manured holds water around their roots which makes them rot.

As I've built the frame for them to grow up I'll plant some more next year.

OnionsOnions - Ailsa Craig

Read somewhere that onions do better grown from seed rather than sets. So planted a packet of seeds in the spring, in the greenhouse, had more plants than I knew what to do with.

After I planted them out they looked very sad but after a couple of weeks they stood up and I was delighted how well they did, despite being swamped by other things. Will definatley grow Ailsa Craig from seed next year.

 

 

Beetroot and Yellow Beetroot

Both cropping exceptionally well, the yellow beetroot doesn't taste any different from the standard red but does look nice slices on the plate.

Hopefully I'll keep cropping these thoughout the winter.

Pumpkins

Last year I put 1 plant in and got 2 pumpkins.

This year I did the same, but have 5 pumpkins. More than we'll ever need, but I'm happy to give away.

Pumpkin plants sprawl all over the place and take a lot of space so what I did this year was I planted it on the side of my plot so that it could sprawl over the grass along the side of my plot. This worked very well, will do again.

Courgettes

Like previous years these did very well. Only problem was I plated Black Beauty which cropped well, but they ran to marrows very quickly which in some cases were tough and inedible.

Going to go back to Pati-Pans next year and grow the standard courgettes in the garden.

Cabbages

I built a nice big cage for all my brassicas but the cabbage white butterflies still got through, I need a finer mesh. Still got a fantastic crop of huge cabbages that should keep us going well into next year.

Red cabbages

Bought some small plants in the spring, as previous years they've done incredibly well.

Khol-Rabi

Bought as small plants, grew quite well but split very easily. Bit of an experiement but didn't particularly enjoy them so wont bother again.

Cauliflower

Unlike last year the plants survived, but they just didn't crop very well. Wont bother with them again, which is a shame because I love cauliflower.

Pak-Choi

Bought some plants in the early spring and they grew incredibly well, so looked hopeful. Sadly they very quickly ran to seed and I ended up feeding them to the chickens. Wont bother with these again.

Spring Onions (red and White)

Planted from seed early in the spring, cropped brilliantly. Will definately grow again next year.

Parsley (Italian Flat Leaved and Curley)

Grown from seed. Last year I grew the flat leaved variety and it did incredibly well. This year I grew a row which was half flat and half curley. Again it did incredibly well, great for cooking as well as a garnish in the B&B breakfasts. Still cropping now.

Next year I'll try another herb in addition to parsley.

French Beans

Grew very well, had a reasonable crop but the plants suffered from being swamped by the China Asters. Will grow again, but give them more space.Broad Beans

Broad Beans

Grew from seed in the greenhouse and planted out once the weather had warmed up. Great success, huge crop, still got bags of beans in the freezer. Definate for next year.

Sweet Corn

Tried a full sized variety, they didn't fruit. If they don't succeed in the Highland summer this year, they never will. End-of.

Gherkins

Grew them from seed in the greenhouse, but all the plants failed when I transplanted them to the allotment. Very disappointing, maybe I didn't harden them off properly. Will try again because I love pickled gherkins.

Leeks

Lots of leeks growing, but they're still quite small, they may fatten up but we'll use them non-the-less.

Fennel

Grew exceptionally well, 6' high, but the bulbs never grew.

 

Flowers

The flowers generally have been a great success, had beautiful vases of flowers throughout the B&B since late June and still picking now, although they are coming to an end.

 

 

 

Statice

Last year I grew blue and they looked great in vases with other colours. This year I grew mixed colours, although they bloomed well the colours were a bit insipid. Will go back to just blue next year.

Hardy Gerberas

Bought 3 of them as they're quite expensive. They flowered reasonably well but suffered from being overcrowded by other things. Will put them in pots in the greenhouse over-winter as I don't think they're hardy enough to withstand the Highland winter.

I'll plant them in a much sunnier spot next year.

Zinnias

Did get swamped by sunflowers and were a complete failure. Maybe try again next year.

Bells Of Ireland

From a packet of seeds I had 4 plants. Put them out but they didn't get much bigger than 6". Never again.

Nigella

Germinated well but didn't get much bigger than 6", maybe try again next year.

Gladioli

Had bucnhes and bunches of these again, right through until the end of October. Many from bulbs I stored over-winter, some new bulbs I bought this year. Need more pink next year.

Dahlias

Like the gladioli, I stored the tubers from last year under the house. The varieties that performed well as cut flowers I put back on the allotment in the spring, the others I grew in the garden. All did incredibly well, especially pleased with a large dark red flower, a pink pompom and an orange with red stripes.

A tip I picked up is to bring them into a heated greenhouse early in the year to get them started and plant out after front gets blooms earlier in the year. Will try that next year.

Sunflowers

These did a little too well, went mad, 7' high and crowded other things. Had a good crop of flowers, think I'll look for a smaller variety for next year.

China Aster

They grew incredibly well but they all flowered at the same time so most went to waste. They also got a lot taller than I expected ans swapped other things. Might try another variety next year.

Sweet PeasSweet Peas

I built frames using canes and wire netting and they did incredibly well. Still picking bunches at the end of October. I grew some specific red coloured and mixed but they all came out mixed, don't know why. Will grow a mix and a specific colour again next year.

Gypsophelia

Grew well but wasn't a good variety, sprawled around, not great for cutting. Will see if I can find a better variety for next year, but I think the best cutting varieties are perennials.

Wall flowers

As last year, grew them from seed and in the Autumn when the summer bedding was finished at home transplanted them. Grew brilliantly, in fact have given loads of plats away.

Sweet Williams

Like the wall flowers, grown as a biennial from seed. Never grown these before, but have happy memories of my father growing them when I was a kid.

They were transplanted to the garden in September and continue to grow well, hopefully they'll whithstand the Highland winter and flower in the spring.

Cornflower (Black Ball)

Grew very well, covered in flowers, not great for cutting. Wont bother with again.

Stocks

Grew from seed, useless. All ran to tall, straggly plants, few flowered and those that did were no good for cutting. Might try another variety next year.

 

 

What have I been particularly pleased with?

Soft fruits, like strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants.

Broad beans, spring onions, pumpkins, carrots, parsley and beetroot all done well. Been exceedingly pleased with onions.

Of the flowers, sweat peas, dahlias and gladioli all produced exceptionally well. Wall flowers and sweet williams produced more plants than I knew what to do with, we'll see how they flower in the Spring.

Next year?

You can probably tell from the list above, I really tried to grow far too much on my plot. Yet again I planted things too closely, will I never learn.

Next year I will cut down on the number of different things, give more space and hopefully then be able to look after things more carefully.

 
 

 
           


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