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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 18 Entries.
Friday, January 11 View Page
Inside the polytunnel as of today, no cover crop as the water to the allotment is turned off for the winter. So the next best thing is a mulch of compost covered with an opaque but permeable membrane which prevents weeds from growing but allows gas exchange. Underneath the soil is damp and there are plenty of worms. I doubt it'll freeze over even if it gets really cold outside. I am concerned that it'll be a cosy place for rats and mice to spend the winter - we'll see in a few weeks time when I get some samples for the first soil test of the year.
Friday, January 25 View Page
Here's the first soil test of the year, and though not perfect I'm still quite pleased with it. The main thing for me is the pH 6.7 which must be a payoff for all the OM and S that's been added these past few years. I'll continue to monitor it but I don't think there's any amendments necessary. I'll dig in a load of perlite and/or vermiculite in the spring and that's about it.
Sunday, January 27 View Page
Root nodules containing N fixing bacteria in some field beans that we're growing as green manure on the allotment over winter. When spring comes and/or before flowering, I'll strim the plants to ground level and till everything into the ground.
Friday, March 29 View Page
Seed selection this year, both pumpkin and squash. I'll probably start out with 4-5 pumpkins and will end up with just one again as that's all I can fit in the polytunnel. We'll have a squash growing outside, and I'm not sure yet what Oliver will choose.
Sunday, April 21 View Page
We're back today having spent the last 2 weeks on holiday in Florida. No hanging about - today is seed starting day! They were soaked for 2 hours in deionised water at 28C and now they're in Root Riot plugs on the heat mat, also at 28C. We have chosen 7 to start, two of which I'll grow in the polytunnel before settling on one, and one of which Oliver will grow just outside.
Tuesday, April 23 View Page
Well that was quick! Just 2 days later and 3 of the 7 have popped up, they have now gone into 5l pots with Canna Seed Compost and some Azos & Giantveg Mycorrhizal Innoculant. Hopefully it won't be long before the others make an appearance. I'm really chuffed because last year we had all kinds of germination problems, the main difference this year is keeping an even, higher temp and I also made sure the plugs were more damp rather than wet.
Friday, April 26 View Page
With 5 of the 7 seeds now germinated, I've put some finishing touches to the soil in the polytunnel. In goes a load of vermiculite and Biovin, now I just have to water, cover it up and wait.
Monday, April 29 View Page
A quick view inside the nursery. As well as natural light from one side, there's a T5 on top that's on 14 hours per day. There's a fan providing gentle air movement and the whole thing is surrounded by reflective Mylar. I'm trying to keep the temp at an even 21C but it does go up a bit during the day and down a bit at night. The seedlings look fine so far.
Thursday, May 2 View Page
And here's the 2152 Gantner again one week on.
Sunday, May 5 View Page
A couple of days later and the first true leaf of the 2152 is making progress and showing good colour. Tomorrow I'll prepare the patch for planting as it'll need to get into the ground this week. It'll probably be paired with the 1954 Lancaster which is at a similar stage of growth.
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
2152 Gantner (l) and 1954 Lancaster (r) hardening off before they go in. Same age, the Gantner is slightly smaller but better colour than the Lancaster. The soil in the polytunnel has been a steady 15C for over a week now.
Thursday, May 9 View Page
And today's the day. Lancaster is nearest, Gantner a bit further away. The soil dries quickly in the polytunnel so I will remove the black cover as the plants progress. No fertiliser yet, they're too young, just come bacterial & myco innoculant for now.
Saturday, May 11 View Page
After a day of floppy leaves they've in settled in well, they're now looking more healthy & turgid as they take up water. There's not a lot of air movement in the polytunnel so I've set up a couple of fans set up to aid transpiration. They will also rock the plants gently which should stimulate stronger growth. The metal rods are to support some clear polycarbonate sheets which are set up like a tent overnight to guard against low temps. Next week we'll put Oliver's pumpkins in the ground outside.
Wednesday, May 15 View Page
2152 Gantner is in the foreground. In development it's slightly behind the Lancaster, although both have been pretty slow settling in, possibly because of transplant shock, possibly because of the cold nights. I've installed a paraffin heater to combat the latter, otherwise we're having a lot of sun and it gets very warm during the day. Water is just pH 6.0 EC 1.3 with Mammoth P compost tea at present.
Wednesday, May 15 View Page
Another pic with the polycarbonate sheets set up as an overnight cloche, the paraffin heater is in there somewhere to keep things cosy.
Saturday, May 18 View Page
2152 Gantner 25 days after germination, still a bit slow in development this past week, perhaps it's all going on underground.
Saturday, May 18 View Page
1713 Lancaster slightly ahead in development compared to the Gantner. Unless this does something really special, I'll choose the Gantner due to its genetics.
Sunday, May 19 View Page
A quick view of Oliver's patch with a 2003 Lancaster at one end and 1954 Lancaster at the other.


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