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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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After a pretty barren year for the apple trees last year - the blossom was all knocked out by stormy weather, this year has provided a bumper crop 8)

 

The eater is only a smallish tree, which I prune close each winter as it has very big fruit, which can break the branches. This year it had so many that I was propping up branches with short scaffold poles!

 

The crab apple had a total of 5 miserly crabbies on it last year - this year I picked 5 kilos of fruit from it, and have just made endless jars of crab apple and clove jelly. So beautiful in its golden russet colour.

 

The Victoria plum is another smallish tree, which always fruits really well, in fact I have to thin out the fruit to discourage mould! I picked so many this year and had no time to make them into anything, so I just sliced them up and froze them for when I can make some jam or a tart. The chooks got some of the mouldy ones.

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had a very good crop of most of my apple varieties but it's been a weird year the early ones were late to pick but kept longer than they should of but all the late ones were early to pick but haven kept at all.I've got 2 or 3 that I can keep well into the new year perfectly well in fact 2 aren't addible till Christmas at the earliest but this year the best keepers went over after a couple of days got to the stage even the mob refused to eat them

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:D does that mean you will have some left to pick for Xmas dinner? :D

 

I have harvested 10 green tomatoes today and pulled up the plants after frosting. It's all too late in the year, the fruit isn't sweet enough despite the sun we have had, so it's green Tom chutney time. Next weekend we are olive picking and then I shall pick mandarins to bring back to the UK for Xmas.

 

We have just bought an almond tree and now I discover we need a pollinator, not sure where I am going to find one, they aren't common round here. Interestingly tho, they seem to be closely related to wild peaches, which we do have in the garden :D

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Well we picked 62kg of olives for pressing, about 20kg up on last year. This is partly because I have not turned so many into table olives and partly because the crop was ready a month early so each one is a bit plumper and heavier. They have also been attacked by olive fly, I can't tell you how revolting it is to see a plastic sack with wriggling maggots in it :vom: even worse they have been in our cold downstairs bathroom for 48 hours....maggots on the floor :vom::vom:

 

Anyway, they will get pressed along with the fruit and we will get a delivery of oil by the weekend. Hopefully a minimum of 6 litres, maybe more. But it's hard work, really labour intensive. And when you cost out the time, you do wonder if it's worth it!

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OH dug up loads of Jerusalem artichokes the other day. Working our way through them - we have soup in the freezer and my favourite is roasted with the skins on. Some are mashed and frozen in burger shapes.

 

But just lately I'm considering growing rice. It looks like a great possibility at the moment. :wink:

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OH dug up loads of Jerusalem artichokes the other day. Working our way through them - we have soup in the freezer and my favourite is roasted with the skins on. Some are mashed and frozen in burger shapes.

 

But just lately I'm considering growing rice. It looks like a great possibility at the moment. :wink:

I think it's even to wet of rice ATM :lol:

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:lol:

 

I have bought some carrot seed to sow next week, a fast growing variety for an early crop before its too hot is the plan.

 

I could have bought 25kg of seed potatoes for 15 euro :shock: but we'll never get through them!

 

It will be interesting to see if my fertilisation with guano makes any difference to the cropping. Having paid more attention in the agricultural merchants, and putting 2 & 2 together, I can see that lots of people plough/mattock their large plots and fling slow release fertiliser in, there seem to be half a dozen different blends of NPK. I am still not sure if this is for fruit/olive trees and vines, or if it helps the veg, but I am treading a middle path with some liquid feed, some tomato fertiliser and some slow release stuff.

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NPK fertilizer is relatively easy to work out if you know what type of plant your feeding but mainly you just need the 7:7:7 one, growmore in the UK is the main brand for the non organic. one blood fish and bone for organic personally I'd not bother with slow release for veg you wont get that much benefit from it.well rotted garden compost, leaf mould, wood chip and/or farm yard muck/guano will be of far more benefit long term used as a mulch in early spring on top of damp to wetish soil will help to hold moisture in the soil. liquid feed and tomato feed are good LF I use for non fruiting veg brassicas onions leeks etc for fruit and fruiting veg I use tom feed the squash family I use LF up to flowering then tom feed with a feed of LF about once a month to keep the leaves growing

carrots are best under fed and very lightly watered at the surface as they are tap roots which grow down in search of water and tend to grow better in deep light soil preferably at least twice the depth of soil of the length of carrot you want

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Thanks SJP :D

 

I have a bed of light soil which I was planning to use for the carrots, so hurrah. I have a pile of 'compost' (it wouldn't pass muster in the UK, its too dry here most of the time to make it well, not to mention the lack of worms, but I have left one pile out in the winter rain and one pile is under a tarp, I am going to compare results shortly) and I will follow your advice and use it as mulch, which means its lack of disintegration will be less important.

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I am not just posting because I have something to say about the garden :shh:

 

We have had a warm and sunny week after a cold spell. It's horrendously dry, normally we hear the stream rushing past, but it's silent, and reservoirs are seriously low. Rain is forecast next week, fingers crossed. We are watering our new Autumn purchases (2 almonds, 2 oranges, a loquat and a persimmon) and the carrot and beetroot seeds which have just gone in, but the rest of it will have to fend for itself. I will plant toms later and probably peppers, but unless we have a deluge, that might be it, I am so worried about watering. My broad beans are coming on a treat, excellent germination rates, and most are now in flower. Next year I am going to try an Autumn sowing of peas and French beans as well, the idea being I can pick before the searing heAt comes. There is a lot of bee activity which is encouraging. I can see the bright pink of the first peach buds (ahead of the almond, probably because the peach is established).

 

The open to the elements compost heap is doing better than the other one.. The inside is actually wet and composting, although slowly. However, given I am turbo charging beds with guano and various other goodies, I going to keep it till the Autumn.

 

We are still using a branch off a bay tree, picked about 3 years ago, to provide our bay leaves :shock: it's still sweet and lovely in pork stews and the like.

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Portugal sounds so much warmer than here :mrgreen: , especially with the cold blast we are about to get.

 

I've just sowed some hanging basket sweet-peas :D

Lucky little things get to go in a heated propagator.

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We have gone from swamp to concrete - nothing happening in the garden here, although OH has been treating the wood on the greenhouse and shed! Potatoes are still chitting in the kitchen - when this cold snap goes we'll be back in the garden.

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I managed to get some digging done the last 3 mornings 4 beds now ready to rotervate only got 2/3's of this years onion bed to clear and dig would have done a bit this am but I'd had enough after physio

I might start sowing seeds the end of the week and if the rest arrive in time

Can't see the spuds going in on the 17/03 through and Good Friday might be wishful thinking as well

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I pruned my black currants last week (2 months late :roll: )

 

Haven’t really had time or the energy to go to the Lottie this year. :cry:

Have move time off in March so need to pull my finger out and start digging.

The hens appreciated the kale I picked for them and I still have onions hanging up in the shed, which look ok.

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I finally finished the winter prune of the apples about 10 days back first one I've been able to do in 3 winters just need to run the pruning through the shredder hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday if it's not to cold to do the oil change on it first

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Still harvesting parsnips every Sunday and have 3 leeks left. The sprouting broccoli is still standing but not sprouting yet so not sure what’s going on there - can’t remember what variety it is.

 

Have planted broccoli and leek seeds in the small unheated greenhouse but not sure they’ll be rushing to germinate as it was-4 in there this morning!

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My Jerusalem artichokes are still going strong, but it's looks like deer have discovered the kale >:( 

Need to spend a few days at the lottie to get everything cleared up, but it's daunting.  I'll get there....

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Oh no!  Methinks your lottie should have some protection for people's plots from the big beasties. Might be worth mentioning it - especially if there are a fair few of you suffering a loss of this sort.  On the other hand you must have yummy greens!

We had rabbits but we managed to fence them out of our little section, but rats were the worst and the rat catcher came and said he collected over 350!  He said they were coming from the railway.  What had particularly attracted them was the chickens - that section was visibly riddled with runs - many caved in.  The food had been tipped all over the place and the man was asked to remove them all when he added a dozen turkeys to that little plot.  He wasn't looking after the birds and I never saw him at all. After their source of food disappeared they found the other plots.  We gave up after that.

One person (at a different allotment) had a family of foxes playing and bouncing all over the fleece protection!  But her worst damage was done by the badger. 

There is a new allotment up the road from us where a farmer donated part of his land.  It has double security gates and deer fencing has been erected.  

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It has been rabbit proofed but deer fencing is too expensive. I'm lucky that I have a corner plot.  There is a huge hedge down one side plus I fence in the rest of the plot to stop the Terrier escaping.  I'm lucky that the deer rarely come into my plot.  They've had the chard, beetroot tops and kale but during the summer, everything else is left alone.....

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