Archive for potatoes

Growing our runner beans and an update on the veggie garden

We don’t have a greenhouse yet and we do suffer from slugs and snails here as we have had such a wet Winter, so I start off our runner beans indoors in the inside of loo roll tubes.

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We end up with seeds growing on all the window ledges in the house.

After a couple of weeks they have started to sprout.

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And when they are 8 to 12 inches tall I put them outside.  By putting the whole tube into the ground it gives the beans  some protection against the slugs and snails, and gives them a fighting chance.

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I tie each little bean plant up to its bean cane so it doesn’t get blown around in the wind.  This year as part of our “no dig” experiment we have laid newspapers down around the bean poles to deter the weeds.

After 10 days or so they are already climbing the bean poles, so a success.  Just need to wait another month now before they produce some lovely beans for us.

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Our other veggies are growing well too.  Here are our peas climbing up their pea sticks.

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And our cabbages growing in their shrouds to protect them from pigeons and cabbage white butterflies.

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This year we spread grass clippings around the potatoes and onions as mulch and again to deter the weeds.

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The sweet corn are still small, they need some more sunshine to boost their growth.

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We shall have a bumper crop of strawberries this year

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And the gooseberries are already forming on the bushes

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We are also growing lettuce, tomatoes, courgettes, radish, chard, parsnips, carrots, turnips and purple sprouting broccoli so we should have lots of lovely veggies if everything grows OK.

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Loads of spuds!!

We’ve had a really good crop of potatoes.  For regular readers of my blog you will remember that we tried the no dig method of planting through cardboard to stop the weeds coming up.  The potato plants grew up and we didn’t have to earth them up.  So when the foliage died back we started harvesting them.  Yesterday we dug up the rest.  Firstly we pulled the cardboard away.

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This exposed some potatoes near the surface which meant we did have a few with a little green on them unfortunately.

DSC05848 Then Neil dug up the rest.

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Our first earlies were Aaron Pilots which were quite successful.

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For maincrop we had planted Desiree and Maris Piper.  I haven’t weighed them yet but I think we have a fair few pounds, enough to last us well into next year, so now we need to wash, dry, and store them in a hessian sack out of the light.

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There’s nothing quite like home grown spuds, steamed with a bit of fresh mint – lovely – no food miles here.

We still have some vacancies in the B&B in September so contact us for more details.

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Planting our potatoes with the “no dig” method and progress in the garden

We had read about it, so we thought we would give it a try – “No dig” gardening. What is that you ask?  Well the idea is that you cover the ground around the plants you want and it stops the weeds coming up, therefore you don’t need to dig them out.  We understand it can take a couple of years for the weeds to completely stop coming up but we thought we would give it a go.

So we started with the potatoes.  We laid cardboard across the ground and Neil made holes through the cardboard into the earth.

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I followed up by planting a potato into each hole and then we covered with the cardboard.  The idea being that each potato will grow through the hole in the cardboard, but the weeds won’t be able to.

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We then did the same with the onions.  We got the cardboard from our local convenience shop.  He would only put the packaging into recycling so we are recycling a different way.

I took the opportunity to have a look round the garden at what else is growing.  The rhubarb is coming along fantastically and we will be able to pick from it soon.

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Where I had pulled up all the dead strawberry leaves and exposed the new little plants coming up, they are doing well, still small but growing new leaves.

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I had created a border of daffs, narcissus and primroses around one of the lawns.  These have finally come into full bloom and are looking lovely now.

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It’s nice to have a dry day to get some jobs done in the garden.  Saturday was glorious with sunshine but today it is more cloudy, but still a good working day.

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First runner beans and eating from the garden

A couple of days ago I picked our first runner beans, just small tasty ones, but they are coming on nicely now. They had a slow start what with all our cold rainy weather, but all the rain water did them good.

First runner beans

So we had dinner that night with our own runner beans, our own potatoes, and our own peas, followed by our own raspberries, so we really are eating from the garden. My very own “Pick your own” at home!!

lovely peas from the garden

I’ve been sitting shelling peas and topping and tailing gooesberries whilst watched the Olympics.  It’s been really exciting with team GB doing so well.

It’s time to dig up the first of the onions and we have cabbages, spinach, and other brassicas coming along nicely.  I love eating from the garden, no food miles, just food feet!!

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Our first peas and glorious fruit from the garden

We have had a week of lovely sunny weather here and it has done the garden good, bringing on the fruit and veggies after all the rain we have had.  Yesterday we picked our first peas.

Our first peas

They were lovely fat pods of really sweet peas.  We have never grown peas before so this is a definite success.

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We had them last night with baked trout and our home grown potatoes – yummy, followed by home grown raspberries that have been so abundant this year we have been eating them daily.

Home grown raspberries

We have the raspberries served with meringues and squirty cream, an unbeatable combination.  Not only do we have raspberries but loganberries and for the first time tayberries, which are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry, so quite dark in colour.

Also the blueberries have been plentiful.  I think all the rain made them swell up, we have never had so many big ones.

home grown blueberries

Our gooseberries are now ripe and I have been picking both green ones and red ones.  I made strawberry and gooseberry jam with some of the green ones and raspberry and red gooseberry jam with the others.

Green gooseberries

Red gooseberries

So what with the blackcurrants and strawberries we had earlier our fruit garden has been bountiful.  With regard to veggies as I said we have harvested peas and potatoes, our beans and cabbages are coming along OK and we have had several courgettes, but our sweetcorn doesn’t look up to much, got dashed down by the rain we had, and the seeds of our carrots, parsnips and beetroot have all come to nothing.  Also there are very few apples on the trees.  Our British weather has a lot to answer for, but we must be grateful for the fruits we do have!!

Our B&B guests will be enjoying freshly picked fruits with their breakfast.  www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Seeding and planting in our Spring garden

 After the heatwave in March it has been cold this April with typical April showers and sunny spells.  So our gardening has had to be done dodging the showers.  Firstly we have 4 large areas that we have laid with lawn seed.  We bought a 25 kg bag of lawn seed off Ebay and mixed this with compost so that the seed had something to stick to and then sowed it by hand, all before it rained.

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You can see Tia, one of our cats, got in on the picture, and also you can see the border I created in the Autumn with daffodil bulbs and a stone edging, all stones taken out of the garden. Next it was time to get the potatoes in.  Our first earlies went in a few weeks ago and are already coming up.

First early potatoes already coming up

Our second earlies and maincrop had been left to chit and were now ready for planting. Here are the maincrop Anya potatoes that have chitted.

  Chitted Anya potatoes ready for plantingWe use newspaper as poor man’s weed suppressant sheet.  It keeps the weeds at bay for a while and then eventually disintigrates, so is quite handy to use. So then I got to planting out the potatoes.

planting out the potatoes

We also planted a bed of onion sets, and then under cloches I planted spinach, raddish, beetroot and salad leaves seeds.

You can also see the shrouds that are  round each of our garlic plants.  This is to protect them from the rabbits that ate the lot last year.  Elsewhere in the garden the purple sprouting broccoli is plentiful and we have been eating it with every other meal.

We ate the first of the seaon’s rhubarb on Tuesday this week.  I have 6 plants so can pull a couple of stems from each plant so not to weaken them by pulling too much from any one plant.

Healthy rhubarb plant April 2012

I made a lovely rhubarb crumble which went down well with our friend who was staying with us at the time. With the current cold temperatures and frequent showers it is not conducive to working much in the garden.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow!! visit us at www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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