I do not put ads on my blog but do have a counter that shows me how many visits the pages get. (The stats. count is just there so I can see if I am 'talking' to myself, luckily so far this has not happened.) By continuing your visit here you are consenting to the stats. counter tracking cookies. Cookies, that sounds like something nice to eat but not that exciting.

Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Earth worms in the soil , potatoes chitting in egg boxes, too cold to go on the plot.

Just when I thought the weather had improved and I might get to spend more time on the allotment the weather is freezing again. I'm not that brave; so I will have to wait for a warmer day.

Here is one of the random facts I have learnt from one of the gardening books I was given as for my Birthday last year. One acre of soil can hold more than a million earth worms. 

The truth is when I first got my allotment and started to dig it the lack of earth worms in the soil was one of the things I found surprising. As time has passed and I have grown things there, worked the soil and added my own made compost and well rotted horse muck the soil now seems to have its fair share of our wriggly little friends.

Now coming up to my third spring on the allotment so I am hoping that this year the experience and effort I have put in for the last couple of growing seasons will start to pay off. In all honesty I cannot complain about last years plums, salad, raspberries. The  tomatoes were abundant in quantity and excellent in taste and quality as were the plums. The potatoes were a bit of a let down as the weather was very wet then very dry when they needed moisture to swell the tubers and I did not get enough water on them at that time. The soil on the plot is very sandy and does not retain moisture well, the tap is two plots away and I was busy working just at the time when the spuds would have been grateful for being watered. You should not leave them dry and then add flood them as if they swell to quickly they may split so it is a case of getting the timing and quantity right if you have to water.

I managed to get enough potatoes to see me through from June to January I have only bought a couple of potatoes now and again large enough for baking. The rest of our potatoes are the ones we have stored from our own grown ones. It has saved me time and money as I have not had to get potatoes from the supermarket; also I used no chemicals when growing the potatoes so that is another important factor to me.

It is coming up to the time of year when the potatoes you want to cook with may have little shooty sprouts coming out of them; they are still okay to use for cooking. You might find it a bit slower to peel them but they still make tasty mash. It is the potatoes ability to produce these little shoots that we are encouraging in our purchased seed potatoes - when we put them to 'chit' before planting them. I use old egg boxes to stand mine in for this purpose. Just put them in the egg box the correct way up - you can see the little 'eyes' in the end where they will sprout. then just leave them standing in a light place not freezing or too warm and pretty soon they will start to 'chit' themselves.

a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote