Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: harvest

Trying Second Early Salad Potato Jazzy and Old Favourite Maris Piper 2018

It’s well into April and we are only just starting our potatoes. First Into the allotment were some Maris Piper bought from Lidl. 20 seed potatoes were put into the allotment on 1st April, after chitting at home. We have another 12 waiting to go in. Maris Piper are a Main Crop popular English potato grown since the 60s, They are purple flowered and are one of the most well known and most popular varieties on sale today. More Maris Piper potatoes are grown than any other variety in the UK. This variety has a golden skin and creamy white flesh with a fluffy texture.  This makes it a versatile all rounder, great for chips and roast potatoes, but also good for mash and wedges. Update 22nd April and the last 12 Maris Piper have been planted at the allotment.

Today we bought Second Early Salad Potato  Jazzy. This is new to us and looks very good. 29 seed potatoes cost £3.99 from Highdown Nursery  in Sugarloaf Lane, Norton. The producers guarantee 35 potatoes per plant when grown in an 8 litre bag. However there are reports of up to 80 potatoes per plant. The small waxy tubers are said to be more versatile than Charlotte with good flavour. Good for boiling, mash, roasting or steaming, this new second early variety has been awarded an RHS AGM for its superb garden performance. Second early crops can be harvested approximately 13 weeks from planting when the foliage begins to turn yellow and die back. The first single potato was planted into a black flower bucket on 18th April. Two more black buckets prepared today Friday 27th April.

Plant potato crops from March. Prior to planting, chit the seed potatoes by setting them out in a cool, bright position to allow them to sprout. When growing in the ground avoid planting in soil where potatoes have grown for two years in succession to reduce the risk of disease. Prepare the planting area in a sheltered position in full sun on moist well drained soil. Dig in plenty of well rotted manure. Place the seed potatoes 4″ deep.  When shoots reach 8″ earth up the soil around the shoots leaving just a few cm of green growth showing. Repeat this process after a further as required.

Where space is limited, try growing potatoes in potato bags on the patio.

  • Fill an 8 litre potato bag to just below the top of the bag with good quality compost mixed with some well rotted manure.
  • Carefully plunge a single chitted potato tuber into the compost with the shoots pointing upwards at a depth of 5″ from the soil surface.
  • Place the bags in a sunny position and water regularly to keep the compost moist.

 

Rob and I have been watching a chap on YouTube whose channel is called ‘Home Grown Veg’. He recommends growing potatoes in plastic shopping carriers inside black cut flower buckets. We are definitely having a go at this this year.

  • Making sure that the containers are clean and have sufficient drainage holes fill the carrier bag, which should be inside the bucket, one third full of multi purpose compost.
  • Put one seed potato in and fill the bucket up to one inch from the top.
  • Water well at this stage.
  • Leave in a draught free sheltered place outdoors for ten weeks.
  • After ten weeks, lift the carrier bag, roll down the sides, the soil should hold together by the roots, then harvest what potatoes you can find.
  • lower the bag back into the pot.
  • Repeat this at 13 weeks.
  • The third lift will probably be the last one.
  • Remember to keep the used compost, revitalising it with fish, blood and bone, and use the same bag and pot to grow some leeks in the same way.

 

Windy Sunday Morning

We had a good couple of hours at the plot today. All the tomatoes are now in place in the lean to. The courgette plants are in their bed. Rob earthed up the potatoes which had put on a lot of growth following the torrential rain yesterday. We also topped up the potato bags. We came home with a cabbage, some spring onions and a bunch of raddish.

Jams and Jellies

It’s that time of year again. Time to pick the fruit and make the jams and jellies. To date I have made four jars of red gooseberry, one of yellow gooseberry and six jars of blackcurrant. I have already used up all my saved jars and freezer boxes and there is still a load to pick. I think I may have to invest in some bought jars but they are so expensive to buy the decision is yet to be made.

http://www.citychickens.co.uk/2009/07/29/currants-black-red-and-pink/

Heatwave Conditions

We have had weeks of hot sunny weather meaning we have had to do a marathon with the watering cans but the results have been good with lots of salad, vegetables and strawberries to eat and freeze. This has been a very good year for cauliflower and cabbage but the peas have been few and far between as have the early carrots. At home the roses have been good and the fruit trees are showing a bit of fruit too but all could have been better with a little rain.

 

We have planted the last of the leeks Real now. It was a disappointing germination and only fifteen plants have gone in out of forty seeds. The runner beans are forming with the Scarlet Emperor being the first to show. The sweet peas are a picture and smell lovely. The squash plants are romping away now with the exception of our favourite the butternut, which, for some reason, did not germinate well. We have picked loads of strawberries but again they have suffered from the lack of water. The fruit cage is full of currants and berries ready to be harvested and frozen or turned into jam. All I need is time.

Strawberries, Salad and New Potatoes

Once again I have brought home a large bowl of strawberries and a couple of massive butterhead lettuces. I also managed to get enough potatoes Sharps Express for a meal tonight. The potatoes have been slow to grow as we had a cold start to the season followed by a very long dry period. The tops are looking green, lush and healthy but few potatoes up to now which is bad news in one way but good news for my belly because I can’t resist freshly dug potatoes.

Late Autumn Harvest

We surprised even ourselves when we came home with two trays of goodies on our last visit to the plots. I gathered a few tomatoes from the lean to and have left the plants intact as they have quite a bit of fruit still green. I don’t suppose they will ripen but we will give them a chance. The last of the cucumber had shrivelled so those plants are ready to come down.

We brought home three cabbages, a Savoy and a Ballhead plus one red for pickling. One of the sprout plants had fallen over so we pulled it and harvested the sprouts. They were quite small but made a tasty meal. Brussel sprouts are a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. They contain iron, fibre, potassium, and B vitamins. They also contain folate, protein, and beta-carotene. Next I pulled four leeks which were ready to eat and a few sticks of Chard. The surprise find was a beautiful if small Romanesco. We are bringing the pumpkins home one at a time as they are heavy and they should make some tasty soup for us over the Winter with the left over flesh and seeds going to the chickens and ducks.

Reaping the Rewards – 2009

currant-harvest-300x224.jpgIt has been good growing weather just lately. Warm and wet. The plants have loved it and we had a near miss from the Blight according to Blight watch which is wonderful. We popped to the plots this morning and dug up a good harvest of Kestrel Potatoes. We have already dug up and eaten some Swift and some Vivaldi, both of which were very good. Today we ate one of the cabbage Kilaxy and it too was a success. The soft fruit has been great this year. We have eaten loads, given loads away and the freezer is full too. The strawberries have been producing like mad as have the red currants, red and green gooseberries, black currants and rhubarb. I have found recipes for redcurrant tart and redcurrant jelly and am planning to have a try at them next week.

0509-currant-tart04.jpg

We brought home the first of the courgette, a few more red and white onions, peas, broad beans,  pak choi, spring onions, carrots and red lettuce. The difficult thing is keeping up with the eating.

 

 

 

Rob’s Birthday 2007

Today was Rob’s 40th birthday and we had a great day. The boys bought him some new tools, a fork, a spade and a hoe so he was really pleased. We went down to the allotment to test them out. Rob dug up a few more rows of potatoes and the yield was terrible. Most of them were honeycombed and rotten. There are still loads to dig up but I know his heart is not in it as he knows they will be no good. On the positive side we did come home with quite a bit of stuff. A small white cabbage, broad beans, runner beans, Barlotti beans, beetroot, parsnips and tomatoes. I picked quite a few cobs from the sweetcorn, both the larger Tender and Sweet and the baby corn. They both seem ready so I shall harvest the rest soon and put them in the freezer.

Last night was the Wollescote show and we had a nice evening. Rob won a hip flask in the raffle and bought himself a birthday cake in the auction. We bumped into Charmaine and Louis Redding who I have known for some time and who have just taken on plot 1. They seem really keen and have already dug over the plot and tidied it up no end.

marigolds

Rob took his camera to the allotment and captured a few of the Marigolds on plot 18. The seeds he sowed over there have all done really well so that compensates in a way for the potatoes that we lost. We planted the raspberry plant that Cath and Gra gave us and harvested the damsons on the Merryweather tree at home. Hope to have enough for at least a couple of jars of jam next year though.

damson

I Think We Need Another Freezer!

We spent a pleasant couple of hours at the plots this morning and I managed to tidy the two beds in front of the greenhouse and get some of the young brassica plants in there. The Chinese leaf that we had planted had gone to seed so I had planned to pull it up but instead cut of the seed heads and left the plant in place, planting brassicas in the gaps. They may come to something, they may not, we shall have to wait and see. A few of the pak choi seeds we put in have grown but there were a lot of gaps so I popped a few brassica plants in between them too. We covered the plants with the mesh tunnels and netting as the pigeons are still about. We brought a load of stuff back today; a white cabbage, carrots, runner beans (loads), borlotti beans, the last of the Charlotte potatoes, a large courgette and tomatoes. We gave the Chinese cabbage tops to the chickens so nothing was wasted. Every time we go down we pick the runner beans and although we love them and eat a lot I still have to freeze loads. I know that we shall eat them through the Winter and next year till the next crop but there still seem to be too many. I either need another freezer or more friends who like runner beans. The carrots we pulled today were our best yet. They were out of the carrot bin and were a mixture of Rainbow and Chantenay.