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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

Recent Comments

  • Runner beans and Brussels sprouts

    Guy Barter on 22 Oct 2007 at 08:58 AM

    This is a curious time of year when summer crops still produce, although much singed by recent over-night frosts and winter crops, their flavour enhanced by the cold, are ready to gather.  

    This weekend courgettes, runner beans and tomatoes were picked and so were Brussels sprouts and celery and parsnips are lifted as well.  Brussels sprout ‘Maximus' has proved early and very heavy cropping for this first part of the sprout season.  The wet summer has been ideal for sprouts; they usually go blue and stunted from summer drought in this district unless heavily watered.  I have 35 sprout plants so I calculate we need to consume two plants a week - a tall order despite her loveliness's remarkable appetite for this vegetable. Celery ‘Loretta' has produced good heads but it has matured faster than I can use it and many of the outer stalks are ‘pithy' and past their best - celery soup is clearly imminent. 


  • The end is nigh

    Guy Barter on 14 Oct 2007 at 07:47 PM

    Time to face it - the last squeak of summer is gone.  Aubergines, cucumbers, peas and peppers were cleared this weekend.  There are still a few tomatoes, but with the recent warm, dewy nights blight is taking them before they ripen.  Bringing green ones indoors is no good - they already contain the seeds of their own destruction, so to speak.

    Courgettes, French and runner beans are on their last legs -a week or two at most, unless frost stricken before


  • Great Autumn Clear-Up

    Guy Barter on 07 Oct 2007 at 09:30 PM

    The great autumn clear-up begins.  French and runner beans are largely gone now.  Pumpkins and squash are spent and the fruit gathered in.  The haulms, as the stems are officially called, have been  raked up along with the weeds that have begun to thrive as the haulm dies back letting in light to the enfeebled weeds.  

    As the compost pits are full and the dislodged weeds are mixed with soil, it as quick to dig in the waste materials as compost them in a temporary heap. A strip of black plastic laid across the pumpkin bed as a path was lifted.  The weed free soil was excavated to make a trench halfway across the plot 25cm deep and 40cm wide.  The trench was filled with weeds and debris and half the plot methodically dug burying the weeds and wastes.  When the end of the plot is reached the trench will be opened on the other side and the remainder dug.  Weeds and crop debris from elsewhere in the allotment are brought to the trench for disposal as are the outer leaves and unwanted roots from leeks and celery.  The cabbage patch was weeded as the weeds lurking beneath the cabbages show their ugly heads.  Many of the cabbages are storing cultivars with both red and white heads, so clearing weeds and dead foliage will make for easier cutting later in the month when the heads are taken into store for the winter. 


  • Thieves, robbers and crooks

    Guy Barter on 01 Oct 2007 at 08:33 AM

    I want thieves, robbers and crooks, - in a word, weeds.  With the warm moist soil rich in plant foods the greedy, grasping roots of weeds will gather these costly materials and store them as plant matter.  Unlike the soluble soil nutrients, plant matter won't be washed, by winter rains, out of my thin sandy soil into the ground water and rivers.  I am pleased to say that cleared areas of the plot are greening up fast with a massive flush of weeds.  Naturally, I don't want to let them set seed but with winter just round the corner there is little chance of that. 

    Eventually they will be smothered by a thick layer of organic matter to be rotovated in during the spring.  Unfortunately the communal compost heap is much depleted my activities last winter and with foot and mouth disease in the district my chances of getting manure delivered are, for the moment, slim.  The allotment site is very close to affected farms.  I am looking into stable manure at the moment.