Tah Dah!!!! This Year’s Sowing Diary

Although the Monster has its own sowing diary page accessible through page link up above, now that we’ve completed most (if not all) of this year’s plan we thought we’d copy and paste and place  a copy of this year’s diary as a posting in its own right,

We literally began from scratch at our new plot in January, and since then we’ve been doing this

Basil; this year’s basil filled Barrow Bug

February 1st 2017     Bedfordshire Champion onion seed

March 1st 2017   Bunyard’s Exhibition broad Beans

March 5th 2017  sowed Cosmos ‘Cosmonaut’

March 5th planted 4 of Lidl’s best bare root Redcurrant 

March 4th 2017 Planted Plum tree ‘Opal’, and Peach tree ‘Red Haven’ both from Lidl

March 10th 2017 Ailsa Craig onion seed

March 12th planted replacement rose bush: David Austin Rose, Young Lycidas

March 18th 2017 sowed Basil, Misto Mix and Classic Italian

March 19th 2017 broadcast green-manure mix; phacelia, red clover,

March 28th 2017 sowed dwarf sunflowers ‘Topoline’

April 8th broadcast poppy seeds and cornflower seeds  Greenfingers Day

April 21st 2017 sowed Giant Yellow sunflower seeds

April 22nd sowed Moss Curled parsley, and dill seed

April 23rd sowed Bright lights Chard, Fire-bird Spinach, Tuscan black Kale, Italian Giant leaf parsley and Tom Thumb mix nasturtiums

April 26th sowed Wild Rocket seed

April 29th sowed Celeriac ‘Monarch’ and ‘Akito’ ridge cucumbers. Mrs dirt-Digger planted out all of the cosmos, dwarf sunflowers and autumn beauties, plus some marigolds gifted from one of our new allotment neighbours…

April 30th sowed Parsnips ‘Tender and True’, Radish ‘mixed jewels’, Italian giant-leaf basil and mixed lettuce varieties. Also planted up and potted on some fennel seedlings and pepper seedlings gifted from an allotment neighbour.

May 1st sowed Pumpkins ‘Big Max’ & ‘Jack o’Lanterns’ purchased in Toronto in August last year; Beetroot ‘Solo’; planted up Shirley & Moneymaker tomato plants, pepper seedlings and sowed ‘Gold Rush’ courgettes. 

May 2nd sowed Grandpa Otts (ipomea; morning glories)

May 13th sowed Northern Blood Reds and White Lisbon spring onions (scallions)

June 1st  Longhorn Wax dwarf french beans plus successional sowings of lettuces and radishes

June 3rd Kale, Scotch Green dwarf

July 2nd Spring Cabbage, Durham early

July 5th  Swede,Tweed

et voilá.   All sowings for this year complete

A Berry Good Summer…

Sunflowers showing their faces at last...
Sunflowers showing their faces at last…

And so it is that the many talented Lugh turns a hand to the gathering, and the storing and preserving. Bealtaine is a cold ash memory, and Lughnasadh is well and truly underway. Although not quite autumn yet, summer is noticeably on the wain.

All in all it has been an average summer on the Monster in the Corner. The early promise ushered in with those few bright days in May and early June, was quickly usurped by the realities of the typical Irish summer, and though temperatures held up well for the whole season, the rain, humidity and moisture levels caused, as expected, many a disaster in the garden and on the allotment.

There seems to have been a season’s long blight warning, and practically every gardener and grower has suffered big losses: potato crops, tomato crops, courgettes, and onions and garlic have all been badly hit countrywide.

We here on plot 49, lost over two thirds of our onions to powdery mildew and smut, and every single allotmenteer bar none had their garlic felled with rust. All maincrop potatoes needed constant vigilance with the Bordeaux Blue, and every single cucurbit leaf turned grey in a matter of days.  We do however have a good store of Longue shallots and Golden shallots both of which we had up and out of beds before the prolonged damp summer set in.

Yet, for all of the above misgivings it has been a berry good summer…nature always compensates. We, like every other plot holder in the walled garden have had a glut of berries. We’ve been picking and jamming successfully all summer: gooseberries, strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, blueberries and of course gooseberries. The beets have also done well, and we’ve begun to handle the early autumn glut of these by preserving in cider vinegar. The parsnips seem to be bulking up, and the pumpkins eventually put out some viable bloom and set fruit. The red kale is leafing out and seems to be one of the few things thriving with the constant moisture and lack of sunshine.

preserving the beets in cider vinegar...
preserving the beets in cider vinegar…

The sunflowers were very late in blooming, but have shown their faces at last with some of them almost 9 foot in height at present…and today, August 7th, we are set to jam the last of this years gooseberries for tomorrow we head off for a stay in Maple Leaf country…

The last of the Monster’s Gooseberries for 2016…