Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Earth is Flat

No, no, I realise it isn't but I do wonder sometimes if those who deny that global warming is happening are the modern day equivalents of the "Flat-Earthers."

Here we are, the last day of November, Latitude 50.84 in the northern hemisphere and what do we see, apple buds out and blueberry in flower.

Now then ... just where is it we fall off the edges?

Apple leaves coming out at the end of November

Blueberry bud opening, end of November

Guess what? It's raining.

There I was, beds prepared for garlic (regular and elephant) to be planted and shallots too, the one behind is for broad beans and the heavens opened, so here I am posting a picture of the, as yet un-planted beds.
Beds ready for garlic and bean planting (previously potatoes in rotation)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not quite mellow fruitfulness

We certainly returned to gardens which had enjoyed their freedom and flourished into the bargain. The photographs show one through the archway into the flower garden the other three are of the veggie patch.
There are 2 beds with green manure which will dig in nicely in the spring.
The brassicas under the net aren't doing too badly, the others are good too, but I'd like some frost to kill off the caterpillars, because I took off the nets much earlier than usual with being away and the rascals noticed!
There are plenty of roots, from swede and turnip, to carrot, parsnips and beetroot. I still have the main crop potatoes to dig, but they are under a good layer of soil, so I am hoping they will be OK.
There are 2 lots of leeks, surviving rather than thriving. Having said that, Mrs Soggy dug a few yesterday and they were fine - and that was of the less happy looking ones.
Courgettes have had it, there are a couple of marrows to be used up, and the cucumbers have gone too, which is a shame - they were a great variety, I had hoped they'd stretch on into late autumn. Good news though is that the tomatoes in the greenhouse are still going along, not cropping heavily, but ticking over with a few small ones.

Friday, October 7, 2011

GMO in the wild

One of the fears of those of us who grow organically is that GMO crops will escape into the wild and cross-pollinate with native species and garden plants and produce. Fortunately, for those of us in Europe, the EU has been fairly robust (though not always as vigorous as might be hoped) in resisting some of the advances of GMO.

Had I not been on a trip to Canada, I may never have seen this, but here it comes:

"Genetically modified canola has escaped from the farm and is thriving in the wild across North Dakota, according to a study that indicates there are plenty of novel man-made genes crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

GM canola was found growing everywhere from ditches to parking lots, the scientists report, with some of the highest densities along a trucking route into Canada."

Read the full story in the Vancouver Sun (if you can get hold of the printed version there is a picture worth a thousand words). Genetically modified canola goes wild

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hilary's beds

Productive veggie beds at our niece's place on Vancouver island. Plentiful herbs in the foreground, with potatoes to the right and behind them kale which survived a deer attack. The grass area to the right is earmarked for more beds, the eventual plan being to expand production enough to feed all four of them the basic staples from the garden, so lots more potatoes, onions, leeks, brassicas and roots to come.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Garden Plots found on Surrey and White Rock Cycle Ride

Dunsmuir Gardens, Crescent Beach, BC.
Great alluvial base soil, with, by the looks of it, many years of good hearty compost added.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


There won't be much in the way of Soggy Garden posts for a while as we are on our travels again, having left a deputy Soggy to keep things ticking along and harvest whatever looks ripe and juicy.

If I spot any interesting veggie patches in this hugeness, otherwise known as Canada, I'll post some pictures.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Mixed Bag

Mixed in terms of what I am gathering in, mixed also in the results.

Maincrop potatoes still growing happily 

Toluca close-up showing splitting

Toluca, dug and washed

Sarpo Kifli - looking good

Sarpo Kifli, not bad off one plant

Onions - Centurion and Red Baron in foreground

Dessert apples

Soggy-dog, keeping a close watch for passing flies
Some of the produce has done really well (we've been eating our own cucumbers, peas, mange tout, calabrese and tomatoes, amongst other things, for months) while some have been disappointing. I suppose it depends on the plants' response to that prolonged dry weather earlier in the year.

A good example has been the potatoes. The Charlotte were brilliant, few blemishes, heavy cropping, reliable and so tasty. The Sarpo Kifli, which I only test dug one plant of today, look very productive (but I have no idea about taste yet). The Marfona were too good - must plant more next time. Toluca though were disappointing. Some large tubers, but too many of them split, allowing in other little nasties, in some cases rotting out the core; the taste was truly wonderful though (what Mrs Soggy described as an old-fashioned potato taste), so maybe if I grow them again I shall have to water them.

The cooking apples look to be doing well, but the dessert apples are giving mixed results - the birds like them though.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

All Change

The broad beans are out and the early potatoes have been dug, so what has replaced them? Leeks, and plenty of them, an early and a main crop variety. (Swiss Giant, Zermatt and Bandit).

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer blooms

I try to pretend that I do all the garden work around here, but this picture from Mrs Soggy's side of things blows a blooming great hole in that claim.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

The production on the broad bean plants has been slowing, so yesterday out they came. (Sad in a way when you think what the autumn sown ones endured through the frost and snow).

Today I'll be doing dibber holes, dropping in the leek seedlings and then filling with water. I may dig a couple more rows of early potatoes and put some more leeks in to follow them also.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wild, neglected and beautiful

No not me!
A friend's neighbour's house has been getting work done and not long ago the garden was a building site, but for some weeks it's lain neglected and this is the result. How beautiful is that!
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gardening without digging?

Surely not! Well that was my reaction, but a friend from the village recently went on a visit and saw this in action and came back marvelling at how well it works, so I had to look for the website didn't I? Here it is: Charles Dowding's No Dig website

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Newbie Gardener: Radishes - something new!

Newbie Gardener: Radishes - something new!

Now this has got to be worth emulating! I can't wait to taste some radish seed pods now.

Friends for Lunch Preparation

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Salad, beetroot, tomato on the menu

Friends for Lunch

Not quite how it reads, we won't be eating the friends for lunch.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Potatoes and more

I had already previously harvested a couple of potatoes, just by digging my hand under a plant. Today it was the turn of the fork, and up came two plants of Charlotte, some of which made a delicious potato salad for lunch.

Mrs Soggy, meanwhile, gathered some peas, beans, courgettes and strawberries, the cucumber (mentioned below) had been brought in earlier.

As you can see, everything is wet, as were we, it decided to pour down before we finished, mind you, I did still get 2 courgette plants out of their pots and into the bed-space the potatoes had relinquished.
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If you have been following the blog for a while, you will have seen the list of seeds I have for this year. One of the varieties is a cucumber: Melen F1 (Mini). I sowed it, under heat, on 16th February. All four seeds germinated and I now have 2 plants in an unheated greenhouse and 2 outside (which have survived some recent cold nights).

The variety has been a good choice, the mini size is just right for 2 of us and they have been good croppers now for quite a few weeks. Definitely a good find and worth passing on. More information on them here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


How long have I been wanting rain? What's happening today, not just here but all over the country - The Big Lunch, so which day is it raining - yes - you guessed, today!

We needed it though and picnics and games can be fun in the rain, I am telling myself that, really I am.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Frost - ColdSnap app

I made a useful discovery on the Allotment Vegetable Growing website (visit here) of an App for Android phones, which will give you a frost warning for your chosen location, by monitoring weather forecasts for you. (I would also have to say that the author is most patient and helpful, as I made a silly error in setting it up, which he quickly resolved).

You can find it through the Android Market on your phone or here ColdSnap!

You'd think in June I wouldn't be worried about this in southern England but the air temperature here last night was down to 4.5C - nearly cold enough to get me rushing out to cover my potatoes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

View across to potatoes

Looking across the broad beans (peas to the right) towards the other greenhouse with three potato beds in front. They looking flourishing, despite the dry weather (it just means the potatoes won't be swelling in the soil as much as I'd like).

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Fruit Patch

A while back you may have seen the post about re-doing the fruit patch, well here it is now, with the raspberry canes moved through 90 degrees (in the right foreground), behind them blackcurrant bushes, behind those, gooseberries and beyond are some strawberry plants.

Of course with all that space round them, I couldn't resist placing a few spare tomato plants could I?

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Thursday, May 26, 2011


Finally woke to some rain for a change, having hoped for that for weeks. Not that it is a wondrous amount, but welcome nevertheless. I am sure the autumn planted onions will benefit most, I don't water onions as I think it just encourages roots up to the surface, so they really need the rain, they look healthy enough, just not swelling much.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We recently went to Normandy, to visit the sites, history, cemeteries and memorials from Operation Overlord, D-Day. Poppies are of course associated with the battlefields of the First World War, but every time we saw them in Normandy, they seemed fitting also.

When we got home, what did we see in Mrs Soggy's flower border, but our own poppies in flower, here they are for you to enjoy too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seed Order

I placed my seed order last week, a bit later than intended, I was too absorbed in sorting out the fruit patch.
Here is the main list, the letters in brackets are the codes on the Organic Gardening Catalogue
There will be a few other things to get, mainly from Pennards - that especially means my seed potatoes, which I shall get at the Potato Day, this weekend. (There is a lovely article about our Potato Day here).

BASIL Lettuce Leaved (HBBE)
BEETROOT Boltardy 15g (BEBO1)
BROCCOLi Purple Sprouting Early (BRPO)
BROCCOLI Purple Sprouting Late (BRPL)
CABBAGE Christmas Drumhead (CBCD)
CABBAGE January King (CBJK)
CABBAGE Marner Lagerrot (Storing Red) (CBML)
CABBAGE Myatt's Offenham (CBON)
CALABRESE Green Sprouting (CAGS)
CARROT Amsterdam Forcing 15gr (CRAM1)
CARROT Resistafly F1 (CRRF)
CLIMBING BEAN Barlotta Lingua di Fuoco (FBLF)
CRESS American or Land (CSUS)
CUCUMBER Melen F1 (Mini) (CUME)
KALE Dwarf Green Curled (KADW)
LEEK Bandit (LKBA)
LEEK Swiss Giant, Zermatt (LKZE)
ONION Crimson Forest (ONCF)
ONION Ramrod 10g (ONRM1)
PARSLEY Italian Giant (PSIG)
PARSNIP Gladiator F1 (PAGL)
PEA Rapido Petit Pois (PERA)
PEA Sugar Pea Norli (PESP)
RADISH French Breakfast (RAFB)
SWEDE Helenor (SWHE)
TOMATO Alicante (TOAL)
TOMATO Ferline F1 (TOFE)
TOMATO Sweet Million (TOMN)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fruit Patch Makeover

Most of the fruit bushes were on the patch, as we inherited them when we moved in here 8 or 9 years ago. Despite care and pruning, their production has dropped, so all the blackcurrants and gooseberries have come out, as well as the strawberries from this bed.

The raspberries will be pruned and moved, they are currently lying east-west, they will change to north-south, to get better sun distribution on all plants. The new gooseberry, blackcurrant and strawberry plants will also line north-south.

In the wheelbarrow are some of the old fruit bush roots and perennial weed roots I have been forking out of the ground, nearly half-way across now. In the bags I have compost to work into the soil, and out of shot, some bags of well-rotted horse manure, which will also go on. That lot should ensure good drainage and enough material to prevent drying out in the summer, as well as plenty of nutrients - blackcurrants especially, as you cut them right back, take up a lot of food.

I have yet to decide on the varieties to plant, all suggestions gratefully received! (Blackcurrant and gooseberry please)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Growing Advice Cards

I am a member of Garden Organic (used to be HDRA) and have just spotted on their website an excellent facility for getting advice, in handy card size - if you print them out - with key information on Planting, Growing and Eating, including suggested varieties. I am not sure if it's exclusive to the members' area, but it's not expensive to join. have a look on their website here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Potato Day Leaflet

Topical tips and Potato Day

I have updated the column on the right, with a few tasks for this time of year.

Also hot on the presses is information going out about our Potato Day next month.

This will be our 4th Annual Potato Day, which, as a horticultural society, we organise for gardeners, with Pennard Plants bringing over 60 varieties of Seed Potatoes and with information available on type, cultivation and disease resistance for each one.

It is on Saturday 12th February 2011, 10:30 to 3:30 (with brunch and drinks all day), at Drimpton Village Hall (for SatNav use DT8 3RF).