June arrives and the plants start to grow in earnest at last.

Three weeks have passed since my last update from the veggie patch. The weather has been mixed from really hot for days then back to cooler again. However not much rain at all so watering has been a nearly daily event.

I spent most of Saturday (5th June) washing up all the pots and putting away the soil warming cables etc.

pot_washing PICT0136 (2)

The big builders tub has proved a great purchase and has been used to hold compost, move waste and now for washing plant pots and seed trays.


The gooseberries are coming on well and should be ready to make a nice crumble soon. I suppose I should of picked some rhubarb and had a nice crumble before the gooseberries are ready.

UPDATE Sunday I did pick some gooseberries and made a crumble!





The runner beans are starting to twine their way around the canes now. However the broad beans are well behind this year with only a couple of pods forming so far.





The peas are starting to pod up nicely though. Should only be a couple of weeks now before they are ready to be picked and the delicious taste of fresh peas a welcome start to the summer.




The courgettes are moving nicely and the first flowers appearing now.

However they are a good couple of weeks behind this year due to the very cold start to the season.




The first tomatoes are formed already on the Maskotka tomatoes. I was surprised as I was expecting the Whippersnapper tomatoes to be the first ones of the year.





On Sunday I did a final round of seed sowing. I pulled the last of last years carrots from the tub, washed it up and re-sowed with another lot of carrots. Also sowed a pot of beetroot another with spring onions and some peas in a gutter.

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"And we never had a whole Mars bar until 1993"!!!

1930’s1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and even early 70’s

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds , KFC, Subway or Nandos.
Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn’t open on the weekends, somehow we didn’t starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy  Toffees, Gob stoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.

We ate biscuits, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because……


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY ,
No video/ DVD films,  
No mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms………..WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents.
Only girls had pierced ears!

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time….

We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn’t have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!

RUGBY and FOOTBALL had try outs and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on MERIT

Our teachers used to hit us with belts and gym shoes.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

Our parents didn’t invent stupid names for their kids like ‘Kiora’ and ‘Blade’ and ‘Ridge’ and ‘Vanilla’

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO

And YOU are one of them!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

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Quick Mid May update ( mainly pictures )

I bought an Apollo Tomato house from Screwfix to see if I can get a blight free crop this year for a change. It seemed quite a good structure at first but I soon was thinking what happens when it rains with the flat roof construction.

It only took a couple of days to find that out. We had a heavy shower and afterwards it was as suspected sagging under the weight of collected rain water. I solved the problem by putting a piece of 2 x 2 in the centre with the top covered with a piece of cloth which now makes the rain run off.




The three courgette plants are growing nicely. The green sticks have been used to cover them with fleece since planting on into their final pots.






The whippersnapper tomatoes are coming on nicely and threatening to start flowering soon.


The above picture shows how the trial tomato Koralik (front left) is doing compared to Maskotka (front right) . The ones at the back are the bejbino tomatoes which I trialled last year and liked very much.

celery_planted_out Other things I did this weekend was to plant out the celery and lettuce plants and pot on the cauliflowers. I also planted out the peppers into grow bags.

A couple of the runner beans have germinated although a third looks like it is heading to Australia with the roots on the surface.

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Whippersnapper Tomato Progress

Last year a kind member from the  Allotments4All website sent me a few Whippersnapper Tomato seeds. Whippersnapper, now a heritage variety, was commercially available until about 15 years ago, produces an abundance of attractive, small, oval, pinkish-red fruit. A very early variety, it is ideal for tubs and hanging baskets.

I sowed 6 seeds into individual cells on the 13th of March and placed them in a heated window sill propagator. (full details in the post here )

The first Whippersnapper plant appeared on the 18th of March and by the 20th 3 had appeared. whippersnapper tomatoes germinating 

Over the next week a couple more appeared giving a total of five plants from the six seeds sown.

Whilst the other tomato varieties I sowed at the same time were potted on into 3 1/2” pots on the 27th of March I decided that the Whippersnappers could wait another week in their cells before being big enough to pot on.

On the 13th of April the other tomato varieties were potted on again into their final pots and placed in my giant cloche which has frost protection.  The whippersnappers however were quite happy in their 3 1/2” pots in the cold frame with the soil warming cable.

Today after checking the likely chance of a heavy frost in the near future as being very low I decided to pot them on into their final growing positions. Three going into a trough I got from Wilkinsons especially for them the other one into a individual pot. (The 5th one I gave to a friend to try on her allotment a week ago.)

whipersnapper removed from pot

Nice root development

Into the pot

On a final note I can just see the first set of flowers or truss developing but my camera was not good enough to show that detail close up.

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More notes from my diary about the Veggie Patch

I noticed the soil warming cable was heating the sand bed in the cold frame a little too much so put it on a timer so it is off during the day. However after a few days I noticed it had cooled down far too much and with another heavy frost pending went to reset the timer for a longer period. However I found that I had put the pin in for the time for it to switch on in the off ring so it had not been on for a couple of days.coldframe

Thursday the 25th of March.

I sowed a tray of celery seeds as I had seen reports they can be poor germinators. Also sowed some Aubergine seeds of two types. Six seeds of Black Beauty and six of Ophelia F1 which are meant to be ideal for growing in containers on the patio. Also sowed another six peppers as well. Finally I sowed 4 cucumber seeds in individual pots.

Saturday the 27th of March.

I decided to pot on the tomato plants into 3 1/2” pots.  Germination has been as follows; Bejbino 9 out of 9, Maskotka 5 out of 6 and the trial Koralik 4 out of 6 sown. I decided that the Whippersnapper were not quite big enough yet to pot on though.

Also I potted on the 9 cabbage plants which again was a 100% germination.

I then planted out the 16 of the broad bean plants that had germinated out of the 18 sown and the 20 of the 40 peas that grew. I then covered them with a fleece cloche bought at a bargain price from Wilkinson’s and sprinkled a few slug pellets around as a deterrent.

Next I planted a double row of onion sets which this year I am trying a different variety from the Sturon I have grown the last two years called Hercules AGM. After planting I also covered these with a fleece cloche to stop them being pulled out by the wood pigeons. Finally for the day I planted 24 cloves of Solent Wight garlic.

Monday the 29th of March.

Three of the four cucumber seeds sown have germinated. The variety I am growing is Bush Champion F1 which is described as a High quality ‘slicing’ variety that gives high yields of crisp bright green fruits which average three to four and half inches long. Has a superb compact bush habit that aids harvesting with the added bonus of being mosaic virus resistant.  There is also signs of the Ophelia aubergines germinating as well.

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Germination of the first sowings of the year.

As in the last post the first seeds were sown on the 13th of March in the window sill propagator and on the 14th in the cold frame with the soil warming cable.

The first signs of germination was one of the tomatoes on the 16th. On the 18th the first of the whippersnapper tomatoes appeared along with some of the cabbage and lettuces.

Saturday the 20th so far three of the whippersnapper tomatoes have germinated out of the six sown also most of the bejbino and maskotka tomatoes however the trial koralik tomatoes have only managed to produce two out of the six so far. I moved them all from the window sill propagator into the cold frame.


Sunday the 21st of March a couple of the broad beans, a few of the peas and two of the three peppers are showing signs of germination. I also tried to dig over some of the veggie plot to plant the onion sets but still far too wet unfortunately.


Germination so far

The pots on the left have the broad beans in them one just beginning to show second pot down on left.  Top right 9 cells to the left are cabbage the twelve to the right are lettuce.

Middle right 6 cells to the left are Maskotka tomatoes and the nine to the right are Bejbino tomatoes.

Bottom right the 6 cells to the left are the Whippersnapper tomatoes the middle 6 cells are the trial Koralik tomatoes and the three to the left are peppers where you can see the bottom two just poking through.

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The first day of Spring

It is officially the first day of spring. After a very hard and cold winter with lots of snow it is nice to think the warmth of spring is meant to be arriving.

However looking at the local long range weather forecast for the next couple of weeks it appears it is not going to be anywhere near as warm as this time last year.

Earlier this week the first primroses appeared and the gorse is beginning to flower as well. Both are a lot later than the last couple of years.

Below are a couple of pictures from around the site.

Spring arrives at last

more signs of spring

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Start of another year in the Veggie Patch

It is the end of February and after all the snow this winter there is still no signs of the weather warming up at all.

Now we are into March and the weatherGarland_Trio_Top_Plant_Propagator is still wet and cold and the outlook is not for much change in the near future. I have decided to buy an electric window sill propagator and a soil warming cable to put in the base of the cold frame as I still have not got any further in building the greenhouse.

  I will detail the installation of the soil warming cable into the cold frame in a separate post soon.

Saturday the 13th of March I did the first sowings of the year which was mainly the tomatoes I am planning to 84_Cell_Plug_Traygrow this year. 

I got the scissors out and cut up a multiplug tray to fit into the trays of the window sill propagator.

I then sowed 9 x Bejbino which I had as a trial seed last year from D T Brown seeds and was very impressed with  the results. Next were 6 x Whippersnapper seeds which were sent to me by a friend on Allotments 4 All website. It is one of those varieties that has been around for many years but although commercially available until about 15 years ago it is now classed as a heritage tomato at risk of extinction. A very early variety often the first to ripen and it is ideal for tubs and hanging baskets. It produces an abundance of attractive, small, oval, pinkish-red fruit so I am advised.

Next another 6 seeds of new to me variety called Maskotka which according to the seed catalogue is great for growing in small spaces and ideal for containers. Compact plants producing sweet tasty cherry type tomatoes. A determinate variety requiring no pinching or staking. This variety interested me as it seemed similar to Whippersnapper so will give me something to compare to.

Finally for the tomatoes another 6 seeds of a Trial variety sent with my seed order from D T Brown seeds called Koralik which turns out to be another determinate bush variety also not requiring any pinching or staking.

I had 3 cells left over so sowed 3 pepper seeds of a heritage Romanian variety called Antohi Romanian described as a colourful pimento type sweet pepper which ripens from yellow to red.

Sunday the 14th March I sowed 18 broad bean seeds in 3 1/2” pots and 40 pea seeds in 2” pots. I am hoping that the broad beans will be alright sowing in pots as it is still too wet to sow directly into the veggie plot. Also sowed a few cabbage and lettuce in cells. All of these are now in the cold frame with the soil warming cable.

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“Only 10 per cent of the new jobs created in the next ten years will be unskilled” –Gordon Brown


Only 10 per cent of the new jobs created in the next ten years will be unskilled. That means 90% of the jobs of the future come with better chances of decent pay, steady promotion and Long-term prospects.
It means the majority of people having not a job but a career, and the biggest number of middle class jobs in our history.


A very interesting statement from the Prime Minister at the Fabian New Year Conference 2010 recently.

I guess it could be achieved quite easily by redefining skilled and unskilled jobs. In all jobs there is a certain amount of skill involved be it street sweeping or washing floors. However until automation takes over and carries out all these “unskilled” jobs we as a society need people to carry out basic jobs.

My main concern is that the government is saying that nearly everyone should eventually get a university education or technician training which is a nice aspiration. However the reality will be that they will be expecting well paid jobs at the end of their education which will not be there  though because unskilled jobs will still represent a good part of the jobs available.

Gordon Brown goes on to say

“I want to see the talents and potential of all the British people fulfilled: social mobility for the majority.”

I think social mobility is the wrong term! Population mobility is more likely as the country’s biggest export will be skilled labour while the import will be unskilled labour to do the essential unskilled jobs.

We are already seeing the consequences of raising the ambitions of the majority with the bulk of our manufacturing jobs having moved to third world countries.

Extending education to keep the unemployment figures down has a limit to its usefulness and we are already seeing the consequences as graduates hoping for highly paid skilled jobs are in reality serving at petrol station counters, stocking shelves at Poundland and manning the checkouts at Tesco.

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Laddie ventures out in the snow

The first snow of 2010 hits us on the first full working week of the year.

This time it is so heavy I am unable to get onto the main road to get to work!

However Laddie has to have his walk but at his age he definitely is not enjoying it that much.

Form Object

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