When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, “What is it?”
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod; I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
Here are some vegetable varieties that do well here. Please give us your own favourites with a few words saying why you like them.
|Cabbage||Greyhound||Tasty and trouble-free cabbage for early summer||Peter Byass
|Cabbage||Marner White Storing||Huge dense round heads that stand well through the winter||Peter Byass
|Kale||Nero di Toscana||Fairly hardy - delicious dark green leaves late summer and autumn||Joe Foster
|Kale||Pentland Brig||Very hardy - pick leaves in autumn and winter and sprouting shoots in spring||Joe Foster
|Onion||Centurion||Round, good cropper, keeps well in store||Peter Copeland
|Potato||Charlotte||2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, salad type||Joe Foster
|Potato||Colleen||1st early, yellow flesh, good baker, good blight resistance.||Jayne Harnett
|Potato||Jazzy||2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, salad type. Better eelworm resistance than Charlotte||Joe Foster
|Potato||Harmony||2nd early, some blight resistance||Jenny Ward
|Potato||Kestrel||2nd early, ready before blight and slugs hit, delicious baked or mashed and a good cropper||Joe Foster
|Potato||Nadine||2nd early, some blight resistance||Jenny Ward
|Potato||Nicola||Early main crop, salad variety, some blight resistance||Jenny Ward
|Potato||Record||Main crop, floury, some blight resistance||Jenny Ward
|Potato||Remarka||Early main crop, some blight resistance||Jenny Ward
|Potato||Sante||Main crop, some blight resistance||Jenny Ward
|Potato||Sarpo Axona||Late, good blight and slug resistance, good cropper and keeper||Joe Foster
|Potato||Sarpo Mira||Late, good blight and slug resistance, good cropper and keeper||Joe Foster
Some fruit and vegetable varieties just don’t work here. Please give us your own experience with a few words about what the problem was.
|Potato||Marfona||2nd early. The slugs love it.||Joe Foster
|Cabbage||Hispi||Not very tasty. Attractive to slugs.||Peter Byass
|Brussels Sprout||Evesham Special||The sprouts are mostly blown – hardly any solid ones.||Joe Foster
|Onion||Golden Bear||NOT tolerant of downy mildew!||Joe Foster
: Nicholas Bradley, Autumn 2004
Now evening, I’m out
on the allotment putting back on
the hat of a child’s scarecrow
for the show tomorrow.
I am the curator, the unseen
hand in the rain.. I’m singing
a Fool’s song from King Lear
when you appear, saying:
come and look at this one.
And you know, I don’t know how,
that Art is
slipped in, with its pure poem
arm at that angle,
Help The Aged bag.
You have to make a stand.
Nicholas Bradley, Autumn 2004
It was a good sized frog.
As ever, that glistening motley
wash-leather skin – lemon, green,
yellow, black spots;
it went well with the garden leavings
with the rolled back old carpets,
April leaves, grass, roots in a heap,
it went under, blended in;
its skin matched the land colours.
At first I saw it, after a spade thrust,
then stop, elongate,
as if to show me itself,
unchopped, whole, no missing limb;
as if I’d have sense of it,
come from the beck,
and of where it fitted in.
Nicholas Bradley, 2004
When I got there
I saw eight magpies on one plot,
one perched on a cane or a pole,
they let me get quite near;
it was raining, no-one else
around. I guess the wrens
and long ago hoards of small birds
are edged out. I half hate
these big survivors, half love
their beauty when I see them,
close, by the four foot pink
and off-pink bush; what is it?
I got digging, the odd whinny
of a horse was all this inner city
garden had on its grey six-thirty
soundtrack, as slowly the church
and houses on the hill
sank below street lights;
I had to get out.
Nicholas Bradley, 2004
Make your own seed and potting composts …
You can make your own organic, peat-free seed and potting composts using leaf mould, garden compost and loam. You can make it up as you need it, in large or small quantities. Leaf mould needs to stand for two years. Loam is basically just good garden soil. If you are bothered by weed seedlings you can pasteurise the loam at 80 degrees C for about half an hour. I just pull the weeds up.
The recipes are by volume: shovel-fulls, scoops, or whatever.
- Sowing compost: 1 part sieved leaf mould + 1 part sieved loam.
- Potting compost: 1 part sieved leaf mould + 1 part sieved loam + 1 part sieved garden compost.
- Tomato compost: 3 parts loam + 1 part leaf mould + 1 part garden compost or manure.
Gillian North’s recipe for success!
Use lots of nettles or comfrey to activate and provide extra nutrient in the form of trace elements. Layers of shredded bark also aids decomposition. Intersperse with grass cuttings.
Extend the season for earlies and avoid blight on maincrops…
Plant just one short row of earlies as soon as conditions allow in order to get your first new potatoes of the season. Then plant maincrop and second earlies so they have a long growing season before blight strikes. Continue with the rest of the earlies, staggering the planting so not all are ready at once.
Gillian’s ‘three for one’ planting tip…
Sowing: It is necessary to sow three seeds, or plant three plants – one for the slugs, one for the weather and one for yourself. If the first two survive, they can go to the annual bring and buy sale.