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Archive for the ‘Allotment’ Category

Stockholm allotments on a steep hill 2

On a recent trip to Stockholm, as well as getting to merrily sing along at the newly created Abba Museum (great fun by the way), my fantastic host, Viveka, took me to see some amazing allotments.

Stockholm allotments overlooking the water

We visited two sites, Arstalunden (a thicket or small wood) and Eriksbergs (Erik’s mountain) along a hillside, both of which overlooked the water,

View from allotment

giving a rather heavenly view.

Watering on a stockholm allotment

 Not only was the planting glorious, (more…)

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Japanese Wineberry in need of some attention

All this rain has provided plenty of excuses for curling up with some great gardening books, but on a rare dry day this week, I got on with tackling a job I’ve been itching to do for months. One of my Japanese Wineberry plants is looking a tad on the unkempt side and is rather overdue for a prune. Old stems need to be cut back to make space for new growth come spring and to make the plant easier to train (and more aesthetically pleasing).

New and old Japanese Wineberry stems

Before seizing the secateurs, note that only about half of the stems need to be pruned! You need to leave the newer, more lush, pink stems and only cut away (from the base of the plant) the old brown woodier stems on which the fruit was borne this summer. As Japanese Wineberries fruit on one year old stems, the fresher pink stems will bear the fruit next summer, and new stems that grow during next year will fruit the summer after that.

Japanese Wineberry after pruning landscape

Once all the old wood has gone, you can see how many stems you’ll have to provide fruit for next year. You can leave the plant to its own devices, in which case you’ll need a good 2m x 2m space,

Japanese wineberry at the allotment

or train it to form any number of shapes that you want to experiment with. (If you have too many stems to train, cut away the weaker spindlier stems from the base of your plant.)

Blackberries

Old stems can be cut back anytime after the plant has finished fruiting (about September onwards), and if you haven’t tackled them already, other fruit, such as blackberries and summer fruiting raspberries can be pruned now, again, removing only the older woody stems (about half the bush) and keeping this year’s fresher looking growth to provide fruit for next year.

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Solent Wight Garlic Bulbs

I love roasted fresh garlic and this seems like reason enough to plant a row or two whilst the ground is not frozen at my allotment. My mate Colin says, “Plant on the shortest day (well only 4 days to go!) and harvest on the longest”. I’m yearning for summer already! You can plant cloves anytime between November and March and I’ve plumped for Solent Wight from the Garlic Farm as it has a great taste, grows happily in our climate and stores well. Prepare your soil well, adding plenty of compost and give your bulbs the sunniest space possible for best results. Be careful as you divide the cloves as any damage may lead to rotting and plant an inch and a half (3-4cms) deep, root down and pointy end up, about 6 inches apart. I’ll feed with Potassium sulphate in February, water well come March, then pray for a bit of sunshine to help it flourish. Here’s hoping……

P.s. Garlic can be grown in pots as well as in the  ground, although bulbs probably won’t grow to such a large size. You’ll  need a pot at least six inches wide and deep, but the bigger the pot, the more bulbs you can grow (and the less watering you’ll have to do!).  Planting bulbs three to four inches (7-10cm) apart, you can fit 3 bulbs into a 6inch (15cm) pot, 6 into an 8inch (20cm) pot and 9 into a 10inch (25cm) pot.

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