Category Archives: Allotment 2015

New Balls Please!

After some ferocious winds, I have had to take yet more steps to protect the winter crops at the new allotment. We are due to experience ‘Abigail’, apparently the worst storm for over seventy years. I don’t believe everything, or infact anything the weathermen say, but either way we are certainly in for some strong winds.

Purchasing over twenty metres of windbreak, I have secured this down the fence line, which is actually the direction of most prevailing winds. I then have placed a couple of smaller breaks at right angles in order to break up the force of the wind as it whips across the allotment.

It now bears some resemblance to a tennis court. Hopefully we can hold serve against mother nature – time will tell.


After some success growing hot chillies this year “These three Kings” are making their way into a red hot chilli sauce.

Following a dedicated recipe for hot sauce, I collected:

One can of peaches, four cloves of fresh garlic, grated horseradish “my own”, half a cup of treacle, quarter cup of brown sugar, half a cup of white vinegar, half a cup of balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of paprika, one tablespoon of black pepper, half a tablespoon of cumin, half a tablespoon of ground ginger, half a tablespoon of all spice, half tablespoon of mustard powder.

Placing all the ingredients, except the chillies into a blender, I then blitzed for one minute.

I thought I may have a little taste before I add any chillies and keep testing as I added. Wow! even before I put in any chilli’s, the sauce had quite a kick from my horseradish.

I added one Carolina Reaper and blitzed for thirty seconds, had a quick taste and already this was at maximum of any hot sauce that I had ever had, and my mouth was on fire.

I then added all the Ghost chillies, Scorpion Butch T’s and all the Carolina Reapers that can be seen in the illustration, oh, and six Cayenne chillies for good measure. Blitzed this for around one minute.

I  carefully poured this mixture into a pan and heated through until simmering. I did this for two reasons; one to be able to bottle it hot as this provides a better seal and would make the sauce last longer, and two, I wanted to thicken the sauce.

Before I poured the completed sauce into the sterilized and hot bottles waiting, I had the slightest taste just to see how hot it was. Blimey! I thought, it is approaching Guy Fawkes night and this certainly does go off like fireworks, so I shall name this sauce “Guido”.

New Home

I have finally got round to splitting the strawberry plants this year. If left as they were, the plant would grow well, but not produce a good crop of fruit and would soon outgrow their current plot. This splitting of the plants is carried out at the end of the season to keep the plants fresh.

Splitting these plants has enabled me to build another strawberry bed at the new allotment. Adding a couple of bags of compost and very generous handfuls of manure pellets as feed. I also had enough plants to be able to give some away this year, which was nice.


As usual, I visited my allotment today, but to my amazement I found a chicken in the cabbages! Unfortunately, some allotmenteers are inconsiderate and let their livestock run loose causing damage to my, and am sure others crops. I had wondered over the past few days what was happening too the cabbages? and now I know. More seriously, all the Black Kale plants have either been lifted out, or have been attacked. Pretty much a totally destroyed crop.

I have now netted as much as I can.  I contacted all the nurseries and garden centres in the area that I know, but no one has any winter crop plants left for this year, so I cannot replace any of these damaged crops.

Needless to say, if and when I catch the chicken, it will be making new friends with carrots, peas and gravy.


We have been meaning to try and make our own butter for some time. Following a trip to our local shop, we bought some thick cream and gave it a go.

The branded crackers are optional. After hand whisking the cream for some time, I got out the electric mixer and the cream split after a few minutes. Washing as much butter milk out in a bowl of iced water, it was then shaped into a block and tasted. Jolly nice it is too.

Final Chilli Update

Its been some time since I wrote an update on the chillies I bought back in the spring this year.

It certainly has been worth while changing supplier as I have managed to  bring on the three kings with different levels of success.

Although non of the fruits are particularly big I have given a couple of Butch T and Carolina reaper away to ‘chilli nuts’ who said they were very impressive.

The Ghost chilli has always been the smallest plant and in consequence has only produced pea sized fruits.

I am going to leave the fruits on the plants as long as possible now in hope that they will grow a little larger.

Chutney 2015

Looking back through my gardening diary, it seems this is the earliest in the season that I have made my chutney. Not a problem, it just gives it even more time to mature.

The first jar won’t be opened until Christmas day, and the last, as usual, will be saved as part of a gourmet celebration on the final day of the fishing season in March 2016.

Starting to prepare this concoction around 20:30, chopping and peeling, boiling then simmering until it reduced by over 2 thirds concentrating all the flavours. It did not go into its jars until around 03:30.

I will have to wait months now to see how it matures and more importantly see what it tastes like.

Free plant food

Over the past two years I have been growing the plant Comfrey. It is now established enough to chop part of the plant down, put in a barrel and allow it to rot down into a vile smelling but perfect plant food. It was ready to use after the first two weeks of letting it stand.

Herb garden update

Its early July and the herbs are in full swing. From ‘Beyond the Garden Gate’ 20th March to this-

Started out very small but have developed and filled the window box completely. Even the Lavender in the terracotta pots has gone a bit mad this year. The amount and variety of bees is incredible with them flying in and out of the garden all day long, a joy to see.

Hot Chillies Progress

Just over one Month now since I planted “these three kings” on 19th April 2015 and two of them have really progressed. Two of the three hot chillies I bought are finally ready to be potted on. One of them, the Ghost chilli doesn’t look happy at all but I have potted her regardless. Hopefully she will like her new home and grow rapidly from now on.

Again I have used a lot of vermiculite mixed in as advised.

Now they are in their final growing positions, fingers crossed we will get a crop this season.

Gift Of Samphire

Recently, I was kindly given a jar of pickled Samphire. Marsh samphire, or ‘Salicornia europaea’.  Marsh samphire is related to the beet family and is often known as ‘glasswort’ from its former use in the manufacture of soda glass. Samphire is to be found near the sea but thrives in estuaries, where it colonises wetland areas and is rich in minerals and trace elements.

With a large salad, a piece of smoked mackerel, a hunk of bread and a cup of tea to wash it down, the samphire, which I have never tasted before was quite a treat.

Out With The Onions

Finally, the sets of Sturon that I planted in cell trays in the greenhouse on March 27th this year are ready to be planted out into their final growing position.

These, as well as the Red Barron have done really well again this year in the greenhouse, unlike the seeds of Giant onions which are still looking very worse for ware.

Each onion was set 8.5 inches and one boards width apart, this provides lots of space for all to reach their full potential. With each onion I put a sprinkling of onion fertiliser and watered them in well. Although it started to rain just as I was finishing the last row. We are actually forecast to get very, very cold with even the possibility of frosts and potential snow!

I had a couple of sets left over. I will plant these out with the Red Barron which I will put in later this week.

Blooming Gooseberry’s

One of the first plants to show any leaf growth this year was the gooseberry.  Now they are starting to show their first flowers, which will of course form the fruits.

The bees were loving the pollen on this very sunny day, and of course while they are feverishly at work, they are pollenating my plants at the same time. Hopefully I will get a bountiful crop of goose goggs this year all being well. Il keep an eye out for the greenfly this season.

My Giants Are Unwell

It’s been some time since I wrote an update on the giant onions; they are not doing very well at all.

I have had all the windows open in the greenhouse so they have had ample air flow. I have also tried them in the propagator inside the greenhouse incase they were getting too much sun. I have left them to dry out and I have also sat them in a thin layer of water. Everything I try is leaving the seedlings white at the tips and then simply keeling over and dying.

After doing at little research on this it looks like no matter what I have tried they have damping off disease. From what I have read, it is possible to combat this with placing ground cinnamon around the seedling as this kills the disease. I am not convinced but have given it a try.

Planting My Christmas Present

Its not often you can plant a Christmas present, but last year I was kindly given a vegetable planting kit.

Today I have sown French beans, aubergines and carrots. They will stay in these pots until they germinate when I will take them and transplant into the allotment. Not sure how carrots will transplant but il give it a go.

Spuds Are In

At last I have planted my first potatoes this year. I don’t know why I have left it so late this year as we have been blessed with dry warm weather for a couple of weeks now.

It has taken two attempts to riddle the soil to get rid of yet more large stones and glass, nails and god knows what else. Eventually I was reasonably happy with the soil structure and have planted the first early’s ‘Arran Pilot’.

Each row has had a good sprinkle of fish, blood and bone meal as well as organic potato fertiliser. The number of seed potatoes worked out perfectly, nine in each row, twelve inches apart.



It’s been just over one month since I last posted about my rhubarb in ‘Rooting Rhubarb’ on the 10th of march 2015. We have had very little rain, so I have been giving them a lot of water whenever I have been at the allotment.

I am very pleased that I decided to move them again. As you can see in only one month they have practically filled their raised bed.

I will continue to water and feed regularly and I shall start taking spears at the end of May. Possibly, some may end up in my jam this year.

These Three Kings

For the past two years now I have grown very successfully Cayenne chilli’s from seed. Over these years I have also purchased plug plants of the very, very hot variety from a plant specialist and have been let down both years by the supplier not delivering what I ordered, and offering substitutes in their place.

I have grown these substitutes on, but they never have come to anything much and have never got a crop from any of them.

This year however, it is different. I have just taken delivery from ‘World of Chillies’  in East Sussex, three Guinness Book of World Record plug plants. ‘Carolina Reaper’, ‘Butch T scorpion’ and Bhut Jolkia (Ghost Chilli). These three plants are the official ‘Kings’ of heat. The plants that have been delivered are far larger than anything I have received from any other supplier previously. Further more, they all have great root systems. On top of this, the company has even emailed me detailing excellent instructions on how to grow them properly, right down to getting the potting mix at the very first stage correct.

Hopefully this season I will get fruit from them.


At long last the Echinacea which I struggled to originally get to germinate can go back out into their plot in the allotment. Each autumn after flowering, I have been digging these up, planting in terracotta pots and keeping in the greenhouse in order to try and look after them through the winter frosts. these should be able to survive our winters but mine keep dying. Each of the six plants all had really good root systems on them.

Back in a very sunny position, I bedded them back in with a good drink to help them get going for this year. I look forward to some fabulous flowers later in the season.