Wednesday, 29 February 2012

NP40 progress

Little green potato shoots are pushing their way through the compost. Too small yet to photograph but, believe me, they're growing!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I've been inside a Wormery!

Don't buy a non-tiered wormery if you have short arms!
I have one of those big "Original" wormeries that look like a recycling bin. Its useless - no tea ever came out of the tap,  there were lots of little flies and its too blooming heavy to move with compost in.
OK, most of the problems come down to  poor management on my part and I don't need reminding of that. So today, I bit the bullet and thought I would empty it. I can't reach inside it easily because of my short arms, so I had to turn it on its side and rake out the contents. But, on one side, the tap is in the way and you can't take it off because it has a retaining screw on the inside. The narrow sides are... too narrow... and the lid closes on your head, so you have to swivel it around and lean it onto its far side. BUT if its on the floor you can't scrape the wet compost into anything so you have to raise the bin up onto blocks and its darned heavy, even when only half full.
Eventually I managed to rake out most of  the "compost" into a sturdy trug; then, the inner floor has to be removed - this is the drainage floor and below that, lurks the worm tea. There was a handle of sorts but it was disguised under the sticky compost residue so the whole bin had to be upended and have its bottom banged for the floor to fall out - then I found the handle!
Must remember to put a tray under it next time as most of the hidden "tea" and sticky compost ended up on my shoes and legs!!
You may well ask why I didn't drain the "tea" out first! I tried but the drain hole is above the base of the wormery so it is impossible to drain all the liquid out without upending the bin.
I have dismantled the thing, washed it out and am pondering whether to try it again. The really bad news is - there was no sign of a worm, the good news - maybe I'll grow after all that worm tea I've been paddling in!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Salad leaves in the Greenhouse bed

Just a photo to show the mixed salad leaves in the Greenhouse that I have been dining on for several weeks now. You can't beat a handful of freshly picked rocket, mizuna, mustard and lettuce leaves in your sandwich or with chopped cheese and apple in a salad bowl to remind you that spring is on its way!
The cabbage is a straggler from last year - the odd leaves are thrown into the salad too. Cut and come again cabbage!!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Bizarre beetroot experiment (BBE152)

Next experiment up in the interests of getting added value from your veg before they are consigned to the compost heap! This time its the turn of some glorious, glossy beetroot.
I bought 6 organic beetroot from a local producer: the leaves had already been trimmed off but the leaf stumps remained - and young leaves were sprouting in amongst the stalks. How could I turn up the chance of growing young beet leaves for a salad in a few weeks time?
I took a thin slice from the top of each beet, just below the leaves, and put these stumps into a shallow dish of water. Meanwhile, the real beets are simmering in the bottom of the Aga. Its a good job that they will take a few hours to cook as I still haven't decided how to eat them tonight!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

NP40 experiment - 2nd stage!

Today I buried the shoots up to their tips in a bottomless pot of compost, which sits on one of the greenhouse beds. No point in taking a photo as there's nothing to see!

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Sprouting potato aka the NP40 experiment

Last year's stored Charlotte potatoes are nearly all eaten but can I grow Charlotte's daughters this year!
Having taken the healthiest sprouts from the potatoes, and not having the heart to consign them to the compost heap immediately (and it was icy outside!), I put them in a glass of water. Two days later, they have rooted!
I shall pot them up when I have the urge, and see what happen
For the record, NP40 is not a cryptic code for this experiment, it is the battery that I need to buy for my camera!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Its Oca time again.

  I have been trying to salvage the best I can from my mediocre Oca crop.
Already I have learnt that I should have left the plants until after the frosts before I dug them up - as long as 4 weeks for the tubers to build up underground. Since this is the first week of frosts this winter I would still be waiting. Another 4 weeks would take us up to March. I did leave one Oca untouched in its dustbin and will dig that one up in a couple of weeks.
I also have one Oca, which I found when fossicking around in the dustbin before I dug up the remainder - this I replanted in a pot indoors. It has a shoot about 4" long and is still in the kitchen.
Two Ocarettes
My other experiment has been to put the viable shoots from the dug up Oca crop into water.Some of these shoots have, what I shall call, Ocarettes on them. These tiny little growths appear to have roots and I have planted one of them in the pot.with the other one in the kitchen. The other Ocarettes can grow on a little longer while I ponder what they are and how to treat them.