Composting: How to make the most of your waste!

Compost!

What is it?

Compost is essentially decayed and decomposed organic matter which can be applied to plants in your garden/allotment/patch. Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material into a nutrient rich soil improver. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue.

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Compost from my compost bin

Why is it important?

Compost is brilliant at improving the structure and water retention of the soil, it can act as a mulch around plants locking the moisture in the ground and is great at suppressing weeds. It also brings a healthy balance to your existing soil by adding beneficial microbes and fungi which can be essential for proper root and plant development.  It is the ultimate recycling machine and the most environmentally friendly way to deal with kitchen and biodegradable waste!

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My strawberries were mulched with a layer of compost to suppress weeds and feed the plant.

How do we compost?

The site and the bin!

The first thing to consider when composting is what you will compost in. There are an abundance of composting bins which are available to gardeners to buy. You can make your own out of old wood or you can simply for go a composting container or just pile the materials in a heap in your garden. You also have to consider where you will place your compost bin/area. Ideally, the heap should be sited where it won’t be subject to extremes of temperature. You don’t want it baking in the sun one day and then being exposed to cold windy conditions the next. The processes at work in your compost bin i.e. the bacteria and fungi are susceptible to these extremes and would prefer to work in a constant temperature. Most people find it more convenient to site their compost heap in a  shady unused area of the garden. My own compost bins are sited at the back of the plot where I would have been unlikely to be able to cultivate anything other than weeds!

Preferably, the compost bin should be open-bottomed, i.e. exposed to the soil underneath. This allows worms and other beneficial insects like woodlice, access to your compost bin where they aid the composting process. However, if your site has hard ground, i.e. concrete, you can get fully enclosed bins. If you go for either an open-ended of full enclosed bin when you have hard ground, then add a layer of compost at the bottom of the bin to kick-start the composting process!

The types of compost bins styles range from plastic round open-bottomed bins, to large square 3-bin composting systems, to hot-composting style rotating bins. Everyone will have a personal preference of what style compost bins they use. For the small garden, a single round compost bin or small heap is normally sufficient. I myself use the large three bin system for my allotment, which my partner and I built ourselves out of old used wooden pallets. If you want to have a look at the different styles of bins and their advantages/disadvantage these websites offer excellent comparisons and help to find the type that would best suit you!

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My 3-bin compost system. All garden and organic waste goes into the bin on the left and then it is periodically turned into the next bin and then turned again into the final bin where I will end up with the finished product.

http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/composters-bins/

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/how-to-compost-and-the-different-types-of-compost-bins

The Ingredients!

When it comes to what you can and can’t put in your compost bin, there a few hard and fast rules!

  1. Do not put in meat, bones, fish, fats, dairy and cat and dog poo. Cat and dog poo can harbour dangerous diseases and the meat, bones fish and dairy will stink and attract pests such as rats.
  2. Do not put in most diseased plant material (those that won’t be destroyed by the composting process). This is  sure fire way of spreading the disease further. Diseased plant material should be burnt!
  3. Do not add anything inorganic such as plastic, metals etc. These are generally not biodegradable and are made up of chemicals you wouldn’t want in your soil. Throw them in a rubbish bin!
  4. Do not add invasive perennial weeds (such as bind weeds and knotweeds). These weeds and it’s seeds can sometime survive the composting process (if it is not done properly) and then you end up spreading them around when you add it to your soil.
  5. Do make sure you have a mixture of brown and green material. Your compost heap should contain between 25-30% green material and the rest brown material.
  6. Green material (high in nitrogen) includes; kitchen vegetable waste, grass clippings/hay, dying (not diseased – see above) plant material, seaweed, annual weeds, manure, coffee grounds.
  7. Brown material (high in carbon) includes; wood (not coal) ashes, cardboard, straw, leaves, newspaper, sticks and twigs (preferably put through a chipper first) and sawdust.
  8. Whenever you add a layer of green material, try and add some brown material at the same time.
  9. Turn the pile often!
  10. Keep it moist! This is normally only a problem in really dry hot weather but if your compost bins look a little dry then chuck a can full of water on it. The organisms that break down your compost like it humid in there!
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Image from : Survivalathome.com

The organisms!

We have already said that the organisms within your compost that breakdown the waste into crumbly black soil goodness need a relatively constant temperature and not subject to extremes of temperature and also require moisture. They also require good aeration. Oxygen is part of the processes that break down your waste. This is called aerobic decomposition. If there is no oxygen, you will get anaerobic decomposition which is slower and produces quite a slimy, stinky pile. It will compost down eventually but will take a long time. If you want compost much more quickly it is important to aerate the pile. This mostly means turning the pile with a fork or for those with rotating bins, a quick rotation to jumble the pile up and get oxygen between the materials. With our three bin system we turn the pile by transferring it from the first bin to the second to the third where we then have the finished product ready for use!

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This aerobic decomposition also creates heat which helps to speed up the composting process. The micro-organisms create the heat and can heat the pile up quite quickly with temperatures up to 50-70C which is high enough to kill weed seeds and stop them from germinating. This heat does actually deter worms but as the heap cools down worms and other insects involved in decomp will return to finish the job.

The finished product!

When your organic material has undergone the processes illustrated above you will be left with lovely crumbly black soil full of goodness and water retention properties! Use it to mulch your plants and feed them.

So there you have it! Now you know how to make a good compost heap to supply your garden/allotment with nutrient rich compost all year long!

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Potatoes!

I have been watching my sweet potato plants like a hawk for the last month to see when they will be ready and to make sure they were dug up before any hard frosts hit so I wouldn’t lose the crop. An article I read said to wait until the foliage was blackened by frost and then lift them and on Saturday I found just this so hurried to get my fork and dig up whatever lay underneath the soil.

This is my first time growing sweet potatoes and having read a few articles on how to grow them, bought some plants from D.T. Browns. £20 for 15 plants, 5 of each variety; ‘Beauregard’, ‘Bonita’, ‘Murasaki’. When I planted them, I duly labelled them and planted each variety in a row of 5. Somewhere along the line, my labels disappeared so I have no way of knowing which variety are which. Since in the picture, they all looked such different colours I thought this wouldn’t matter but apparently I was wrong.

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Sweet potatoes from D.T. Browns

So I dug up my sweet potatoes hoping that the mass of foliage that was now rotting held treasures underneath! I wasn’t disappointed! Underneath the soil were some beautiful looking sweet potatoes. Some of them were huge, some were small and some were still nothing more than a small root which was put on the compost heap with the foliage. Some of the sweet potatoes were weirdly shaped, kind of like how carrots grow when to sow them into stony soil.

For 13 plants (from the original 15, 1 plant was eaten by slugs and 1 plant was dug up earlier in September to see if they were ready), the yield is not great. I essentially paid £20 for what you see in the picture but despite this, as a first time I am exceptionally proud of successfully growing a sweet potato.

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My entire sweet potato harvest!

Ass you can see, the colours don’t look like their pictures so trying to figure out which variety is which just by looking at them is hard. There is also quite a big difference in yield between the varieties. Having separated them out according to variety (at least what I think they varieties are), this is the yield for each variety (with stock photos for comparison).

‘Murasaki’ (stock photo on the left):

‘Beauregard’ (stock photo on the left):

‘Bonita’ (stock photo on left):

‘Murasaki’ was the easiest to identify as they were described as purple skinned with white flesh which as you can see, my tubers look like the stock photo. ‘Beauregard’ is described as salmon/orange flesh. My tubers have the same colour skin as the ‘Murasaki’ but have a strong orange coloured flesh which allowed me to tell them apart. ‘Bonita’ is described as white skin, white flesh but my tubers which I believe are ‘Bonita’ are orange skinned and orange fleshed but are definitely different from the other two varieties. In terms of yield, ‘Murasaki’ produced the largest number of tubers but varied greatly in size. ‘Bonita’ produced fewer tubers but those tubers were consistently larger. ‘Beauregard’ gave the lowest yield.

20161017_1904151Last night, I did the taste test and took one specimen from each variety to see what they taste like as according to the descriptions from the supplier they have different tastes.

‘Murasaki’ (the white fleshed one) was the least sweetest of them all but have a lovely texture which I think would be perfect for making chips. ‘Beauregard’ (small orange one) was sweet and tasted like a normal sweet potato. ‘Bonita’ (large orange one) was described as being the sweetest of the three varieties but in all honesty I could say it was sweeter or tasted any different than ‘Beauregard’. I was hoping that between the taste and the yield I could whittle down the varieties and stick with growing just one but I think that ‘Bonita’ and ‘Murasaki’ are both coming joint first.

I have definitely learned a lot from growing this new veg and here are some of my observations from growing these plants.

  • I should pot on the sweet potato plants when they arrive from the supplier.

I did not do this this year. I planted them straight into ground I had dug over in the end of May. For at least a month they struggled to do anything – at least on top. There were two leaves to each plant and it stayed that way for quite a few weeks and one plant was completely eaten by slugs. I had to viciously defend the rest of them with copious amounts of slug pellets (not good for the wildlife). All the articles I read suggested that I pot on but as it was approaching June I thought it wasn’t necessary. I now realise that it probably is necessary to do this as I think what I saw was signs of stress.

  • They need a steady temperature and need to be protected from the cold

Whilst this is obvious, I found that the temperamental summer we had this year obviously had an effect on their growth. Certainly where I was, the summer started off quite cold,  then a mini heatwave and then quite cold again. Whilst we didn’t have any frosts I think the cold hindered the plants growth. If I had potted on and kept them in a greenhouse then they would have been spared this or if I had protected with a cloche when they had been planted out, again, they may not have sat there doing nothing.

  • There was the potential for a bigger yield

The runners that the plants sent out put down roots, a lot of roots, but when I pulled up the plants on Saturday, this roots were tiny short roots that hadn’t really developed into anything. I think that if the plants had had the opportunity to develop earlier and weren’t hindered by the factors above, those roots may have developed into big tubers and therefore would have increased my yield!

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Sweet potato bed on the right hand side. Four weeks after the plants went in – you can barely see them!
  • Young plants will suffer from competition with weeds and stones will affect root development.

Again, this is obvious. All young plants will be affected by competition from weeds but what I mean here is that I really didn’t take the time to make sure the ground was completely weed free (and every chunk of root removed) before planting. I also didn’t pay any hindrance to how stony the soil is (and it is very stony). This is probably because I don’t worry about these things when planting normal potatoes because I build up the soil as the plants grow with garden compost, rotted manure etc which is free from weeds and stones. I had treated these plants like potatoes forgetting that they are not at all like potatoes and the only thing they have in common is the name. I also never enriched the soil before planting which probably didn’t help either!

  • Slugs like them..a lot!

I really had to battle the slugs with these plants. I sprinkled metaldehyde pellets very liberally to stop the slugs which is something I don’t want to do again. The number of slug corpses and snail shells which littered the bed proved how tasty the young plants must be as I am pretty sure every slug resident on the plot moved in their direction! They also like to lay there eggs next to the tubers! As I was digging them up I thought there were bits of polystyrene in the soil which I thought was weird because the plants didn’t come in polystyrene. It wasn’t until I picked them up I realised they were slug eggs! There were large batches of them around the base of every single sweet potato plant. I haven’t seen that many slug eggs around any plant before!

Mostly, it is my own inexperience of growing sweet potatoes that hindered their growth and reduced the yield but these are all lessons learnt. I know better than to not enrich the soil or remove all the weeds but like everything this year – it was rushed! So my lesson is (hopefully) learnt – slow down, take my time and do it properly!

I am glad I got as many tubers as I did as it has spurred me on to try again. If I had gotten nothing I probably wouldn’t have tried again or taken the time to look at my own actions. I will try again with all three varieties next year to see if the yield increases. If ‘Beauregard’ gives me a consistently smaller yield again next year then I won’t continue on with that variety.

I am really looking forward to growing them again next year and looking forward to tucking into the harvest this year!

 

 

Vegetable of the month!

October – Pumpkins!

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Image credit: Everfest

Because it’s Halloween this month, I thought I’d celebrate the pumpkin! I think in the UK, it is a very under-rated vegetable which we should do more with than just carving scary faces in them!

Pumpkins are actually squash and belong to the same family as the butternut squash! In North America and the UK, a pumpkin is a squash that is orange and round and if it is not orange and round then it is a winter squash. However, the terms are used interchangeably as in Australia, the name pumpkin is used for all winter squash no matter there shape or colour.

A short history of pumpkins

Pumpkins are thought to originate in the Americas with the oldest evidence of pumpkin seeds being found in Mexico from between 7000-5500BC and have continued to be cultivated in North America ever since. It is generally accepted that pumpkins were given to English colonists who had arrived in the ‘New World’ by Native Americans. The pumpkin’s ability to store well over winter is what made them a staple crop especially in the hard winters.

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Image credit: Design bolts

And we can’t have a history of pumpkins without the story of the jack o’lantern. The practice of making jack-o-lanterns came from an Irish myth.

” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since.” Source: https://extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins/history.cfm

This figure was referred to as “Jack of the lantern” and originally turnips, large beets and potatoes were used to carve scary faces, placing them in windows to ward away wandering evil spirits. Immigrants in the United States started using pumpkins to make Jack-o-lanterns. As pumpkins are synonymous with the autumn season and easier to carve, it wasn’t long before jack-o-lanterns became part of the Halloween celebrations.

Why should we eat pumpkins?

pumpkin-nutritionPumpkin is a low calorie vegetable offering only 26 calories per 100g. This makes it an excellent substitute for potatoes in calorie controlled diets. It also has no saturated fats or cholesterol. Pumpkins are also an excellent source of vitamins including vitamins A, C and E. In fact it can give you 246% of your RDA in a 100g serving. Vitamin A is extremely important for eyesight and the immune system and vitamin A deficiency causes devastating effects with 1 in 5 children thought to be vitamin A deficient worldwide!

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of fibre and mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for bowel and heart health!

How to grow pumpkins

Pumpkins are a tender plant which can be killed by frosts. They have a creeping vine habit so need plenty of room to grow and sprawl.

Pumpkin seeds can be sown indoors from mid March – May. Seeds should be sown 2 per station into a pot of compost, with the seeds placed on their sides to allow water to run off them. If seeds are planted flat they can end up rotting. Pumpkins need warmth when germinating so place in a propagator or place a polythene bag around the pot. Seedlings should germinate in 5-7 days.

Grow pumpkins on for about 4 weeks before transplanting them outside in mid-late may after the risk of frosts have passed. For some regions, this may mean you can’t plant out until June! Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions by using a cold frame.

If you want to sow pumpkin seeds direct, you should sow from mid-late May when the soil has warmed and all risk of frosts have passed. Pumpkins are hungry greedy plants and require nutritious soil which will have had a good does of well-rotted manure or compost worked into the soil before planting or sowing. Plant pumpkin plants in a sunny site that ideally gets 6 hrs of sunlight a day and plant your plants at least 3ft apart. Plant each pumpkin plant on top of a mound to ensure good drainage and keep them well watered until they are established.

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Image credit: lovethegarden.com

Feed pumpkins with a general fertilizer regularly and water well in dry periods.Flowers on pumpkins are either male or female with the female flower having an embryonic fruit behind it. Flowers are normally insect pollinated but if you notice that fruit is not setting then hand pollinate. If you want very large pumpkins then you should limit the number of fruit that set to no more than 3.

Pumpkins will at first be green until they have reached their final size then the fruit will start to ripen and the skin will turn orange. If necessary place the fruit on a bit of cardboard or straw to protect the fruit from contact with wet soil. Pumpkins should be left for as long as possible in the sun for the skin to cure and ripen and should only be cut off the plant and brought indoors if there is a risk of frost. Pumpkins should then be placed on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse to allow their skins to cure. Curing of the skins allows the pumpkin to store for 3-4 months.

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Image credit: mother earth news

Pumpkin problems!

The two main problems seen with pumpkins is powdery mildew and fruit not setting. Powdery mildew are a group of fungus which is seen as a white powdery coating on the leaves of plants. This is often seen in plants that are water stressed and therefore more prone to infection. To avoid powdery mildew, keep the water around the plant moist. Fruit not setting is often related to cooler temperatures and lower insect activity. If cool temperatures are a problem then you may need to hand pollinate your plants.

How to cook pumpkin

Pumpkin can be roasted or boiled and can be used in numerous recipes from soups and pies to stews and curries. You can even use a hollowed out pumpkin as a cooking bowl. To roast pumpkin, cut into pieces and lay on an oven tray. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 30-40mins at 200C until the pumpkin is soft.

Pumpkin recipes

Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin-soup

Pumpkin Biryani

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Pumpkin Pie

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References:

A big pile of poo!

Was rather excited this last Saturday morning as a truck load of well-rotted manure was delivered to the allotment!

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Got right to work shoveling it onto the beds! The garlic and onion beds got a good dose and will be ready for planting up at the end of the month!

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But said goodbye to two old friends – the apple and cherry tree. We inherited them when we took on the plot and neither have been productive for the last three years (the apple tree produced very small apples but had some undiagnosed disease), they were growing at an angle and making it a pain to cut the grass. So we said our farewells! The root ball of the apple tree was small and easy to get out of the ground (which may explain its many problems) and for some reason had polystyrene around it! The cherry tree stump will be got out next week!

It definitely makes a difference and opens up the plot a bit more although I am sure we will end up putting something else there instead!

Now on to making the raised beds!

 

Vegetable of the Month!

This is rather late due to me being away so much in September and although it is now currently October, I thought I would still put up my vegetable of the month for September!

September – Tomatoes

Tomatoes! A staple of the garden and the kitchen! I am sure that nearly every gardener has tried their hand at this vibrant red fruit whether it’s in a greenhouse or tumbling from baskets! Tomatoes are such a staple ingredient in so many different dishes in my kitchen that I am really not sure what people did before them?

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Image credit: http://www.lifestyleuncut.com/green/how-to-grow-your-own-tomatoes.html

A short history of tomatoes

Tomatoes are originally native to the Americas and were part of the diet in Meso-American cultures.Tomatoes were introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the 16th Century after the discovery of the Americas. Originally regarded with suspicion, the tomato was shunned as many people though it was poisonous since it was a member of the deadly nightshade family. The tomato thrived easily in the warm Mediterranean climate and eventually by the 18th century, tomatoes were rapidly being incorporated into daily cuisine across Europe!

Why should we eat tomatoes?

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Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene which is thought to have anti-oxidant properties and, along with other flavonoids (of which there are quite a few present in tomatoes), can play a role in bone and heart health. The anti-oxidants generally found in tomatoes are thought to play a preventative role against cancers including colon, prostate, breast and lung cancer. Nutrients in tomatoes are also thought to help regulate fat in the blood stream. They are low in fat, zero cholesterol and only 18 calories per 100 grams. which often leads to them being recommended as part of weight and cholesterol control programs.

Tomatoes also provide a generous source of Vitamin C contributing 21.5% to your recommended daily value per 100g and 28% of your recommended Vitamin A.

How to grow tomatoes?

Tomatoes require a long growing season in our cooler climate and are tender plants which require frost protection. Tomatoes can be grown both indoors and outdoors depending on the variety and as a rule, indoor grown tomatoes will be ready approximately a month before their outdoor cousins.

Depending on your variety of tomatoes, you can sow seed from mid-January until April but always read the sowing guide on the back of the packet. Fill a tray or pot with seed compost and sprinkle your seed thinly over the top. Cover the seed with a fine layer of the same seed compost or vermiculite and press down well to make sure the seed is in contact with the soil. Water well and cover the tray or pot with a clear plastic bag or polythene cover if necessary. This creates a warm humid atmosphere for the tomatoes to germinate (I like using a heated propagator). You can leave them uncovered but make sure the soil stays moist and they are kept in a warm place. The seeds will take 7-14 days to germinate.

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Tomato seed sown in a heated propagator!

Once true leaves have started to develop, you can transplant your seedlings into larger pots. If growing outside, tomatoes should be planted in their final growing positions after all chance of frosts have passed. If growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel they can be planted into their final positions once they are about 15-18cm tall, however, you should still keep an eye out for any  frosts and make sure the plants have adequate protection. A late hard frost in April one year killed all my tender plants in the polytunnel!

Tomatoes can be planted into the ground, into grow bags or can be grown in large pots. Most importantly is knowing if your tomatoes are indeterminate (grown as cordons, will need support) or determinate (forms bushy plants that don’t need support). If your plants are indeterminate, you will need to provide support in the form of bamboo canes or some other training system (of which there are many!). Tomatoes will need to be tied into your supports as they grow to stop them breaking under the weight of the fruit they produce.

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How they grow tomatoes at Victoriana Nursery!

Side shoots should be pinched out as they develop and the tops of the tomatoes should be pinched out once 6 trusses of flowers have set. As the fruit develops, leaves below the first truss should be removed to improve ventilation and prevent diseases from taking hold. Removing some leaves can help the fruit to ripen by increasing the access to light although some people don’t like to do this.

Tomatoes should be fed at regular intervals to encourage flowers and fruit to form. A good quality general tomato feed will be sufficient.

Tomato problems 

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Tomato blight (image credit: RHS)

Tomatoes, like potatoes, can be infected with blight. Blight is a fungus, Phytophthora infestans, which attacks the plant starting in the leaves and then travelling through the rest of the plant causing it to rot. Growing tomatoes indoors can help to reduce the chances of blight infestation and good horticultural practices such as providing adequate ventilation, watering at the roots and not on the leaves, removing debris can also help to prevent its spread.

Greenhouse grown tomatoes can also suffer from whitefly or green fly which are aphids that suck the sap of the plant and can spread diseases. Insecticides can be used to control these aphids or using companion planting or organic gardening will attract natural predators of these pests.

Problems with the fruit include splitting , blossom end rot and blossom drop all of which is cause by irregular watering. Ensure that you water well and regularly to avoid this problem.

How to cook tomatoes

Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked and is a staple ingredient in many Italian dishes. Tomatoes can be grilled, roasted or chopped up and boiled down in their own juices as the base for many sauces. They are incredibly versatile and their uses are endless. Below is a selection of recipes that use tomatoes.

Tomato Soup

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Tomato and Thyme Cod

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Stuffed Tomatoes

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Tomato, Cucumber and Coriander Salad

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References:

Jobs for October

The job list is still longer than my arm (will it ever be shorter?) and what with the days drawing in and the weather likely to change I doubt I will be spending as much time down the allotment! However, like the trooper I am, I still carry on trying to cross off the jobs on my list!

General

  • Order well-rotted manure for the beds from the local farm (have actually done this – it’s coming on the 8th – exciting !!!)
  • Tidy up and clean out shed; the shed have actually stayed pretty organise but they need a good sweep out and resident spiders and overwintering egg sacks are to be evicted!
  • Erect more water butts; we have room for at least two for each shed and I want to make the most of the rain water.

Plot 1

  • Harvest squash and pumpkins; half the squash and pumpkins have been harvested but the other half are still ripening – they should be ready halfway through the month.
  • Dig over squash beds and add manure ready for next year!
  • Replace weed control membrane on right hand side pathway; the existing membrane has disintegrated and is not doing its job anymore so needs to be pulled up and replaced.
  • Replace bark chip at the back of the plot; we have done this at the front of the plot but the layer at the back has gotten quite thin and has started composting down.
  • Kill bramble! This bramble is my nemesis – it keeps coming back!

Plot 2

  • Add manure to new garlic bed; this needs to be done in time for planting out new garlic and shallot sets
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Manure needs to be added before planting garlic
  • Dig over old onion bed and add manure; this will be our potato bed next year
  • Dig over potato beds and add manure; these will be brassica beds next year. Once manure is added they will be covered and left until next year.
  • Really really really need to sort out the strawberry bed! I have to get this job off my to do list – been meaning to do this for three months now and the strawberry bed is just a complete mess!

 

Plot 3

  • Move artichoke into herb garden
  • Harvest sweet potatoes
  • Clear area for polytunnel (still need to get this done – will probably need to recruit eager young diggers aka Jenny and Adam! Payment in pumpkins!)
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This area still needs clearing!

 

I have my fingers crossed that the temperature holds a while longer and we can avoid the frosts until late October/Early November just to give a few of my veggies time to ripen a bit more! October will be a busy month for me!