Monday, 18 November 2013

Sweet Potatoes Total

I got round to emptying out the bins that the sweet potatoes were growing in. Not a great success.

From the first bin (harvested a while back) remember I got 3lbs 7oz in total, with 2 very large tubers & a few small ones which were usable. This was a bin with only one slip planted in.

The second bin also only had one slip, planted exactly the same as the first. From this one I got a total of 2lbs (missed a bit when I took photo so added it on). Again 2 large tubers & a few smaller ones.
second single slip bin.

The third bin was taller but narrower (repurposed kitchen bin)  than the first 2 bins and I had put 2 slips in this. When turned out there were much smaller tubers, only weighing in at 1lb 8oz.
2 slips in taller, narrower bin

Now the final bin (exactly the same as the third) had a few more tubers in weighing a total 2lbs 7oz, again very long & thin not big round fat ones like I had in the 2 single slip bins.

2 slips in taller narrower bin

Well if my math is correct that gives me a total of 9lbs 6oz. Not too bad. There was definitely a larger harvest from the bins with only one slip in so I will say it is better to give more room for tubers to form & don't pack them into too small a space. I also noticed that the tubers formed close to the surface, so I think shallower, wider pots seems to be the way to go.
Remember these were dug up from the allotment before I left so this probably gave them a bit of a shock, also I have been told that you need to earth them up just like potatoes. So next year I will try planting one slip only in a wide pot only half filled with compost & then top it up as they grow. I think I will also keep the pots in the greenhouse a bit longer before placing out to see if the extra warmth helps.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Very quiet

Yes, I have been. Well there hasn't been a lot to write about.

It has now come to that time of year when most things have been put to bed. Not a lot is growing, there are a few carrots still left in the box, I will be taking that into the greenhouse over winter so I can still have a few. All the chillies have finished, I don't think I will bother with them again next year, they were more hassle than they were worth.

I have built up the four small beds I have and put more compost in them ready for next year. Top dressed all my blueberries with compost & coffee grinds. I still have to empty my sweet potato pots, the frost has now hit them & the tops are dying back so it is now time.

The biggest thing I have done is insulate the greenhouse. I hate that job, those stupid little black poppers that never hold & can only be put into the metal bit between panels, I take it no-one thought about how you hold the end bits up. There was something good about the old wooden greenhouses. Any way, I found a solution, Ok a friend told me. She posted a link onto FaceBook (sorry I can't remember who it originated from) which told you how to insulate windows indoors. Now my thought was that this would be a great idea to transfer to the greenhouse. So armed with scissors, a spray bottle & my bubblewrap off I set to work. Now in the spray bottle you can use just water, or you can add some glycerine for heavier duty, so I put warm water in & about a tablespoon of glycerin. My greenhouse is quite full of non plant things so it's difficult for me to move everything around so it takes a long time to get the bubblewrap up. I started off with the sides as this was easier to get to. Clean everything off & out of the way & spray the whole panel liberally. Get your bubblewrap & stick it on, smoothing it down as you go, you can then cut the excess off. Now if you want to be smart about it you can cut each piece & label them for future use. It doesn't even matter if they are smaller than the glass as you can just put a bit in to fit.
I must say it was the easiest thing I have ever done. Very quick too. Now I just hope it does hold. So far so good. All the bits on the glass are still in place & I was able to cover the door easily, that is usually impossible. The roof of my greenhouse is plastic though and it didn't stick as well on this, but it is still up & seems to be staying put.

First bit done, took about 30 seconds

Smaller pieces can be added together without taping

It is an excellent way of doing it, very easy to get around those awkward bits. I just tucked the sides under the metal but you can also spray onto the bubblewrap & stick the excess from one side on top of the next row. I didn't think I would have enough to do the whole greenhouse as I had to throw some away (eaten by mice) but it seems you use much less this way and I have some left over.

This friend also sent me a link on heating the green house for pennies during the winter, it will be enough to keep it frost free so that is the next thing I need to get set up (will leave that for another post).

I hope you are all getting ready for winter, it is going to be here very soon now.