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Alnitak
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On 6/19/2020 at 10:02 AM, Alnitak said:

Time to start a thread on Food me thinks

 

So we have 3 x meat processing plants in the UK closed due to virus

Germany 1 at least

USA - a few

 

Probably more in Europe (a pattern emerging for sure) and its no coincidence ?

 

We have swarms of locusts eating rice crops in India and Pakistan

 

We have fruit n veg being left unpicked in UK and around the world

 

Food prices here already rising since the plandemic started - im seeing 8-10% increases in prices on a lot of things in the last few weeks.

 

What to do when you dont have enough garden or space to grow your own and stock pile? 

 

Vernon Coleman did a brilliant video on this a few days ago. I will post the link.


Vertical growing Cabbage, Turnips and Strawberries is one solution. Eggs and Fish are the best self grown methods for Protein & Fat. Aquaponics is difficult for those who don't have a 3d printer but with mutual collaboration things can be doable. 

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  • 2 months later...

The traditional time to plant potatoes on UK allotments is good Friday. It was a rare day off work for the working class man and they spent the whole day spring planting. It's a moveable feast that links with the moon cycle. Ours go in next Friday.

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Third season now of our allotment and we are really starting to get into the rhythm of growing and seasons. I think if I put a monthly diary on this thread others might find it helpful , or not,   but as a minimum I can look back and see how the season progressed. 

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Allotment diary April 2022 northern hemisphere. Organic.

 

Sowing.

 

Onion seed has just gone in, can be sown direct to soil. Broad beans went in February and March last chance to put more in this month.Onion sets planted but we want to move away from this commercial way of growing hence the onion seed experiment. 

 

Planting

 

Seeds brought on in greenhouse planted out as young plants, today in went summer cabbage, broccoli, fennel.

 

Growing 

 

Autumn sown onion and garlic growing really well. Early potatoes still not visible above ground, maincrop goes in Good Friday. Kale, perpetual spinach, Savoy cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli all been a triumph and are still producing. Not as successful is cauliflower which only needs a bit of bird poo etc to totally ruin it. Quite a lot of effort for not much output, probably won't do cauliflower again. 

 

Rhubarb growing but not ready to harvest yet. Some allotment holders have forced theirs for early crops, this does look worth doing next year.

 

Rosemary, bay leaves,  mint, lemon balm all doing well. 

 

 

 

Harvesting

 

Pulled last of the Brussels sprouts. Harvesting Savoy cabbage one a week amazingly easy and tasty. Pulling fresh kale leaves regularly. Spinach cut and come again. Garlic leaves off the wild garlic picked and frozen immediately for incredible flavour.

 

Seed collection

 

Nothing to collect, considering letting one Savoy go over to produce seed heads.

 

Jobs

 

Compost turned from bin 1 to bin 2. New bin 1 for this year started.  Comfrey plant cleared and trimmed ready to start collecting leaves for fruit and flower feed.  I'll detail how to do this when I start, probably next month.

 

Must hoe annual weeds now as they start to grow. In April they're little and easy to control but if you let them get away from you now by June they'll be almost impossible to eradicate.

 

Tips

 

Plastic pop bottles with bottom cut off and upended over the top of young seedlings, stabilised with bamboo cane makes a mini greenhouse and protects against late frosts and pigeons. I'll add a photo next time, forgot phone today.

 

Insectwatch.

 

Bumblebees evident harvesting pollen from nettle flowers and daffodils

 

Pestwatch

 

Decking boards laid at bottom of fence to try and stop our daily battle with 'Stew' our invading rabbit.

 

Edited by kj35
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  • 1 month later...

Allotment diary May 2022 northern hemisphere. Organic.

 

Sowing.

 

Runner beans gone in direct to soil

 

Planting

 

Sweetcorn raised to small plants gone in soil. Plant in blocks to ease pollination. Ditto Cavellero nero and winter cabbage. 

 

Growing 

 

Autumn sown onion sets growing well. Onion seed sown in April are kow size of spring onions. Potatoes growing really well. Kale pretty much over. Perpetual spinach croppoing daily.  Savoy cabbage finished purple sprouting broccoli finished. all been a triumph. Broad beans in flower no pods yet.

 

 

Rosemary, bay leaves,  mint, lemon balm all doing well. 

 

 

 

Harvesting

 

Garlic harvested and drying for storage. Sping cut and come again. Fennel bulbs being picked already. 

 

Seed collection savoy cabbage.

 

 

 

Jobs

 

Hoeing daily.

 

  Comfrey plant cut and put in black plastic bin. Cover with water and put lid on to create an organic fruit and flower feed.

 

Net cabbage broccoli and cavellero nero to prevent pigron damage. 

 

 

Tips

 

Pull garlic when all leaves turn yellow/ brown. Must dry off to store or they will rot

 

 

Insectwatch.

 

Bumblebees evident harvesting pollen from nettle flowers and daffodils

 

Pestwatch

 

Aphids big problem as ladybirds late.  Some people use soapy water to kill off. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some folks here might find this interesting.

 

At work, we sell a number of products on eBay, as well as elsewhere.

 

In recent weeks we've had some 'slapping downs' from eBay.

 

It transpires that the US EPA is hitting eBay hard, and forcing them to take action against sellers offering pesticide and fertiliser products to buyers in the USA.

 

The standard warning we get from eBay is that as these products are 'not approved' by the EPA, we need to remove US shipping, or we will get banned from eBay.

 

When we had this a couple of weeks back, we pressed eBay on this, and we were basically told that the EPA in the USA was hitting eBay because of concerns from the US Government about certain types of plant fertiliser being potentially used for other purposes, namely in the preparation of terrorist acts.

 

Now while it is true that certain fertilisers can be used in the making of explosive bombs (🤔) , I couldn't help but feel that there was a more 'ulterior purpose' behind this.

 

Is it perhaps more likely that the US Government - in light of 'shortages' caused by the conflict in Ukraine - doesn't want householders or smallholders being able to import such products into the USA?

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On 6/15/2022 at 8:47 PM, Grumpy Owl said:

Some folks here might find this interesting.

 

At work, we sell a number of products on eBay, as well as elsewhere.

 

In recent weeks we've had some 'slapping downs' from eBay.

 

It transpires that the US EPA is hitting eBay hard, and forcing them to take action against sellers offering pesticide and fertiliser products to buyers in the USA.

 

The standard warning we get from eBay is that as these products are 'not approved' by the EPA, we need to remove US shipping, or we will get banned from eBay.

 

When we had this a couple of weeks back, we pressed eBay on this, and we were basically told that the EPA in the USA was hitting eBay because of concerns from the US Government about certain types of plant fertiliser being potentially used for other purposes, namely in the preparation of terrorist acts.

 

Now while it is true that certain fertilisers can be used in the making of explosive bombs (🤔) , I couldn't help but feel that there was a more 'ulterior purpose' behind this.

 

Is it perhaps more likely that the US Government - in light of 'shortages' caused by the conflict in Ukraine - doesn't want householders or smallholders being able to import such products into the USA?

Interesting one. I personally think there's a push to destroy the fertility of the soil. With the obvious result of famine and fake food. Most commercially available composts in the UK are dead. There's the ongoing demonisation of cattle through fake global warming whose manure is a vital element of fertile soils. Now from what you are seeing the (not ideal) but better than nothing chemical fertilisers are being banned for nefarious bomb building excuses. Which (the ability to use in bomb making) is obviously nothing new. 

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10 hours ago, kj35 said:

Interesting one. I personally think there's a push to destroy the fertility of the soil. With the obvious result of famine and fake food. Most commercially available composts in the UK are dead. There's the ongoing demonisation of cattle through fake global warming whose manure is a vital element of fertile soils. Now from what you are seeing the (not ideal) but better than nothing chemical fertilisers are being banned for nefarious bomb building excuses. Which (the ability to use in bomb making) is obviously nothing new. 

 

In my opinion, the US Government wants to control the domestic supply of pesticide/insecticide products as well as other chemical growing media, in order to prevent - or at least frustrate - those who have smallholdings or grow their own food/produce at home.

 

If such products are hard to buy or source locally, due to 'shortages', what the US doesn't want is for its citizens to be buying such products from overseas sellers.

 

Most of the products we offer for sale are aimed at non-professionals, and surprisingly many of them are manufactured here in the UK.

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On 6/3/2022 at 6:01 PM, kj35 said:

@kj35 See you're still keeping the thread going with your "diary" so fair play to ya.

I haven't been on here in a loooong time, so I ended up rereading the the entire 11 page thread first to get up to speed.

I took a break from the site for a couple of reasons, one of which being that there's only so much doom and gloom one can take before it starts to become annoying and counterproductive (not on this thread, but regarding other parts of the site). 

The second reason was because I wanted to reevaluate what I was doing and planning to change certain aspects of it. 

One area which I've altered is to switch from growing food 'in the ground' to growing in raised beds and grow bags. I've reached the stage where trying to keep crops weed and grass free while dealing with countless slugs and other intruders over a large area has just become too much effort. I had always envisioned creating a forest garden in a large portion of the 1+ acre anyway and hopefully I will at some stage going forward but for the moment I intend just leaving it to nature and stop battling it. The fruit trees and bushes are capable of fighting their corner themselves without my input, but for the time being the rest can sort themselves out. The native wildlife seem to concur too. 

I currently have about 40 grow bags (a large portion of which are potatoes) and a number of raised beds which will produce ample food for one person plus extra to give to family. 

A few things I've discovered along the way...

1. Pak Choi: Dead easy to grow in plant pots or otherwise, remove leaves as required  and it will keep growing and producing throughout the summer. Can be eaten raw in salads, or in stir fries, or simply boiled like cabbage. Then at the end of the season let it go to seed and have literally hundreds (probably thousands) of seeds for next season, which will grow again vigorously ( and yes they have produced another excellent crop already this season, except I've about a thousand seeds sitting in the fridge with nobody to give them to?)

2. Potatoes from the likes of Tesco will turn to seed potatoes and will grow vigorously if replanted (at least the ones from Tesco here in Ireland will?)

I didn't grow potatoes last year (cause I'm lazy and don't eat loads of potatoes anyway) so the leftovers from the store potatoes of last year are growing fine in their grow bags. Haven't harvested them yet obviously but they look to be doing really good and am expecting a good crop.

3. Apples: Purely as an experiment I planted about a dozen 'pips' from apples I had last year, some from my own apple trees and some from Tesco and Aldi apples. 

Strangely the pips from my own apples produced nothing while the ones from both Aldi and Tesco apples produced strong, healthy seedlings? Will they grow to full apple trees and will they produce edible apples? Who knows, but it will be interesting to see?

Pt.2 to follow...

 

On 6/3/2022 at 6:01 PM, kj35 said:

 

 

 

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Pt. 2

I may not be commenting in the right place (feel free to move it if not) but it is related to self sufficiency and therefore by inference to "food" IMO.

I was also absent because of my second project, which involved devoting a lot of my time and energy (and money) to independence from "the Grid"

(I'm putting this out there in case anyone from UK/Ireland is curious if it's viable?)

For context maybe I should first clarify. I need power for two things (other things such as light and refrigeration are 'extras').

Firstly my water is supplied from a 160ft deep well, for which I need power to both pump and filter the water.

Secondly I use a range (a wood burning stove with hot plates, oven etc.) to supply heat, cooking and hot water in wintertime (which is more than half the year in Ireland) and if the power goes when the range is hot with no power for the circulation pump to operate it could be a problem.

So I wanted to have electricity independent from the grid as a backup in case of power failures etc. which led me to solar (Greta Thunberg would be pleased 🤣)

Anyways I decided to try and come up with an independent backup system and build same, and this is how I got on basically.

Short answer, I was surprised. 

Here in dreary, cloudy Ireland I've found that so far it's performing above my expectations. The water pump/water filtration plus a chest freezer and separate fridge are located in sheds attached to the house. These at present are hard wired and connected full time to the solar system and the battery back up has never fallen below 88% of full capacity. 

Typically I would also boil kettles throughout the day and grill at lunchtime using solar, and on sunny days put on a clothes wash using solar too without a problem. All battery charging for things such as power tools are also currently being done via solar.

I'm also fully aware that these are the "longest days" for daylight and that in wintertime it will be a different story but in wintertime the range will be doing a lot of the work too, and surprisingly (for me anyway) you don't need sunny days for the solar to generate electricity? It will be reduced yes but even the dullest, cloudiest wettest day will still be producing 300w, in overcast bright days up to 1000w and on sunny days 3000w?

So bottom line, is solar a viable proposition in Ireland/UK?

I would say yes it is, to me anyway. The feeling that I know that I have the ability to survive and function independently of the system is worth the price for me alone.

Is it a viable alternative to being connected to the grid?

Hmm that's difficult. I suppose if you were to manage your consumption of energy properly, if you also had alternative sources of energy (such as a range?), and if you were to consume energy frugally, I would probably say yes it potentially is, however I would like to experience my first winter with solar first before giving a definitive answer.

Please note: I am by no means a "tech head" in this area but if anyone wishes to ask questions regarding my set-up please feel free to do so and  will try to answer,

Also: I have just received my first electric bill since I began operating this system. I have used about half of the units I typically use in the normal 60 day billing period.

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Storm in the garden said:

 

 

It's fantastic to see you back and I am really interested in those solar panels. Pak choi was going to be a next trial crop so thanks for that. I stayed away for a long time for similar reasons and then when I came back the bickering and doom laden fear stuff came straight back in various guises. I'm choosing to class this as a coincidence but am being cautious.

 

 

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Yes @kj35, you have always been one of a small group who offer solutions rather than 'promoting problems'.

Regarding the solar..

I have 12 x 330w panels wired in three groups of four, facing south and at an angle of 45 degrees. I haven't got enough south facing roof space for the panels so I built a timber framework to support them at ground level

 

DSCF1050.JPG.bf907d93ee003a54bdfe6cd0f2cf79ec.JPG

(on the right are the "Tesco" potatoes I planted in grow bags btw)

The area is still to be fenced off and graveled, and most of the grow bags will end up in between the rows of solar panels.

 

The control panel components are all Victron Energy (pricey but good) and once set up are basically self regulating, and the details (battery charge status, power being supplied by the panels, power being drawn from the system)  are all viewable on the touch screen (visible top right). 

 

DSCF1047.JPG.7519e3ccbeceff6a262b0d6717a8ae39.JPG

 

The batteries (2 x 2.4kw Pylontech) are located a bit away from the controllers for safety. The batteries are expensive (around €1,000 each) but are necessary to have a system independent from the grid. A lot forego the batteries and are instead connected into the grid but what's the point of that? Sure you might save a bit on your bills but if the grid goes down then you have no alternative power? Anyway the companies are only paying out a percentage of what they are charging somebody else for the power you have invested in and generated?

I reckon the whole setup including all the components and other items such as timber, cabling etc. set me back around €7,500, however I did basically do everything myself. I am an electrician by trade so I guess that helped, but it's not rocket science either so it's quite feasible to read up, watch videos and gain sufficient knowledge.

 

Regarding the Pak Choi yes I'd definitely recommend it, easy to grow, very productive and produces loads of seeds at the end of the cycle for the following year.

I'm also looking into radishes and in particular a variety called 'China Rose'. They grow to 3-4" long and around an inch wide, mainly on the top of the soil. I've grown some already but the slugs got there first, so I intend growing a large quantity in pots. The reasons are:

They're quick to grow from seed to maturity (about 3 weeks)

They can be boiled and used as a substitute for potatoes as well as in stir fries and salads, and they can be frozen.

So they have a lot of potential and we'll have to see how it works out in practice, but wouldn't it be nice to have an alternative crop every 3 weeks while waiting on the potatoes to develop? 🙂

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Storm in the garden said:

Yes @kj35, you have always been one of a small group who offer solutions rather than 'promoting problems'.

Regarding the solar..

I have 12 x 330w panels wired in three groups of four, facing south and at an angle of 45 degrees. I haven't got enough south facing roof space for the panels so I built a timber framework to support them at ground level

 

DSCF1050.JPG.bf907d93ee003a54bdfe6cd0f2cf79ec.JPG

(on the right are the "Tesco" potatoes I planted in grow bags btw)

The area is still to be fenced off and graveled, and most of the grow bags will end up in between the rows of solar panels.

 

The control panel components are all Victron Energy (pricey but good) and once set up are basically self regulating, and the details (battery charge status, power being supplied by the panels, power being drawn from the system)  are all viewable on the touch screen (visible top right). 

 

DSCF1047.JPG.7519e3ccbeceff6a262b0d6717a8ae39.JPG

 

The batteries (2 x 2.4kw Pylontech) are located a bit away from the controllers for safety. The batteries are expensive (around €1,000 each) but are necessary to have a system independent from the grid. A lot forego the batteries and are instead connected into the grid but what's the point of that? Sure you might save a bit on your bills but if the grid goes down then you have no alternative power? Anyway the companies are only paying out a percentage of what they are charging somebody else for the power you have invested in and generated?

I reckon the whole setup including all the components and other items such as timber, cabling etc. set me back around €7,500, however I did basically do everything myself. I am an electrician by trade so I guess that helped, but it's not rocket science either so it's quite feasible to read up, watch videos and gain sufficient knowledge.

 

Regarding the Pak Choi yes I'd definitely recommend it, easy to grow, very productive and produces loads of seeds at the end of the cycle for the following year.

I'm also looking into radishes and in particular a variety called 'China Rose'. They grow to 3-4" long and around an inch wide, mainly on the top of the soil. I've grown some already but the slugs got there first, so I intend growing a large quantity in pots. The reasons are:

They're quick to grow from seed to maturity (about 3 weeks)

They can be boiled and used as a substitute for potatoes as well as in stir fries and salads, and they can be frozen.

So they have a lot of potential and we'll have to see how it works out in practice, but wouldn't it be nice to have an alternative crop every 3 weeks while waiting on the potatoes to develop? 🙂

 

 

 

Brilliant thank you.  Our potatoes this year are a mixture of seed and just normal store cupboard sprouters. Harvest shortly looking at them so will report back!

 

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Allotment diary June 2022 northern hemisphere. Organic.

 

Sowing.

 

Salad crops and pak choi

 

Planting

 

Sweetcorn planted in May looks incredible so I went and bought some seedlings to get extra as too late to raise my own , I would not do this normally but this is our first year of sweetcorn and clearly it loves our soil and position.  

 

Growing 

 

Autumn sown onion sets still growing well harvest soon  Onion seed sown in April are now size of large spring onions. Potatoes growing really well. Cavello nero growing and ready to be picked. Perpetual spinach still cropping daily.  Spring cabbage recovering after a pigeon and rabbit combo tried to decimate it. New broccoli ready in record time. Broad beans superb pods some ready.  Runner beans really struggling and I don't know why. They're normally easy. Looking around the other plots everyone is similar as far as peas and beans go.

 

 

Rosemary, bay leaves,  mint, lemon balm remain excellent.  Wild garlic I am leaving to rest and self seed.  Rhubarb new crown this year doing well. Asparagus bed first year so left dormant no cropping is flopping everywhere.  Other people have built supports so we need to do the same. 

 

 

 

Harvesting

 

 Spinach cut and come again continues. Fennel bulbs continue although quickly going to seed so this one is at it's end. Can sow again September for an Autumn crop. Courgettes daily from just 4 plants could feed family of 6. Broad beans first pods are beautiful and easy. Covered in blackfly but not affecting the crop. First early pototoes up and out lovely.

 

Seed collection 

 

Fennel, spinach.

 

 

 

Jobs

 

Hoeing daily.

 

Comfrey feed ready. Use watered down for flowers and fruits

 

Net cabbage broccoli and cavellero nero to prevent pigeon damage. Reinforce nets where 'Stew' our allotment rabbit entered.

 

 

Tips

 

Don't wash soil off garlic when harvest it needs to dry. Rhubarb is great in lamb dishes think of it as alternative to apricot. Also makes incredible lamb 

 

Insectwatch

 

Ladybirds still really thin on ground, everyone reports same. Wonder if the local farmers are using new pesticides.

 

Pestwatch

 

Aphids big problem, blackfly everywhere.

 

Edited by kj35
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On 6/3/2022 at 6:01 PM, kj35 said:

Allotment diary May 2022 northern hemisphere. Organic.

 

Sowing.

 

Runner beans gone in direct to soil

 

Planting

 

Sweetcorn raised to small plants gone in soil. Plant in blocks to ease pollination. Ditto Cavellero nero and winter cabbage. 

 

Growing 

 

Autumn sown onion sets growing well. Onion seed sown in April are kow size of spring onions. Potatoes growing really well. Kale pretty much over. Perpetual spinach croppoing daily.  Savoy cabbage finished purple sprouting broccoli finished. all been a triumph. Broad beans in flower no pods yet.

 

 

Rosemary, bay leaves,  mint, lemon balm all doing well. 

 

 

 

Harvesting

 

Garlic harvested and drying for storage. Sping cut and come again. Fennel bulbs being picked already. 

 

Seed collection savoy cabbage.

 

 

 

Jobs

 

Hoeing daily.

 

  Comfrey plant cut and put in black plastic bin. Cover with water and put lid on to create an organic fruit and flower feed.

 

Net cabbage broccoli and cavellero nero to prevent pigron damage. 

 

 

Tips

 

Pull garlic when all leaves turn yellow/ brown. Must dry off to store or they will rot

 

 

Insectwatch.

 

Bumblebees evident harvesting pollen from nettle flowers and daffodils

 

Pestwatch

 

Aphids big problem as ladybirds late.  Some people use soapy water to kill off. 

 

Only just read these posts. Sounds like you're doing real well!. I've been doing this for a few years now myself. 

Im certainly more confidant in my planting etc now. One thing I've learned is to use everything except hygiene waste to aid me somehow or save me money.

The other thing I enjoy is the storing of seeds and harvested food. Nothing like a meal which is straight from your own garden

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Yes all our  vegetables are now our own home grown. Do you compost ? It's almost miraculous what even beginners like us get from garden waste. The allotment is great,  one chap there has had an allotment since he was 15 he is now 87,  on two walking sticks and still has an incredible allotment 3 times the size of ours. He's forgotten more than most ever knew. One unbreakable rule is cattle manure in September for winter mulch. The storing of seeds is something I would like to learn more about. 

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Just now, kj35 said:

Yes all our  vegetables are now our own home grown. Do you compost ? It's almost miraculous what even beginners like us get from garden waste. The allotment is great,  one chap there has had an allotment since he was 15 he is now 87,  on two walking sticks and still has an incredible allotment 3 times the size of ours. He's forgotten more than most ever knew. One unbreakable rule is cattle manure in September for winter mulch. The storing of seeds is something I would like to learn more about. 

I compost everything which can be. luckily I have quite a few trees. This way I get a large amount of leaf compost, which is really nutritious.

I have a friend nearby who has been growing veg for years as well. Like the Gentleman at your allotments this guy knows so much. Plus he love passing on his knowledge.

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