Monday, 26 October 2015

Sweet Potato Harvest 2015

Earlier in the year I wrote a post about growing sweet potato slips yourself from tubers. It was a successful experiment and I managed to grow over a dozen slips for myself from tubers I grew last year as well as send some to a friend on twitter. She sent me four slips of different sweet potato varieties in exchange.

I planted out my first Beauregard slips in the first week of May, having assumed the risk of frost had passed. They were planted in open ground on my allotment. 

I was wrong. 

We had a patchy air frost the first week of June which obviously set the plants back a bit. I did think I was going to lose the plants for a time, but thankfully they survived.

At the end of June I planted out my remaining Beauregard slips together with an evangeline plant. The Murasaki, Bonita and burgundy slips were planted out in the first week of July. All were planted in open ground on my allotment. 

It's been a difficult growing year this year, with that late frost setting things back plus it was never particularly warm apart from one short period. So I had a feeling this year's sweet potato harvest wasn't going to be the best. As late summer turned to early autumn, it was clear the plants were still behind schedule so I covered them with plastic to make a polytunnel of sorts to give them a bit of warmth for longer

Today, I dug the plants up. It wasn't good, but also not a complete disaster as I think I have tubers of each variety that I can use to grow next year's slips, hopefully! 

So here goes....

Beauregard. The first plants yielded a few decent sized tubers but only about a kilo in total. 

The ones I planted a bit later were all skinny

The remaining plants from my twitter friend had come from Suttons Seeds but as they were delivered late, I think they had little chance of success




And finally Burgundy which was a failure 

But look what I also dug up, a tuber that was already regrowing!

So what did I learn this year?

For starters they need their long growing season and they need warmth if the summer isn't a scorcher like last year. So I think next year I'll cover them early on. Covering them will also protect them from a rogue late frost!

But as I said earlier, all is not lost as I'll try and grow slips from each variety. Even that tiny Burgurndy one, assuming it survives the winter!

Here's to the 2016 growing season!


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Accidental Blog Silence

Oh dear! Somehow it's been a few months since I've written a blog post again! I'm not sure how it keeps happening. I keep meaning to write about the allotment or my quilting but just don't seem to get around to it. Sometimes, when I think I'll write something, but then what I want to write seems too long and so the post gets put on the back burner again, supposedly because I don't have the time. 

So a New Years resolution of sorts (after all it's only mid October) but I'll try (again) to post more often....little and often; just a little update of what I've created both on the plot and in my sewing room possibly each week, although deciding to do this just before a busy couple of weeks might not be the best timing.....

The weather is definitely autumnal now so work on the allotment is mainly digging and clearing ground for the winter. Last weekend I went to an Apple Day at Tewin Orchard near Welwyn Garden City. Here's my purchases from the day

Conference pears for poaching, Monarch and Catshead cooking apples for some crumbles and Adam's Pearmain dessert apples. 

My sewing this week has been some square in a square blocks using some Nature Trail fabrics from Dashwood Studio. It's supposed to be a quick little quilt to help sell the fabrics. 

I'm foundation piecing the blocks but they are being really frustrating to piece as the fabrics keep moving as I'm stitching. I like to use freezer paper for my foundation piecing these days so I can iron the pieces once I've stitched them. Hey ho. I'll keep on with it

My baking week included this creamy apple tart made using apples from Tom's new apple tree. It was quite tasty and a bit like a patisserie 

Until next week....hopefully!