Featured

Our Journey Starts..

We are a family group, Dad(me), my wife Annie and son John-Paul are going to have a go at growing vegetables and salad crops and maybe some soft fruit over the coming year using only the 100% organic BIOCANNA© growing compost and Fertilisers.

It is fair to say that CANNA have supplied us with the compounds in order to complete the tests and give our findings after the experiment, if you continue to follow us you will see for yourselves as we will publish everything that happens as it happens, we would also like your interaction with us and ask questions as we go along.

My son has a small area in a local village we call “The Plot” suitable for our experiment, it also has quite a large poly tunnel on there too, we can start off the plants early on and take them outside after the fear of frost, but we first have to buy and build the raised beds we will be using as the ground is solid clay and all manner of very hard stuff underneath.

plotx

As you can see its quite a big plot, and this is only some of it, we do hope that you will get it touch as we would love to compare methods and ideas with like minded people.

 

Water Butts, Sunny Days and Taste Test..

As I sit down to type this latest blog post it is actually raining , it has been on the news recently about wild electric storms and places being flooded by torrential rain, well we have had neither here.

The weather has been really good to us over several weeks now but i must be honest and say, i am pleased that the rain is falling today. What has also gone at present it that tiresome clammy heat that seems to drain the life out of you, long live summer weather.

20180529_143404
Waterbutts with feed..

The plot is coming together nicely, we decided to get rid of the few cabbage and Kale plants we had grown as they take too much room up, so instead we have made a long wigwam and underplanted with French Dwarf Beans, something that doesn’t take forever to grow nor take up too much room. The two rows of radish are through already, they took just 3 days from seed to plant, amazing.

Frenchbeans
Dwarf French Beans

My son has very kindly set us up with a couple of waterbutts down amongst the beds, this will hold the BioCanna Vega  Organic feed we will use on the plants weekly to help them grow healthy and strong. I planted out about 6 Sweetcorn plants last week as something of a gimmick, they are really growing well, i am so surprised with them.

The most important time in the life of growing organic food is the taste test, if you get this wrong, what’s the point of all the extra effort you have to put in to keep it free from pesticides and herbicides, well, i can reveal that the strawberries we are growing taste absolutely fantastic. We bought a  punnet of strawberries from our local farm shop that looked amazing, we thought we would struggle to tell the difference, not a chance. The shop bought ones were a beautiful colour, reasonable flavour but were firm to the bite, ours on the other hand were of a similar colour, but the main difference was the flavour, ours were a real strawberry flavour and easy to bite, we are just too greedy to share any for a better taste test, but we will have too.

Strawberry Taste test
shop at top, ours below..

We have been eating strawberries for a few week now, it is surprising just how many fruits a plant will give up over the season, and they are still flowering so hopefully more to come yet.

The Peppers and the Tomatoes are growing away strongly, it will soon be time to plant them in  their final resting pots, i have already done a few peppers and tied them with string to support them as they grow away. We have planted quite a few different types of tomatoes as it will be fun tasting all the different coloured ones we have to come, i know they will taste of tomato, but will the flavour be different or stronger, time will tell..

20180529_134018.jpg
Peppers in pots and tied up..

 

 

A Couple of Owls in Pastel..

I came across this picture the other week of an owls face on one of the copyright free sites I visit on my travels around the net. I thought just how stunning the eyes were and yet so piercing too, almost seem to be watching and waiting for you to turn around before accending down and swooping you in its talons.

I am continuing to use the carbothello pencils and conte sticks for most of the work, but when i need a colour i dont have i either layer two together, or i open my  Faber Castle Pitt pastel pencils tin in hope there will be something closer in there.

This is the first one i did, i followed a chap on youtube called Unmask Art, he even supplied the photo and line drawing with which to get started.

IMG_20180514_110319_621
Owl No 1..

This second one is from a picture and i made the line drawing and used my own colours, it is really a great process to do, start with the darks and overlay the lights, try it..2018-05-26 08.40.09

Hot days, Bolted Onions and new pumpkin bed..

For late spring days the weather is really hot. Moving on from beast from the east and its sibling which took out a few of my seed trays and sent my Rocket plants to seed, its gone full circle to almost mid summer temperatures.

plotgood
Plot looking good in the sunshine

As the days stride on into the summer season and the heat rises, watering becomes an almost hourly chore, using the Canna Bio Terra compost which has quite an open light consistency, which is great if you are using an ebb and flow system, but as we have it raised beds it drains away quite quickly and needs constant watering and feeding.

strawberry
Strawberries ready for the cream

In the tunnel, the strawberries seem to be ripening on a daily basis, we have already had several tubs of the luscious red fruit and we will increase our yield with more strawberry plants shortly. The beetroot are all planted outside now and we have added a few rows of radish, spring onion, rocket and carrot.

newcage
Blueberries in the cage
broadbean2
Broad beans growing away

Annie is one for keeping things in order, she is like the ward matron, everything has a place, and everything in its place, bless her. She is one that would spend lots of time hacking down brambles and weeds but hates planting seeds or flowers, so really everything works out great between us. Today though, she decided to take it upon herself to plant the Cornflower we had sown earlier in the year, and several plants of Gypsophila amongst the fruit in the cage.

While Annie got on with that, I set about sowing a few marigolds to add around the perimeter of the raised beds in order to help encourage beneficial insects to visit our Plot and eat any bugs we may get.

I noticed today that a few of our onions have flower spikes appearing on them, having looked at the internet I find out that they have indeed bolted, and they look really healthy too, so we will harvest them tomorow, Annie can always find a use for them.

My son has taken his 2 pumpkin plants to the plot in order to get them growing for this years Malvern show where last year he came second in the biggest pumpkin competition, not bad for a novice.

pumpbed
New Pumpkin Bed made

 

Hot sun, Fruit area ,Start of giant Pumkin

First off let me apologise for the lack of posts recently but sometimes real life gets in the way and other hobbies and gardening have to take a back seat. My real job depends rather a lot on good weather as we  sell top quality garden furniture and BBQ’s and the selling window can be a short one if the sun doesn’t shine, even though there is 17,000 items on our website, this has taken up most of my time working over the bank holiday and extra days.

The hot sun certainly helped the veg in the beds come on last week but some of the seedlings in the tunnel just frazzled up and died, we could only water at night and sometimes this wasn’t enough.  It was just lovely to be able to sit outside and enjoy a drink of a night-time instead of getting wrapped up because of the cold wind, but there was a down side as we had to travel more to the plot in order to make sure everything was well watered as the heat just dried out the trays and pots.

IMG-20180508-WA0011
Potatoes coming on..

Managed to get my son over this week from his usual busy job, he had just bought us another 15 planks in order to build a few more beds for the seedlings we have growing but we decided to get the fruit bed up and running first, especially as they are growing well and starting with small fruit already.

We managed to fasten wires across the back of the frame as well in order to help support the raspberries, thornless blackberries,  also the red and black currants. We have planted gooseberries and a couple of lavenders around at the front of the beds and we hope this will add a pleasing group at the front along with nice smelling flowers.IMG-20180508-WA0013

The beds are looking quite good today, beetroot is good, parsnips went to seed and have been removed , chard is making an appearance, radish are doing well as is the lettuce, and i cant believe the spuds.

If the sun hadn’t been so hot today i would have planted out another type of beetroot, but at 24°C it was just too hot to risk any sort of planting.

My son did bring across his pumpkins he has started and once again hoping to show them at the Great Malvern Giant Veg Show later in the year, he managed a second place last year which concidering he only does this in his spare time is impressive.

IMG-20180508-WA0004
Giant Pumkins on the Move..

We have yet to build the bed that will contain the Pumkin as this will be grown using a completely different type of Canna Compost, and fed on a different range of Canna liquid feed.

The Fruit trees have looked splendid in their beautiful blossom, just hoping there was enough bees around to help to set fruit this year, although we did help the peach along with a bit of hand pollination.

We managed to get some tomatoes and squash repotted as they are getting large in their little cell trays, there are still more varieties to repot and the peppers are looking really good, cant get them sorted out though until next tuesday when i am  off again.

More Shelving, re- planting and still life..

I cant believe just how much rain we are having this month, i know its april showers and all that, but come on, two villages i pass through on my way to the plot are closed to flooding, i may just have to learn the boatbuilding trade shortly.

Although the weather is a tad off colour at the moment, inside the tunnel things are moving along quite quickly. Lettuce seeds we planted just a couple of weeks ago now need transplanting into something bigger. Rather than planting in indivual pots, or planting outside like i really want to, and conditions wont allow anyway,  we have commandeered a few large trays with  which to replant into.

traylettuce
Lettuce Tray
replant
Replanted and watered..

As the seeds are getting away well and more replanting will need to be done over the next couple of weeks we have decided to buy another 4 shelving units to put the transplanted plants on. The shelves are nice and light and easy to move about,  we need to keep the floor as empty as possible because of all the tomatoes, peppers, chillies and courgettes we plan to grow.

morestage
More Storage

Now moving on, over the last week or so i have been painting with pastel pencils and soft pastels working on animal faces and eyes. This time i concentrated my efforts on still life, you can also see my still life paintings in oil too in the drop down menu in my art section.

I really enjoyed these 2 paintings, it is so lovely to be able to blend the pastels together seemlessly and easily too, also using the pastelmat paper is a revelation to me, you can achieve really good detail, it also holds the pastel really well.4pears

fruitandjug

The Plot at the start of April..

Yet Another swift but productive day today at the plot, a local garden center is closing down and i get a good discount there, so we visited again today. Our haul consisted of several rolls of wire meshing to cover the fruit once we have built a cage for them, nails, string, bamboo canes, fly sticky sheets, bramley apple tree and of course a few more seeds.

Although we had another covering of snow yesterday and with the amount of rain we have had recently, lots of the villages are having problems with water running off the fields and the tiny streams and brooks are flooding and making the streets waterlogged and difficult to pass through, but despite all this when the sun comes out it is lovely and warm and its only a matter of time before the spring really kicks in.

flysheets
Yellow sticky flysheets

The seeds are growing well and responding to the warmer temperature inside the tunnel, but with that comes the aphids. Managed to get hold of the yellow sticky cards to hang inside the tunnel near produce which catch any rogue aphids that appear, we will need all the help we can get when it comes to pests, thats why we have started growing flowers to attract them in.

As some of the seeds are growing larger we have decided to go back there and start to thin them out tommorow while we have the time.

lettuce2
Lettuce seeds growing away

The strawberries are really getting to grips with the Canna BIORhizotonic feed,  its working a treat. We now have have flowers starting to appear on our strawberry plants, on looking around today we noticed a bee on a leaf near the flowers, loving this alreadybeeflower

 

New shelving, Strawberries and auto-pots

No 1 son decided to make an appearance today at the plot, time out from his very busy job travelling up and down the country all day, it was lovely to spend the time with him and we got loads done, my poor wife has a bad back so the help was appreciated.jipbuild

Started of this wet day in the tunnel, we had recently bought a couple of sets of staging for the seed trays which seem to be mounting up, getting them off the floor would be beneficial to the plants and my back. Jip started straight away building the structure, it didnt take too to knock them together and an even shorter period to start to fill them up.jipframe

At long last we have managed to attach a hose to the outside tap, its not perfect yet, but it will do for now as it helps with the amount of trips to and from the tap with filled watering cans.

Gave everything a good water and feed today with Canna BioVega and BioRhizotonic organic fluid, everything is growing well at present and the strawberries have started to get flowers on them.strawbs

we are going to try and fit water drippers to the over head structures and we need to sort out the whitefly that has started to arrive on the strawberries, i have read that white vinegar is a good form of organic bug spray.

The Beans outside are growing really well, we took the fleece off today to give them an airing while the sun was out, then covered them again before we left.beans

To finish this post off today, we have been given a self watering system that doesnt use an electricity, if you need any more info just contact me, it is a series of interconnecting pots that sort of work rather like your every day toilet system, as we build it up and start to use it i will show better detail of how to use it, until then …waterpot