UK Veg Gardeners

Colin Robinson's Blog (145)

compost....can you have too much?

Tipped out one of the compost daleks today to get some wonderful crumbly good as anything you can buy. The texture is amazing but the material at the bottom of the bin has been 'cooking' for about 18 months so it should be. This stuff forms the basis of my potting mixes and I made…


Added by Colin Robinson on February 15, 2015 at 22:50 — 8 Comments

new cold frame

A neighbour of mine was having a new bathroom fitted so I scrounged the glass from the old shower cubicle because I hate to see anything go to waste. I figured I could cobble together some sort of cold frame from it.…


Added by Colin Robinson on May 18, 2014 at 22:26 — 1 Comment

a new start

Managed to snip a few chives for a lunchtime sandwich today. Not much I know but chives are always the first 'new' crop of the year. Each autumn I split off a clump, pot them up and overwinter them in the greenhouse. February is normally when they first start to show new growth but they are well up this year, almost a month ahead of last spring, in fact.…


Added by Colin Robinson on February 15, 2014 at 21:55 — No Comments

bird food

I'm not a greedy gardener and don't mind sharing what I produce with the local wildlife, some of it, anyway. This year there has been enough for all of us and I was happy to let the birds have all the cherries as I was far too busy harvesting bush fruit to worry about climbing a ladder for yet more fruit.

The autumn rasps are still producing like mad but, to be honest, there's only so much you can eat and store so I've decided to leave what's left of the crop for…


Added by Colin Robinson on November 12, 2013 at 20:02 — No Comments


The tomatoes are all but finished for this year apart from a few still ripening in the greenhouse. It's been the best year for toms that I can remember but at my age that's not saying much!!  The outdoor plants especially have been amazing.

Each year I try to grow a few new varieties in order to see a) if I like them and b) how they cope with the Cumbrian climate. I also grow a few 'standards' like Alicante, Gardeners Delight and Tumbler but these are too…


Added by Colin Robinson on October 27, 2013 at 23:25 — 1 Comment

things as they should be?

In the last two days I've harvested potatoes, peas, broad beans, carrots, cabbage, beetroot, tomatoes, courgette, radishes, lettuce, spring onions, bulb onions, strawberries, gooseberries and rhubarb. Looks to me like a normal harvest for the time of year so things appear to be where they should be after the spring setback.…


Added by Colin Robinson on July 10, 2013 at 15:58 — No Comments

cordial greetings

Elderflower cordial, that is. Most years I make a refreshing elderflower champagne which is a lovely and mildly alcoholic summer drink but this year I'm having a go at a cordial instead.

I'm lucky to have elder growing at the bottom of the garden but the…


Added by Colin Robinson on June 27, 2013 at 22:35 — 2 Comments


This is the first one of the year and it weighed in at 364g. We had it with our stir-fry evening meal although most of the other ingredients were shop-bought. Although we've had some wet summers recently I still don't think conditions are quite right for growing rice in…

Added by Colin Robinson on June 22, 2013 at 0:03 — 2 Comments

Flowers and veg.

If anyone needed an excuse to grow flowers among their fruit and vegetables let me give one.

A small clump of chives in the soft fruit area of the garden. This morning they were alive with pollinating insects but the tortoiseshell butterfly flew off just…


Added by Colin Robinson on June 17, 2013 at 23:23 — 1 Comment

playing catch-up

Not me, the plants. It's amazing what a few days of decent weather can do to things. After what seems like months of sulking everything is romping away now.

This is part of the potato plot.…


Added by Colin Robinson on May 30, 2013 at 23:31 — 3 Comments

I'll be with you in... blossom time, although it's a bit late this year. This might be a good thing as there's plenty of blossom and plenty of insects about so things are looking good for an excellent harvest.

This is my James Grieve which is absolutely covered in flowers.…


Added by Colin Robinson on May 21, 2013 at 23:30 — No Comments

first potatoes

We had the first of the new potatoes today - nearly a fortnight later than the last two years but not surprising given the cold spring.

The variety is Home Guard and they tasted lovely but the yield was poor compared to my favourite Lady Christl. I suppose I…


Added by Colin Robinson on May 12, 2013 at 20:04 — 4 Comments

spuds coming along nicely

The greenhouse potato crop is looking very healthy, even though we haven't yet had a lot of sunshine.

They've been growing away for 10 weeks now so I had a 'furtle' round under the compost and found plenty of small tubers. The biggest was about the size of a…


Added by Colin Robinson on April 28, 2013 at 21:19 — 1 Comment

what next? a plague of locusts

This long cold spring has been a bit of a trial for all of us growers but we've had some decent sunshine this week, even if it is still chilly. Plenty to be getting on with so I sowed some beetroot this afternoon. Before I could get them covered with soil the sky darkened, the lightning flashed and then a tremendous hail storm struck. End result: beetroot seeds buried under a layer of ice!…


Added by Colin Robinson on April 26, 2013 at 20:59 — 1 Comment

commitments, commitments..

It's been a while since my last post so in case anyone was wondering if I'd been abducted by aliens or dragged off to some sultan's harem I have to say it was that bane of all It gets in the way of all of our plans, takes us from our beloved plants and forces us to 'look presentable'.

Anyway, with other commitments now mostly out of the way I can get back to where I feel most comfortable and where no-one cares if I've got muck under my finger…


Added by Colin Robinson on April 20, 2013 at 22:24 — No Comments

Progress Report

It seems like we've had bitter east winds for months on end and then the recent snowfall has put paid to any thoughts of getting much done to the veg plot for a while. Late March is usually the start of things getting busy but I've done very little apart from aimless pottering and thumb twiddling. Because I don't dig I apply thick mulches in autumn the plot has only needed a rake over and a bit of light weeding to get it ready and waiting for this year's crops. Some things are moving in the…


Added by Colin Robinson on March 29, 2013 at 21:48 — No Comments

they're off

The potatoes in the greenhouse are poking their shoots above the compost and I have plenty of fleece handy should we get a prolonged cold spell.

Container peas and radishes are also shooting up and the…


Added by Colin Robinson on March 6, 2013 at 23:29 — No Comments

more new shoots

Late last summer I took some cuttings from gooseberry bushes, inserted them in sandy compost and then basically forgot about them, apart from sticking them in a corner of the greenhouse for the winter. Today I noticed that three of the four cuttings have fresh green shoots so it looks like they've taken.…


Added by Colin Robinson on February 23, 2013 at 21:21 — No Comments

digging the dirt

After a covering of snow on Wednesday, the last two days have been almost wall-to-wall winter sunshine so lots to be getting on with. First job was to uncover the main compost heap. This is about eight feet by four by four and was covered with thick cardboard weighted down with more waste last autumn. All the loose stuff was scraped off the top to reveal all this gorgeous crumbly goodness. This, to me, is what compost should look like, not the sticky, smelly mess than some people…


Added by Colin Robinson on February 15, 2013 at 21:50 — No Comments

a busy weekend

Reasonable weather over the weekend has enabled me to get quite a lot done. Much potting compost has been mixed and containers filled but these will just sit in the greenhouse to warm up for a week or two before anything goes into them. Germinated leeks, onions and cabbage have been moved from the propagator to a window sill and another lot will follow them, along with some Winter Gem lettuce. It's still too early for a lot of sowing but I've risked a tub of radishes which I'll keep…


Added by Colin Robinson on February 3, 2013 at 17:10 — No Comments

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