What are you experimenting with this year?

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Odsox
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What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251856Post Odsox
Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:05 pm

I always like to try something new every year, this year I am experimenting with four different things.

I have been put on a low carb diet and apparently potatoes are not too good for me, with the exception of new potatoes. So I plan to extend what I have been partly doing in previous years and grow new potatoes continuously for about 9 months of the year. I think I can do that using a combination of outdoors, tunnel & greenhouse.

Secondly, I have always thought that commercial frozen peas taste manky and my own frozen peas tasted just fine ... until last year. I used to grow Onward peas but switched to Douce Provence and they DO NOT freeze well. So this year I am growing 5 different varieties of peas, just a 6' row of each variety, all sown at the same time, and compare yield, taste fresh and taste frozen so that I can grow the best one in future years. (Onward grows too tall for my tunnel)

Thirdly, I am going to have a go at growing early strawberries hydroponically. Percy Thrower produced ripe strawberries for Easter and I have tried several times over the years and failed miserably. Easter is early this year so I don't stand much of a chance in reality, but it will be "interesting". I dug up some Royal Sovereign runners and they have been in the salad drawer of my fridge since early December. I potted them up on Saturday and hopefully they will burst into life soon.

Lastly, I am going to continue my experimental hydroponic lettuce growing. It worked quite well last year but I would like to get it documented and photographed for others who have expressed an interest in doing the same, plus iron out a bug or two (one of them being greenfly :lol: )

All good fun and keeps that old grey matter stirred up. :iconbiggrin:
Tony

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251868Post Green Aura
Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:48 pm

With tomatoes 12/12 and new potatoes 9/12 of the year you'll not be doing bad, Tony.

As for frozen peas, I know what you mean - although I tend to buy petit pois.

My particular form of experimentation is about finding varieties that suit our short growing season. Any suggestions welcome.
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251890Post Millymollymandy
Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:55 pm

I'm experimenting with growing less. :iconbiggrin:

Will enjoy hearing about your experiments Tony. :thumbright:
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251897Post trappa
Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:53 pm

Im going to grow specific things only and not experiment at all. Every year i grow allsorts, i even grow broad beans even though no-one in the house likes them and end up giving it away. This year it will be loads of potatoes, loads of onions, then a few turnips, caulis, cabbages, plus marrow and pumpkins for chutney, nothing else (i think, lol)
Nearly forgot, ive got a trench of 3yr old asparagus that should be ready to try this year, really looking forward to that! :iconbiggrin:

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251930Post grahamhobbs
Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:00 pm

Can't think of any experiments this year, but further tweaks on getting broccoli (callabrese) 12 months of the year (would have done it this year except for exceptional warm winter has brought the late winter ones on 2 months early) and cauliflower every month from November to May. I've also heard someone claim that Douce de Provence can be grown to harvest all year round, so perhaps I should experiment with that, if I can get them past the mice, who eat not only the seeds but also the seedlings.

Odsox, I'm interested in your hydroponics experiments. Do you use an organic feed? I've heard of people using the output of a fish tank. There is a guy in Dalston who has a shop selling organic veg, that is doing just that in the back of the shop. Do you think the white fly on lettuce is due to them being stressed or over fed?

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251934Post Odsox
Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:07 pm

grahamhobbs wrote:Odsox, I'm interested in your hydroponics experiments. Do you use an organic feed? I've heard of people using the output of a fish tank. There is a guy in Dalston who has a shop selling organic veg, that is doing just that in the back of the shop. Do you think the white fly on lettuce is due to them being stressed or over fed?
No I'm not using organic feed at the moment Graham, I need to get it right first.
I've also heard a lot about running hydroponics from a fish tank and although I haven't tried it, I can't really see how it would work to be honest. You are relying on the fish to excrete absolutely everything that the plants need as there is no other way they can get the nutrients that are vital for plant growth. My lettuce last year suffered from "tip burn" where the tips of the leaves die back and that is caused by a lack of magnesium, which I cured by adding Epsom Salts to the water, how could you do that with fish I wonder. The organic way to add magnesium to soil is from seaweed, but I think it has to rot first, not a good environment for fish, but to be honest I don't know enough about fish farming. Something for the future "experiments" maybe.
The lettuce suffered from Greenfly not white, as did most other plants around here last "summer" :toothy2:
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251935Post Flo
Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:15 pm

I'm giving up growing cabbages, calabrese, brussels and cauliflower so that I can use the space that they take up to grow a wider variety of other things like salad stuff and more of the peas and beans that go so well in the freezer, along with more "roots" that can be made into soups and frozen.

Two cold winters where I haven't been able to harvest the cabbage family and a warm autumn that has caused things to run ahead of themselves makes the idea of not having them sound a more profitable use of the space.

So the experiment is in a wider variety of things like kohl rabi that can be done in interesting colours along with a wider variety of beetroot colours.

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 251937Post kit-e-kate
Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:36 pm

I'm not being very adventurous this year! But as for experimenting...
Because I had mixed results last year (but it was still an improvement on my first year) I'm concentrating on getting the basics to turn out as well as I can:
I've been more organised about ground preparation and planning- rather than just a quick dig over and then shoving seeds in!
I've been reading more about which nutrients do what- after last year's strawberry disappointment (plants like triffids with not many berries).
I've accepted that getting tomatoes to grow outside is too much work, and I'll just have to wait til the green house is built!
And I will be fleecing my carrots! Damned carrot flies! (Terrible last year.)

So no wildly optimistic exotics, or sensitive tender needy plants for me!
All very sensible, eh?
:icon_smile:

I have bought some strawberry popcorn though...I'm sure it'll turn out fine..... :pale:

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252097Post sleepyowl
Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:30 am

I'm experimenting with creating flower garden with vegetables in it rather than the other way round
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252101Post safronsue
Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:09 pm

growing trees and herbacious perrenials from seed. I've bought a selection from agroforestry and they are currently stratifying in the fridge. very exciting!
also experimenting with being organised for a change and am trying to plan and record using the online garden planner.
I am fascinated by your goal of new potato growing original poster! can you explain more? are you at the chitting stage now? where will you raise them eventually?

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252113Post demi
Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:01 pm

im starting sweet potatoes, grown from organic tubers bought from the super market. hope it works!

there are a few methods to propagate them. but the main thing is to get them to sprout then take the shoots as cuttings and plant them outside or pot them up inside first if its cold out then transplant them.

to get them to sprout im going to try 2 methods:
burrying them in moist sand in a tray in sunlight
and
putting each one into a jar 3/4 filled with water with 1/3 of the potatoe sticking out at the top. useing cocktail sticks stuck into the potatoe to hold it up agaist the jar rim to stop it falling inside.

it seams from one potatoe you can cut off the sprouts when they are about 1ft long then replace the potatoe and it should continue producing sprouts for you.

they need to be planted outdoors once all risk of frost has past as they are tropical plants.
at the end of the season the tubers can all get dug up and the best ones reserved to sprout for next year.
they'll keep over winter like normal potatoes.

so hopfully we can keep it going indefinatly.

apart from me loving sweet potatoes, they're delish!, no one grows them/sells them in macedonia so hopfully we can make a bit of money selling them at the market :iconbiggrin:
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252118Post The Riff-Raff Element
Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:27 pm

Millymollymandy wrote:I'm experimenting with growing less. :iconbiggrin:
Me too. I shall be growing only those things that are far better homegrown or that are simply unavailable to me otherwise.

I have resolved to give up growing all but a few rows of ultra-early salad potatoes, giving up growing beans for drying and giving up sweetcorn. I've finally decided that there is no point in growing things that I can get locally of very high quality for very fair prices.

I shall be greatly extending my tomato bed because I am a total tomato perv, and I'll be growing cucumbers in a screen inclined at 45° under which lettuce will be planted. I'm told this works well.

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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252120Post boboff
Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:59 pm

I am really going to get good at the growing of Docks and Nettles, Bind Weed and Brambles this year, but without guilt.

In the mean time I shall be doing as Crocus, and concentrating on seeds of Perennials, and taking more cuttings etc.

I too will give up with Tomatoes and Basil, but will try chillis indoors this year...... Monday is the New moon, so I was planning on starting to sow them.
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252125Post Odsox
Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:21 pm

safronsue wrote:I am fascinated by your goal of new potato growing original poster! can you explain more? are you at the chitting stage now? where will you raise them eventually?
Last year I planted some 2nd early Charlotte in mid-February and dug the first ones on May 1st and they had grown a bit bigger than I like, so this year I'm going to plant some first earlies next week and hopefully start digging them in April. These will be in the polytunnel with a further 2 plantings about 3 weeks apart to keep me going until the first outdoor ones are ready by the end of May. I will then have staggered outdoor plantings which should keep me going until autumn and then I will plant them back in the tunnel for harvesting up to Christmas.
I have the first lot chitting now in a warm room, the second lot in a cool room and later ones I will keep in the fridge until I need them, then I shall use some of my own tubers to replant later in the year.

Sounds complicated but really no more complicated than growing lettuces in succession.
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Re: What are you experimenting with this year?

Post: # 252131Post safronsue
Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:53 pm

what an inspiring thread

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