BROAD BEANS AND OTHER DELIGHTS

I have been trying to grow broad beans from the very first year I have been on the allotment. Either the pigeons ate the beans soon after I put them in the ground or they waited and ate the young plants. Every year I had some beans but nothing to boast about. Until now…

I was very lucky with the weather today – even though it has been raining since the morning I had a couple of hours’ window where I was able to go to the allotment and harvest these beauties, all 4 kilo of them. And there are plenty more. The reason for this success is the fact that I planted them in October inside one of my net tunnels. I wasn’t quite sure if it would work but it is obvious that it did.

In the same net tunnel I have Victorian climbing peas – I think I shall just grow those in the future. It not only looks good but they are much easier to pick.

And finally, the best of all were the strawberries. I didn’t expect so much but even in this deluge I brought home just over 1.5 kilo of them.

HERE WE GO AGAIN….

Time to start making jams, jellies etc.

My motto is – waste not want not – this gooseberry and mint conserve is made using the thinned out small gooseberries, otherwise I would get loads of them but all would be small. This way I can make this delicious conserve and later have decent sized gooseberries to eat (or bottle or …)

MAY ACTIVITIES

It is all go on the allotment now. Fortunately the weather has been good so far, so I was able to plant and build. I was also able to harvest some of my produce – lettuce, that has been going for some time and now some young broad beans. Never mind waiting for the pods to mature and then shell them – we like to pick the young pods and chop them whole and add to a salad. Delicious!

Last year was not good at all, the pigeons had a great time eating all my young plants, so this time I planted a lot in one of my net cages. I put them in the ground in October, they grew well and continued to do well in the spring. As they started flowering I was wondering if I will get any beans, seeing that they were under cover. I didn’t have to worry, they are producing lovely pods and I don’t have to share them with pigeons.

It seems I have to cover quite a lot – lettuce for example. I did have a poly tunnel some years ago but the plastic started breaking. The structure was sound so with a bit of help from Mike we covered it in green netting and it works a treat. I even managed to build raised beds in there.

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Strawberries were the next thing to cover – I have got a number of raised beds, just to make it easier to put the net over them. It pays off, I harvested my first two sweet strawberries yesterday.

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Every year I try to grow something new. This year it is water melon. I have got three plants, all inside a greenhouse and one of them is showing signs of wanting to start climbing. Keep fingers crossed! I’d be happy with just one melon.

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It is not just vegetables that are doing well – my beautiful rose and clematis are a delight.

I did a count of my tomato plants – I think this year will be a bumper year, I have 80! It may seem a lot but they are all different varieties – Costoluto Fiorentino, Long Tom, Super Marmande, Ailsa Craig, Czech Bush, just to name a few! I didn’t have this many last year and I still use the last few I bottled. They freeze well, cooked of course. A win-win situation.

MORE WORK

There was just enough wood left to build another structure in one of my net cages and also for improving an edge of one of the paths.

I wanted to make the path edge a bit higher – when I first did that one I didn’t have the right sort of wood.

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All is done now.

Even the raised beds in the last net cage are finished – can’t do any more work, all the wood is gone. I just have to hope now that the builders are going to give me some more pieces of wood.

MAY…

…is here and it is rather chilly. All the same, work on the allotment is going on – building raised beds inside one of my net cages. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, got a nice lot of timber from the friendly builders next door and it took a few trips with my wheelbarrow to take it to the allotment.

The tomato plants were outside already so this wasn’t too much of a shock for them as they got planted here. I used some old flower pots, cut off the bottom and embedded them in the compost, that way the tomato plants will have more depth for their roots. In the empty spaces will be lettuce Webs wonderful.

The same goes for my sunflowers – they stood in one of the net cages for a week or so ; they’ll be fine planted here as they have a bit of protection from the greenhouse.

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Last but not least – I covered four of my strawberry beds, they are flowering very well and some small strawberries are already there. I just don’t want to share them with the birds.

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The mason bees are doing what they are supposed to do, it is wonderful to see that.

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THE END OF APRIL

I had a great day on the allotment today. The weather is good – so far –  and I managed to finish sowing my carrots, beetroot and parsnips. The rest of my leeks are also in the ground – last year I managed to grow just 3 leeks, all the others failed. I am more than making up this year.

Another first is my celeriac. I have only tried once in the past and failed. This year I think is the year where I’m determined to succeed.

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The tomatoes and aubergines are doing very well in the greenhouses….

…and strawberries and my fruit trees are in flower.

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Plenty to keep the mason bees happy.

ANOTHER PATH

This time I’m working on renovating a path between one of my plots and my neighbour’s plot. Dave hammered in some sturdy supports along the whole length of the path on his side – because our site is sloping down, there is a deep step between my plot and his. This path was always a bit problematic but I think we’ve sorted it out now. Dave has got some soil from his back garden at the back of his property so we’ve been taking it in wheelbarrows to the allotment. Fortunately he lives very near but all the same, it is quite tiring.

This will make our lives much easier from now.

DALEFOOT COMPOST

I needed to re-pot some of my tomato seedlings.  They were in pots with my new Dalefoot compost, the one called “double strength”. I was very pleasantly surprised how well the roots were formed.

 

These two tomato plants are now very happy in the greenhouse and many more will soon be ready to be moved. I’m delighted with the product and will be getting some more again.