The lovely weather continues and I still have lots to do. The first job today was to cut the grass on the path – again! It feels the grass grows too quickly, we had no rain but it is rather warm, even during the night. When that was done I did another boring job, filling the water butts. With no rain the levels went down very fast so I did all of mine. That should keep me going for a while.
Actually that was all I managed to do in the morning but I came back after lunch and planted the leeks I bought a few days ago in a garden centre. My seeds didn’t germinate at all and these were just enough for me. I’m still using the garden vouchers that Kim gave me , a very generous gift that I appreciate greatly.
After that I started hoeing the piece of ground where the courgettes and squashes will go. I cleared it some weeks ago but some weeds came back and it got a bit compacted so I made a start. I’ll be planting it all bit by bit.
The next job was to put some horse muck by the loops where the tromboncinos and butternut squashes will go. It has been in the corner in bags since last year and when we picked it it was already at least a year old so it is not going to burn the roots.
As I was spreading the muck I put it around the beans already in the ground and by the new wigwams where I’m going to have more climbing beans,
There is a little square of land in the very back of my plot, it was just an overgrown patch, full of nettles. I think the previous gardener used it as a compost heap because when I eventually cleared all the nettles I found the soil lovely and rich. I had different vegetables there over the years until last year I planted an apple tree in the middle and grew some potatoes. I must’ve left some in the ground when I was harvesting them so I just earthed them up now and will have a bit more to harvest in the autumn. In the next few days I’ll plant some pumpkins there they’ll have enough room to run.
I have also used three metal parts of an old trampoline my friend gave me, made a little wigwam and this will be for the butternut squashes.
By the time they climb up it won’t be too obvious what it was.
Today was mainly a maintenance day – covering of strawberry beds, shading greenhouses and just a little bit of planting. I have filled all my greenhouses on the allotment with tomatoes. The plan is that I’ll have most of the tomatoes there and keep the more delicate plants – aubergines and different peppers in the greenhouse in the back garden. I’m sure I’ll have more tomatoes to plant out but these can go in the large net cage where I have peas and brassiacas. I did this in the past and the tomatoes were fine, I’ll just wait till June to plant them out.
I had to cover the strawberry beds because some of the fruit is turning pink and the birds would be very interested. I’m not sharing my strawberries with them.
The greenhouses need a bit of shading every summer because our site gets full sun most of the day and the plants would suffer. I have got a range of different green nets so it is just a question of fixing it to the structure. I have found small spring clips in a hardware shop that do the job just perfectly. And if not those then clothes pegs are equally good.
Because some more runner beans are germinating I had to build a few new wigwams for them, I had just the two best spots.
Last but not least was putting up some traps for codling moth, both on apple and plum trees.
There is not an inch of space wasted, I have some potatoes in grow bags in the gap between two greenhouses.
Everything else is doing fine, now it is just a question of being patient and watering, weeding and hoping….
Yesterday and today were two wonderful sunny days, even though it took a bit longer yesterday for the sun to come from behind the clouds. But when it did it more than made up for lost time. Nowadays it is full speed ahead with planting. It was mainly tomatoes yesterday and while I was doing that I could see where else I had some space for other things. Next job was weeding – the garlic beds. It is wonderful what a drop of rain and some heat can do. Weeding is a job where I don’t have to think about it, my mind can wonder and plan other things.
I have four garlic beds and if they all do well we should have enough to last us in the winter.
The strawberries are flowering well and some of the fruit is turning pink. I will have to put some nets over before the birds discover them.
I will have to renew some of the plants, I’ve had them a few years now and they are beginning to show their age.
The last job yesterday was in the long greenhouse, I transplanted some of the iceberg lettuce seedling and finished organising the pots with my tomatoes. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many tomato plants but we like tomatoes and I bottle them in all different forms. I have used the last jar of pasta sauce only recently.
When I came home yesterday I was just too tired to write so I’m catching up today.
One more new piece of equipment on the plot, Wayne sorted out another water but for me so my long greenhouse catches water at each end.
Today was a day for planting out brassicas, cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli and black kale. The cabbages are in my new net tunnel and I’m sure they’ll do well there.
The other one will have carrots and beetroot so it’ll be easier for next year, I will just swap what I grow in them.
The rest of kale and purple sprouting broccoli is in the large net cage where I have my peas. I have got a little bit of room there and I’ll finish planting tomorrow.
The whole site is looking good, we are all growing different types of vegetables and as usual will exchange them later.
What a difference in the weather! Today started sunny and mild, it would have been a shame not to go to the allotment but regardless of that I knew I wanted to finish what I started yesterday. The one remaining composter bin in front of the now tidy pile of weeds etc needed moving and I had just enough space for it – close to the other bins, in a little gap next to the raspberry patch. But actually moving it wasn’t so easy, it was embedded in the soil and I had to dig around to free it. I think when I put it there I thought it was going to stay there. But everything is possible, I had to empty the few stems and roots and then it came out.
Fortunately the new place for it is very close so I didn’t have to carry it too far.
It fitted in the allocated space perfectly and the hole where it was is now closed with a pallete. That gives me more room to put weeds and roots there.
Then came the real reason for my work there today – digging over the patch where the net tunnel was. I had to pick all the plastic cable ties that I cut to free the net, pull out the metal pins that were holding the net and only then the real digging could start. It was so nice and warm, a real spring day. The soil there is very good, I was used to put a lot of organic fertiliser there – horse muck and chicken poo pellets so I’m looking forward to growing some climbing beans there with a few courgettes between them. The soil is really rich, everything should thrive.
Everything will be recycled – I will use the nets to cover my strawberry beds and the posts are already in use. Because our allotments are on a slope, there is quite a drop between my plots, especially on this one. I have used the two of the stakes and have them to hold on as I step down from the path.
After a few days of heavy snow, high wind and winter temperatures I was able to go to my allotment. To be honest I was dreading it, all I could think of was my fruit cage. I know I should take the top net off before every winter – I was used to do it soon after I got the cage. During those winters we didn’t have any snow so I thought I would take my chances and leave the net on. It was fine for a few years and then one early spring we had a sudden heavy snow fall. It was touch and go, a couple of the upright posts were leaning but I managed to knock the snow off and straighten everything. Again the last few years all was fine – until this week. The heavy snow was a huge shock for me and there was no chance I could go there and try to save the situation. But my worries were unfounded, the cage survived.
My first task there however was to rake the wood chip on the paths, the place looks much better immediately.
There was one casualty on the plot however, the very first net cage that Mike helped me to build. It is quite old, I can’t even remember how long ago we did it.
It suffered some damage a few years ago but then I was able to rescue it. Not this time. But things are never that bad, I will be able to use the net and also the plastic tubes and dismantling the cage was surprisingly quick.
What a beautiful day we had here today. I thought it was just about time we improved the paths on the allotment and as ever my friend Wayne helped out. He left a truck-load of wood chip by the gate of the allotment and we had a lovely work party there in the afternoon. I was there first, Frank followed soon after me and then Simon came home from work and between the three of us we soon sorted it.
It might not look a lot but we managed to improve three of the longest paths and had a little bit to spare.
The paths are so much better done like this, the grass never did well there, it was full of weeds and they got muddy on a rainy day.
It was back to work on the allotment today after a little break. The day was lovely, blue skies but the wind was a bit cold. All the same, perfect for working. The other day I noticed that the net on one of my old net cages was torn on the top, just where is was going over a wooden pole. I had a piece of a green net, just the right size so I got going. A bit problematic, it was still quite a breeze and it was rather difficult to fix the new net on top of the old one. After some frustrating time I managed, it’s not easy to do something like this single handed.
Next was the real reason why I was there today. I wanted to tidy up inside the latest big greenhouse. It is not quite finished but that doesn’t matter, I can pull out all the weeds inside and get it as ready as I can.
After doing that I put some pieces of paving slabs in front to make it look better and also stop it from getting too muddy.
Last little job was to check how the garlic and broad beans are doing.
The garlic is fine and the broad beans are doing well too. I had to put them in one of my net cages because the pigeons on our site like any tender new shoots. I found that out last year.
Hopefully I’ll manage to have a decent harvest.
At last – the biggest job on the allotment is finished. I was hoping yesterday that I would be able to do it and now I’m delighted to say – finished!
Even though it was a lovely sunny day yesterday I was just too tired I couldn’t carry on. It needed a fresh start in the morning. I made a guess about the number of flower pots that I’ll be able to use there, I was wrong. I thought 12 would do but in the end I needed 16. Just as well I have lots left. The hardest part of it was dragging the sacks of soil there and filling the pots.
It is all ready now for planting either more climbing beans or outdoor tomatoes. Both should do well in this position, they would be sheltered.
The weather isn’t quite sure what to do. First thing in the morning we had frost but the sun was shining. When I went to the allotment this afternoon it felt nice and warm, it was a bit slippery underfoot as all the frozen ground thawed but ideal for work. I went there yesterday for a while, just to dig two holes for my new fruit trees, so when I got there today I just had to get two stakes and hammer them in the ground and I was ready to continue.
These two trees are a bit special, they are heritage variety from Botanica plant nursery. Both are cooking apples, one is Norfolk Dumpling and the other is Norfolk Beauty. I thought they deserve the best so I applied some Mycorrhizal (rootgrow granules), I hope they’ll grow well.
This has completed my little orchard, I will plant pumpkins and squashes between the trees and on the small piece of land at the front of the plot I shall grow sweetcorn.
Today started as another spring-like day so I was ready nice and early and went to the allotment. The plan was to finish weeding inside the fruit cage and perhaps on the outside as well. It is rather a never ending job. I’m sure I cleared the weeds a few times last year but they were as healthy as before.
I was hoping to finish it all today and I’m pleased to say that I did. The ground didn’t feel too muddy so the weeds came out quite clean. All the same I had about four of the soft garden buckets of them. The main thing is that I managed to finish the job.
I will have to keep an eye on it and stop the weeds from spreading too much.