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.
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.
The tidying of the allotment continues. After the few days of rain it was just the right thing to do. I grew my potatoes on this patch so today was the day to hoe it. I try not to dig too much, I just pull my heavy hoe through the soil, pull out weeds and level it. It works, it is much quicker and not so tiring. This was the ground before I started, I still have some parsnips there.
A few hours later, a couple of buckets of weeds later and the ground is ready. Whatever weeds might grow again they’ll get picked up easily. The soil is lovely and crumbly – no surprise there, I must’ve put countless sacks of horse much on it over the years.
Work goes on on the allotment, everything is thriving. I have been moving the seedlings from my big greenhouse in the back garden and planting them where I could find some space. Yesterday I have cleared the weeds from my little orchard in front of the shed – yet again! It feels like painting the Forth bridge – I finish the job and could start all over again. I had just enough space to plant my butternut squash seedlings between the trees, also some pale green courgettes and bush courgettes beside my latest apple tree. Saturday morning myself and Dave went to Bedworth to get some more horse muck – you can’t have enough of this stuff – so I was able to put it in every hole I got ready, it is perfectly well rotted down.
I was leaving my plot when I noticed a swarm of bees hanging on my little apple tree. We’ve had a number of them recently and I’m always amazed how beautiful it looks. The bees were just sitting there, all I heard was a quiet humming noise.
I phoned Wayne but didn’t wait for him, he can get to our site through his little gate and pick them up.
Today after breakfast myself and Frank went to Barton Green, a part of Coventry I’ve never been to. All this because I was searching on the internet where I could find some horse muck around Coventry. I used to go to a lovely place just on the edge of town, on the way to Fillongley but they have moved and there are houses being built there. What a waste of a beautiful field! As I was searching a facebook page suddenly appeared, appropriately named Muck and Manure UK. A very nice lady called Maria said I could come over today and that’s exactly what we did. Managed to fill nine large sacks of composted horse manure, ready to be used, all for the princely sum of £1 per sack.
It is not going to last very long, by the afternoon I have already used one large sack, put it in my little tomato enclosure that I created yesterday.
After this job came my usual one – weeding. I have got an excellent tool for this called Nunki weeder. It is very good, glides through the soil like a knife through butter and a large area is done almost effortlessly in no time at all. Because of the design it doesn’t damage the young plants at all.
The last job on the farm was just to water the greenhouses and go home. Everything looks great, the tomatoes are ready to flower and there will be some pears on my two pear trees.
There is a narrow strip of ground at the very end of one of my plots. When I took this plot on it was overgrown with nettles and basically used as a tip by the last gardener. I cleared it as much as I could and by doing that found quite a few interesting things – an old wooden ladder, still good to be used. The other bits of rubbish I threw away, broken pots and some netting. I planted a couple of my Maltese pumpkins there and they loved it so much they climbed all the way to the top of the hedge behind. However now I have harvested everything and decided to dig this area properly this time.
I didn’t realise the challenge waiting for me there. When I finally finished I had a large rubbish sack full of more broken plastic pots, some chicken wire netting and a big piece of some material buried really deep that didn’t show any signs of deterioration – no idea why it was there. One item is interesting though – a head of a cast iron rake minus the handle. I won’t try to re-assemble it, just keep it as a curio.
After a hard morning’s dig the land looks great, ready for next year. All I have to do now is to spread a sack of horse muck and let it rest. There will be potatoes growing there next year.
It was a beautiful day today, just like a summer’s day so I decided to make a day of it. I made myself a flask of coffee, took a couple of slices of the bread I made yesterday, bottle of water and a banana and went to the allotment. I wanted to do a lot there and I think I managed. I finished sowing parsnips and carrots and also planted four rows of second early potatoes.
2 kinds of potatoes
All this took quite a while, the ground was really dry and hard. I never thought I would be wishing for rain.
After a short break I continued with parsnip sowing – we shall have six lines of them. This year I took my time and sowed the seeds very slowly, fairly thinly so I wouldn’t need to thin the seedlings out. It worked and I made one packet of seeds go rather far. Then I did three more rows of carrots so all in all we shall have plenty of vegetables.
As the last job in the afternoon I decided to tackle the newly erected polytunnel.
This was the sight that opened before me. Not very encouraging but everything is manageable.
This is the better look, after turning the lawn-like surface over. The plan is to get to it tomorrow and clean out all the roots and clumps of grass, then spread a couple of sacks of horse muck, dig it in and wait for the right time to plant some cucumbers there.
I started working on this plot yesterday, did quite a lot and knew that the hard graft will have to continue. I was secretly hoping that I’d be able to finish digging this patch today.
I had to construct one more bean wigwam, that finished the line very neatly.
climbing bean structures
After doing this, some hard digging was due. I already had a strip of land ready for planting leeks – there was used to be a line of raspberries (altogether in the wrong place but I inherited it like that). They were getting past their best so I didn’t mind getting rid of them. I put loads of horse manure there, the soil was a bit starved and the leeks will do well in there.
Everything else is done on this patch, it will be parsnips and perhaps carrots, if I have some space left. I have got some land earmarked for carrots already but you can’t have too many…
plot for parsnips/carrots
plot for parsnips/carrots
I was glad I started nice and early today – soon after 9am – it was 12.20 when I finished and I allowed myself only a short coffee break.
To be continued tomorrow, there is more land to be got ready – after all, I have got three and half plots…..
It keeps me sane
I said it in the past and I say it now – going to the allotment is better than any therapy for me. I can self isolate, even on my way there and back, it is only about five minutes from my house and when I’m there I am in my little paradise.
Yesterday and today were devoted to digging and getting the land ready for sowing. I did my winter digging everywhere on my plots during the autumn and winter but this was to incorporate the horse muck and refresh the land where I had to walk on it (getting the top net for the fruit cage all square etc)
This piece of land was quite compacted but all is well now, ready for planting my potatoes.
Today’s effort was slightly bigger, it also helped that we had a shower of rain last night. This will be for carrots
and the final piece is ready for leeks. My leeks did very well last year, it was the Mammoth variety and they were very tasty.
We have had some more rain so any more work on the soil is out of the question. Instead of that I was busy finishing jobs that were left, parts of my land were even neglected. One of these was a raspberry patch. It is away from my other plots, it is on a plot I was used to work on, I just have this raspberry area, a plum tree and a line of rhubarb. The neglect must have suited it, because just after clearing the weeds I discovered some super rhubarb, ready for picking and the five lines of raspberries. They were carefully planted in double rows, separated by little paths that were covered by a membrane (strips of unwanted pond liner).
It didn’t take very long and I had the plants trimmed, the dead wood cut out, paths cleared and some horse muck and contents of my composter bins spread all round the raspberry plants.
As I was working I had a very nice surprise – he/she must have been feeling quite cosy but then I came….
I’m sure he’ll find another place to live.
After finishing for today I did my usual rounds, checking the trees and bushes. One of the old black currant bushes needed to have the big buds removed and that was when I noticed something on the old apple tree nearby.
In the past I have been trying to rub the mistletoe berries into the bark but no luck.
Thank you birds!