Yesterday and today I was working in the greenhouses on the allotment. I decided to use the grow rings and when I didn’t have enough of them I used the large black pots that I had from the old canabis factory that got raided a few years ago. At that time I had close to a hundred of these pots so it didn’t matter now to cut the bottoms off so I could sink them into the beds in the greenhouse.
Another lesson from last year – less is more. Having the grow rings and pots in the greenhouses forces me to space my plants and don’t plant any more. I know from last year they grow tall and bushy and very soon the greenhouse resembles a jungle. Having this set up stops that. In case I thought I was wasting good growing space I sowed some radishes, onions, parsley, basil and lettuce in the free soil. All these plants will be short, will mature quickly and get harvested well before I can pick any of the tomatoes or peppers.
The seedlings in my large greenhouse at home are all doing well, just as I thought when I decided to sow all the seeds again. Never mind, I shall have plenty of tomato and pepper plants to try to find a home for. Some of the tomatoes can actually survive outside in a sheltered spot, I did that during the last few years and they were fine.
Both peas and carlin peas are growing well and I have two wigwams ready for them in the large net cage. I have to do that, our pigeons on the allotment would strip them completely.
Spring is here I think, today was a perfect day, another one for some work on the allotment. The parsnips are done so today was the turn of carrots. I thought I would do the same number of lines as I did parsnips, four. I think that would be just enough – if I wanted to grow enough vegetables and not have to buy any in the shop I would really need a farm.
I still have a piece of land for planting my leeks there. Another job was weeding inside the fruit cage – again. As I finished that I sprinkled some borage seeds along the net, my hope is that our bees will be attracted by the borage flowers and as they will be in there they’ll fertilise my fruit bushes.
The greenhouses are getting really warm so I decided to put some seeds inside my oldest one. This is the only one with the grow rings in, this way I will not disturb the soil as I will be planting my tomatoes or aubergines and can use the spaces between the rings to germinate some seeds. I decided on basil, that did very well there last year and also lettuce. The basil I will leave where it will grow and the lettuce I can transplant into other greenhouses.
One of the most satisfying activities on the allotment is exactly what I was doing today. Using something other people didn’t want and improving my plot at the same time. In this case it was a few long pieces of wood, about 10cm profile. I think it was a part of somebody’s decking in its previous life. I have used it for mending the edges on my path and creating a border edge on my raspberry patch, to contain the plants and make it easier for the future wood chip spreading.
I have nearly finished weeding the raspberry patch – first of all I had to cut down the fruited canes and then I was able to tackle the weeds. Amazing how well they were hidden under the lush greenery. This job is almost done.
My latest little greenhouse is quite secure now, all I had to do was to put a few slabs down inside and create a little path in the front. That is all done now, the surrounding soil is hoed and all is ready for next year. I have put nine grow rings inside, it’ll be ideal for tomatoes. I keep reminding myself how good it is to grow tomatoes every time I open one Kilner jar of my oven baked tomatoes. Gone are the days of tinned tomatoes.
It was another reasonable day, I knew I wanted to do a lot so I started – after breakfast and a nice strong cup of coffee – by going to my local B&Q to get some potting compost. Us oldies get 10% off on Tuesday, only on gardening things though. I got two huge 125 l bags and took them to the allotment.
When I got home there was the small matter of cutting down the rushes in the pond. I have been putting it off but today was the day. Job done, I’m happy.
I have got two greenhouses on the allotment and the work was done in the older one of the two. I put two of the grow bags on the bench there and started filling them up with the compost. To make sure I have got enough I also used a bag of horse muck in each grow bag, to enrich it. These will be used for growing tomatoes – the whole greenhouse will be just tomatoes, the peppers will be in the half of the poly tunnel I am sharing with Simon.
In order to give each tomato plant the best conditions I put some flowerpots with the bottoms cut off in the bed and filled them with the compost too, just to give the tomatoes exactly what they like – deep soil to develop healthy roots.
Also the greenhouse in the back garden is ready, the same arrangement is there.
If everything grows this year like it did last year I’ll be happy….
I have had these grow bags in the garden greenhouse for about 8 years. They are much better than the standard plastic tomato grow bags – much deeper and very environment-friendly. I just add some fresh compost at the end of the growing year and on it continues. I couldn’t remember where I got them from so I just randomly put a name of a seed company in and – bingo! Found them and ordered some more. Marshalls seed company has them. All I have to do now is wait. The growing rings I have bought years ago at a garden show and they work very well, they sit in the soil and have a ring around the main part, a water reservoir so the water goes directly to the roots.
My new greenhouse is finished – completely!
Yesterday was a rainy morning so I went to the nearest garden centre and got 4 50litre sacks of potting compost, just the general variety, nothing special. These went to the allotment and are stored on the little veranda by my shed.
I have got some grow rings in the greenhouse but I needed some more. As I don’t have an oportunity to get any more I decided to copy my friend Dave yet again – use black plastic pots. He bought them ready-made, without the bottoms but I just cannibalised some old ones I had (that proved it to me that I shouldn’t throw any pots away!)
These were just embedded in the border in the greenhouse and topped with the compost.
I have even managed to get a thermometer. Today’s reading was 19 degrees!!
….for the spring to start. The new greenhouse is ready, everything in place so now I shall just close the door and try to be patient.
Perhaps I might get a new thermometer just to be perfect….
The grow rings are in place and this time the motto is – more is less. Last year the old greenhouse resembled a jungle as I tried to cram in as many tomato plants as I could. They grew ever so well – perhaps too well, they got leggy and in the end I didn’t have any more fruit anyway. Well, we learn by mistakes….
I am sure the first of many. If the weather forecast is to be believed we shall have a sunny Bank holiday weekend – whatever next!!
I made most of the lovely day, took some lunch with me to the allotment in order not to waste any time and worked almost till 4pm.
One of the jobs I have is to cut the grass on the paths – I am getting there. It is rather handy as I use the grass to mulch my raspberries. It not only looks good but it is much easier to walk. Unfortunately I have to do it with my shears – somewhat backbreaking but needs must.
Next came some planting. I have got a fig tree on the allotment already but as they grow quite well from cuttings I shall have a few there. Today was the day to plant another little one and hopefully in the autumn or next spring I shall have a few more.
I’m lucky to have my little greenhouse on the farm and today I started planting my tomato plants there. Some years ago I got some grow rings that were meant for grow bags but I use them in the open soil in the greenhouse and they are just perfect!
Last two years I grew some huge squashes, they managed to climb up on my structures I constructed for them but as one of the large ones – zucca da marmelata – weighed 7 kilo, the whole structure collapsed. The zucca was unharmed but I had to think of something else. I just happen to have a very nice neighbour who is changing some decking in his garden so I have used the horizontal pieces from the banister and the result is just what I wanted.
I will plant one zucca in each corner and they can climb as much as they want, this structure will support them.
And the last job was to plant some cabbages in one of my net tunnels – pigeon protection! I had them outside for quite a while so they are used to the temperature.
I couldn’t wait any longer with planting the lettuce seedlings out, they were getting a bit too big. They were in the seed tray in the open part of the veranda, so fairly hardened.
The soil in the polytunnel was prepared, with plenty of compost and also mushroom compost added. I placed my grow rings there at intervals and the spaces on one side I used to plant the lettuce.
There is some beetroot there, from last year; I tried to grow it to have early beets but better use of the plants are the leaves, they taste delicious added to salads.