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.

DECEMBER

I thought it was just about time to make some more strawberry jam – yes, in the middle of December. As we have had such hot summer I decided to freeze quite a lot of my fruit harvest – strawberries, raspberries and all different types of currants. I did make some jam using the freshly picked fruit but the rest was carefully weighed, labeled and frozen. Yesterday’s job was very easy, just selected enough frozen strawberries (2 kilo), got the sugar ready, lemon juice and a bottle of Certo and after defrosting the fruit and a short cooking time…

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It is not just edibles that are making me happy. My two Christmas cacti are looking their very best this year!

 

SUNFLOWERS

I love growing them on the allotment, they attract the bees and other insects and anyway – they look great. Especially if they manage to grow tall or have huge faces, like this one. I had to cut it and bring it home, in the past the squirrels found it and before I knew the seeds were gone.

This beauty wasn’t the tallest but had the biggest face – 39 cm! Enough seeds to grow a field of them next year.

ALL GO

It all seems to go well, hope I don’t speak too soon. I was able to work on the allotment quite a lot these last few days and it looks rather good. I still think that the weeds have got it in for me – as soon as I have finished one patch I have to go and start again.

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Started earthing up the potatoes, they are looking good –  if all fails we shall have spuds. I am glad I moved my strawberries into my huge raised beds. They are protected and all are flowering well, just hope we don’t get any late frost.

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It is not only fruit and veg but also some flowers. I am trying to have as many as I can to encourage the bees and I think it works.

NATURE IS CONFUSED

I know I have autumn fruiting raspberries but this late? I don’t mind but….

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Not only the fruit but flowers too. My clematis flowered during the summer and I thought that it had finished for this year – not so.

I’m delighted as it gives me a splash of colour.

ONE MAN’S UNWANTED PAVING SLABS….

…..my ideal material for sprucing up the plot.

Yesterday I cleared the area between my new greenhouse and the latest net cage. It is not very wide – I had sunflowers growing close to the net cage as that way they had some protection. Close to the greenhouse is a large crown of rhubarb and a small raised bed. It was the perfect area for weeds to thrive!

It was clear of weeds but I knew I had to do something there to stop the weeds to come back. Slabs I thought. Again Simon came to the rescue. He already gave me a few of them to make a little path in front of the greenhouse, now he gave me the rest of them. The blue bricks I dug out from the ground at the end of this very same plot – the guy who had it before me started to build a wall?? It looked like it, all in all I unearthed 15 blue bricks! The rest can be seen here

To finish it all off Simon also gave me some sweet William plans – he was planting them out and, fortunately for me, had more than he could use. Thanks to him it looks very nice, the bees will love it next year when it all flowers.