13. MAY

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.

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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.

20. MARCH

It was another lovely day today, perfect for some work on the allotment. I started yesterday but because it was so windy I just managed to prepare the ground for sowing my parsnips. The seeds would have been blown all over the site.

It all worked out just fine anyway, Simon had a greenhouse to move from one plot to another – he wanted to have a clear run on that plot in order to work on it with his rotavator. This greenhouse we moved to a plot where he has a polytunnel already so the two structures are side by side. He took the glass out beforehand and it was quite easy to move it.

Today was a better day, sunny and the wind was much lighter. I was glad that I had the ground ready so I could start sowing straight away. First it was parsnips – I cannot imagine not growing parsnips. I went for the tried and tested varieties – Javelin and Gladiator. Every year I try to sow the seeds very carefully to avoid thinning out too much but this year I think I have done it just right. I’m sure we’ll have some great parsnip. Also I waited a few weeks to let the soil warm up more – again in the past I was a bit too quick to start sowing and the germination was poor. Let us hope for better results this year.

Next task was to sow some beetroot and chard. From past experience I know that I have to grow these in a net tunnel because the pigeons we have on the site would eat the very first leaves and I would have no harvest. That happened to me a few years ago and I have been sowing always under a net cover ever since. This is inside my very first net tunnel, I had to do a bit of repair work but I’m sure it is good for another season.

The rest of the space will be used for growing brassicas – red and white cabbage and broccoli, I’ve put down some lime on the soil already.

The last two plots that were unused have¬† new tenant, Wayne, our friendly tree surgeon who lives next door. He and his Mum keep bees and he has got two of his hives on the plot next to the fence and he’ll be growing on the next one, next to mine. It was a very overgrown plot and he worked magic on it. It is ready for planting. He also planted a few small fruit trees there, his bees will be busy pollinating.

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I was looking at my fruit trees, the pear trees are always the first to start flowering. I just hope we don’t get any late frost.20220320_133753

APRIL

I was beginning to think that nothing will grow and the weather will stay miserable like this for ever.

All seems to be getting better. Even though the day started with a steady rain, the late afternoon improved and I was finally able to go down the farm early in the evening. The clock going forward one hour is, after all, good for something.

I couldn’t do anything there, the ground is very wet. The lettuce needed watering in the greenhouse, they are doing well. After I finished that I did walked around, just to see how things are getting on. And they are!

I did some pruning during the last months of the winter and it shows. I think we might have some fruit this year – if we don’t get any late frost, of course. My two pear trees and the plum responded very well.

The gooseberries are doing well and the rhubarb surprised me, only a couple of weeks I couldn’t see anything.

TLC

I have got a few fruit trees on the allotment, mainly apple trees but also a couple of pear trees. The pear tree was a few years ago a poorly specimen, it was on an overgrown and neglected plot. I just had to rescue it. I moved it on autumn to my plot where I have the plum tree and a small Bramley. First of all it didn’t do much – it survived the move. The next year it didn’t even flower. But this year, all of a sudden, it started growing and it also flowered. Because of where it is I didn’t really keep an eye on it but when I thought I should check if there is some fruit, I was in for a surprise!

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I’m sure it is a conference pear; they’re very tasty, crisp and sweet, as they should be.

One of my apple trees is a James Grieve, I bought it again a number of years ago. Even though it is classed as a cooking apple, it is very nice to eat fresh. Crisp, very juicy. This is the first year I have got a good harvest.

The trees are paying back in kind – yummy fruit. There are a few more trees on my plot, later varieties.

SPRING IS HERE…

…I hope. Today was a beautiful day and it would’ve been a pity to stay inside.

After lunch I made myself a flask of herbal tea and went down the allotment. I knew there wasn’t too much to do, just clearing the weeds from the raspberry patch. In the end it was quite easy – the rows are fairly well organised, paths between them are covered with strips of pond liner so the weeds at least don’t invade them. I was pleased that I managed to clear the whole patch.

The days must be getting longer – I finished around 4pm and it was still light – good enough to carry on working – but no energy left, alas.

Right next to the raspberry patch is my rhubarb – that was done a few days ago. It looks good and I can see new young shoots appearing.

I’ve got a few fruit trees there too – a plum, pear and an apple. The plum is quite young but doing very well indeed – we had 5 huge plums last year.

Here’s hoping for a big harvest this year.

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BIT BY BIT

The weather is not very good still, even though it is Easter (but only the start of April!) I decided to take the risk and sow some beetroot and radishes. The ground was ready so it just needed raking and the job was soon done.

I’m trying to be organised this year and label everything – rather than just thinking ‘that might be so and so…’ so the rows of potatoes have got a name now.

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Amazing how the weeds grow – if everything grew like them I’d be delighted and the plot would feed the whole neighbourhood! An hour of back-breaking work and it all looks much better; I did the onions and garlic beds and also the strawberry beds.

After all this hard work I just had a little wonder around the plot and took some photos just to see how things are getting on. The asian pear is almost flowering and so is my rescued little conference pear.

The rhubarb looks very good, almost a work of art. It tastes good too as we found out yesterday!

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