What a difference a day makes – it was sunny and quite mild in the morning and I felt much happier straight away. I’m a fair weather person, if I could choose I would ban snow and dark evenings. Never mind, I just have to put up with it, wait for the shortest day and after that all will gradually improve.
I went to the allotment with the idea to finish weeding a reasonable piece of land – that was the orchard. It is right at the end of one of my plots, in front of the shed. I’ve got a good selection of fruit trees – a few figs, a couple of apples, pear and two plums.
We had a very good harvest this year and as I started working there I remembered what my Granddad always said – keep an area the size of the crown of the tree clear of weeds around the trunk. I did that and also decided what I will put in between the trees. I will scatter some summer-flowering plants and beside the net tunnel I will put some wigwams with sweet peas.
The rain was very good for me, the soil was soft but not water-logged, we have very good drainage on the whole site. It also helps to be on a slight slope.
As I was weeding I also mended the net cage, this is the very first one but it keeps going. It just needed to pull the weeds from the end of it and fix the pegs again. I’m sure it will last another few years.
I had another surprise plant growing there – the physalis with the blue flowers. I have tried to search for it, all I found was the plants with yellow flowers but not this one. The search continues.
This time in the gardening year the main activity is harvesting. I try to go to the allotment every day, I don’t always do much but I always take home some produce.
Today it was apples. I planted a number of apple trees a few years ago and created a little orchard in front of my shed. All those trees are small, grafted on a miniature root stock. They took a few years to get going but this year they are just great. I have a variety of them, some early, some late, eating as well as cooking apples. Also one pear tree and that is doing very well indeed, the first time I will have some pears. So far they are hard but I’m patient.
This one is Louise Bonne of Jersey and I’m looking forward to harvesting them. I have got a couple of plum trees, they both had a few plums and specially one, called Warwickshire Drooper, was delicious. Hopefully we’ll have more in the coming years.
One of the apple trees is James Grieve, it was laden this year and I had to thin the fruit so that I would get some reasonably sized apples.
This is a very useful apple to have, it can be cooked early in the season when the fruit is a bit tart and later it is delicious to eat.
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.
I put the finishing touches to my new orchard, created small paths between the rows of trees, put grease bands round their trunks and tidied the whole area.
I will grow pumpkins and courgettes in the soil around them so every bit of land will be used. Can’t wait!
My new trees are:
Warwickshire Drooper – plum
May Queen and Charles Ross – apples
Louise Bonne of Jersey – pear