Even bad weather is useful for an gardener. It is still very cold for this time of year but I had to go to the allotment to check on the seedlings I moved to the greenhouses there. All is fine, even the cucumber seedlings are doing well, they germinated only the other day.
I try to do one improvement each day I am there, today was the turn of the large compost heap at the end of one of my plots. Usually I put compostable things into the composter bins, this heap is for the end of season waste – after harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages etc. It was sitting there the whole winter under a cosy cover – a carpet offcut.
I wanted to mend the retaining framework so the carpet was taken down, the Brussel sprout stalks thrown out and the rest dug over and heaped better. I was amazed how crumbly and brown it looked.
All I had to do now to water it thoroughly and cover again with the carpet. It will sit there until the autumn, I will then rake out all the good soil, either bag it or use it on the plot and start the whole process all over again. My plan is to improve the soil in the strawberry raised beds – that will be quite a lot of work but worth it. I will select the strongest runners and gradually replace the plants in the newly filled beds.
It is all go on the allotment. This year the raspberries are amazing, I manage to pick a large box every other day. Not sure what I did but whatever it was it worked.
The same goes for the red and white currants, beautiful. Here I know the reason, I did pamper all the fruit bushes in the fruit cage.
I also had my first harvest of courgettes and french beans. Both are great, it is amazing how different the taste is when the fruit and vegetables are freshly picked.
But the biggest surprise are the aubergines. I always thought that they would be difficult to grow – not so. I had one plant last year and it produced some tasty fruit. This year I’m amazed how many I have. It seems that every seed I put in the soil germinated, I have aubergines in the greenhouse in the back garden and in both greenhouses.
This is the biggest one so far. I have found a few good recipes and am looking forward to using them.
Not bad for one aubergine. I’ll have to decide which recipe to use….
Here we go again – as soon as I started with the strawberry jam the raspberries began ripening. I am pleased to say that my jam is made as fast as can be done. I picked two kilo of raspberries partly yesterday and finished today and now the jam is ready.
Yesterday was the turn of the strawberries, just eight jars.
Today’s result is 13 jars, the colour is amazing and the taste couldn’t be better.
This is when the hard work starts paying off, it is great to see the result.
We have got our first harvest of strawberries! I have a feeling that it is quite early but for that I shall have to check my notes. No problem, I am grateful for the unexpected bounty. They not only look good but the taste is exquisite. Yet again I think of my Granddad, his strawberries were amazing but I think mine are not too far behind.
They should be dark red and shiny. Very tasty indeed. Granddad would be pleased.
Each time I go down to the allotment, or the farm as I call it, I spend quite a bit of time harvesting. It was the strawberries to start with, then the raspberries and now redcurrants. And in between I picked the first greenhouse cucumber.
I have made loads of jam – strawberry, raspberry and mixed jam with the two fruits. Today was the turn of redcurrant jam, and the result is great. I’m happy with that and the amount I picked yesterday was just a fraction of what is there! I think the rest will have to be frozen.
There will be more cucumbers, one of the water melons is there, only as big as a gooseberry – it has got to start somewhere!
I have been trying to grow broad beans from the very first year I have been on the allotment. Either the pigeons ate the beans soon after I put them in the ground or they waited and ate the young plants. Every year I had some beans but nothing to boast about. Until now…
I was very lucky with the weather today – even though it has been raining since the morning I had a couple of hours’ window where I was able to go to the allotment and harvest these beauties, all 4 kilo of them. And there are plenty more. The reason for this success is the fact that I planted them in October inside one of my net tunnels. I wasn’t quite sure if it would work but it is obvious that it did.
In the same net tunnel I have Victorian climbing peas – I think I shall just grow those in the future. It not only looks good but they are much easier to pick.
And finally, the best of all were the strawberries. I didn’t expect so much but even in this deluge I brought home just over 1.5 kilo of them.
…is here and it is rather chilly. All the same, work on the allotment is going on – building raised beds inside one of my net cages. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, got a nice lot of timber from the friendly builders next door and it took a few trips with my wheelbarrow to take it to the allotment.
The tomato plants were outside already so this wasn’t too much of a shock for them as they got planted here. I used some old flower pots, cut off the bottom and embedded them in the compost, that way the tomato plants will have more depth for their roots. In the empty spaces will be lettuce Webs wonderful.
The same goes for my sunflowers – they stood in one of the net cages for a week or so ; they’ll be fine planted here as they have a bit of protection from the greenhouse.
Last but not least – I covered four of my strawberry beds, they are flowering very well and some small strawberries are already there. I just don’t want to share them with the birds.
The mason bees are doing what they are supposed to do, it is wonderful to see that.
I was reading my notes from last year, trying to see how behind I am with my planting. The result? At least two weeks. Never mind, my activity on Wednesday and today (18th and 20th April) almost caught up with last year.
One more plot finished, of course the same goes for this one as for the first one – the net cages are empty but the greenhouse in the back garden is filling up with seedlings that I will start transplanting as soon as the weather stabilises.
There are parsnips, strawberries, broad beans, globe artichokes, garlic and potatoes on this plot and one pear tree and two apple trees. The fig tree in front of the shed is doing well and my plan is to plant some more rooted cuttings of the fig there as well thus creating a little orchard. Who would have guessed that I would be able to grow and harvest figs!