The lovely weather continues and I still have lots to do. The first job today was to cut the grass on the path – again! It feels the grass grows too quickly, we had no rain but it is rather warm, even during the night. When that was done I did another boring job, filling the water butts. With no rain the levels went down very fast so I did all of mine. That should keep me going for a while.
Actually that was all I managed to do in the morning but I came back after lunch and planted the leeks I bought a few days ago in a garden centre. My seeds didn’t germinate at all and these were just enough for me. I’m still using the garden vouchers that Kim gave me , a very generous gift that I appreciate greatly.
After that I started hoeing the piece of ground where the courgettes and squashes will go. I cleared it some weeks ago but some weeds came back and it got a bit compacted so I made a start. I’ll be planting it all bit by bit.
The next job was to put some horse muck by the loops where the tromboncinos and butternut squashes will go. It has been in the corner in bags since last year and when we picked it it was already at least a year old so it is not going to burn the roots.
As I was spreading the muck I put it around the beans already in the ground and by the new wigwams where I’m going to have more climbing beans,
There is a little square of land in the very back of my plot, it was just an overgrown patch, full of nettles. I think the previous gardener used it as a compost heap because when I eventually cleared all the nettles I found the soil lovely and rich. I had different vegetables there over the years until last year I planted an apple tree in the middle and grew some potatoes. I must’ve left some in the ground when I was harvesting them so I just earthed them up now and will have a bit more to harvest in the autumn. In the next few days I’ll plant some pumpkins there they’ll have enough room to run.
I have also used three metal parts of an old trampoline my friend gave me, made a little wigwam and this will be for the butternut squashes.
By the time they climb up it won’t be too obvious what it was.
The weather forecast for today wasn’t very encouraging, showers mainly in the afternoon. But I have decided to go to the allotment in the afternoon to plant some more tomatoes in the greenhouses and get the land ready for more climbing beans. In the end the afternoon was beautiful, sunny and warm and I was able to weed the whole of my orchard and the ground where the collapsed net tunnel was. I will put the climbing beans there, the ground is quite rich. I found some more bean poles, made a row and a wigwam and behind it placed three of the plastic poles that formed the sides of the old net tunnel. They bend quite well and will be for my butternut squashes and tromboncino to climb on.
I didn’t manage to grow either of these last year and now I have got at least three of each variety. I’ve got more of the plastic poles, I’ll erect some more over the weekend.
Two of my greenhouses are planted up with tomatoes, there are still some radishes in one of them. These did amazingly well, this is the first time I managed to grow them successfully.
I have got quite a few tomato plants left at home so I’ll be taking them there bit by bit. I have decided to keep the pepper and aubergine plants in the greenhouse at home, I’ll plant them in some large pots, they’ll be just fine on the benches and even on the floor.
Everything is growing rapidly – all that rain and a warm day in between, no surprise there. Best of all are doing the weeds.
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.
As most of my digging is done I decided to get the structures for growing climbing beans ready. I’m keeping all these structures at the back of the plot, they are all rather tall so it will not obstruct the view. I will grow pumpkins and squashes further to the front of the plot. There will be areas of potatoes and root crop – all is already earmarked.
I started working on this plot yesterday, did quite a lot and knew that the hard graft will have to continue. I was secretly hoping that I’d be able to finish digging this patch today.
I had to construct one more bean wigwam, that finished the line very neatly.
climbing bean structures
After doing this, some hard digging was due. I already had a strip of land ready for planting leeks – there was used to be a line of raspberries (altogether in the wrong place but I inherited it like that). They were getting past their best so I didn’t mind getting rid of them. I put loads of horse manure there, the soil was a bit starved and the leeks will do well in there.
Everything else is done on this patch, it will be parsnips and perhaps carrots, if I have some space left. I have got some land earmarked for carrots already but you can’t have too many…
plot for parsnips/carrots
plot for parsnips/carrots
I was glad I started nice and early today – soon after 9am – it was 12.20 when I finished and I allowed myself only a short coffee break.
To be continued tomorrow, there is more land to be got ready – after all, I have got three and half plots…..
It keeps me sane
My self isolating continues on the allotment, doing jobs that I knew should be done but unfortunately I always had something more urgent to do. Today was the day to tackle the next task – moving a composter bin. This one has been in place since I acquired this plot, never been emptied so I had high hopes for some rich soil there. I wasn’t disappointed, about half was rich and crumbly soil, that got distributed around a few fruit trees as a mulch.
Mulch from composter bin
The rest of the stuff wasn’t sufficiently decayed so that got moved into the bin after I placed it in the new position. I have had three bins at the end of one plot, beside a water butt and a compost and there was a convenient space, just for one more bin. It is there now and the uncomposted matter is the base layer, a starter in the old bin in the new place.
new place for the bin
An empty place well filled.
In the old , now empty, part of the plot I erected some bean sticks. The thinking was – the soil there was quite rich, it wouldn’t do for either carrots or parsnips so beans will be happy there.
Tomorrow’s activities are therefore sorted – finish digging this part and make it ready for sowing – it’ll be fine for parsnips. Carrots will be on the part dug over yesterday and I have got one area to do later, that’ll do for beetroot.
Almost sorted out.
As I have finished all my digging it was time to start getting ready for growing my beans.
Last year’s harvest was great – we had not only freshly picked French and runner beans but also many other beans that I kept on the plants until they ripened and dried and then shelled and stored in jars for the winter. I still have some, they are delicious in soups or casseroles, even just cooked and served with tomato sauce like baked beans.
It was very nice to be able to start the new year as I mean to continue.
After yesterday’s deluge we have a lovely crisp sunny day, ideal for a short visit to the allotment.
I have to be patient; got all my seeds sorted out and ready for sowing.
When I got to the allotment I had to remind myself that everything was ready..
…and decided that it was. Now it is just a question of time. If this year is as good as the last one was for growing things I’ll be happy.
The digging was finished yesterday afternoon. It was only the last strip of land where the bonfire was and I was able to dig the ashes in.
As I had some of Paul’s sticks left it would have been a shame not to use them. So I did.
As some of my squashes climbed quite well I’ve got a plan for my new variety to grow here. This will be a squash called Pennsylvania dutch crookneck. I found the seeds in a new (for me) seed company, Plant world seeds.
It was a beautiful frosty afternoon and I was quite glad that I didn’t have to do anything there today, it was just a short visit to take photos.
…is a very busy time. I think people who don’t garden think that I can just harvest my veg and leave everything shut for the winter.
Thanks to my friend Paul I have a great supply of seasoned willow poles – I just had to build another structure! I have ordered some new climbing beans for next year – both are from Sementi Franchi. One is Fagiolo rampicante bobis a grano nero and the other is Fagiolo rampicante albenghino. They will grow here because I shall harvest them when the pods are quite dry and keep the shelled beans in jars for the winter, same as I did this year. They make an excellent addition to soups and stews.
You couldn’t have an autumn clear-out without a bonfire. I started burning mine yesterday but that fizzled out too quickly. It was much better today and by the time I went home it was almost all gone. I had to rebuild it to allow more air inside the pile of the branches etc but it certainly worked.
The weather is supposed to be fine tomorrow so I shall just sort out what’s left and finish digging this plot.
Then it’ll be all done (but I’m sure I’ll find some more jobs on the plot)