WE’RE FULL

This is the final look, for now at least. I have managed to move some seed trays to my overflow plastic greenhouse at the back of the large one, gained more shelf space and placed two more large pots there. Two more tomato plants have a new home.

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The main greenhouse is full to bursting

And to make sure all possible little space and container is used, I have got some first early potatoes in bags in the overflow greenhouse. They are the Swift variety and doing very well.

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8.APRIL

It was a beautiful day today, just like a summer’s day so I decided to make a day of it. I made myself a flask of coffee, took a couple of slices of the bread I made yesterday, bottle of water and a banana and went to the allotment. I wanted to do a lot there and I think I managed. I finished sowing parsnips and carrots and also planted four rows of second early potatoes.

All this took quite a while, the ground was really dry and hard. I never thought I would be wishing for rain.

After a short break I continued with parsnip sowing – we shall have six lines of them. This year I took my time and sowed the seeds very slowly, fairly thinly so I wouldn’t need to thin the seedlings out. It worked and I made one packet of seeds go rather far. Then I did three more rows of carrots so all in all we shall have plenty of vegetables.

As the last job in the afternoon I decided to tackle the newly erected polytunnel.

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This was the sight that opened before me. Not very encouraging but everything is manageable.

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This is the better look, after turning the lawn-like surface over. The plan is to get to it tomorrow and clean out all the roots and clumps of grass, then spread a couple of sacks of horse muck, dig it in and wait for the right time to plant some cucumbers there.

CATCHING UP

There will be perfect looking gardens and allotments as the gardeners can’t do much else but do the jobs that they tried to ignore. Mine is the case in point.

The drive between our houses was rather full of weeds and it was one of the jobs that I thought – next time when I’m not too busy….

Well, yesterday and the day before were the time I decided to tackle it. There was an amazing load of weeds but I cleared it as best as I could. It looks great, until the next rain and then it will start sprouting. Well, if this situation here is to last a while, I will see to it again.

Under the heading ‘hedging my bets’ came the next task – clearing my little plastic greenhouse that is just behind the big one. It wasn’t meant for growing anything there, just for storing pots, trays etc, to avoid clattering the main greenhouse. It worked but lately it was getting quite difficult to get it. I just about managed to put the trays in and leave it. It was rather cathartic, the space is ready to be used and I did just that. I have got all my first early potatoes there in growing bags and as we’re not going¬† away any time soon I will be here to keep an eye on them, top them up with more soil and water them.

Cutting down the bamboo is the next job….

HARVEST

I started lifting my potatoes today and was very pleasantly surprised. I only planted the small left-over potatoes from my harvest last year. I didn’t buy any seed potatoes and these prove it to me that it can be done.

This is only one row – and I have another seven to lift. I think we shall have enough potatoes to see us through the winter.

I started harvesting my sweetcorn as well – we had it for lunch the other day – just simply steamed, served with butter. Totally delicious.

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POTATOES

At last! The weather seems fine – I know a change is coming and I hope it won’t be too great but I thought it was time to plant my potatoes.

The ground was prepared and it took just a few hours in the morning to get the job done.

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I didn’t buy any seed potatoes, just used my own from last year. They were really tasty so I shall have them again this year.

Also I sowed a number of lines of beetroot, one half the usual round ones and the other one the long cylindrical ones. That’s just a start, I shall continue in a few days with more beetroot. You can’t have too many!

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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.

SUNNY DAY

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!

THE WEATHER

It is very frustrating this year. I was convinced that spring was here, my digging was getting done and I had plans what seeds to sow. Mother nature had a different idea and now I am stuck in, frustrated, unable to do anything. They are Marfona, Swift and British Queen.

Old egg boxes come very useful for this and in the end they can be torn up and put in the composter bins so nothing gets wasted.

WASTE NOT,WANT NOT

After I harvested my onions and garlic I dug the land and thought – wonder if I could plant something here. Considering it was the end of July – 29th to be exact – I was lucky. Simon had 2 trays of chitted Wija potatoes and didn’t have time or space to plant them. I thought I might have a go as I did something similar a number of years ago. That time I actually bought some potatoes advertised as suitable for planting late so they would be ready for Christmas. I planted 4 rows and they grew very well. unfortunately blight struck when the tops were really lush green and big. I cut the whole lot off and hoped for the best. I eased a few potatoes out the other day and my strategy worked!

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I treated them exactly the same way as I did the new potatoes in the early summer – just scrubbed them clean and steamed them. Served with sprinkling of salt, black pepper, butter and chopped chives. Quite delicious. I’ve got high hope to have them at Christmas.

 

RESULTS

The weather is helping – sudden spell of warm weather and everything is doing very well. Of course we have to protect things like cabbages against twin attack from pigeons and cabbage white but it is worth it!

The same goes for sweetcorn – protection not against pigeons but squirrels – they cause havoc on the allotment. I decided to try to grow sweetcorn inside my large cabbage cage and it has worked!

I started growing in my new greenhouse a bit late but my cucumber plant managed against the odds…

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…and next year will be great, I can see that now.

Last job yesterday. after harvesting 2 large sacks of potatoes was planting two new strawberry beds. I decided to do it this way, it’ll be easier to throw the net over to protect the crop against the birds.

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The main potatoes are harvested but the late ones, to be ready for Christmas (I hope), are doing very well. I had to earth them up and will be putting the fertiliser on very soon.

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