BEES

We did have a bee hive on the site but unfortunately the bees swarmed twice and left us – obviously they didn’t like us!

Shame, it would have been good for the plants but I haven’t given up. I have found out about Mason bees. I would very much like to get them, next year , it is late this year and hopefully it’ll be a big help to our plants. Not only that but it’ll help to keep them going.

I’ll be going to the NEC on the 17th of this month to the BBC garden show, I might find out a bit more there.

 

FIGS

My fig tree looks settled and happy on the allotment. I think this year we shall have a reasonable harvest; the original tree is in the back garden and gives us a huge harvest each year. I never thought I would be able to grow figs here in the Midlands. The cuttings take well, I have found that I have to be patient. I prune the old tree every February and this year I saved about ten cuttings. Planted them in the bottom of the greenhouse in the back garden and will leave them til next spring. Then I shall dig them out very carefully and plant them on the allotment – the idea is to create a small fig orchard – about 8 to 10 trees.

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JUNE

After a fairly dismal start everything seems to be growing well – not quite everything, the carrots, parsnips and beetroot didn’t germinate well, I had to re-seed them and even that is struggling. Never mind, I live in hope.

The squashes are doing much better though. As usual I will grow my tromboncino and zucca da marmelata and I add some new ones to it – zucca Hubbard and a Maltese pumpkin.

The squashes had a lovely structure last year but as one zucca da marmelata was about 7 kilo it pulled the structure down – with the help of a fairly fierce wind. Back to the drawing board then and I have constructed a new structure this year, in fact three of them. Much sturdier and I very much hope they will last a few years.

I planted a couple of squashes beside each vertical and with a little bit of coaxing they will climb.

After this I harvested one part of the garlic plants, purely to get it out of the ground to clear a square piece of land to implement my plan.

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I have rescued two raised beds – they were abandoned on an empty plot so I thought I’d give them a chance to be useful. And useful they are for me – they are made in such a way that the corners are hinged so they can fold flat. Well, they’re not flat any more, I have put them on the plot, ready to plant with the autumn broad beans. That means that I can cover them with some netting as last autumn the pigeons ate all of my broad bean plants!!

WEEDING

It is well and good to have the rain and heat, everything grows but certain plants grow better than other – like weeds.

It feels like painting the Forth bridge but even they don’t have to do this any more ! I, on the other hand, have to carry on with the weeding. I have finished the onion and garlic beds today – I wonder how long they’ll stay like this.

From this

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to this

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Only time will tell.

HIMALAYAN LILY

It is getting very exciting in the back garden. My one and only Himalayan lily bulb has decided to flower – after about three years just sitting in the ground doing not a lot. even though I fed and pampered it.

It all started rather slowly and I didn’t think much of it. I moved it from its last position (where it didn’t do anything) to a large flowerpot full of rich soil and the improvement was sudden. I also feed it with either chicken manure pellets or the liquid from my wormery. Something works, it reached a height of 120 cm today and I hope it continues further.

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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.

A VERY BUSY DAY

I am sure the first of many. If the weather forecast is to be believed we shall have a sunny Bank holiday weekend – whatever next!!

I made most of the lovely day, took some lunch with me to the allotment in order not to waste any time and worked almost till 4pm.

One of the jobs I have is to cut the grass on the paths – I am getting there. It is rather handy as I use the grass to mulch my raspberries. It not only looks good but it is much easier to walk. Unfortunately I have to do it with my shears – somewhat backbreaking but needs must.

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Next came some planting. I have got a fig tree on the allotment already but as they grow quite well from cuttings I shall have a few there. Today was the day to plant another little one and hopefully in the autumn or next spring I shall have a few more.

I’m lucky to have my little greenhouse on the farm and today I started planting my tomato plants there. Some years ago I got some grow rings that were meant for grow bags but I use them in the open soil in the greenhouse and they are just perfect!

Last two years I grew some huge squashes, they managed to climb up on my structures I constructed for them but as one of the large ones – zucca da marmelata – weighed 7 kilo, the whole structure collapsed. The zucca was unharmed but I had to think of something else. I just happen to have a very nice neighbour who is changing some decking in his garden so I have used the horizontal pieces from the banister and the result is just what I wanted.

I will plant one zucca in each corner and they can climb as much as they want, this structure will support them.

And the last job was to plant some cabbages in one of my net tunnels – pigeon protection! I had them outside for quite a while so they are used to the temperature.

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A RAINY DAY

I got used to the idea that the exceptional nice weather has gone but I didn’t want this cold and wet day like today. Never mind I thought, I have got jobs I can get on with, like working in the greenhouse and dreaming.

Despite the distinct chill in the air the seedlings in the greenhouse are doing very well, they all look healthy. I have got quite a few pumpkins grown from seeds from Malta

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All of a sudden my tomatoes have started growing – it was a very slow start and I almost gave up but now I think I shall have enough to fill a few of my net cages. I have been growing them in this way and I seem to avoid them being hit by blight.

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One more plant I am delighted with, a Himalayan lily. I bought just one bulb a number of years ago at a country fair. So far it didn’t do anything, just produced beautiful shiny leaves but on careful reading I shall have to wait a bit more to get a flower. It looks especially good his year so I am hopeful.

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It was growing in the open ground but didn’t like it very much. Moving it into a large pot with rich soil certainly improved it. As I was replanting it last autumn I managed to detach a few scales from the main bulb and planted them on the allotment in my mixed flower bed. I’m delighted to say that there are at least two lovely shiny leaves appearing.