It seems ages since my last posting and truth be told I have not been paying as much attention to the allotment this year as I would normally. Couple of factors my new garden at the bungalow and the extreme weather. I really don’t like working in the heat we have been experiencing. However, I have started doing an early morning visit, before the day heats up and that has helped enormously.
the plot is still looking remarkably green and although I half expected a burnt waste-land when we came back from our holiday (lovely thanks for asking. Icelandic weather suits me).
I wasn’t going to bother with courgettes this year but I was given a couple of plants and they are doing well – this one in particular looks to have a few flowers coming. They are not guaranteed to become a courgette obviously – but promising. My parsnips are looking good as well after I thinned them out a little.
My onions are ready to pick and despite them bolting they look reasonably sound. Probably make chutney rather than attempt to store them this year. The sweetcorn is progressing well – flowers and silks starting to appear!
This morning’s haul! Lovely! The blackberry bush yielded up 600g of fruit, not bad considering I didn’t net the bush against birds. Perhaps they were too full after eating ALL my jostaberries!
Garlic picking has begun. I have been growing several different varieties this year for no other reason than the mixed pack was a good saving over the other options. The variety I am most pleased with is called “bohemian wight”and is giving me some large bulbs with excellent purple/rose colour. I hope they are as tasty as they look.
My beetroot are looking healthy and (so far at least) free of insect damage. They are a variety called “detroit red”.
Sweetcorn update! They came through “Storm Hector” OK just one had keeled over so I have supported it with a bit of cane. It may or may not survive. These are “marshall’s honeydew improved” and are making sturdy plants.
Chrysanthemum planting time. Last year was not brilliant – I ended up with a few decent plants but for the most part I was disappointed with the flowers I was able to cut. Trying to be a bit more organised this year and given the young plants a bed of their own! These are a combination of rooted cuttings from my own plants and some gifted plants from another plot-holder (thanks Doug).
The clean-up continues. Not surprisingly the allotment has been a bit neglected while Mrs M and I get to grips with our new bungalow (going really well actually, thanks for asking) but I have spent more time on it lately and I really feel that I am making progress. The weeds are still growing but not quite as much as they were.
The broad beans are just about ready for a first pick-over and I have been gifted a couple of butternut squashes (thanks Andy) and they have been planted out. The variety is “hunter” which I have grown before and gives a very tasty squash.
My garlic is doing well and not far off being ready to harvest. The spuds are really putting a spurt on as well. The early varieties “swift” and “ belle de fountenay” are probably only a month or so away from harvest.
And finally the beetroot have gone in (a variety called “detroit red”) and my sweetcorn are looking really settled and ready to start shooting up, as they do. The netting can probably come off in a few days as it was only there to stop the pigeons pulling the young plants up.
New planters from Aldi for my citrus trees at the house. They come tan-coloured as standard so I pimped them up with some Cuprinol “urban slate” garden colour. Planted brassicas “kale Nero di toscana” and a Savoy cabbage “allgreen”. Finally planted my little gem lettuce out as well. Covered with some old net curtain for shade & protection from the pigeons.
A productive morning up at the lottie today. Slightly cooler start to the day so able to get a bit of groundwork done before the sun broke through and the temperature rose. The French beans and two rows of peas have gone in. The beans are a mix of three varieties, “blue lake”, “cosse di violette” and “neckagold”.They are green,purple and yellow podded respectively. The pea variety is “onward”.
I also managed to prepare the ground and plant my sweetcorn. A variety called “marshall’s honeydew improved” that I have grown for 3 years now and give a good harvest of VERY sweet cobs. At the moment 32 plants have gone in and I will add more to give me a 6 x 6 block (sweetcorn is planted in blocks to assist the wind pollination of the cobs).
Pea and potato planting day. Lovely morning, not too hot, no rain, poifect! I planted my maincrop today. I am growing “rooster” for the first time. It’s a lovely red all-rounder and usually the one I buy in the shops – so hoping for a good crop. The earlies have already gone in (swift & belle de fountenay) but needed labelling. My pea of choice this year is “petit provence” its a dwarf petit pois type which should give a very early crop of small sweet peas. I shall also be growing “onward”, which is a slightly bigger pea, from later sowings.
My rhubarb bed is in full swing now although for the 2nd year it has produced flower stalks?? Still its very tasty!!
Sunday morning up at the allotment, without wet weather gear. I got a reasonable amount done but still a lot to do. Everyone is behind at the moment because of the wet weather we have had. However, spring is definitely here so time to get the carrots sorted. Three rows sown, one row each of “atomic red” “purple sun” and “early nantes 2″ I shall plant another row of each in about a month or so. In time honoured fashion I shall also plant spring onions between the rows to confuse & deter carrot fly, but I suspect with a fleece or mesh cover it’s a bit unnecessary.
Blossom time :- it is always heartening to see blossom on my fruit trees, a promise of fruit to come, assuming the pollinators are doing their job.
Talking of fruit – there are actual baby gooseberries on my “invicta” cordons!! Jam ahoy!
Starting to get a bit dodgy again weather-wise but today wasn’t so bad when the sun came out and if you managed to get out of the wind you could almost imagine it was balmy.
I recently bought 5 new gooseberry bushes “invicta” a firm favourite as it gives lovely tart berries just right for cooking and jam making. I have reduced to bushed to three stems which I shall grow as cordons. I have found it to be a low maintenance high-yield method of growing this fruit.
I gave my garlic bed a tidy up – it had got a bit weedy but seems to have withstood the vagaries of our “spring” weather. Added a few shallots as well to fill in a few gaps.
The broad beans “aquadulce claudia” arent lookingb brilliant, so I have uncovered them to allow in pollinators and gave them a bit of a feed. There are some gaps which I shall fill in with a crimson flowered variety I have already sown into root trainers.
The lovely weather has given me a chance to start to catch up on the lottie. Bean trench time…… filled using a mix of home-made compost & grass cuttings with a handful of 6x to help it along. It’s blossom time for my “Marjorie’s Seedling” plum And one of the pears (conference I think, the label has fallen off).