Jun 21 2011

Longest day harvest

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Jun 06 2011

Apres le deluge

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It rained yesterday. I was quite happy about this, although so were the weeds. So off I tootled to the allotment this evening. Sadly, as I have a bruise which covers most of my left calf (not an exaggeration) what I could do was limited, but I managed to pick gooseberries, harvest a row of early potatoes, do a lot of weeding, plant cannellini beans, and another row of beetroot. Also, I sprayed my whitefly infested Brussel sprouts, and fleeced them off hopefully against what ever is munching on them.

But I did take quite a few photos.

My nursed purple podded peas, surviving their transplant but not looking quite as healthy as I’d like.
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Some big fat onions, and intruding potato plants.
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The potato plants in the right place, although not giving huge amounts of crops, owing to our dry dry spring.
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a pumpkin plant, with sweetcorn in the corner.
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Some general views of the plot
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Leek heads about to flower
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Healthy looking carrots (a yellow variety)
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And, finally, my flowering mangetout.
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May 25 2011

Peas and onions

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May 22 2011

Growth!

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Came back to the allotment today to find everything had grown, massively (despite the lack of rain). No pics today, but I noticed the mange tout (first ever successful germinating crop of pea type things) are now about 80cm high and about 15cm of that must have been the past week. My second sowings of mange tout have come through and so, inspired by this, I went out and got another pack of peas and sowed those today as well.

On other pea related news, a few years ago I bought some very expensive purple podded pea seeds. There were only about 15 in a packet which cost a lot of pennies, and the few I managed to plant that year were very disappointing. Still, as I’m having a purge of seed packets I started the rest at home this year and they’ve all germinated and were desperately needing a transplant. I know that peas aren’t fond of being transplanted, so we’ll have to see how well they cope to their new allotment home (well protected with both anti rabbit/bird protection and anti slug protection).

I also planted some climbing bean seeds to go up my frame. the runner beans (which I don’t really like, but its good to see something grow!) have started making a bid for freedom and once my potatoes go out, I’m going to plant some dwarf beans and maybe the borlotti seed I have saved from last year.

I planted out the first of the cucurbits plants. I’ve done them ‘three sisters’ style – with corn at the corners of them. Not sure if this will really work, but its worth a try, and I’ve got more corn seed to plant if it all goes too bad. Once the corn plants (currently about 4 inches high) establish themselves, I’ll put some more climbing bean seeds in there. Used a combination of the last of the pelleted chicken manure and blood/fish/bone combo for underneath the plants. I’ve got a Cobnut squash, a pumpkin I’ve forgotten the name of, and some courgettes there. Hopefully, day of the triffid style, they’ll take over the allotment!

Potatoes are flowering, blackcurrants are turning purple (there’s only about 10 of them, but not bad for a very very cheap plant bought last year) and I need to go armed, prepared, and gloved to start harvesting gooseberries. I’m ignoring the weeds, which are growing ridiculously, and just content that my little patch of green is, for the first time in a long while, completely full of stuff – there’s no bare space at the moment in the main patch of the allotment, although once the onions (good crop this year!) and potatoes come out, I’ll have to start transplanting my brassicas and once more taking the caterpillar risks….

(Oh, and today was the Start Of Our Strawberry crop from the back garden. two strawberries, once almost plum sized, and very very tasty. And, just for the record, my £5 morrisons apple tree bought for ‘i wonder if I could espalier that’ stuff is budding and coming out with leaves. Not bad for something which looked really rather dead).

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Apr 19 2011

Pictures from a warm April.

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Gosh, its warm. Next door’s rhubarb is already setting flower, and mine has stopped producing. But there are signs of life – pea, brussels, potatoes, carrots and leeks are all poking through. Gooseberries and my so-cheap-its-worth-planting blackcurrants are both showing signs of fruit. And, as the falling blossom scatters like conferring on the plot, the very early signs of plums.

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Apr 02 2011

Keeping up

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There comes a stage in Spring every year when I tend to panic, thinking I’ve missed my growing season, it’s too late to plant anything, there are more weeds than anything else on the allotment and aren’t I useless at this growing lark.

And that stage could be fast approaching, so it’s time to spend a lot of time at the plot if I want to stay in control for the rest of the year. Sadly, it’s also the time of year when life gets very busy and the next commitment-less weekend is at least June.

However, I will not be downhearted! We only have half a plot anyway. It’s not that much work to keep it reasonable. The onions garlic and shallots have put on lots of growth. Suddenly, the rhubarb I was making sure not to take too much of a fortnight ago has exploded and I can’t take enough. My broad beans have started emerging and, joy of joys, there is a lot of blossom on my plum trees (so I would like a still and warm couple of weeks to keep it pollinated please).

And yes, my peas haven’t been planted and in an ideal world I’d have started some squash off all year, but as another plotholder was saying last might “every year I start growing things a month later”. And what do you know, nature does catch up.

So this year I resolve not to panic, but to enjoy the soil between my fingers, the green shoots of stuff growing, and to behead the dandelions before they go wold.

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Mar 18 2011

New shoots

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Don’t give up on your chilli seeds even if its been four weeks since they were planted…

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Mar 13 2011

A robin’s tale

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Tonight I was going about my business when the she-human turned up. It was a bit late for her as the sun was going down soon.

First of all she cleared some of the greenery in one area which was a bit overgrown, before planting some seeds which will grow into more green stuff, though with white and orange bits under the ground. Then she did a bit of digging and put a bag full of things in the ground.

I was following her very closely but when she turned around I ran away. Kept on singing all the way though, to cheer up the evening.

Then she planted some more seeds, big ones this time, which looked like they might be tasty. But she stamped on the ground so I’m not sure i’ll be able to get them out.

Finally she harvested some of the tall green pointy things, and the red stuff with big green leaves.

By that time the sun had already gone down, and she needed to use the light in her little house thing. She said a few words when the lock to her house broke, but its ok, I’ll guard it for her.

She thought she might get a picture of me, but I’m camera shy and though I was happy sitting on the spade, but if you look very hard you might see a flash of my very red chest.

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Feb 27 2011

January 1st

Published by under Allotment

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Having finally got WordPress to work on my phone, I can post the pics I took on New Years Day. You know you’re getting old when NYD is spent on an allotment.

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Feb 27 2011

Productive Sunday mornings

Published by under Allotment

Down on the allotment at just after 9am this morning, to make the most of the forecast mild morning (just as well, as the hail started this afternoon) and to finish off the jobs from last week. First of all, there was enough charge in the drill to finish off the bed in front of the shed. This is about 2m x 2m, and I think I’ll grow squash & sweet corn, a modified three sisters approach to planting. Note: get some manure before then! The photo on the right is almost the area that the new bed lies on  and what it looks like 3 years ago, which just goes to show that perserverance and digging and time will get you to.

I’ve also started preparing for the potatoes – I know, can it really be nearly that time already? You can’t really see, but the pile of earth in this picture is dug in trenches. Half of it had been covered over by the weed proof membrane, and underneath that the earth was beautiful to dig. Really ought to get more organised to do that to most of the plot in Autumn, makes such a difference come this time of year. The other half was more clay like, not surprising given how wet its been. Anyway, these trenches should get the sun into the earth a bit to warm it up (no idea if this is scientific or not, but feels right to me) ready for us to plant the first earlies in the next few weeks.

We spotted on a neighbouring allotment these ‘windmills’ made from drinks bottles which rotate round and round from the ‘wings’ cut into the edge. We’ve made two, I think with some ribbon tied to the wings they’ll be quite good at keeping birds from the seeds. For a second or two anyway.

The rhubarb -which has grown well over the past week – was looking a bit suffocated with straggly grass, so a bit of weeding down at the wilderness end of the allotment finished off this morning’s work. There are a lot of rhubarb crowns down there, but only two give us a lot of rhubarb, the others are more piddly. Now that you can see them a bit better, hopefully we’ll get even more of the delicious pink stuff from them. I also noticed that the gooseberry plants I transplanted last year (which originally come from cuttings from my Grandad’s garden) are doing OK, and have buds on them ahead of the more established plants. Good, really, as i’ve really enjoyed the stewed gooseberries I found in the freezer this week.

I love rhubarb, mostly you can just ignore it and it still comes back year after year,

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