Sunday, 18 April 2010

A Productive Weekend

Yesterday I weeded the perennials/ornamentals patch (above left), sowed some flower seeds, and erected this sweet pea teepee ready for planting out sweet peas this morning. We have had the first rhubarb (top left) of the year, in a crumble, with proper home-made custard, just to see what it's like. It's ok but not really worth all the faff. I prefer cream myself anyway.

This is the tidier end of the allotment. Top left is where the lettuce, kale, spinach and parsnips are. Lettuces and kale are just beginning to show. The weedy/grassy patch is where the runner beans are going to go, and to the right of that are the broad beans. Far right you can just about make out the pea frame. In the foreground, the potato ridges (no sign of growth yet).

So obviously I still have to clear the runner bean patch, and the patch where the summer/tender stuff is going to go, but worst of all, the bit at the other end, where the strawberries, loganberries and a couple of currant bushes are, is going to be a nightmare to weed, as it is infested with some mystery weed which spreads via wiry brown roots, and are impossible to pull out without breaking off and leaving some behind. They are all tangled up with the fruit bush roots as well. So I have to hand pull everything out, rather than just dig it all in as I usually would. This is where the majority of my squashes are going to go, because I have had to put my carrot tunnel in the summer veg patch, and I have sowed far too many squash seeds. I know, that doesn't make sense. Suffice it to say that I will probably not have room for everything I intend to grow this year. Daft really, considering how much space there is on an allotment. I have never had this problem before. I have no idea where the celeriac is going to go. Maybe it will fit in the cabbage patch somewhere.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Seed Sowing Session

At last! the purple sprouting brocolli has started to sprout! Not quite enough for a meal yet, but it's a start.

Today I have sown peas, carrots, spring onions, spinach and two types of kale. It's taken me most of the day as not only did I have to prepare the areas first, I also had to erect a pea frame and an enviromesh tunnel for the carrots. The allotments were absolutely full of people today - the warm weather has brought them all out - clearly everybody feels that now is the right time to start sowing and planting. I had hoped to sow a few flower seeds as well - Candytuft, Calendula and Cornflower, but I ran out of time and energy.

Earlier in the week I sowed some Sunflowers, Borage and Marigolds, more leeks and some Brussels sprouts. They are all here at home in the greenhouse for now. I have also put some parsnip seeds to chit but as yet there is no sign of activity - I understand they take ages.

In another week or so I will be sowing the frost-tender veg: the squashes, courgettes and sweetcorn. I have decided to sow all the runner beans and french beans directly outside this year, in mid May. Last year the french beans I sowed direct did much better than the pot grown ones, and it saves so much time and effort. So long as nothing eats them before they get a chance to grow.

The chilli and Stevia seedlings have been moved out to the greenhouse now, must remember to cover them up before the sun goes down, it still gets very cold at night time.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Potatoes all now in the ground

I probably shouldn't mention it but these are in fact last year's pictures - but there really isn't much difference except that the ground this year is somewhat wetter. Also the potatoes are in the next patch along from this one.

In fact - another difference is that I have done more maincrops this year, I'm not sure why. This means that although I have planted fewer altogether, they take up the same amount of space. If I can find somewhere to store them, and they store ok, it should work out quite well, because hopefully we will have lots to keep us going over the winter.

A bit of good news - finally the broad beans are up! In the picture above you can see last year's broad beans behind the potato patch - they were much more advanced after a milder winter. I think the purple sprouting brocolli may be nearly ready to eat as well, although I have been thinking that for several weeks now...

I used up about eight or nine sacks of home made compost in the potato trenches, and there are still several bags left. I am anxious to empty the bin that the rats have been in, so that I can move it back onto the mesh properly, keep the blighters out. It looks as if it will be ready quite soon, just need some warmer weather for a bit.