Sunday, 27 May 2012

Just doing my job!

The unfortunate tenant of the above plot (and below) has just received a letter complaining about the overgrown state of his plot. I know this because, as secretary of the allotment association, I was in the unenviable position of having to send it to him. He has been asked to have it cleared by the end of June to avoid further action being taken. It may not look as bad as some plots you have seen, (you can't really see how many hundreds of dandelion clocks there are) but I have been on my plot for almost a year now, and not once have I ever clapped eyes on this plotholder, nor seen any evidence of any work having been done. There are whole rows of parsnips, leeks and beetroot which have never been harvested - imagine!

Now I know that there are all kinds of reasons for people not maintaining their plots regularly, and I have not been completely insensitive! I did send a very friendly e-mail several weeks ago, enquiring as to whether there were any particular reasons why he had not been coming, and if he had any problems he could contact myself or the Chairman to talk things through. He replied saying he had been up on one afternoon but the weather hadn't been very nice. It's difficult because although I understand he may be struggling to keep on top of things and reluctant to give it up, there are people on the waiting list just dying to be given the chance.

The worst thing is though, if he does decide to come back and carry on, his is the plot right next to mine! Things could be a little....awkward.

Still very little growth on the onions. If you click on the picture, you can probably just about make them out - they are tiny!

On the plus side, the broad beans have got loads of flowers on them, and the climbing french beans are coming up.

Everything is planted out into the greenhouse, and growing like the clappers.

These plants are hardening off ready for planting out this coming week, in fact since taking this picture I have now planted out the tomatoes at the allotment. It's a very busy time right now.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Celeriac Strategy

I'm giving celeriac one more chance. If I don't get something bigger than a tennis ball this year, then that's it, I will never attempt to grow them again. And while I'm having this one last try, I thought I'd give celery a whirl too. You never know....

So - my strategy is that I'm just throwing everything at it. I started them off in the heated propagator in January, then the best ten seedlings of each got pricked out into their own luxury pot, and given optimum conditions until early April, when I began hardening them off. This has been done quite gradually, a couple of weeks for a few hours a day, then a couple of weeks with a few more hours each day, until about three weeks ago they were left out permanently. By yesterday they had had a couple of nights out in a slight frost, and came through unscathed, so I decided the time had come for them to go out into the great outdoors. I dug two trenches and filled them with compost, manure and water retaining crystals, and in they went. If it looks as if we are in for a drought I will mulch them deeply with straw, and they will get another feed or two later in the summer. They really have no excuse not to perform this time, but as I said, this is last chance saloon.

The broad beans are making slow progress. Yesterday I started weeding and hoeing around them, but as you can see, I didn't manage to finish the job.

I am quite concerned about these onion seedlings.... I have been looking around nervously at everybody else's set grown onions, most of which are about a foot tall now, while my seed-grown ones are positively puny. However I am keeping the faith, I have heard several reports of seed-grown onions doing nothing until midsummer, then putting on loads of growth and growing bigger than the sets. We'll see... if I don't get any onions this year then so be it, at least I can say I have tried the seed.

This is quite exciting - I have never grown gooseberries before. Technically I haven't actually grown these, they were already there, but now they are mine.

But what's this? Something has nicked the blossom off my cherry tree! I can't have this - I have hastily  draped some netting over it, but I'm worried that the birds (assuming that's who dunnit) will just get tangled up in it and all the remaining blossom will get knocked off anyway. Perhaps I need to try the dangly CD method.