Friday, 29 June 2012

Snake in the Grass

Or rather, snake in the netting. This grass snake had got itself tangled up and I had to cut it free while the plot holder, Brian, held it still. We weren't sure whether it was a grass snake or an adder until I got home and googled it, so it was a bit scary. Fortunately I quite like snakes, if it had been a spider I would have run a mile.

Anyway, no harm done to the snake and it was set free at the top of the plot, by the hedge. Good luck to it, netting can be lethal to wildlife, from now on I'm going to make sure all mine is stowed away in my tool box or bin when not in use.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Another Try

I got my first allotment in 2007, the first year of the lousy summers we've had ever since. I think it's fair to say this summer is the lousiest of them all - so far. In 2007 it was wet, but still relatively warm. It was similar up until last year when it was cold but dry, this year it's cold, it's wet AND it's windy. Just about everything on the allotment is struggling, particularly the tender veg, tomatoes, sweetcorn and squashes. I planted out 14 sweetcorn plants at the beginning of June, two of them have keeled over and died. I have a space in front of the squashes, so I have sown another batch of sweetcorn, which should be ready for planting out at the end of June. I am holding on to the optimistic hope that we will have a warm and dry late summer and autumn. To the same end, I have sown some more Autumn Crown squashes, the ones I planted in early June look so sickly I doubt if they will make it through.

I have lost a few plants, I suspect due to red ants tunneling around the roots, I unearthed colony after colony of red ants as I was digging the plot over earlier this year. Recently I have resorted to dusting them with ant powder whenever I dig up a nest. Also I think my soil needs beefing up a bit, things just don't look as healthy as they ought to, though that could be down to the weather. My garlic was looking really good, but is now covered in rust. I can't tell when the leaves are starting to go yellow, they are so yellow already. In theory, now that the days are getting shorter (what a depressing thought, when summer hasn't even arrived yet) the onions should start to bulk up. Other people's set-grown onions look nearly ready to lift.

I'm going up later to sow some more carrots, some more pre-chitted parsnips (I know it's a bit late but it's worth a try, and I need to replace all that celery and celeriac that I had to pull out :( ) and some more french beans.

Gardeners' Refrain: THERE'S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Celeriac Strategy Scuppered

After all the time and effort I put into those celeriac and celery, and would you believe - every last plant has bolted! After that cold, miserable May and then the hot, dry spell they must have thought they had had winter and now it's spring again. I'm a bit gutted about it. Should I try again next year? After all they never got the chance to prove themselves did they? I think they can have one more chance, given that it's probably my fault for sowing them and planting them out too early.

It's not all bad news though, the strawberries are starting to ripen, and everything else is doing fine, except maybe the onions. And the beetroot.