Monday, July 19, 2021

You are dealing a lot with time travel when you have an allotment.

 Who is to say there is a month between posts or that I had written this a month ago and this has appeared now? Well this sort of reasoning is similar to when I say to our lass that I didn't hear her when there are two sounds at the same time as they cancel each other out.

I am sure I have written about this before, but you are forever time travelling when you have an allotment. You are either looking back and comparing with how something used to be or just how much something has grown or like now, even though we are only midway through July, we are looking forward and making plans for next year and the consideration of crop rotation, what worked or didn't and simply at its highest priority grow more of what we liked this year or was missing from this year.

Here is a quick review of the last month.

The Strawberries as you can see were plentiful, at least ten punnets or more this size, quite a few shared out and just as many enjoyed, our first year strawberries did fantastic.

Our lass found another bargain "Tenner lady" not for any other reason than she cost a tenner.

We have had some great days weather wise and the view is very muchly enjoyed considering the world we find ourselves in at the moment.



and more flowers. Our lasses initial troubles with getting the darn things to grow have now come to fruition or should that be flowertion. Our lass will be doing things differently next year but it has all helped to learn what does or does not work or what you want to do or not do.

Just some of our onions drying, and it should not be long before the tomatoes ripen.

A woodpecker caught on the wildlife camera, wish I could just get the perfectly clear shot. Just a little too close.

and finally....

Every shed needs a little bit of lace curtain don't you think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

You know it is going to be a good day down the allotment when......

 When we first venture onto our plot for the day ahead, we find ourselves surveying for changes. Those alterations can be negative, such as a new crop of weeds, the demise of a plant or the left over seedling massacred by a slug or alternatively as we did yesterday you can be greeted with a more positive view where our plants first flowers were on display. Our lass was the first to notice the clematis having its first flower, as we walked through the gate our sweetpeas were unfurling their flags of summer by displaying flowers for the first time this season. Last but not least the yellow petals of the virgin courgette could be seen heralding the arrival of its fruits to be born.

Whilst the day may start with a positive we are forever vigilant against the negative, namely, slugs! We have beer traps a plenty, but at times that seems nothing more than an empty house going viral on social media. You feel the slugs are sending out invites "Free Beer and all the juicy leaves you can eat" We did find some slugs last year on taking over the allotment which had been that well fed that they would have struggled to fit into a half pint glass. We now take our war to the next level, and have gone for biological / chemical weapons, the natural sort of course, using Epsom salts. With us expecting heavy rains in the next few days our lass thinks a few of the beds may resemble bubble baths. If it gets rid of the slugs I am quite prepared to turn the allotment into a foam party for the purposes of eradicating the slugs.

Having the allotment has one glorifying pinnacle though "The Bounty" and our bounty yesterday was overflowing with a record setting strawberry harvest. This had already been broken on the first pick with one punnet full, something which we hadn't achieved last season barely getting one or two strawberries where the slugs and birds had beaten us to them. This season we are already onto three punnets full. Quite a large one as well as you will see from the photograph. We had our first ever crop of peas and a second crop of new potatoes. The new potatoes on the second crop had been found by the slugs as nearly half had tiny holes in them, but fortunately we were left with quite a few for us.

One thing we hadn't planned for is, what to grow after you dig up the potatoes? To be honest it was a case of would anything grow? Now it has we have to think of what is next? Our lass has some emergency sweetcorn which is too close together so we are going to move that in to the old potato bed. There is not a lot to lose, they are too close together where they are so would fail because of that it was just better than doing nothing with them. Now they will have chance to be free in open ground, will they take the chance or wilt? We will see.

Monday, June 14, 2021

A day for collecting our bounty down the allotment

 Quite a few times when we have been going down to the allotment our first sightings of change is the remains of a leaf stork to flowers or a sudden appearance of weeds. So yesterdays findings were a pleasant surprise, the glimmering rubies nestled in the straw under cover of emerald leaves. We did expect on closer inspection to find the signs of perfection on the outer most view and the signs of slugs when you turned them over, but there was very little slug activity.

Our lass picked the strawberries and although from the photograph below you might think a punnet not bad, this out strips our returns from the whole of last season and hopefully is a good sign of things to come considering all the nurturing our lass has given the plants. Transporting all the runners from our old plot, weeding and now straw bedding with netting protection. Our rewards will be at least many fold the effort put in.

The only thing lacking was cream and as it was shops shut Sunday, I was a heathen and had them with custard, our lass will wait for some cream that we will buy today.

New potatoes that we had for tea from the bed above, our lass has now added chicken manure dug it over and transplanted the last of the cauliflower seedlings. Photographs to come. The new potatoes should just have been ready in 60 days, these were sown back on the 14th March and so have had nearly 90 days, also a lot of the soil was still very clayey it is going to take some time to get the soil as we want it. Free of detritus would be a start as we continual keep finding bits of glass and nails. One day the soil will be just right and that shouldn't be too far away.

Our break time view of the alliums in full flower attracting more than their fair share of hover flies.

More colour and hopefully by hanging them high they will be out of the way of the slugs.

As we say good night to the allotment we take a look back at the current growth we have, our next agenda is to get more flowers in for our is all far too green we need a bit of colour in our life.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Blackleg potatoes

One thing I have always written is that you need to take lots of photographs and this is another reason as to why you do this. It helps you to remember just how far you have come with your allotment. Our lass has numerous issues with getting the flowers to grow and anything which does grow gets slugged.

Yesterday I noticed that one of the potato plants was worse for wear and as one person commented, it looked peed on.

This is to do it seems with black leg. Link to RHS site about Potato Blackleg best to follow the link than have me waffle about it.

But we have removed the first one as you can see, another in a different location seems to be going the same way, here is hoping we have caught it in time. The only saving grace is that the crops are rotated around the allotment and this only affects potatoes so a year or twos absence from this ground and the bacteria should be gone.

In other news...

The pansies out front have been sat on and we think the culprit for that was the local pheasant which seems to want to snuggle down everywhere. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Straw, Slugs, Allotment, Slugs, Cauliflowers, Slugs, Potatoes, more slugs, oh and bind weed.

You may have noticed a theme to the header, the bane of every allotment holders life. Slugs! I did actually google to see what are slugs good for? (Absolutely nothing!) You may well have the song War! in your mind now. But it seems that slugs are a big part of the eco system, they make great composters, it is just a shame the stuff they want to eat is young tender leaves and not weeds. If only a slug could be encouraged to eat weeds, we would be devoted disciples of the slugs, erect monuments in their honour. They don't though so our lass sets out beer traps and the feeling is we might as well be putting party invitations out for the slugs with a header of FREE BEER!.

One thing which seems to have worked a bit is the grit around our courgette and pumpkin although one mound as you can see top right seems to have mysteriously moved all by itself. Also the leaves at the bottom are yellowing and hopefully we start getting new leaves before we lose the old ones.

Our lass has put out the barley straw, worry as always is will this just be a comfortable hiding place for the slugs. We have since netted over as well, to stop air attack from the birds, here is hoping we actually get some strawberries for ourselves.

Our lass put out a few cauliflowers yesterday and whilst doing so removed five slugs from the ground, they now have hopefully become lunch for the frog as we put them in the pond. But please give us a chance, go for the beer please leave our veg alone.

Yesterday we took our first crop of potatoes out of the ground, we had had some from a bucket, but these were our first from the soil. This whole area when we got the allotment though had bin weed, not only is it a lot tidier now we are still doing our best to get every little bit out. As you can not even leave the smallest bit of root in. Plan of action, is to cut the main leaves of the potatoes and compost them, fork out under the potatoes and put them on the sieve. Pick through and sort, potatoes, then potato roots and weeds in a bag to go for rubbish. I know they say you can compost everything, but for us weeds just have seeds and you are spreading it around the allotment and potatoes seem to like to grow anywhere from even the smallest node.

How the allotment looked on day one and the bind weed on the right.

Yesterdays new potatoes and very nice they were as well, the smell of the cooked potatoes took me right back in time, might sound like some old fart. But the potatoes we have today just don't even smell the same as they used to and was very enjoyable to eat yesterday.

and finally Carrots and Onions, no need to thin the carrots as only a few have come through from the ones which were sown a couple of months ago. Last month we sowed another row in the middle and they are just showing the first signs of germination and yesterday to the right sowed the final row of carrots in the hopes that over the coming months we will get a progression of carrots to pick, carrot fly is supposed to have gone by June, but still trying do as little as possible to disturb just in case. As for knowing your onions, well I didn't and thought they had all died in the winter but thought would just leave them to see what would happen. Which it seems was a good idea as they are starting to look a lot like onions. Now just need to know when is the right time to pick them? Answers not on a postcard but in the comment section if you know.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Grand day down at the allotment.

 Well you wait a few weeks for a blog post and then you get two in one day. Bank holiday weekend and whilst you will see photographs of beaches being swollen with folks, we had our plot all to ourselves, we took a picnic and the hours flew by. The crowning glory to the day is that we finally saw a frog residing in the pond. It is all the little things which make life good.

A grand day to go to the allotment
The sunshine brought the alliums out to flower
Our lass put out the reserve sweetcorn, having bought some thinking the first lot might fail we now have two lots, but they have replaced a row of raspberry canes which were simply twigs.
All the seedlings in, now lets see if they will flower, I am sure our lasses creation will be a success
My one job, putting the shade netting on my greenhouse, now lets see if it stays on.
And finally, a frog in the wildlife pond.

When the weeds start growing start sowing.

 The header to this post has been inspired by a quote from Adam Frost (shame he doesn't present more on Gardeners World) and the past few months have been strange. April being very cold with continual frosts nearly every night and May being very wet, so at the point the ground would have been warm enough it became too wet. On the subject of weeds though, this blog has/had become a metaphor for this, you do have to keep on top of the weeds and you do have to keep on top of the posts otherwise you get to a point where it looks all too daunting to get back on track.

One thing our lass does like though is weeding, especially the ability to look back and see what you have actually done. Unlike the steady millimetre by millimetre or inch by inch growth of what is in the allotment which normally means only seeing your rewards of what you have done days or weeks later.

All clear of grass along the fence

The first shade cover for the green house didn't quite fit as you can see someone sent the wrong size out, but it has come in useful as a side shade for our lasses Greenhouse
Our lass is full of great ideas and this is starting to take shape for the flower pot of heads, update to come as it has moved on since

I am known to be quite daft really and whilst following an experiment our lass had seen online managed to cut myself not on the stanley knife but on the hose pipe.

We had been expecting high winds and the netting over the purple sprouting broccoli needed some extra help to be kept in place, so if you cut down some old hose pipe then wrap it around a cane it keeps the netting in place. That is the simple idea and whilst being very careful with the knife. It was only when prizing the hose pipe apart i managed to slash my finger. Warning hose can cut.....

Courgette and Pumpkin protection

We have managed to germinate and grow one of each of the Courgettes and Pumpkins, in reality you don't need that many courgette plants, but it does put a lot of pressure on this one to be successful. I had hoped to grow two pumpkins but there again only one germinated so it seems the grandkids will have to share. As this is the sum of our production for these plants we really do not want the slugs to get them. So, we have encircled them with grit and after about five days we have seen minimal activity from the slugs on these plants.

Tidy green house and new seating so I can sit and inspire the veg

The pansies our lass grew are looking great
Lettuce in a bucket
15 shades of sweetcorn