Allotment Adventures: Planting Out

We had a cold snap last week, while everything survived, the in ground potatoes got some damage, but they’ll come back. And I know there are potatoes because the fox has dug some of them up!

After the frosty conditions last week the weather started to warm up, and actually got some things done. So I planted out two of the planned tomato beds. One of cherry tomatoes (red pear and yellow delight) and one of mixed large ones (the last amish paste, marmande and cour di bue). So far, I’ve lost one to wildlife (fox, I’m looking at you!) and none to the weather, thanks to my daily watering regime for the newly planted!

I also got the leeks in, I ordered 30, there were supposed to be 10 of each but the delivery was late and they sent me 42, (22 Carlton F1 and 20 Sultan F1), they were planted up across two beds and I promise that next year I’ll get my act together and sow some myself. I have lost a leek to marauding wildlife, I’m not sure if’s worse this year because so many food shops are closed and the foxes can’t access that but they are stealing anything that looks remotely food like, apparently other people are reporting seeing more mice and rats for similar reasons!

There was some space in the over flow leek bed and that space got sown up with some salad, the crispy salad leaves mix from Thompson and Morgan that we used last year and got another packet of from a magazine and a row of lettuce (Marvel of Four Seasons), also a freebie.

I also cleared the bed that I’m going to sow french beans in and put some canes in place. I’ve haven’t sown them yet, it may be a task for the weekend but I’m also waiting for some jute pea and bean netting, for the frame. We do use plastic on the allotment but my stance is that we have to be able to re-use it, which is why we’ve switched this year to sturdier rigid pots for the potatoes instead of the bags and why we’re trying this because I hate dealing with bean netting and it becomes a single use item.

I finally sowed some carrots! I did plan on two beds of carrots and if we find a empty bed later on in the season, we may well do a slightly later sowing. However, right now I have an insufficient bed for everything I want to grow issue! So one bed of carrrots, inside the cloche, are the bigger carrots (Harlequin F1 and Early Nantes 2) and surrounding the cloche are mixed seed from last year with spring onions and litte carrots (Chantenay Red Cored 3 and Royal Chantenay 3). I’m hoping to repeat last year’s success with them, fingers crossed.

I harvested my first radish too, this is Albena and with the exception of the summer squash and some sweet potato slips, all the plants are in the cloche at the plot and not in my living room.

So what’s left to do? Well the additional compost I ordered arrives today, so the squash beds need sorting and the squash planting out and sweetcorn sowing. I think I have room for 30 plants so watering is going to be hell! I need to sow the cucumbers and french beans and in a week or two, the sweet potato slips, courgettes, crookneck and maybe a patty pan need to go out. I also need to spray the broad beans and gooseberries with some SB plant invigorator for the aphid and mildew problems they have right now. I’m also waiting on some kale plugs and a new rhubarb plant, so I need to move the daffodils, tulips, anemones and narcissi to new positions and sort out the pond area a bit more!

Then it’s all about weeding, watering and tidying up until harvesting begins, then it’ll be all about weeding, watering, tidying up, harvesting and processing the harvest! Right now, I feel as in control as I ever do in May!

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Monday Miscellany: Busy

Happy Monday!

Last week, I decided that I needed to impose a bit more discipline upon myself. At this stage of lockdown and working from home, I am both the six year old with displaced behaviour AND that six year old’s parent trying to deal with said behaviour. So I reimposed schoolnight drinking rules (so no drinking Monday to Thursday) and a bath before bed, which should be between 10 and 11pm.

This weekend, I decided to be active, I was up early on Saturday and shopped for me but also got some bits for a friend, I read a book (the first I’ve managed in May), I watered the plot and got a bunch of plants out of the living room. On Sunday, I was at the allotment from 10am to 3.30pm-ish. I hit 10,000 steps both days, which is going to stand me in good stead for the team walking challenge this week, we are walking the length of Peru…

It hasn’t been all that difficult, which has been a huge surprise as I’m deep in PMT and had a migraine this week too, but I needed the discipline and the lighter days do help. This week, I want to keep up the momentum and because it’s going to be a lot warmer , the newly planted tomatoes will have to be watered every day.

Goals for this week are to be at the plot every morning to water, to go for a walk in the evening to get 10,000 steps every day, to be in bed at 10am each evening and no school night drinking, but I’m having a martini on Friday nights…

How are all of you managing to hold on to your sanity at the moment?

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Friday Links: Without a Clue

Happy Friday! Is it Friday, I’m not quite sure anymore! This is pretty much my mood, right now!

Here are this week’s links…

The World Is Taking Pity on Us

Boris Johnson’s message to the working class: good luck out there

TfL: The Impossible Finances of Fighting a Pandemic This was really interesting, I put it in here on Tuesday, so I don’t know if the situation has changed between then and today.

Coronavirus has changed Boris Johnson, and that makes Tories nervous

Boris Johnson resorts to bluster under Starmer’s cross-examination. PMQ’s has become a blood sport again…

Keir Starmer took Boris Johnson apart like a Duplo train set. When the Telegraph starts saying things like this…

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Allotment Adventures: A Bit Windy

The allotment was all ok on the weekend, I went on Sunday and weeded the paths and put everything away because it was very windy, I also cut back the rosemary, it looks really bedraggled at the moment but I did it for it’s own good! We also had a visit from a magpie…

I’m behind, I haven’t sown the carrots yet but this weekend’s plan is to do that, sown some more salad leaves and plant out the leeks, I need to clear the bed that had the sprouting broccoli and get a frame up for the french beans up. I may sow the french beans but I’ll see how I feel about the weather. I’m itching to plant out the winter squash and the tomatoes but the squash beds are no where near ready, I may just dig the beds over again incorporate what compost I have and accept that I’m going to be weeding those beds a lot, we’ll see. My summer squash have come up slowly and leggy, so I’m probably going to have to start again next week!

I also want to give some time to my friend Dionne, she’s an NHS worker and is recovering from Covid-19, so I’ve told her that I’m happy to weed a bed or two and plant up with tomatoes and winter squash if she’d like me to.

In happier news, I have irises, baby apples and broad beans. While Ma might get some apples and broad beans, she’ll probably miss the irises…

It’s May so it’s time just to push through, get it all in the ground and try and keep on top of the weeds!

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Friday Links: VE Day

Happy Friday! Today is as I’m sure everyone in the UK is aware, is the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The government and R4 seems anxious to wrap itself in a flag but I’m pretty tired of it. The only veteran of that war that I knew (Grandad) was reluctant to talk about the actual war, he was in Belgium at some point in 1945 and he went back to visit his friend Joss’ family. He believed what he did was necessary but he never thought there was glory in it. Overall that’s my impression of all of this, the people that spend the most time harking back to the victory of 1945 and the Blitz spirit and wrapping themselves in that flag are the ones that would have been dining at the Ritz and getting extra food from there country estates….

Anyway on to this week’s links…

The British charlatan style has been sent packing by too much reality

Why universal basic income could help us fight the next wave of economic shocks

Ministers are using coronavirus as an excuse to erode child protection

Whose Freedom Counts? This is really interesting, the USA is a special case but I can see so many parallels with the for want of a better word Brexiteers over here.

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Allotment Adventures: Weeds are everywhere

It’s May, the point of my growing year where I’m not ready to start planting out and the weeds are all over the place! Without my trusty sidekick, I’m having to do a lot of the maintenance my own self and while I can do it, I much prefer having Ma on the plot to help with netting and to tame my more wild flights of fancy!

I cut some grass, which is the allotment equivalent of hoovering the most hated of housework tasks, I need to do the other side which will be easier and the front. I also need to identify this plant, which has come up by the apple tree. Any ideas?

There are potatoes everywhere, in the bed I put them in but also rogue ones all over. I generally have a ‘if it’s useful or pretty don’t pull it up’ policy with weeds, which is why there are patches of rocket and coriander all over the paths, why there is aramanth, california poppies and borage everywhere and why we let the mystery squash grow last year. The only exception to this rule are raspberry runners but I’m a little stumped about whether to leave the potatoes or pull them up, for the moment, I’m so focused on the weeds I really don’t want (there is so much bindweed on the new half) that I’m leaving the potatoes alone but overall this is why I decided to grow them in pots..

I did put the cloche up and have all the flowers hardening off, I just put them in and leave them, if they die, they die! And I’ll have to do the same with some of the many winter squash plants because the living room is struggling to cope. I potted the tomatoes on and ended up with 47, I have over 20 winter squash plants and only 9 summer squash plants, (3 crookneck, 3 courgettes and 3 patty pans) it’s like I’m learning my lesson…very slowly!

I have tomorrow off work so hopefully over the next couple of days, I’ll get the weeding done and all the other pesky jobs I’ve been putting off.

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Friday Links: Boris is Back and I can’t decide if that’s good news

Happy Friday!

I’ve had a pretty strange week, yesterday, I was at the allotment and someone or something stole my sandals. I think it was foxes, with that and the mystery cat, I feel like I’m being terrorised by small animals…

Here are this week’s links, you will notice that there is nothing here about Boris Johnson’s 6th or 7th child. He doesn’t need the attention..

 I Never Planned to Face the Coronavirus as a Worker at Dollar General 

Trump and the Coronavirus: A Sour President, Home Alone at the White House

A cavalier Tory leader and a botched pandemic response? It must be 1957

‘Not just weeds’: how rebel botanists are using graffiti to name forgotten flora

‘Sweet City’: the Costa Rica suburb that gave citizenship to bees, plants and trees

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