Allotment Adventures: You never finish…

Last weekend we had a long list of things to do  on the plot and had assigned Sunday as the day to do it. We had popped round to deliver some compost, water and eat some strawberries on Friday afternoon but Sunday was the day for work. We were on the plot for 5 and half hours and no we didn’t get it all done, but it was still a really productive day.

The good news is that the sweet peas are beginning to flower,the borage is in full bloom and the beas love it,the potatoes are flowering, looks like the frost didn’t do too much damage…and even the rhubarb is happier.

Now lets’s talk about the work…

The first thing we did was to build the arch for the squash. Well I built it and Ma assisted. We put it up over the two tanks and then drilled a couple of holes in the waterlogged one. I also reassessed where I’d planted the chives at the back of the herb patch as they were being over shadowed by the borage. So I moved the chives to the front of the herb patch and put the last butternut squash where the chives were, so it can grow up the arch. That patch of ground had just been well watered from the tank so I’m hopeful that this will give it a boost!

I also built something for the cucumbers to grow up.While I was doing that, Ma was weeding and topping up the old broad bean and onion beds with compost. She also weeded the salad bed and the green bean bed and I sowed the second set of green beans in that bed.

I planted out the last squash (the boston winter squash in the square bed that has the patty pan in it. I know that it’ll spread but that’s were we had the room, so in it went. There are some marigolds in that bed too.Then it was time for tomatoes. When I put the greenhouse up, one of the things that moved from the house was a tray of tomato seedlings. They were Amish Paste and Red Cherry and they should have been separated much earlier than they were. When I did get to potting them on, I lost track of which was which and I was not really expecting that they’d thrive, but the greenhouse was been really good for them and I had a jungle of healthy tomato plants. Which completely vindicates my decison to buy it, it was £30 well spent. The long bed at the end of the plot was assigned for tomatoes but they wouldn’t all fit. After some discussion and Ma’s observation that we would always find room in our bellies and the freezer for the extra. We decided to plant another set in the old  old garlic bed. So 17 tomato plants went in. We now have 25 outdoor plants and two in tubs in the greenhouse. There are a couple more plants that I need to find a home for, I’m thinking that buckets might be the solution! The last planting out I did was to get the broccoli and cavolo nero outside. Laura had given me four broccoli plants and I had two cavo nero that I planted back in February. I put them out and planted the remaining french bean seeds down the middle. What I should have done was planted the broccoli in the middle and the french beans around the edge but too late!  I slug pelleted the bed (and all the others!) and covered this with net to protect it from the pigeons. I’ll build a cage a bit later!That done, I tidied up the greenhouse. The slugs and snails have been making a home there and eating things, mostly basil, cucumbers and peppers, they are relentless. So I swept the floor, killed the ones I could find and put some slug pellets down in there too. I also gave the tomatoes in there a haircut and re-pinned the frame down because it’s been windy.  It all looks much better now. I also secured the pallet that Mike and Christelle gave me next to the compost bin for the butternut squash to grow up but forget to take a picture of that.

Last but not least, we (mostly Ma) watered everything that needed watering, all the squash and tomatoes got a feed too. I gave the sage and rosemary a haircut so we could see the lavender! Ma picked some raspberries, I picked some salad and we ate the four strawberries straight from the plants.

The list of things we didn’t get to do looks like this

  • Weeding at the top of the plot
  • Sorting out the gooseberries (although Ma removed the netting.
  • Thinning out the carrots.
  • Cut back the grass around the edges of the plot.
  • Sow more salad and beetroot.
  • Plant out the remaining leeks.
  • Trim the plum tree.
  • Breaking down and disposing of the grey box.

There is always more to do, but I’m really happy with it. It’s also really good to spend a big chunk of time on the plot because it really helps us get a sense of how we’ll plan for next year. I know that this season’s growing hasn’t really begun and we’re now really entering the season were the main focus will be watering, weeding, picking and processing but knowing where we want to go is useful and time on the plot helps us work that out in a practical way. Even Ma gets into it, she has big plans for the raspberries and the gooseberries next year.

About nicdempsey

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