The joy of a bank holiday is that we got two trips to the plot this weekend. Apparently, it’s been the coldest May bank holiday on record and I can believe it, it’s hard to imagine that Easter was the hottest on record, it’s like the holidays decided to swap weather.
Before I start on about what got done, yesterday marked three years since I signed the allotment agreement and became responsible for 185a. It’s looking pretty good…So back to work. We’re about to have a ‘Cultivating Ealing’ judge come and look at the site over all, so I decided it was time to tackle the grass overgrowing on the path, in the summer it’s a fairly constant battle and with the strimmed grass and the shredded paper, we filled the black compost bin! We’ve watered it and with any luck it’ll rot down quickly. That and some weeding, watering, rescuing the blown away cloche and harvesting nearly 2 kilos of chard took about three hours and then we quit because being hailed on is not fun. I’m English I can do a certain amount of drizzle but not hail! This is the chard after the harvest, I think it knows it’s time is nearly done. The chard will come out this month and we’ll direct sow french beans, we’re going to have climbing beans this year, green and purple.On Monday, we filled up three of the beds with compost, dug up more raspberries, they are popping up all over the place and finally planted out the last of the sweetpeas. They’ve been in the cloche for ages and although the longer ones are looking a bit weather beaten, they’ve all got good new growth coming through and just need some sun to start growing.We also got to chat to our lovely allotment neighbour Joe who I inherited my plot from. Joe is having a tricky time health wise and some people are coming to dig his plot over later on this month but he’s asked us if we’d like to take on this space for the summer if he thinks he can’t cope with it.We’ve said yes and if it happens, we’ll plant courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers and extra beetroots and leeks, which we’re bound to have. We’ll look after them but Joe can just help himself to. It’s exciting to think about more space but sad that Joe can’t look after it as his care was the reason that my first year was such a comparative success, we’ll see what happens…
While Ma finished her epic weeding session, I gave the rosemary, tarragon and sage a spring haircut. BeforeAfter and look you can see Dennis’ onions…I know it looks a bit ragged now but it’ll recover and you can see that the rosemary is getting woody at the bottom and that will only get worse if it doesn’t get an annual chop.
The beds we’ve sown are looking ok, peas are coming up as are the beetroot, carrots and spring onions and the salad that isn’t being menaced by the raspberries.The potatoes are all doing well, as are the gooseberries, rhubarb, raspberries, blueberries and plum tree. The garlic is strong but like all the other garlic on the site has rust. There isn’t really anything I can do, I’m feeding and watering it regularly and we just have to hope for the best! The broad beans have beans!
Indoors, the seedlings are doing well but are small, they have about three to four weeks before I’m going to think about putting them out, so I’m not too worried.
That done we’re back to the work list. So for May, this is what I’ve got.
- Fill the three new beds with compost
- Pot on seedlings (kale, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, cuacamelons, summer and winter squash)
- Start to harden off seedlings (aka leave in the cloche!)
- Pot on the lavender
- Sow dill, coriander, marigold and calendula
- More weeding and raspberry destroying
- Empty wooden compost bin, see if there is actual compost worth using.
- Clear chard bed
- Sow french beans
- Sow sweetcorn
- plant out all courgettes, crookneck squash, tomatoes and some basil
- Paint the shed
- If there is any, woodchip the top of the plot