Allotment Adventures: Spring

Sometimes, at this time of year, I look at the plot and I think about all the things I need to do and sigh, sometimes I feel really smug because we’re so far ahead of ourselves. For this year, I don’t really feel either of those things.

The plot is looking good, it’s tidy, things are blossoming, even though I’m one blueberry bush down from last year, I think we’ll have a really big crop of them.  I have sown tomatoes indoors and they are still little. The leeks in the polytunnel are starting to come up and so are the radishes and salad in the bed. I do need to get on with sowing the brassicas and there are always things to be sorted but I think we’re doing ok.

First time this bush has blossomed

At the weekend, we started with refilling the bird feeders and collecting water. Things are pretty dry at the moment and the water hasn’t been switched on so Ma and I made several trips to the pump to fill up our water bins. I always get a bit miffed when I see gardeners on YouTube talking about ‘hand watering’ and they have hoses. I’m very lucky that the tap is pretty near my plot but I have to collect it in 10 litre watering cans, given how much water some of my crops need in the summer, that is a lot of backwards and forwards. I have three 80 litre water bins at the plot which I use but they still have to be filled and one of those does one squash bed in August (I remember that first summer when I only had four beds and I couldn’t understand why people moaned about watering because it only took me 10 minutes, now it takes roughly 45 minutes in summer!) but having to walk to the pump, pump the water and then carry it back to the plot does make me feel for my ancestors and realise how lucky I am.

That done, we watered the poly and the garlic and onions and planting the potatoes, we’ve left the potatoes later than usual because it’s been chilly and I always put them out too early and they get knocked back by frost, this year I decided to leave it until later. We’re growing Red Duke of York which is a first early and should be ready in about 14 weeks. We planted up 5 pots and we’ll start harvesting at the beginning of July. Next week we’ll put the Nicolas out, we have slightly more of those and they are a second early so I expect that we can start harvesting at the beginning of August, when the Red Duke of Yorks are finished. I will take some of the harvest of Nicolas and plant again for Christmas potatoes, we can store them in the pots in the polytunnel. This year I’m hoping that I can get leeks, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and kale from the plot for Christmas dinner, and if I’m very lucky brussels sprouts, we’ll see how it goes.

We also re-covered the celeriac bed (after Ma pulled up the celeriac thinking it was weeds – she really does need constant supervision!) and I sent Ma to sorting out the strawberry bath. We’re not going to get loads of strawberries this year, I think we started with five plants, but I do plan on taking any runners and planting up a tower for next year.

I finally weeded the rose garden and pond area, I will mulch that either this weekend or next month when I get more compost, but the area is looking good and the pond was full of bees (the water level has dropped and I need to clear out the pond plants but meanwhile it’s the perfect place for bees to drink from! I’m really enjoying the way that the oregano and lavenders are seeding and spreading in the rose garden, the bees like it and it means less places for the weeds to land. I also planted freesias in the front of the iris bed and dug out any encroaching raspberries from the path. It’s not a battle I can win, but I do need to keep fighting or they’ll just cover the entire plot!

The rose garden and pond area

Next weekend, I need to get to shed painting and the shed could probably do with a tidy! We will need to sort out how we are going to cover the blueberries – I’m thinking of something similar to the gooseberry netting. I would like to sort out the very overgrown area where the boysenberry is. It’s past time to sow the brassicas, I also need to sow the summer plants, squash, melons and some cucumbers, indoors. Outside we need to sow beetroot and maybe resow the carrots and peas because they aren’t doing anything. Finally, we need to build more arches.

The new flower bed, the peony survived the move but we may not get any flowers for a while!

Not loads but certainly enough!

About nicdempsey

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