Allotment Adventures: Water Every Damn Day

I feel sure that I’ve mentioned that London and the South East of England is having a drought. It’s a issue, I can’t remember the last time we had rain and for the first time since I have lived in this flat, it didn’t rain on my birthday. It’s dry.

I’ve always tried to do heavy watering once a week and a top up water once during the week if it doesn’t rain and that has not been cutting it. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some of the tomatoes had blossom end rot and I was not ok with that.

Not good

So this past week, I have been going to water every day at twilight, and that has been working. Not everything gets watered every day, I’m not watering anything that’s done (blackcurrants, boysenberry) but everything that’s looking parched has responded accordingly. Overall the plot is looking a bit parched but the squashes, cukes and tomatoes are producing and setting fruit.

In the mini heatwave, watering has not been fun but that’s how it work.

The side effect of all this watering is that Ma and I have been able to get on with a little bit of work and some leisure time on the plot.

Friday dinner on the plot, in a heatwave

Ma has attended to the alpine strawberries, trimming the dead leaves, then watering really hard and mulching with fresh compost. They look much better and while this is all guess work from me, I suspect this is something I should have done in spring. Not much I can do about it now, I’ll just make sure that we do it again, in spring.

I’ve attended to the compost pile. I’m not great at composting but I needed to add a bokashi bin that was done fermenting and I had some shredded paper that needed adding too. I had noticed that the bin wasn’t breaking down as much as it usually does because it’s dry (did I mention the drought!). So I took half of the bin out, turned what was left and watered it. Then I added the bokashi, got it wet, added the shredded paper, got that really wet too. I added the rest of the bin back in, soaking it all as I went and finally, we added the waste from today, wetting that as well. I’ve been watering it every time I water the plot to encourage it to break down, I suspect that I’ll need to turn it again this weekend and do it more regularly and get better at making compost.

I was on leave the week after my birthday and my friend Richard (the builder of the polytunnel) recovered the roof for me, it looks great and I’m so grateful, I also need to paint the shed again this weekend.

I got a bunch of birthday plants this week. From Urban Herbs, the boozy collection, a herbal tea collection and some samphire. This has given me 14 new plants to deal with, some of the mints are duplicates so we’ll put them in bigger pots. I have a plant for some of the thymes and rosemary. So that needs to be sorted.

The polytunnel was getting a little bit crowded, so we’ve finally bought two mini greenhouses (half price too!) we’ve put one up and will put the other up this week. They will do as shelves for the time being and next spring I can put the covers on to help with the seedlings. I’m hoping that this will finally help me with growing more from seed, we’ll see. Also in the poly, I finally have a melon! Whether it will grow in time remains to be seen but I’m still happy about it!

A baby melon

We are also rich in summer squash, tomatoes and cucumbers, which is a nice place to be!

Produce haul

This weekend, I’m solo allotmenting (due to bus and tube and train strikes!) but this week we’ve also had rain (finally!) and next weekend, I’m away, babysitting my nephews. So I have a lot to do, but the things I really want to get done are here.

  • Paint the shed
  • Turn the compost
  • Put together the second mini greenhouse
  • Sow chard, beetroot, winter lettuce in modules
  • Sow more carrots, in the carrot bed
  • Weed the paths and if there is any, woodchip them
  • Plant some of the herbs and mint up into bigger pots
Rain, finally

About nicdempsey

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