Allotment Adventures: Planting begins

At this time of year, it feels like a race to get everything in the ground and while I’m not immune to this urge, I’m also a bit behind due to weather and late sowing.

At home the tomatoes and summer squash are slowly growing but the winter squash, cucumbers and melons were racing away. So I made a decision to get them out of the house and into the ground.

Ma can’t do bending down things, so while I cleared the polytunnel bed and topped it up with fresh compost, she did all the watering and feeding of the fruit.

Future blueberries

I planted up two rows of melons (Minnesota Midget from saved seeds and Petit Gris de Rennes from Real Seeds) and one row of cucumbers (I sowed some of everything from boothby’s blonde, early fortune and wautoma but I’m not sure what’s what!), everything had a very good water and then I mulched with straw. In the corner of the bed is my vietnamese coriander, which will stay there, later on in the summer, I’ll take some cuttings and keep some indoors over winter, in case it gets really cold again!

Last summer was really dry and hot and I really struggled to keep the beds well watered, so I decided that this year I’d try mulching the beds with straw to keep moisture in. Obviously, this means that this summer will be wet but we’re trying it and we’ll see if it helps. Which is why went I’d planted up the polytunnel, I covered the bed with straw.

Once the poly was sorted, it was time for the winter squash. First to weed the beds, I’m unhappy about how much bindweed seems to be coming up in the beds, but it really is a matter of see it pull it, it’s a war not a battle! We planted Waltham Butternuts, Boston, Queensland Blue, Georgia Candy Roaster, Galeuse d’Eysines, and Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato in the big winter beds and then we watered and mulched.

Winter Squash beds

We put the Hokkaido in the boxes by the herb patch and built an arch for them to grow up. We mulched them and also mulched the sweet potatoes. There are a couple of Thelma Sanders left over and we did a quick review of which of our beds were empty and re-assessed the plan. The bed that still has the flowering kale in it, is going to house some sweetcorn, so next week, we’ll clear it, and plant sweetcorn, the three remaining squash plants and some beans and have a three sisters thing going on.

While we were away last week, Ma and I decided to order some more herbs! We ordered a replacement blackcurrant sage, a cola plant, two french tarragons and 6 thyme plants. The plan is to plant more thymes in the paths because we are fond of the way they creep and it’ll (maybe) reduce our need to weed in those areas!

The idea is more of this but in the paths!

As ever at this time of year, we’ve done loads but we have loads more to do.

Let’s have a look at our list!

  • Get all the compost to the plot – partially, I have about 20 bags to go
  • Weed and top up all empty beds – partially, all the beds in the new half of the plot have been done
  • Sow parsnips
  • Apply ant nematodes to polytunnel, blueberries and bulb beds
  • Module sowing for poly – brussels, kale, cabbages, cauliflower, parsley, basil, coriander, flowers
  • Paint the shed
  • Tidy the shed
  • Net the gooseberries
  • Net the blackcurrants
  • Put up the poles for netting the blueberries
  • Finish weeding the front of the plot and shed
  • Trim the grass in the bulb bed
  • Strim the grass path – partially done, I did a bit more this week and will finish next week
  • Weed the paths and top up with woodchip if there is any available
  • Finish weeding the pond area, rose garden and iris bed
  • Mulch the pond area, rose garden and iris bed
  • Join the rose garden to the iris bed and plant out the area
  • Plant out the herbs from Urban Herbs
  • Finish the patio
  • Set up the arches for bean planting
  • Set up the last arches for the yellow rose and squash boxes
  • Turn the compost bin
  • pot on the tomatoes
  • Plant out summer squash
  • Sow cucumbers outside
  • Sow beans

About nicdempsey

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