Sunday, 25 May 2008

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today...

Especially if today is sunny and tomorrow is forecast torrential rain; after abandoning the sweetcorn planting yesterday due to a lack of canes to support them with I was forced to return this morning, in the absolute pouring rain, to plant the remaining 8 plants. After plenty of slipping around they are all now planted into a grid of 4 x 4, apparently this will give the best pollination results, and every plant has either a pea seedling or a couple of seeds sowed next to it. Most importantly they are all carefully staked against the prevailing wind.

Due to the extensive mud and water I decided against any photography attempts so i will have to owe you a picture post of the results at a later date (preferably a sunny date so it all looks nice).

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Planting, planting, planting and a little bit of accosting

Today is supposed to be the bank holiday's only day of sun so I have been fairly busy trying to make the most of it. This morning I planted out the masses of plants we were given by OH's very lovely grandparents, re-potted the strawberry sweetcorn and planted the tomato plants in the final garden veg bed; they are slightly overcrowded and I have 3 more which were never going to fit, so they will be going into a growbag at the bottom of the crappy greenhouse.

This afternoon I ventured down to the allotment to plant out my sweetcorn, unfortunately due to the extreme wind I ended up having to stake them and since I only had 5 canes with me I couldn't finish planting them out. I did manage to plant both courgette plants though. Each of the sweetcorns will have a pea plant next to them, today's lot get the pre-germinated ones and the rest will have to make do with a seed after a few pea disasters along the way.

I also bumped into one of the potential council complainers but after accosting them with my fork it turns out to not be them, this means it was definitely Mr he who got the council to clear him plot and then just sprayed chemicals all over it before planting it up with lots of nice seedlings from the garden centre. Nothing against anyone who chooses not to clear their own plot, or grow their own plants but I really don't think you can then go complaining about people who do!

Things are progressing well on the allotment, all the asparagus crowns now have a spear each so hopefully will gain strength over the summer to produce plenty more next year. The peas which I sowed but the wonky twigs are germinating. The sweat peas are growing well and I even have some carrot seedlings in the fleece tunnel! Not all the carrots have germinated but in the spaces where they have, there are a couple of seedlings so I should have enough to replant into the gaps.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Anti-social neetles

I arrived home last night to a mini crisis; one of the councilors had been around to report a complaint about my weeds. Apparently one of my plot neighbours, not quite established which side yet, has made a complaint to the council about the amount of weeds on my plot and then affecting him etc etc. So much for that community aspect of having an allotment.

Very worryingly the council was suggesting I move to another plot further down, no idea what this would achieve apart from moving me away from Mr Complainer but it certainly doesn't fit into my planting plan! So OH nobly joined me last night for a frantic weeding session, the ground was like iron but we managed to clear a large part of the boundary weeds and I also relented and spread some weedkiller around; The prospect of losing my plot after almost a year or digging up nettles suddenly squashed my organic principles.

After a very sleepless night I finally got up again at 5 to return to the weeding and franticly hoed over the root bed which is actually completely dug but slightly weedy due to the delay in sowing things. luckily when I did finally catch up with the councilor again she was very apologetic and couldn't understand why he was complaining, I think she had originally though I never went down there but OH was very convincing when he said he never saw me because I was always down there, shouldn't be hard to make that convincing though because it is totally true!

Anyway after a lot of worry and weeding the matter seems settled but I am feeling the pressure to clear the weeds now. The original plan for the bank holiday was to get lots planted and sowed but now I will be making the plot look pretty, hopefully there will still be time to plant the sweetcorn and courgettes....

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Another successful weekend

This weekend was another scorcher so I hot-footed it down to the allotment where I was greeted by the first potato sprouts, not bad considering they only went into the ground at the end of April, unfortunately the ground was baked solid after all the wonderful weather so it took some time to scrape together enough clods to create mounds. I think the finished result is quite impressive, all things considering...

The Sweat Peas are still alive, and despite the heat, and lack of watering, all are still green and climbing. I took confidence from this and sowed a row of peas, not sure anything will come of them due to mice but there were loads in the pack so worth a try. The real pea area will be with the sweetcorn so they can climb the stems rather than my wonky tree cuttings. Behind the wonky twigs you can see the Sweat Peas and their canes, the raspberries and finally the asparagus. Ignore the wilderness behind that :)

All the raspberry canes are now growing, which is a relief, only half of them were sprouting last week and I was starting to get concerned but all this sun has got them going. If I can get the fruit cage (or maybe just netting) sorted then there should be plenty of raspberries to look forward to. The dandelion was removed shortly after this picture was taken...

The asparagus is growing like no tomorrow, here is one of the spears which was just emerging a week ago. So far I have got 1 spear from all but 3 of the 11 crowns, so things are going ok. I have sowed parsley in the bed to try and prevent asparagus beetles so hopefully they will get through the year unscathed.

After all the rain and then the sun I was thrilled to see the blackcurrant bush has loads of currants forming. They are already a fair size so if the weather stays nice they should be very successful. I haven't ever eaten a blackcurrant before due to the fact that they are almost impossible to buy so I am very excited about the first harvest.

Finally, for those of you who have made it this far I was thrilled to see the first 2 tubes in the Red Mason bee nest are filled. I even managed to see the bee flying into one of the tubes which was pretty good timing. Bees are fantastic pollinators and the Red Mason bee is completely docile, interestingly this is because they have nothing to defend unlike the Bumblebee which will defend the nest, therefore they are very welcome in my garden.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Rainy bank holiday?

The weather forecast for the bank holiday was rain, rain and then some more rain but, not wanting to tempt fate or anything, the weather so far has been lovely. Yesterday was sunny and then a little cloudy but still hot, and today has been very cloudy but very warm and both days have been almost completely dry.

So of course I have been busy at the plot and also in the garden, my veg beds at the back of the garden have finally become too much of any eyesore, I think it was the fleece which finally broke the camel's back as it were, anyway we have now erected a rather fetching reed screen to hide said eyesore. Actually I am rather pleased by the result because what was previously some veg beds at the back of the garden is now a fully fledged veg garden :)

The allotment has had some attention too, the sweet peas are planted around my new rustic (homemade) pea support and the first row of carrots has been sow under fleece. I have spent about 4 hours fighting the nettles and ever spreading grass so things look generally tidier but the most exciting part of teh whole weekend was discovering the first asparagus spears...

Of course I can't crop them for several years yet but at least I know they are alive and kicking!