Sunday 27 May 2012

Summer has arrived, briefly.

Such a hot sunny day and I decide to do some weeding!

But first I planted out some Lettuce plants we got FREE from a local small plant nursery (I think they planted too many) so I put them in the trench between the Asparagus, which is still sending up spears, we are harvesting about 5 twice a week.
Here you can see the autumn planted Onions that we expect to harvest soon, they are getting quite a size now after all the rain then sun we have had, perfect growing conditions. Beyond the Onions are the 1st & 2nd early Potatoes, Rocket and Charlotte, they have survived the cold nights and have put on extra growth, so maybe we will be harvesting in late June as planned.
Anyway, talking of perfect growing conditions, the weeds have also taken advantage of rain and sun and taken over rather a lot.
So most urgent to be weeded were the Onions planted this spring, but as you can see they look better now. I also weeded the strip of soil between the Onions & the Parsnips (far left of photo) we might need that space for any remaining crops we cant fit in anywhere else.
Here is a close up of one of the autumn planted Red Onions, this one already measures about 4" across, the leaves show no sign of wilting just yet so there is time for it to swell even more, will have to weigh this one when I do harvest it.
Anyway, it was certainly a scorcher today I think it might have hit 29 deg C, but because there is little shade on our plot, only at the gate end and a little cooling breeze, but after 2pm as the sun moves round that shade disappears, so I didn't stay much after that time, but did manage to do what I planned to do (weeding!).

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian. 

Sunday 20 May 2012

First signs of Summer ?

Well the weather forecast was right, the sun came out.

So I made a frame of Bamboo & Pea Netting and we planted out the Mange Tout that we had started out at home in root-trainers and toilet roll tubes. If you look closely, you will see a length of cardboard held down with bricks, this suppresses the weeds, which would be hard to get at when the Mange Tout are fully grown and laden with pods.
We also planted out some Mixed Sweet Peas, each side of the archway. 
I wonder if they will meet at the top and make a floral arch.
We grow Sweet Peas every year, they are a great cut and come again flower the Bees love them too. 
I have been busy during the week, weeding and digging over the last patch of soil, in readiness for planting out.
We still have Sweetcorn and Brasicas waiting to go in, also Pumpkins which we will plant in the remnants of the  manure pile and in the old compost bin, cleared out a few weeks ago.
Our  Chickens, Maude, Peggy and Hetty are having a well earned rest after pecking around the Fruit Cage, they love their day trips to the Allotment, you can see the excitement in their actions, when the transport boxes comes out.

So a very productive afternoon. I removed the fleece from the Peas put in last week as the weather forecast said we were to expect higher temps, could even reach 22 degrees, summer has arrived!
You might have noticed an addition to the Allotment, 'Worzel Jnr' the Scarecrow, in a fetching checked shirt & matching red cap.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Thursday 17 May 2012

A couple of hours weeding today

 This is the last patch to be turned over and weeded.
Last year it was the Potato patch, where the Main Crops were growing.

This is the 'Before Shot'
So after an hour, I managed to turn over & remove the weeds from about a quarter of the patch.

I had a break at this point as it is back breaking work, despite light sandy soil, I don't envy people with heavy clay soil, I would hate digging that over! 
Here is the patch after 2 hours and about two thirds now done. 
The weeds are mostly Ground Elder and Nettles, but also Bindweed, Poppies and the odd Potato too.
The large heap in the foreground are all the weeds I have removed and are drying there ready to be burnt. 
A really productive afternoon today, had to get the weeding started as we have crops started at home ready to go in, Beans, Peas, Sweetcorn, Brasicas etc.

I also made a Scarecrow  this week, if you click on the photo a larger version will pop up so you can see him better, I have named him Worzel Jnr. 

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Another couple of hours done, ready for summer now.

 Had a lovely afternoon on the Allotment today.

Did some weeding, sowing, earthing up and a bonfire too.

I cut the grass at home and as someone suggested I used the cut grass to mulch the early Potatoes as overnight temps can still be as low as 3 degrees which means threat of frost! So as an experiment I did cover the emerging shoots of 'Charlotte' Spuds with the grass cuttings & the nitrogen in the grass will leach into the soil.  
Another job done was to make another fleece cloche, from blue 20mm water pipe cut into 2mtr lengths, pushed into the ground at 75cm intervals, then covered with fine fleece (you can see that in the above photo).
Have sown half of the 3mtr length cloche with 2 lots of Carrot seeds 'Paris Atlas' & 'Early Nantes' will let them get started then sow another succession crop in a few weeks to mature later in the year.
As the 'Cara' main crop spuds have started  breaking through I weeded the patch, then using my favorite hoe* for this job I earthed them up so the emerging shoots are protected from the low overnight temps we still have.
* It's my favorite hoe because you can do both jobs with it, cutting the weeds & drawing up the soil over the emerging shoots, all in one action too.   
So all in all a busy afternoon, the Chickens also came with us and pecked around, they are still in the fruit cage, even though all the fruit bushes are in full leaf and buds, no fruit setting just yet, so it was safe for the Chickens to have full use of the cage.
The Pond is still full of Tadpoles, some are quite big so expect them to grow legs & loose tails soon to become Froglets.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Monday 7 May 2012

Bank Holiday Monday Weeding!

Weather forecast was for rain today, so only expected to go to the Allotment for a few hours. But what a lot we got done. 
Here is the late Onion bed, there were Shallots in there too, but most unexpectedly didn't survive, so will put some excess Onions in there in their place, now it's been weeded. 
The last bit that hasn't been touched since last summer, except for putting the pond in, was the end of last years Potato patch, we put Cox's Orange Pippins Apple trees in last winter & a Gooseberry Bush too, but there is room to put some Sweetcorn in between the trees & the Manure heap & Pond. Better for being Weeded.  
This old broken Compost bin, still had compost in it from 2009/2010, it was full of Ground Elder, Nettles & the odd Potato too, but now fully dug out & weeded we can put weed suppressant fabric over the compost & plant Pumpkins in it.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Saturday 5 May 2012

1st Blog of May

 Has been a busy week, done lots of Weeding, we have planted flowers & veg too.

Mown the paths with my Strimmer and burnt most of the weeds in the incinerator bin. 
This is the before photo, see below for the after pic. 
On a narrow strip of soil, weeded & leveled, planted out two lots of Peas, 'Feltham First' & 'Kelvedon Wonder' have used some stiff netting as supports, then covered with a tent of Fleece to protect from dropping over night temps (see below).
Has been a good week for harvests, just today have picked: 
Rhubarb (2 varieties Stockbridge Arrow & Victoria) in the photo is approx 3lb of mixed Rhubarb, I'm going to make Wine out of it for Christmas.  
So a productive week, have had some very chilly nights, the 1st early Spuds (Rocket) have been affected, but hope they will recover as I have earthed them up again. The white tent you can see are the Peas put in today, the Fleece will protect them until stronger & frost less likely.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.