Cases of manure contamination are still cropping up see here so it's still important to take care when acquiring supplies. This is especially important in areas where Forefront weedkiller is used.

If you grow aquilegias then you should read this article in the Telegraph about a 'new' disease,

Harrod Horticultural have a sale - up to 50% off over 80 lines click here

Sarah Raven also has a sale click here

Harrod Horticultural are offering 10% discount on their raised beds click here and quote RB10 at the checkout

Monday, March 2

Sifting through

We managed not just one but two harvesting visits to the plot last week. That's the 'royal we' as Martyn made the first visit on his own whilst I was out. His real mission was to coppice one of our hazel bushes as he described in his post.

Before he returned home he grabbed a few supplies,

The carrots above are Chantenay Royal. Although the size of the roots varies considerably - largely to the fact that we don't thin out the seedlings - you can see that they are stubby with a short root.

Our second harvesting was combined with snowdrop rehoming and clearing the bed that is to become our new strawberry bed.
The above carrots are St Valery, although these again range from very large to tiddlers, these roots are longer in shape. As we would expect at this time of year, not all the roots are harvestable. Some are badly split and others have provided a meal for something other than ourselves. It's just a matter of sifting through. There are still plenty of edible roots which in spite of being in the ground so long would beat any shop bought carrots in a taste test.

We dug two varieties of leeks, on the right are Blue Solaise and on the left are Prizetaker.

I wasn't sure how good the sprouts would be once they'd been tidied up and outer layers of leaves removed but they were fine. There are some tiny sprouts at the top of the plants that may not be worth picking so this lot could be the last of out sprouts.

The stored potatoes are beginning to shoot and so we are experimenting with freezing some parboiled. I know potatoes are cheap to buy but why waste some that are home grown?
Yesterday, I combined some with leeks to make a batch of leek and potato soup - co-incidentally it was St. David's day, I'm sure he would approve.

Saturday, February 28

Moving home

Just before you get the wrong idea - it's not us that are pulling up our roots and deciding to move home.

Often plants just appear at the allotment. We don't remember planting them they just appear. Maybe seeds or in this case even the odd bulbs find their way from the garden to the plot. They secretly grow and in due course we notice them. A few days ago we noticed some clumps of snowdrops growing in the long grass under our plum and greengage trees. I've highlighted them to make then easier to see.
In the above photos they're at the point of going over but a few days earlier they looked like this.
It seemed a shame that they were at their best at a time when our plot visits were short and infrequent. As I have posted we wanted some snowdrops for the front garden but when we visited the garden centre very few were on offer. We both separately had come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to transfer the clumps from the plot to the garden and that it was now a good time to do this.

So the bulbs were lifted ...
... and a short time later the clumps were split, cleared of grass and weeds and rehomed. Some went in the front garden bed as planned and the rest went into the blue and white border in the back garden. Again I have highlighted the clumps.
The clumps will increase and should add some early splashes of spring for the next few years.

Can anyone have too many snowdrops?

Friday, February 27

How does it compare? - February

This year I am going back through last year's photos to compare how things were looking in the garden and on the plot last year with the same dates this year.

Last year things in the garden looked like this ...
The middle photos was taken on the 22 February 2014 and the other two on 25 February 2014.

The hellebores and snowdrops under the magnolia are at about the same stage as they were last year. Paying closer attention this year I think I now know why some clumps of hellebore always seem to flower earlier than others. The earlier flowers sit in patches of sunlight earlier.
When the sun is lower less light filters through and these lucky plants that are bathed in early sunlight respond by flowering earlier.

The photo is the middle above was taken on 22 February, the top photo on 24 February and the bottom one on 25 February.

The crocuses are at about the same stage but as it was a sunny morning the flowers are open. The daffodils are behind - more so around the bird bath.  I am behind too as I haven't yet tidied up the dead fern fronds. The daffodils in the last photo are in the front garden so have the benefit of any sunshine throughout the day should it actually choose to shine. It would appear that the daffodil bulbs have suffered more from the dull February weather than have the crocuses, hellebores and snowdrops.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, February 25

And the Oscar for the most photographed flower in February is ...

Monday, February 23


Imminent retirement, due to poor general condition, of the present post holder means we have a vacancy for a new plot wheelbarrow.
The successful applicant will be based on our allotment plot.

Essential qualities:
  • Must be able to withstand being out in all weathers.
  • Must be of a robust nature and able to work on uneven terrain.
  • Must be lightweight but sturdy.
  • Must be agile and manoeuvrable and able to work in tight spaces.
  • Must be able to withstand long periods of inactivity but still be able to perform reliably at a moment's notice.
Desirable qualities:
  • It would be helpful if the successful applicant was unattractive to those who would try to poach their services and remove them to a new position.
No experience is required as training will be given and so this position would suit a newbie.

Recommendations for this post would be most welcome.

Saturday, February 21

Leading Me into Temptation

If you read Martyn's blog post  you will have heard about our aborted visit to a garden centre and how as a result I was not a happy bunny.

Martyn had taken me off to photograph a couple of steam trains - one in the morning and another in the afternoon. He had also planned that we would have lunch at a large garden centre between locations and my plan was to browse for a while before we headed off for the afternoon's photography. The afternoon train decided to run early and so my plan was thwarted but, as the garden centre is only about half an hour from home, I was on a promise to return. It was also an excuse for another lunch out. Just in case you are interested both lunches were excellent.

My focus was spring bulbs to add more colour to the front garden bed - in particular some more dwarf irises to add to the Katherine Hodgkins that are looking lovely at the moment.
The garden centre hadn't missed a trick as to reach the restaurant on our last visit we had to pass the spring displays. As well as irises I had my eye on some aconites.
In the end we returned home with a boot full of pots and a stomach full of beef and mushroom pie. I could have maybe squeezed a few more plants into the boot but certainly couldn't squeeze anything more into my stomach although Martyn topped up with a slice of mud pie.
We bought pots of aconites, two type of irises - George and Harmony (the only varieties on sale), double snowdrops, puschkinia and some pots of primroses. I know it's an expensive way to buy bulbs but hopefully they will bulk up.

The primroses are destined for a tub but the bulbs have been planted in the front garden.
At the moment there isn't much to show for it but hopefully the front garden will soon have lots of colour.
Although ... I think I may need a few more crocuses :)