Monday, April 11

We don't dig, dig dig!

The beautiful weather this week has meant that we have got lots done on the plot. (See Martyn's blog).

All the onion, garlic, elephant garlic and shallots that had been started off in pots in the greenhouse have been planted along with all the heat treated onion sets and any ordinary sets that were left over! If you are interested for more about planting onions sets and growing garlic follow the links.

We also have planted all our seed potatoes using our trowel method. It used to take forever and a day to plant all our seed potatoes when we went through the torture of digging trenches and on a very warm day like we had on Saturday we would have been flagging. But the nine varieties of seed potatoes were planted in no time. If you visit here there is a short video of our planting method.

As there was very little wind we sowed our parsnip seeds. Parsnip sowing and windy weather just don’t belong in the same place as anyone who has ever sown parsnips seed will agree. We always sow our seed in a shallow trench filled with dampened compost to give them a good start in our heavy clay soil and it seems to work well. I’ve described this method on my website here.

The wire mesh is just to give a bit of protection from animal paw prints.

In the same beds we sowed our carrot seeds using a very similar method to that used for parsnips and as usual we, (we here means Martyn – well I do help a little bit), construct a sort of enviromesh tent over them to protect against carrot fly. There’s more detail here.

The strawberry plants that were also waiting in the greenhouse have been planted into our new strawberry bed. They have been spaced well apart so that hopefully this will make weeding easier as I want to try and avoid the new strawberry patch becoming as clogged with weeds as the old beds. Some already have flowers which a bee was visiting even before I planted them.

One of the beds on the plot was very large so we decided to divide it up a bit and have made another path. The idea is that we will plant the Japanese Wineberry along the side of this path and maybe a thornless blackberry.

Some of the apples and blueberries have joined in the display of blossom. The alpine strawberries also have flowers. We noticed plenty of bee action when we were sitting having our coffee breaks. Let’s hope their work is effective as already petals are falling from the plums and gages just like confetti.

Last year I planted a mixture of tulip bulbs to use as cut flowers and I picked my first bunch. The only trouble is that the sun has brought all the flowers out at the same time so it looks as though we will have to enjoy the rest on the plot.

To temper this with some bad news - the mouse has been raiding the greenhouse again!
Update on our blue tit nest:
The nest is now progressing very quickly and as soon as I can edit the video I'll post it on the web page that can be accessed from the sidebar.

Latest videos are now available



  1. Well it looks like you have had a great weekend. I got plenty done too but unlike you totally forgot to take my camera down the plot.

    It is all looking great and I can't wait to see the nest box video!!

  2. You've had a busy weekend. You've done all the things I should have done, strawberries, onions, shallots, potatoes, but instead I spent the weekend in the garden getting that tidied up. I'm hoping that the weather stays nice so that I can get things done on the allotment now.

  3. My camera is like a part of my body, Tanya- it goes everywhere with me just about!

    It's the garden's turn this week Jo. So we are just doing things the other way round.

  4. Things are really moving along up at your plot! Exciting times...

  5. My goodness you two have been very very busy!! I bet your arms are a bit tired from all that digging!!

  6. Beautiful tulips! Oh my you have such a big plot. I have to take a look again at your tutorial for planting shallots.

  7. Exciting times indeeed Janet.

    Plenty of coffee breaks for us too Robin - we do have a rotavator which Martyn uses to dig over the beds once we have dug out the weeds. Our clay soil wouldn't break down to any sort of tilth without it - especially when it is hard and dry.

    WE are lucky that we got our plot when no-one wanted them which is why it is a good size.

  8. I've just updated the snippets of video on the bird cam page.

  9. I like that kind of space to play around with plants...

  10. I had a busy weekend too. The weather was perfect, so I got a lot of jobs done - planting out some brassica seedlings, pricking out Basil, Physalis and Chard, etc.
    Your photo with the light snd shade and the silhouette of the photographer is very atmospheric!

  11. Strawberries do get so clogged up with weeds - I sympathise!

    I am going to try carrots for the first time this year - just swithering about whether to protect with fleece or not. You'd obviously advise it?

  12. I checked my blackberries whilst up the plot today. I have two varieties, one is 'Chester' and the other 'Loch -Ness'. both very juicy and tasty though personally I prefer the loch-ness. However if you do decider= to purchase one of these varieties I reserve the right not to be held responsible if you taste isn't quite the same as

    I have to admit to love picking the fruit off of pain free!!!!

  13. You've got loads done, a very productive weekend!

  14. It's just a pity that it isn't attached to our garden Bangchik - Ideally we'd have liked a larger garden - the allotment came about because we couldn't find one we liked in our area.

    It was quite late when I took it Mark. The shadow is our plot neighbours shed - it looks as though I am on the roof!

    I'd use enviromesh Linda as fleece isn't very strong and is easily damaged whereas we've used the same enviromesh for several years. It keeps animals and birds off the seed row before they germinate and carrot fly after but unfortunately not slugs - a consolation is if you use slug pellets birds and animals can't get to eat them.

    Tanya - is Loch Ness vigorous as our soil is very heavy. Another recommendation is Black Satin which is supposed to be more vigorous but I know nothing about the taste.

    Yep Damo very productive and now it's windy and cold again.

  15. It is hard work this time of the year clearing ground for planting, but just the most satisfying when you can stand back and see what you have done. Much better work than pushing papers across a desk all day!

  16. That's why we wanted to split up the large bed, Matron as this way you can manage a bed in one session rather.

  17. You've been busy! My onions & shallots (yes, more of them!) are sitting outside to harden off - freeze off, more likely, this week. Hopefully I'll get them in this weekend. Hasn't it turned cold.

  18. I have p[lanted my blacberries down near the greenhouse. The land here was not prepared so well as it was all full of twitch and old rubbish so to make things a little easier for myself I covered it with a weed suppressor and then chucked gravel down....then I just gashed a whole in the membrane and plonked it in. The soil has lots of clay and bad stuff in it but even last year after only just planting it out I got a few berries off it so I was very pleased and it is going strong and didn't even notice the harsh winter!1

  19. It has turned cold Woody and here we were thinking summer had arrived - can't imagine what the poor plants and birds are making of it.

    Thanks Tanya - it sounds a sturdy variety then.

  20. Must get garlic out here too, it's just been to dry/too hot/too busy doing other things ...

  21. BW We managed to get the garlic in before it was too warm but now it is suffering a bit


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