Sunday, May 1

Firmly planted ... and watered

Besides weeding, watering, sowing, pricking out and clearing over the past couple of weeks we have been doing quite a lot of planting. One reason that we have been holding off is that the ground is just so dry even well down.

The other reason was I was hoping all the perennials that I have ordered would arrive before I started planting. I still have a couple of lots of plants to come but the plants were begging to be released from their pots and so I had to bite the bullet and get started. Hopefully when the other plants come I will have left appropriate spaces for them.

To combat the dryness each planting hole was filled with water before filling in which should provide water where it is needed to the roots and encouraged them to branch out into the surrounding soil.
Also still growing in pots were the fruit and nut bushes that came from Victoriana Nursery.

The cobnut and Japanese wineberry have been planted on the plot again in water filled holes. Both seem to be coping well.
Our plot neighbour Joe is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to growing things from seeds found in the fruit he buys and he had previously given us a cobnut that he had grown. This is of unknown origin so we don’t really know what to expect but as I was told that the Kent cob from Victoriana was semi self fertile it seemed a good idea to plant them together and hope that they get along. Our original cobnut wasn’t ideally situated for this, so after being well watered it was dug up and planted alongside the newcomer. So far it seems not to have noticed that it has moved.

The Japanese wineberry has been planted alongside a newly created pathway so that we can easily pick our crops of berries (hopeful as ever). It will be given something to climb up shortly but is presently managing to stay upright helped by a cane.

As I mentioned in an earlier post we decided to plant a thornless blackberry to grow up the same structure as the wineberry and I asked if anyone had a recommendation for which variety I should choose. Tanya from Allotments 4 You commented to say that she liked Loch Ness and so we set about searching for this at our local nurseries – no luck! There were plenty available online so as we were impressed by the plants we received earlier from Victoriana we decided to order from them. It wasn’t the cheapest supplier but we felt we knew what we would be getting. Another good quality plant arrived and is now planted on the plot. So Tanya the test now is will ours taste as good as yours?

I intend to plant a border of alpine strawberries along the front on these two plants but again the dry conditions puts me off moving the plants.

That leaves the kiwi Issai – we have decided to keep that in a tub in the garden so we can keep a closer eye on it. I was going to plant it alongside the kiwis already planted on the plot as a way of pollinating them but apparently Issai won’t pollinate other varieties so it stays in the garden where we will have a ready supply of fresh mini kiwis (hopeful again!)

It too needs some sort of support structure maybe some sort of obelisk! Maybe not quite as impressive as those that Bilbowaggins has a Bag End – I think they’d be a bit too big for the pot!

Talking of our plot kiwis – one of the plants is covered in buds whilst the other has absolutely none!
So it looks as though we will have a pollination issue again. Unfortunately the kiwis were planted when we were less organised and so we aren’t sure which varieties we planted or which plant is male and which female. We think one is Hayward which should be female but we don’t know whether it’s this one that flowers or not. Anyone know how I can tell a male flower from a female. Does the female have no pollen or stamen?

We have also planted up some of our vegetables using the hole of water method. We planted some broad bean plants and the cabbage plants that had managed to survive the mouse attack.  All are so far doing well!
Just as a footnote a couple of unhappy events on site:
It appears we are being plagued by a thief – some plot holders have had their greenhouses raided – young vegetable plants being grown on have been stolen. We hope that this isn’t going to become a trend. It is really upsetting to have plants that have been nurtured taken especially when young children have grown them. When young plants can be bought fairly cheaply at garden centres! We are fortunate in that we can grow our plants on in our garden greenhouse but I really feel for those who have become victims.

Unhappy event number two may serve as a reminder or warning to other gardeners. One of the plot holders on site was clearing away parsnips that had started to regrow and has suffered severe burning to his arms caused by the sap from the leaves so be very careful when dealing with parsnip tops. A similar problem can occur if you use a strimmer on a sunny day wearing shorts. Sap from the grass can react with the sun and also cause burning to the skin. Apparently sap from celery and carrots can also cause burning in sunny conditions.


  1. I'm also planting out stuff; Celeriac today, and beans tomorrow. Must see if I can find time to put my tomatoes in their final growing-containers tomorrow...

  2. Sorry to hear about the plant thefts that's pretty low considering how easy they are to obtain relatively cheaply. I'd heard about the parsnips sap thing but didn't realise it could be that bad, thanks for the warning.

  3. Hey GLA...fingers crossed you like the fruit from your blackberry.

    I feel for your plotters who have had things disappear....I had an issue with this last year so then got a lock from my greenhouse....I know it's easy to remove the glass but it seems to have solved the problem...I guess mine were just opportunists.

    The plot is looking great...sorry i can't help you with the kiwi issue but I don't know anything about them...I did buy one a few years ago but it didn't survive!!

    Our soil still has plenty of moisture even though we haven't had yet I'm not watering the plot!!

    Thanks for the tip in the parsnip leaves and such...I never knew this but will be sure to remember it for future reference.

  4. Its hard to imagine in your area dry when I have always imagine UK is a wet and windy country. I am also having trouble with mouse and bird. The first time ever! Many of our baby seedlings were uprooted. I thought theif want to steal tools instead of seedlings. I guess people are becoming more into home-grown, seedlings are selling like cupcakes.

  5. That's horrible about the thefts at your plots. I didn't know that about the parsnip sap...thanks for the tip!

    It's sounds like your planting is well underway!! Everything is looking good!

  6. Celeriac just doesn't seem to like our soil Mark - we've tried a few times with no success. Our plot neighbours too.

    Parsnip is related to giant hogweed Damo - it seems that with most of these plants its the effect of the sun and sap together.

    Our soil is bone dry Tanya even quite far down - it's difficult making a hole as it fill in. Can't really remember the last rain we had.

    It's all or nothing with our weather Diana - at the moment it is quite breezy so that is drying things out even more. It's too hot to work in the greenhouse.

    The worry is Robin will the thieves be as equally keen to steal our fruit and vegetables - prices are going up so much in the shops and people are feeling the squeeze.

  7. Your new berries make me want to get some too.

    Also, I had no idea sap could be that dangerous. I am used to be careful of thorns only.

  8. I hope we get some berries as tasters this year Fer

  9. We also fill planting holes with water, then plant when it has drained down. It's got to help! I've still got a few plants in pots on the patio meant for planting in the garden ot the village flower beds but the lack of rain over more than a month has made me hang fire. Surely we must get some soon?

  10. You have a great collection of fruit, I hope the kiwis on the plot surprise you and somehow work out how to "mate". I had the same issue with plants outgrowing their containers, and since I was encouraged by how damp the soil was a little way down in my pond bed I went through a similar laying out and planting exercise yesterday. I'll be using your "water the hole" method up at the plot later as I have cosmos and lettuce to put in. Good tip about the sap issue, will try to remember that. The plant thieves are appalling individuals - its hard to imagine fellow gardeners behaving like that, perhaps they hope to sell the plants? It is now pretty big business.

  11. We've looked at our forecast VH and not really any rain heading our way.

    If I knew which sex of kiwi flowered I may be able to provide it with a suitable mate. Our plot neighbour has kiwis but they are too small to flower at the moment. They have one in their garden that does flower and are going to try to bring me a flower so I can have a go pollinating!

  12. It's all looking good. I wanted to get some sowing done at the allotment today but it's just too windy, I'm sure the seeds would blow away if I tried. It beggars belief that anyone would steal veg plants, how low some stoop. I didn't know about parsnip sap, I'll make sure I take precautions.

  13. Good progress on your plot! I'd love to see some more from your kiwi vine!

  14. Seeds would certainly have blown away on our plot yesterday Jo - see martyn's video on his blog

    I'll definitely be writing and showing more about the kiwis matron - I'd just love some fruit though.

  15. Thats some lovely looking fruit! I keep wondering about exotic things like Kiwi's but wonder if they're worth the effort in our climate.. do you get enough to enjoy do you think?

  16. P&M Our kiwi hasn't produced any fruit as yet but we have a pollination issue. So far we haven't actually harvested any exotics but some of our plants are newly planted so it's a case of watch this space.

  17. Gayle BurdenJanuary 21, 2015

    Hi, I know its a while since this post but I was wondering where you got your wineberry from? I want to get one from a garden centre as I like to see plants before buying them but haven't seen any.

    1. Hi Gayle
      The wineberry came from Victoriana Gardens nursery, It was a good plant but to be honest it has never thrived on the plot nor produced a crop,

    2. Gayle BurdenJanuary 22, 2015

      that's a shame but thanks for the information.


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