Monday, July 23

Episode two - On the Plot.

Episode 2 in my allotment soap features the area of our plot that house both the greenhouse and the shed. The shed has earned its keep this year and provided us with a refuge during the frequent downpours. Note the patchwork patio!
Wrapping round the shed a chicken wire 'fence' supports the tayberry which would have provided us with lots of berries had the constant rain not only spoiled many but prevented us from getting to the plot frequently enough to pick them quickly after they had ripened.
At the back of the shed, alongside the tayberry is a grapevine. The intention is to train this along two sides of the shed but we haven't managed to get round to this yet. I haven't noticed any fruit buds although a second vine planted elsewhere on the plot does have some baby fruits - which I guess will stay baby sized!

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are beginning to set one or two fruits - the plants look healthy enough but there hasn't been a whole lot of flowering going on.
At least we haven't had to worry about watering them too regularly.

Much of this area of the plot is given over to fruit. There are a couple of cranberries in tubs outside the greenhouse - one has set fruit and the other is beginning to produce a few flowers - very weird as they are the same variety and only a greenhouse door width apart!

The bed nearest to the shed contains four blueberries - the berries ripen at slightly different times - the first bush has fruit beginning to turn. The trouble is that the fruit is ready a few berries at a time which if left to fully ripen will fall victim to birds. We can't net the entire plot and so I pick the berries slightly under-ripe as I find they ripen quickly off the bush and the flavour doesn't appear to be affected.
Behind The blueberry bed are three pear trees which in spite of setting fruit now don't have a single pear to their name! This bed is planted up with annual flowers which should be creating a bit of colour by now but are failing miserably.

Beyond the pear trees are a couple of beds containing rhubarb, gooseberries, whitecurrants, jostaberries, alpine strawberries and a Glencoe raspberry. Whilst most of these fruits are providing a harvest - the jostaberry at first glance is fruitless. Maybe there are some fruits camouflaged amongst the leaves that will show themselves once they ripen but I doubt it.

The next bed contains the broad beans which after a poor start are doing well. Even the plants that looked pathetic when first planted have rallied and are providing a crop. Martyn was ready to rip them out but I pleaded a second chance for them and they have repaid my confidence in them. Alongside the beans is the onion and the shallot bed. The onions seem to be picking up a little but that may just be wishful thinking.

To provide a boundary - we're not allowed fences - we have planted a shrub and perennial bed along the edge of this part of the plot.
As you can see this area is in desparate need of weeding but at the moment we are concentrating on weeding beds planted with edibles.
Level with the onion bed is a bed of potatoes although to look at it you would never know. For some reason these never really got going and they haven't really produced much of a crop.

The bed alongside the broad bean is a brassica bed in which the slugs and snails have had a field day. It is netted against butterflies and birds but the slimy intruders don't respect netting. It had also become very weedy which was providing an ideal sluggy environment. This has now been weeded and the slimy, squatters - that I came across, have been evicted. We will just have to see whether the lacy brassicas produce anything edible.
The bed alongside the brassicas contains an apple and a jostaberry but is in desperate need of reclaiming from the weeds! (Tanya please note!)

Next comes the inherited apple hedge. Although lots of apples have set these don't seem to be growing. Behind the apple hedge are some young apple trees which also have slowly developing fruits.
Alongside the apples the redcurrants are protected under a makeshift fruit cage. We have harvested quite a lot of fruit from these bushes and will soon let the blackbirds and thrushes in so they can take their share.

Finally in this section is our large rhubarb bed. The sprig growing behind the greenhouse is a plum sucker or self sown plum tree that needs dealing with.
I did take far more photos and so if you still want to see more - well done for sticking with me so far - then browse the album below!

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15 comments:

  1. My broad beans are currently at the pathetic stage, I suspect though they wont ever look as fabulous as yours. I do like the idea of growing cranberries but that is one thing I'm fairly sure we don't have the climate for.

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    1. At first we grew the cranberries in between the blueberries, Liz but they sprawled everywhere making weeding difficult so we moved them into tubs. Our first lot of broad beans went through the pathetic stage and it is amazing how they have recovered

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  2. I'm always amazed at how you tend to such a large plot and so many fruit tress and bushes. The tomatoes look so healthy, hope they give a good harvest over the next couple of months.

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    1. Have to say that the fruit trees are far easier to look after than the vegetables are, Kelli.

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  3. Look at your broad beans...awesome!! huge...thank heavens you were able to contain the slayer ;-) and they remained.

    My rhubarb is kinda baked in this heat...yours is giant and gorgeous.

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    1. Some of our smaller clumps oof rhubarb has faded Bren the big clump is very mature and seems much tougher (the plant not the taste!)

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  4. I've never even heard of Jostaberries before but will certainly look them up. Your plot looks great Sue and I'm really impressed by the variety of fruit and berries you have!

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    1. Jostaberries are a cross between a blackcurrant and a gooseberry Tanya. The fruits are larger than a blackcurrant but smaller than a gooseberry and have a distinctive blackcurranty flavour.

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  5. I saw the weeds Sue and this makes me realise that you are human after all!! :-) Despite that it's looking great. How big is your allotment? do you have two plots? You seem to have so much space, maybe you have just used it wisely!!

    Nice to finally see some bright photos I think I even saw a shadow in one...did you see the sun?

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    1. Glad you saw the weeds Tanya - there'll be more in following posts. Our plot is quite big - about a third of an acre in total - this is really because when we took our plots no-one wanted them and the site was semi derelict. The council were looking at changing the status of over half of the site to grazing land and hiring it out for horses etc. This meant lots of us took on extra plots to protect the allotment status. The council were keen for us to do this and even encouraged us to take on more and more - it earned them more rent of course!

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  6. Your allotment is really doing good despite few vegetables!
    I hope your tomatoes will provide you handful of harvest!
    I never heard about tayberry before...are they sweet? how you eat them?
    Weeding is never ending story in garden....;)

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    1. A tayberry is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry Malar. They're not as sweet as a raspberry and used more like blackberries.

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  7. Sue; despite a few under-par performances, I think your plot is doing well in the circumstances. I have found that some crops have done particularly well this year even though the weather has prsented more challenges than usual. Last week our temperature got down to 9 degrees C and today it is 30. Plants don't like that sort of variation!

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    1. Same here Mark - now it's too hot to go to the plot - how mad is that?
      The parts of the plot seen so far are the fuller but - some parts are very bare considering. I think the problem with an allotment over growing in the garden is that you are not on hand to deal with the conditions as readily.

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