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, April 30
Sunday, April 29
Click on the album to view the larger size photos. Our boots proved invaluable again as it was very muddy all around the show gardens.
The rain held off long enough for us to have a look around and then we made it into the flower marquee to view the indoor displays. I'm afraid some of the colour in the photographs and focus isn't as good as I would have liked as the indoor marquees were quite dark and gloomy.
We didn't actually buy anything - it's always disappointing that the plants on display are often not available to buy - but we did take the names of a couple of nurseries that we will most probably visit.
We also had the chance to check on a couple of details about he summerhouse that we have on order, as one just like it (except for the colour) was on display. Now Martyn feels fairly confident that it will fit in the allocated spot!
Martyn also filmed some video of the show which has been posted here.
PS Tomorrow is the last day for entering the herb competition and so far no-one has managed to correctly identify all the herbs!
Friday, April 27
Wednesday, April 25
Monday, April 23
As you can see most of the plants are growing well and so I am left with lots of new plants in the cold frame. These were taken from last year's runners and were intended to take the place of any winter casualities. Typically with a back-up plan in place winter wasn't as destructive as it could have been. The solution will be to plant up another bed. Martyn has tilled this bed in readiness.
The plants in the above photo are alpine strawberries. I haven't decided whether to move these or not but I doubt the bed will hold all the waiting plants unless I put them much nearer together than is ideal. This bed is on the edge of our plot - the other neat beds belong to our plot neighbours - Jo and Pat.
You may remember that a couple of the fruit beds were also becoming very weedy and so I had tidied those up too and also added some fish, blood and bone fertiliser. These beds are on either side of the strawberry bed.
You can see the edges where my new lavender cuttings will be planted - I may need to take more!
We also managed to plant more potatoes so almost all the potatoes are underground. We have certainly speeded up our potato planting since we rejected the trench method. Now it's a case of just digging a hole as deep as possible with a trowel and popping the tuber in. The soil is earthed up over the newly planted row. Our method is described on this page of my website.
Martyn has posted a photo on his blog here and written more about the varieties of potatoes planted. He has also 'very kindly' showcased the photo that I took of our most weedy area. Well maybe not the most weedy as other areas are just as bad - if not worse! Happy Days!
Don't forget to enter the Herb and Spice Seed book competition. Just to encourage you it could well be that no-one has so far correctly identified every herb so don't put off entering because you can't answer ALL the questions. You could still win!
Saturday, April 21
Unfortunately we just couldn't spare the time to do any weeding as there was some urgent planting that needed doing.
The broad beans that have been desperately in need of planting out - they were nearly starting to produce flowers - have been planted. The poor things are taller that they would usually be when planted out. I've tried to set them in a little deeper and will now have to hope that we don't get any strong winds before they gain a bit of strength.
We're hoping for more fine weather as there is still so much more to do!
PS - For some reason Google Chrome has decided it doesn't like my computer. I've uninstalled and reinstalled 'til I'm blue in the face, I've emptied caches, I've run various utilities, all to no avail. Google Chrome refuses to co-operate. It won't even open! This has forced me to use Internet Explorer to create my blog and view others. Very unstaisfactory - I hope you aren't getting the sorrt of weird looking pages on my blog that I am getting when using IE to view some of the ones that I visit!
Friday, April 20
Thursday, April 19
Sunday, April 15
Co-incidentally I was recently contacted by someone called Sophie to tell me about a special project that she is working on which was launched by Rowse Honey
The idea is for us to write a thank you note to the bees on their Facebook page, (Rowse's page not the bees that is!) as a result they’ll plant a lavender plant with your message attached and send you a photo so you can see!
So why lavender? A couple of years ago Rowse donated £100,000 to a honeybee research project, which discovered that bees love lavender most of all. If the research is correct then the bees on our allotment plot will be drunk with joy!
PS Don't forget to enter the herb competition!
Friday, April 13
Another fruit on the plot that is nowhere near as far on as it's cousin in the garden greenhouse is the grape. We have two vines - Madeline Sylvaner & Boskoop Glory planted outdoors more as an experiment than anything else - we did have fruit on one last year but the grapes were tiny and never ripened - there again last summer was very poor so who knows. The Boskoop Glory is planted to grow up the shed and maybe benefit from some of the warmth - the shed gets really warm when the sun is out. At the moment it has tightly closed buds - and who can blame it?
The earliest of the raspberries are producing buds:
To quickly round off as this is another long post - the blackberries are concentrating on producing leaves. I forgot to take a photo of the Glencoe raspberry but it is leafing up - you'll just have to take my word for it.
As for the Japanese Wineberry - the top growth looks very dry but it seems to be producing new shoots from the base. I don't know whether this is usual - anyone any ideas?
Wednesday, April 11
The one that is in full flower is Delsanne. This is fortunately partially self fertile but will set more fruit if one of the other pears will oblige and help with pollination.
And the third Invincible is somewhere between the two others having more flowers open than the Williams but still having buds too. Hopefully this variety will bridge the gap and cross pollinate with both of the two other trees. That's what must have happened last year as we had fruit on all three trees.
We're not expecting much from our plum and gages as last year we had a bumper harvest - so much so that one of the plum trees - Marjorie's Seedling buckled under the weight of fruit and lost its leading branch. It is this tree, however that has the most blossom. Oullins Gage and Victoria only seem to have a sparse spattering of blossom. Maybe Marjorie is in panic mode and thinks it needs to reproduce quickly. (By the way we have tidied up the grass since this photo was taken - well that's the royal we - Martyn has)
One of the greengages - Reine Claude - has more blossom than the Mannings gage too.
It would suit us if the varieties of gages and plums decide to produce good crops in different years as this way we can avoid one year of plenty and the next of only a few fruits.
The most the apple trees are managing are some tightly closed buds. These are the early varieties others have no sign of buds yet. Sensible fruit!
As for the quince - so far only unfurling leaves. I hope this has fruit again this year as we really developed a taste for quince last year in spite of only having about eight fruits. Don't look too closely at the photo as the bed needs weeding!
I'm afraid the quality of some of these photos is a bit 'off' but they were taken in the gloom so hopefully we'll do better next time!
The blossom is beautiful but I can't wait to see how much fruit sets!