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 available.

Harrod Horticultural are offering 10% off raised beds - quote code RB10 at checkout click here

Suttons have a 48 hour clearance sale of a huge range of bulbs click here

Sarah Raven also has a bulbs sale click here

Saturday, April 26

Another busy afternoon

Thursday we had another busy afternoon on the plot. Whenever we go to the plot the second thing I always do after unloading the car is have a look around camera in hand to see what has changed since the last visit.

On Thursday it was the blossom that dominated my attention. The pear blossom is falling and the ground beneath one of the trees - Invincible - looked to be sprinkled with confetti.
There was plenty of bee activity when the flowers were in their prime so hopefully this will result in a decent pear crop.
One thing that I had been eagerly anticipating was the flowering of the quince tree - Meeches Prolific. The buds are conical and sit upright on the branches. They unfurl into what I think are really beautiful flowers.
Last year the quince fruits were a disappointment as many had bitter pit which was only apparent when we had harvested the fruits.

Our apple hedge is amazing. We think the inherited plant at one end of the hedge is a Discovery. In spite of being riddled with canker which would cause most 'expert' gardeners to advise us to get rid of it, it always has more blossom than the other apples and produces lots of fruit. This year it seems to have surpassed itself - I don't think I have ever seen it covered in so much blossom.
The small Egremont Russet has lots of blossom too.
Other apple varieties have buds ready to burst open when the sun deigns to shine again. 

All this wandering around taking photos doesn't get the work done though and we did have another busy afternoon.

I was on planting duty again. This time I planted the first lot of broad beans - Witkeim Manita. As always these were sown in pots and nurtured in the home greenhouse and cold frame before planting outdoors. Two seeds are planted in each pot, however we defy instruction and allow both to grow treating them as one plant. They were planted through the weed control fabric used for them last year which had been moved onto the appropriate bed.
This bed will be filled with more plants in due course.

Martyn was on potato planting duty. After much deliberation he decided that he wasn't going to risk planting this batch of potatoes through fabric until we found out how our experimental bed fared. The fabric that had covered the bed over winter was removed, (no real weeding was necessary), and the soil tilled before the lazy planting was carried out (lazy as in no digging of deep trenches etc.).
I had completed my planting before Martyn had finished so I decided to tidy a 'herb bed'. The bed will need more attention as some plants seem past their sell by date. For now after cutting back dead stems and weeding out couch grass and creeping potentilla we are left with this.
The bed was still saturated which isn't ideal for herbs. It's really strange how some areas of the plot are much wetter than others for no obvious reason. In the case of this bed, I wonder if the proximity of the water tap may have an effect. Maybe people allow cans to overflow or wash things under a running tap which drains into this area. Maybe a rethink of the bed is required.

Our final job before heading home was to tidy around one of the rhubarb plants - something that has needed doing for quite some time.
I hope the vacant plots next to us are taken soon - we don't want to go back to the days when we gardened in the middle of a sea of derelict plots. At the moment it wouldn't take much to get these plots sorted and ready for planting. There are even fruit tree in blossom and lots of strawberry plants on the plot photographed on the left.
If you are interested in seeing what our plot was like when we took it on see here on our web site.


33 comments:

  1. The blossom is fabulous, the quince reminds me of a rose. Interesting about how you grow your broad beans, allowing both plants to grow.

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  2. Quince are in the rosaceae family like apples and pears as well as roses, Jo. As for the beans they don't seem to suffer being raised as twins

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  3. Visiting your blog is like a glimpse into the future when spring really gets going.

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    1. Time travel - I like that idea tpals

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  4. It does seem to have been a great year for blossom. It's always quite sad to see it being blown off the trees. I hope those allotments get new owners soon, such a pity to let them lie unused. I know some of the ones in Basingstoke have 10 year waiting lists. Debbie.

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    1. Let's hope it follows that it is a good year for fruit, Debbie. We are told there is a waiting list so I don't know whether there is and he council are just slow of the mark or there isn't a waiting list for ours site

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  5. There is so much blossom this year and the bees are certainly busy. I'm surprised that the allotments are free as around here there is a very long waiting list. Have you been watching the Allotment Challenge on Tuesdays?

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    1. It's lovely seeing all the blossom Chel. We watched the programme once - well I did but Martyn gave up half way through. I'm afraid we haven't since. Maybe if it had been named Grow to Show it would have been more appropriate. The problem is we grow to eat.

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  6. I hope those vacant plots are taken over soon, I hate to think of all the weed seeds coming your way if they are left much longer. Although your control fabric will help - wise move!
    I managed to get the potatoes done yesterday too. Just as well as the weather has gone properly down hill now.

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    1. We still have some potatoes left to plant, Jessica.

      The bills came in for the allotment rental yesterday so probably this will spur them on to allocate

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  7. So far my pear tree has lots of fledgling fruit as big as a pin head but will all probably drop off as it has done every year since I planted it - I have never had one pear! The apple blossom is wonderful. I had a quince tree for Christmas it doesn't look as though it will flower this year though. Looks like you are getting to grips nicely with your plot the weed covering fabric is doing a grand job of keeping the weeds from growing, saving you a lot of hard work.

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    1. The weed control is worth the expense, Elaine as it frees us up to do things we didn't have time to do before. I do hope you get some pears this year. I've noticed plum fledglings.

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  8. Lovely to see all the blossom Sue and a lovely update

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  9. Looks great. Bad news on the herb bed front though. Most herbs are pretty tolerant but prefer dry feet. Have you considered a herb spiral to raise the soil level and improve drainage (along with a generous proportion of sand)?

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    1. I'm not sure how much it is worth the bother, Mal as we also have herbs in pots in the garden where we can harvest fresh. The ones at the plot tend ti be surplus except for chives.

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  10. Never take any notice of expert gardeners Sue!

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    1. I guess we all learn something from each other, Roger. I think instinct is often the best gardener's attribute.

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  11. You have do a great job! It's really interesting to see your allotment time by time. Wow...The rhubarb looks so striking, really stunning! You have give me so many interesting lesson. Thank you so much!

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    1. And you have taught me lots too, Endah. There are ornamental forms of rhubarb but it certainly has spectacular leaves, You can use them as umberellas

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  12. Hi Sue, what a variety of lovely blossom you have, it really is the best time of year ! I think it is the promise of so much yet to come.
    You seem as though you are now really able to get 'stuck in' and get planting, now the soil is warming up. Do you ever get a bot overwhelmed by all the jobs there are to do ? I sometimes walk down the garden and I can only see the things that need doing, and not all the things that are already done. It is a great motivater !

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    1. One reason for having te plot set out as separate beds is so we get a feel of progress, Jane. The weed control fabric has helped considerably. I got told off yesterday for listing the things that needed doing.

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  13. If there are vacant plots next to you does that mean your site doesn't have a waiting list? Do you think the 'GYO Craze' is waning as people discover that you can't actually plant something, and then wander back three months later to harvest it ....

    Is there any point you spending a couple of hours with a strimmer to deal with the worst of the weeds - it might save you considerably more hours next year dealing with all the seeds which take root?

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    1. There is supposed to be a waiting list, Jayne so who knows? One of the rules is no strimming at the weekend so it cuts down options (although Martyn does keep the edges back when necessary). This rule is despite the fact that yesterday - Saturday - a nearby industrial unit was using some sort of machine that made a similar noise to a strimmer all afternoon. It seems it is a one set of rules fits all as one site that is right next to the M62 has the same conditions applied.

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  14. Quince has very pretty flowers, they remind me of strawberry and vanilla icecream :)

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    1. We have a picture of a quince flower on our bedroom wall , Dewberry.

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  15. That quince is lovely, makes me feel like painting it. I've never known so much pear and plum blossom, and now apple blossom is everywhere. It looks like it's going to be a wonderful year for fruit....fingers crossed.
    Your rhubarb is enormous!xxx

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    1. That's not the biggest rhubarb, Snowbird :)

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  16. I'm always amazed by the amount of the flowers on your trees. Only my quince has lots of flowers, and I'm not happy about it. I don't know what to do with all the quince fruits we get.

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    1. I'm really happy if we end up with lots of quince fruits, Leanan. We use ours in a similar way to apples. Pies, crumbles, compote etc.

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  17. Prodigious blossom, I hope it translates into amazing harvests too. The quince flowers really are beautiful.

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  18. Drat, forgot to add, am fascinated that you leave your broad beans to grow in pairs, will have to try that myself...

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    1. It seems to work OK, Janet - looking at the mature plant you'd probably not guess there were two plants where one should be. If you end up short of plants you can tease the pair apart, I'm wondering if this is why we don't need to tie the beans up which we never do

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