Sunday, April 20

Plotting

It's that time of year when it's all go on the plot - for us now is the time to lay the groundwork for a decent harvest to set us up for the year. It is why it is disappointing to see some vacant plots on our site waiting for new tenants. There is apparently a waiting list but as these plots wait for someone to love them they are gradually filling with weeds and time is running our for new tenants to get planting, (Maybe that is what the waiting list means - plots are waiting rather than wannabe allotmenteers!)

Anyway back to our plot. We sow most of our seeds at home in our garden greenhouse where we can look after them more carefully - a full list of our sowings is here but there comes a time when our fledgings must leave home and April is the time for the first departures.

Onion and shallot sets were started off in modules and have now taken up permanent residence on the plot. We have several generations of onions. The autumn planted ones are sprinting away now. We start using these as soon as they are big enough to be useable.
The next generation are the ones that were started off in modules and have developed a root system and made some growth - these have now been planted out. Then as always we end up with too many sets to raise as full sized onions and so these form the next generation. They are close planted and will produce small onions just right for pickling.
The garlic planted in autumn was doing really well until disaster struck. Our plot neighbour, Jan has given us some old fence panels with which to repair our compost bins. These were propped behind the garlic bed when the winds came along and - splat! - blew it on top of the garlic flattening it! We hoped it wasn't damaged beyond recovery and fortunately it has sprung back if not to its former glory something closely resembling it.
Potato planting is underway with one lot planted experimentally under weed control fabric. We chickened out of planting all the potatoes in this way until we convinced ourselves that this would result in a decent crop. Interestingly we watched Beechgrove Gardens the other night and they are trying out the same thing, - maybe they read Martyn's blog where he has already mentioned doing this.


Although the plum and greengage blossom is now fading the pears and cherry are looking beautiful.


The apples are also flowering - interestingly the sunny side of our apple hedge is well ahead of the shady side.


The bees are loving the bounty - such a pity that Wakefield council have decided no more fruit trees can be planted on plots. Its strange as they state they are all for promoting biodiversity and the blossom must be a lifeline for bees at this time of the year and as we all know these busy little insects need all the help we can give them.

28 comments:

  1. Some of the new rules are crazy especially the no new trees one. I'm planning to get another in before they can say anything. No strimming on a weekend aswell - what's that all about? It's the only time we can do it! Limited hours would be much better particularly since our site is next to the M62 so noise isn't an issue. I do like the 60% minimum cultivation rule though as there are some on our site who only have pigeons or hens and let the rest grow wild so hopefully they will have to tidy up.

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    1. Hi Kerry and welcome, I agree with everything you have written. If the worry was shade cast by trees they could have set a height limit or stated trees should be well within your own plot.
      As for the strimming rule why are strimmers noisier than mowers or cultivators or plot holders that have a load radio. We have a very quiet battery strimmer. It seems they have put together a one rule fits all regardless of location.
      We have the same re non cultivation but it is annoying when the council take so long to reallocate a pristine plot ready to just move onto and start planting that it becomes overgrown. Their reluctance to allocate is a worry in the current sell off allotment sites climate.
      Are you going to one of their roadshows?

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    2. Yes. We're going to the castleford one.

      Totally agree with everything you said.

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    3. We are going to the one in Ossett. My email is on the sidebar - let me know how you get on and ig you send me an email I'll do likewise.

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  2. Your Alliums look great. I have never succes on growing this family, except garlic chive. The heat and humidity make the plants so poor, evenly on the rainy season. On the highland their growth are really stunning, cause it has cooler and drier weather.

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  3. I'm hoping that they go on to produce a good harvest, Endah

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  4. The tree rule is really disappointing isn't it. As well as the vacant plots gradually getting covered in weeds. Although we have a very strict lady with a clipboard who keeps on top of things quite a bit, I've still noticed some weedy plots at our site. It's such a shame. I got mine in July, after it had sat untouched for at least six months, and of course it was covered in full grown weeds. I'm taking notes on the way you grow onions, especially as I seem to have an extra bag of sets. I think I'll probably end up using them for pickling as well. I hope you and Martyn have a good Easter.

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    1. It is CJ and also most of the shade on our site comes from a row of leylandii growing on out southern boundary.

      It did get me wondering what is the definition of a tree? I found this from the Oxford dictionary 'A woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground,

      So what exactly is some distance from the ground. If the 'tree; has low branches is it not actually a tree. So presumably you can have apple bushes if they are fan trained/cordon.step over or have the leader restricted to create a bush formation or if low branches are allowed to form.

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    2. Just to add the small onions are also good for when you don;t need much onion as well as for pickling.

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  5. If ever I were tempted to apply for an allotment, I would bear in mind what you have written here (and elsewhere), so I think I would not go ahead. I don't like the officious Rules culture which seems to pervade some allotment sites. Having said that, I think some plot-holders hang onto their plots too long when they evidently can't, or don't want to cultivate them. I would like the space to grow more veg (I'm very far from self-suffiicent), but I think an allotment is not the answer for me.

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    1. And some people get an allotment thinking it is going to be easy and just never get going, Mark but still hang on.

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  6. We were really lucky with out new plot, it had been very well looked after and it was handed over to us before the old tenants had even cleared their belongings from the shed. I think many new plot holders have such a lot of work to put in to clear everything before they can even start thinking about planting anything in the ground that they end up giving up before they've got going. If there's a waiting list, I don't see why a plot can't be allocated to a new tenant as soon as it becomes vacant, it certainly makes more sense all round.

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    1. Neither can we, Jo. We are told there is a waiting list and yet the plot next to us was given up in February.

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  7. No more fruit trees? That will have been decided by some twerp in a high-vis vest who's never grown anything more interesting than mould in a student bathroom. What's the betting it is the result of a Health & Safety audit - trees are dangerous you know, a branch will fall down and hurt someone.

    Obvious from your photos that you and M. have been extremely busy this holiday.

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    1. Unfortunately these things are rarely decided on a gardening basis, Jayne.

      We would have been even busier if the weather had been as forecast!

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  8. This tree rules are awful, Sue. We have no such rules here and I bought one more tree - plum tree and will plant it soon. I see you grow onions, garlic and shallot with weed control fabric. Do you do the holes in it when you plant the seedlings or you do the stripes of the fabric?

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    1. Fortunately we have planted as many fruit trees as we want already Nadezda but it is a strange rule. The onions and garlic were planted out as small plants and strips were cut in the fabric and folded back to create the planting space you can see in the photos - then the plants were planted in the channel. If you click on the second photo you will get a better view and you may be able to see that the edges are pegged down.

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    2. I have the same fabric and will do as your strips. I want to plant the salad and radish the same way. Thank you!

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  9. I have not got an allotment but admire them. I totally oppose to there being rules, apart from you should cultivate something and it should be legal produce, but no more. What is this you must conform to rules!?! Put me right off!

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    1. Hi Helena and welcome. I don't mind purposeful rules that I can understand are for the general benefit of everyone - it's the ones that seem random that I object to, I know of one site where they have to operate to a timetable e.g. potatoes planted by 'x date' and all plot clearing by 'y date' which is incredible. Individuality is what makes life interesting. I do wonder in the current climate of selling off sites whether the ain is to put people off. That and high rents.

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  10. The tree rule seems somewhat daft. I've always wondered about the waiting lists too- in our site we've seen plots being vacant for months, although there is a long waiting list. Good to hear your garlic recovered from the accident and everything else in your plot looks very good. I have to look into your new potato growing method, mention the words 'weed free' and I'm on board ;)

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    1. Hi Pumpkin Lady and welcome. I wonder whether there is actually a waiting list . It was good to see that the garlic sprung back and is niw looking even better. We have used weed control fabric extensively and been pleased - try searching for weed control fabric using the box on the sidebar if you would like to know more. The potatoes are a trial bed with the rest being planted without. We daren't risk the lot!

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  11. The blossom looks lovely, I'm glad to hear your garlic survived!!!
    Are you going to completely cover the potatoes with weed fabric? I've never heard of this before.....it will be interesting to see how it works out.
    Why on earth can't you plant fruit trees? I didn't realize their where rules re what you could grow!
    It's always sad to see empty plots or gardens and the weeds do take over and seed everywhere, I hope yours are taken soon.xxx

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    1. We planted the potatoes through holes in the fabric which we hope they will shoot through, Snowbird. We'll keep a look out and encourage any shoots that are reluctant to do so.

      The rule is no more trees which includes fruit tree. The only reason we can think of is shading other plots but a large bush would be no different.

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  12. Poor garlic, glad it has survived its close encounter with the fence panel. WHy on earth ban all fruit, why not just give a height limit?!

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    1. We wondered that too, Janet, I wonder whether they have notified the birds as we have a hawthorm tree that was planted by a bird.

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  13. Those are promising looking fruit trees with many blooms! Good that your garlic recover ! ;)

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    1. Just hopethey li ve up to the promise, Malar

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