Friday, June 17

Busy between showers

We have been trying to get as much work done on the plot as the rain showers allow. There is a fine line between our soil becoming rock hard as too soggy and sticky to work with.

We took advantage of the fine line by preparing and planting up as many of the remaining empty beds. Now we have crossed into wet and soggy again and so more planting is on hold.

The last lot of potatoes have been planted. On our last plot visit all the other potatoes were growing well and some had started to form flower buds. Since then we have had blight conditions so who knows what these will look like on our next visit. At least those tucked underground should be safe.

We planted the second batch of broad beans just as the first batch are in flower. They have battled through the weevil damage and it remains to be seen whether this second batch which are a shorter variety - Robin Hood - will also be attacked by voracious weevils.
Despite their name the pea and bean weevils don't touch the runner or climbing French beans. Their battle is with the slugs.
We decided to dedicate one bed to odds and ends. So far we have planted some left over runner and climbing French beans, some broad beans that wouldn't fit in the designated bed, chrysanthemums and dahlias that overwintered in the greenhouses and some self sown annual scabious.
We sowed another two rows of peas. The first lot are just peeping through so another lot has been sown. The first sowing is growing away well although there are no signs of flowers just yet. This sowing grew fast enough to shake off the weevil damage but this wasn't the case with the mangetout and sugarsnaps. At best they can be described as patchy. Thanks to the weevils any crop is likely to be small. Let's hope that the weevils leave the latest sowings alone.

In the photo on the bottom right above, the 'trench' on the left has been sown with mixed annual flower seeds but more on that at a later date.
Soon after we planted a brassica bed, the cauliflowers were besieged by slugs and it appeared that their days were numbered so we bought some young Romanseco plants to replace them. These were growing on in pots - the idea being that larger plants had more chance of survival. These have now been planted out alongside the original cauliflowers that have rallied. The mesh has been replaced to protect against the ever watchful wood pigeons and ever hopeful white butterflies. We use mesh rather than netting in an attempt to reduce aphid and whitefly infestation.

This year the slugs homed in on our newly germinated parsnip seedlings. I tried resowing but we have only been left with patches of remaining seedlings and so are not expecting a good harvest.

The carrots have fared better.  This year the enviromesh has just been draped over rather than made into a sort of tent. I wondered last year whether this method worked better as the slugs had less open access to the seedling. Whether or not this is true is unproven but the carrots have had a better survival rate this year.

We have sown swede, turnip, beetroot, spinach and more carrots in another bed. We had also sown all except carrots earlier in modules but whether the slugs will leave any to be planted out remains to be seen.
We planted out the Crown Prince squash and the courgettes.
Finally, we have netted the strawberries with a softer netting which we are hoping will be easier to handle when removing it for harvesting. The previously used netting easily tangled including around our feet creating a trip hazard.
All we need now is less wet, mould and slug encouraging weather and more berry ripening sunshine.

24 comments:

  1. I love Romanesco. I have never had much success with them, so I am always envious of anyone who can grow them well. Fingers crossed for a bumper harvest and that the sun shines.... I have promised my OH homegrown/homemade summer pud for Fathers' Day. If the sun doesn't shine soon, I will have to cheat!

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    1. Or you could defer the celebration, Sarah.

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  2. Your plot is really coming on well - how do you keep those beds so neatly edged so that the grass doesn't go into them? That must be a lot of work throughout the season.

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    1. Martyn's strimmer twists round and trims the edges, Margaret.

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  3. Your plot is so beautiful....I always enjoy seeing the progress. I wish you lots of sunshine and an end to the slug-fest!

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    1. Sunshine and the disappearance of slugs seems just a dream, Sue.

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  4. Working hard and looking good...
    Amanda xx

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  5. Send us a few of your showers Sue. Summers tend to be on the dry side here. We will get rain but probably not real soaking before late in August.

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  6. This veg-growing lark is one big battle against the pests and the weather, isn't it? You can see why many people think it's a waste of time! (Thankfully, not you and Martyn).

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  7. Mark has taken the words out of my mouth :) It sounds as if you've been working hard. We could certainly do with less of the wet stuff for a while so fingers crossed Sue. Our allotment site has a new pest this year in the shape of a plague of rabbits causing absolute havoc. At least they don't seem to be partial to strawberries.

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    1. Oh not rabbits on top of everything else Anna, My sincere commisserations

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  8. It's all looking pretty good to me Sue, I don't yet have a brassica bed but I am hoping to get some serious work done this week on the allotment...seems like I say this a lot...however my garden is looking good!!
    Here's hoping we all get some of that stuff that will ripen the berries!!

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    1. Hopefully we will be planting more btassicas on Monday weather permitting, Tanya

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  9. It's all looking so good, I expect a lot of people don't realise how much hard work goes into growing your own x

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    1. Which is why it comes as a shock to many new allotmenteers, Jo

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  10. What an exciting stage, here's to everything growing well. My parsnips didn't even germinate and my toms are tiny as are my peppers. What is going on this year?xx

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  11. I can't even begin to imagine how much work keeping an allotment as productive as yours is, Sue. I hope you had at least one dry day over the weekend.

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    1. It was dry enough over the weekend for us to get more planting done, Shirley. On Sunday it did rain just before we were ready to come harm and so we did get a bit wet.

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  12. Bad news on the parsnip front. I'm weeding my carrots at home and count 12 from 6 short rows in a raised bed. I must have sown 1200 at least! I have two more nets at the plot and if they are as bad that's it for another carrot growing year! The idea that anyone is profiting financially from growing their own is laughable - although a favourite topic for those wanting to raise the rent.

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    1. It's the soft fruit that gets our money back, Mel. Then again we just wouldn't eat as much of it if we had to buy it so in a sense it doesn't say us money . I have some more parsnip seedlings that have come through where I resowed in the gaps. I don't know whether they will grow fast enough to produce a crop.

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