Wednesday, May 22

Yellow, white and blue.






Monday, May 20

Things are hotting up - no not the weather,

Last week we managed to carry out quite a lot of work on the allotment. We are still preparing some beds for this year's crops.

The last lot of the over wintering brassicas have been cleared and a bed is now ready for our second lot of this year's brassicas. Our first planting is growing well under its enviromesh protection. This will hopefully thwart the wood pigeons, a pair of which have had the cheek to nest in a tree on our plot. Hopefully the buzzard, which was circling above the allotment last week, will  stay around and also act as a deterrent. It certainly had them running (or rather flying) scared. The covering also offers some protection from white butterflies and whiteflies.
After a break, due to the cold spell of weather, I finally finished planting up the new strawberry bed. The next job, once the berries start to appear, is that we will need to cover with netting.  How's that for being hopeful? I've posted a video about the creation of the new strawberry bed and posted it here.
Another major task was to erect sweet pea frames, which are constructed using poles from our coppiced hazel. Once these were in position the sweet peas were planted out.
We sowed quite a few seeds last week. The carrots and parsnips were sown so now we will anxiously await the appearance of the seedlings and hope that any emerging carrot seedlings survive the inevitable slug assault.
Our soil is heavy clay and so most seeds sown directly are sown in drills of multipurpose compost. The parsnip bed was covered with twigs but the carrot bed was covered with enviromesh. This will be loosened as the carrot tops grow but will remain in place throughout the season to protect against carrot fly. It is very rarely lifted as the weed control fabric means little weeding is necessary and we don't thin the carrots, they seem to sort themselves out with little interference from us. We may have some strange shapes but they taste as good as perfectly formed specimens. Two parsnip seeds are sown to each station and these will be thinned if both seeds germinate. We posted a video on YouTube some time ago of our sowing methods.

Other seeds that were direct sown were the first lot of hardy annuals which I sow succesionally. The seeds that I sowed last autumn are now strong plants that are beginning to flower. Seeds sown to overwinter always seem to produce stronger, more vigorous plants for some reason.
Another job in our battle with pests was to set up the lures for codling moths and plum tree moths. Hopefully these will cut down on the number of spoiled fruits.
As well as working on the plot we have also been busy in the garden greenhouse sowing seeds and pricking out seedlings, Martyn has posted about this on his blog here

The one thing that we didn't manage to do was to gather a harvest - the hungry gap is upon us. No worries though as we have enough in the freezer to see us through.



Wednesday, May 15

Making friends




Monday, May 13

Dashing between showers

The allotment didn’t see much action last week.

We managed an afternoon there, when I managed to clear one of the beds that had been home to one lot of overwintered brassicas. The weed control fabric used there was moved to the bed that will house the next lot of brassicas to be planted.
The other brassica bed is due for clearance this week and so no brassica harvest for us for a while.

Whilst I was busy with that job, Martyn strimmed all the grass paths. The grass at least will be enjoying the cooler, wet weather conditions

So far we have escaped any frost damage. The Casablanca potatoes had pushed through the earthing up and so it was just as well that the temperature didn't fall as low as was forecast. The Casablancas in the plot greenhouse are growing very quickly. We just hope that the top growth is replicated by action beneath.
As we couldn't do much outside, we did what many gardeners resort to at such time and visited garden centres with the inevitable outcome.
Most of our physical gardening was done at home where we could dash in and out avoiding the showers or sow seeds and prick out seedlings in the garden greenhouse. 
The seedlings have been covered nightly with layers of fleece in order to offer some protection against falling temperatures.
The peach tree is still loaded with immature fruits despite it having shed some already. Soon we will have to bite the bullet and remove some fruitlets as the tree can't possibly cope with so many fruits.

The greenhouse was given a general tidy and is filling up quickly. Some plants such as the dahlias are desperate to decamp outdoors.
Martyn posted a video tour of inside the garden greenhouse here if you'd like a closer look around

We made good progress on the ‘new’ garden bed which I intend to post about in more detail shortly. Much of it involved either moving plants that had outgrown their tubs into open ground or planting out some of our garden centre purchases. Some of our acquisitions were planted in our small pebble bed.
We managed another meagre harvest. The second overwintering brassica bed yielded it’s final harvest, namely a couple of cauliflowers. These were just on the point of spoiling but were still fine for cooking.
Of course the rhubarb didn’t let us down.



This week I am embarrassingly linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres where lots of other gardeners describe harvests that put ours to shame.


By the way, thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started.


Wednesday, May 8

Busy bees








Monday, May 6

Winter makes a comeback

I continued to plant up our new strawberry bed last week as some of the plants just wouldn't hang on in the cold frame any longer.
There are still a few plants waiting in the cold frame but, after the forecast of frosty nights to come, we decided to leave the remaining plants in the relative protection.

We spent an afternoon last week preparing for the onslaught of winter - not quite as desperately as shown in the episode of a current TV programme but with just as much urgency..

Unaware of the frosty welcome, quite a few of our open ground planted potatoes had pushed through the soil. If the frost touched the young leaves they would shrivel and, although experience tells us that the plants would recover, we wanted to try to avoid the setback in growth that this would cause.

The bed of the earliest planted potatoes were not planted though weed control fabric and so we hoped that earthing up the soil over the new leaves would offer them sufficient protection.

We had some straw that had been used to protect the carrot bed over winter, so we covered the next most advanced potatoes with most of that.  The remaining potatoes were less advanced with only the odd shoots pushing through the soil so we used the remaining straw more sparingly and when the straw ran out we used some dry material from the compost bins.

We also wanted to try and avoid the flowers on the newly planted strawberry bed from being frosted so we decided to cover the bed with a double layer of enviromesh. Enviromesh isn't expected to offer much protection against frost but we are hoping that it helped. It certainly was better than nothing.
Another candidate for protection was the newly planted out kiwi berry - Issia. You may remember that soon after planting frost burned and shriveled all it's leaves. New leaf buds had just started to develop and so we decided to cover that too with a double layer of enviromesh.
Everything else was left to fend for itself. I'm sure that the newly emerging peas will have survived.
We did have cold weather at the end of last week but the temperatures didn't fall quite as low as predicted so hopefully not too much damage will  have been done.

We hope to get to the allotment this afternoon so we will see!

Our harvest last week was miniscule.
30 April
The cauliflower and small cabbage above made up our total usable harvest. We did cut another cabbage later in the week.
2 May
Unfortunately as I peeled back each layer of leaves it became apparent that all this was good for was the compost heap.

I guess this week's harvest will be limited to rhubarb so it's a good job that we have peas, green beans and red cabbage in the freezer to tide us over.



This week I am embarrassingly linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres


By the way, thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started.