Wednesday, May 27

A host of hostas

 Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Monday, May 25

Every type of weather but rain!

We were intending to spend more time at the allotment last week but once again the weather kept us indoors. This time it was strong winds that made working on the plot an unattractive proposition.

We did, however manage a couple of afternoons at the beginning of the week. After having emptied a couple of our compost bays, Martyn finished renovating the front of the bays using some old fence panels that our plot neighbour, Jan had acquired for us.
We also moved and recovered the old coldframe - which is more like a mini greenhouse. This will house some tomato plants later. We're hoping that it is still in place after being subject to the gales.
To one side, the sheltered side of the coldframe we have planted out the dahlias that had overwintered in the garage. The question is will the coldframe have offered them some protection or flattened them?
We have continued to carry out routine jobs such as tidying, weeding and cutting grass but we are having to devote far too much time watering the parched earth. The warm days and then the strong winds have not helped and we still haven't had any rain. 
Whilst we were kept away from the allotment we did manage to work in the garden greenhouse, sowing seeds, pricking out seedlings and potting young plants on. Some plants will soon need planting out so we desperately need some rain to moisten the soil.

Our greenhouse activity is listed here - just scroll down to the appropriate week

With the greenhouse filling up, young brassica plants have been moved outside to hardened off. These have been covered with netting and fortunately are in a sheltered area of the garden.
As for this week's harvest - if we can call it a harvest - we have continued to pick lettuce leaves as we need them and have also picked our first strawberry - just one but it's a start. I didn't manage a photo as, Martyn had already cut it in two ready to share.

I really don't think this modest picking qualifies me for inclusion to Dave's harvest Monday post but you can see how much better others have done here at Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

One other things we managed to do was to put together a video tour of our plot - if you are interested you can view it here.

Wednesday, May 20

It's starting to look rosy in the garden

Etoile d’Hollande

Lady of Shalott
Lady of Shalott

Golden Showers

Monday, May 18

Here's hoping that we've seen the last of Jack Frost

The predicted visit from Jack Frost came last week vindicating our decision to protect some of the tender plants on the allotment.

The potato shoots that oblivious to the dangers and were pushing up through the earth survived and the shoots waited until the frost had moved on before reemerging. The photo below shows how some of the shoots were attacked earlier when Mr. Frost turned up a day before he was due and caught us napping. The later shoots appreciated the added protection.
Meanwhile the potatoes planted in crates in the garden greenhouse are enjoying a much more cossetted lifestyle.
Many of the strawberry plants are full of flower and so were also given some protection.
Again you can see how the earlier frosty caught some of the flowers and blackened the centres meaning those flowers won't produce fruit. Our belated protection, however managed to save most of the flowers from frost damage.
Hopefully the risk of frost has now passed so, I removed the fleece and enviromesh that were providing protection and was happy to note that many of the plants were producing fruits. It will soon be time for the next lot of protection namely netting to protect from the birds.
We are still being kept busy tidying areas of the plot that are in need of attention and as we still haven't had any rain lots of watering is necessary. It seems that not too long ago I was bemoaning the fact that the plot was soggy and muddy but in a relatively short period we now have parched dusty earth. Watering the plot can be really time consuming as if just one other person is using water at the same time the water pressure is really poor. Unfortunately for us we are at the end furthest from where the water enters  the site.
Martyn, spent time emptying one of our compost bays. We have several bays some of which we use for composting weeds  but this bay is purely for vegetable waste and grass clipping. After riddling the compost using the side of an old bird cage as a sieve, the resulting compost was distributed around the plot. It is soon used up. I'm amazed how some people seem to be able to produce enough compost for all their gardening needs - we can't.
We are continuing sowing seeds, pricking out seedlings and growing plants on in the garden greenhouse and soon it will be all systems go planting on the plot. We always sow seeds relatively late compared to many other gardeners, but we know that we can't risk planting most things outside until mid May.
Dahlia tubers that had been potted up have now moved outside to harden off and free up some greenhouse space. Most of those stored are now growing. We were going to buy some additional tubers this year but under the circumstances this will probably not happen.
We harvested very little last week - May is always the month of sparse pickings for us. We pick leaves off lettuce plants growing in the greenhouse as we need them and they rarely get a mention as no sooner are they picked than they are eaten.
Of course where would a May time harvest be without a few sticks of rhubarb?

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

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. 

Friday, May 15


Last year I bought lots of tulips, one of which was a variety called Candy Club. Other than the picture on the packet there was no indication of its colouring, so I expected creamy white flowers with tiny pink streaks.
To start with that's just what I got and then the white darkened to a primrose yellow with only thin stripes of white remaining.
Gradually the yellow faded into a more creamy colour and the petals were tinged with pink.
Then the pale pink became a deeper pink with the base of the flower becoming a deeper yellow.
Having looked up the variety on the internet this is exactly how the variety develops.
It's been fascinating to watch especially as it wasn't something that I was expecting to happen but I can't help thinking the packaging undersold the variety.

Another transformation this week is that Ruby had her first 'proper' grooming session, all carried out under social distancing rules. It was a bit like a magical act. A furry bundle went into the pet carrier...
 and a sleek puppy came out.

Monday, May 11

Blowing hot and cold

I didn't give you an update on our gardening activity last week as a certain woolly tornado nudged my gardening posts to one side.

The first week and a half of May treated us to blue skies and sunny, daylight hours but there was a sting in the tail in that nights were cold and our poor plants must have been totally confused.
 We divided our time between working in the garden and on the allotment.
The garden greenhouse was given a sort out. Plants that had survived were tidied and others were removed. The potatoes planted in crates in the foreground are growing well.
The carrots that I sowed in crates are growing well. I had already sown two crates with carrots and radishes. The second lot are just starting to germinate so I have sown a third.
The grey material shown above is made up of wool pellets which we hope will help protect the seedlings from slugs. It seems to work fairly well but is quite expensive and so isn't really economical for widespread use. 
We're intending to grow some tomato plants in the raised bed in the garden but, as we are not ready to use the bed for tomatoes at the moment, I've sown some radish and spring onion seeds.
As well as lots of vegetable seeds being sown, I also sowed some annual flower seeds in the greenhouse. A full list of the seeds sown is here.
The strawberry runners that I took last year were destined to be planted at the allotment but we decided to keep them in pots in the garden so they have been potted up and popped in a cold frame.
As I usually do, I sowed some annual flower seeds on the allotment last autumn, however slugs munched off most of the seedlings as they emerged. The only seeds that survived were the calendulas. Last week, I resowed the area with more annual flower seeds.
Seeds that were sown earlier at the allotment are germinating but, given that up until last night we'd had no rain for some time, we have had to keep seed beds well watered. We now have to hope that the slugs don't home in on the carrot seedlings.

Parsnips are just beginning to germinate. These can be very hit and miss, when it comes to germination, so we are always glad to see the first seedlings emerge.

As you can see we sow peas very thickly and this seems to produce a good crop. So far there is no weevil damage but I'm sure they will soon be biting notches in the leaves. Hopefully the peas will shrug off any weevil browsing.

The first lot of outdoor planted potatoes pushed through just in time to be greeted by frost which burned the delicate new growth. We had planned to give them some protection but the frost arrived earlier than forecast. Although this may delay a crop, the potatoes will bounce back. Video here

With more frosts expected the potatoes have been given a covering of compost or, for those not planted through weed control fabric, have been earthed up with soil.
As some of the strawberry plants are now on flower, we have also covered the plants with a layer of garden fleece on top of which we have spread a layer of environmesh. Fleece is very flimsy and soon tears in the wind. Frost will blacken the centres of strawberry flowers which would mean no berries so the added protection is worth the effort.
We planted out our first sowing of broad beans. We don't usually stake our broad beans but these plants had become rather leggy, due to their bed not being ready, and so we have had to use stakes to support them.
The early brassica bed went through a stage when the plants looked to be struggling. We suspected that the cold nights were to blame but thankfully they picked up and are now growing well. I just hope that the few frosty nights that are forecast don't set them back again.
 Fruits are now beginning to set ...
 ... including apricots in the garden greenhouse.
As well as planting and watering, we have been rotavating, weeding and cutting grass.
When I was weeding the flower bed that borders one edge of our plot, I was attacked by tiny ants. They are so small that the first you are aware of them is when they start nipping. Wearing gloves offers no protection and I am left with very itchy wrists. At one time we rarely saw ants, but now they are everywhere. I am bitten far too often. Does anyone have any good advice on how I can deter them from biting me or failing that stop the bites itching so much?

May is a hungry month as far as the allotment is concerned. We've picked a few herbs and salad leaves from the garden but I didn't take photos.

One surprise last week was a cauliflower growing amongst the flowering broccoli plants. It was on the point of blowing and wouldn't win a cauliflower beauty contest but was nevertheless a welcome addition to our dinner plates.
Of course a harvest at this time of year always has to include a few sticks of rhubarb.

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

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.