Monday, April 19

An enforced hiatus

I mentioned in my last post that I had strained something in my shoulder. This affected my back and all of my arm so I decided to have a break from blogging, gardening and just about everything else that involved using my arm, bending or sitting upright. Most of my activity was undertaken either curled up on the sofa or standing upright. 

After about a week resting my arm and shoulder, last week I gradually started to do more.

We had a visit to Nostell Priory last week where the scene is gradually changing. The trees are greening up and the flooded areas are now almost totally dried up.
We spent three afternoons at the allotment trying to play catch up. The fruit areas are at their most floriferous. The tulips are combining with the pear blossoms  to put on quite a show. More and more tulips appear each year.
The pear, greengage, plum and cherry trees are clothed in blossom and the apple blossom is just beginning to burst.
During April, night time temperatures have been very low resulting in frosty conditions so we are concerned that the blossom may have been damaged and the trees will fail to produce fruit.


I don’t hold out much hope that the cherry blossom will have been productive.

Fruit bushes are also producing flower. They don’t have flimsy, blowsy petals to be browned by the frost but will that mean they will be more likely to produce fruit? We will have to wait and see. Although the nights are cold the daytime sunshine means there is no shortage of bees busily searching for some sustenance and nesting sites. Hopefully they will carried out some pollinating duties as they browse.

On our plot, we have a hawthorn tree that many years ago was just a tiny self sown seedling that I trained into a tree. The tree is a favourite singing perch for various birds. Flower buds are forming amongst the foliage. The flowers otherwise known as May blossom will as their name suggests open around the beginning of May and hedgerows will turn white. Another hedgerow plant, blackthorn is flowering already. Unlike hawthorn it flowers before the leaves open and is often mistaken for hawthorn. 
Of course our afternoons on the plot are not restricted to wandering around photographing  the plants - there was work to be done.

The All Gold autumn raspberries are producing new shoots from the base of the plants so, as I was on light duties, Martyn cut all last year’s canes down to the ground. If these were left they would produce earlier fruit but we want them to fruit after our other summer raspberries.
Whilst, Martyn prepared and fertilised the appropriate beds, I was on planting duty.

The first to be planted were some calabrese - Aquiles, cauliflower - Seoul and cabbages - Regency and Mozart. These were covered with enviromesh.
If left unprotected the wood pigeons would make short work of them. Within a couple of days they devastated the broccoli plants from which the enviromesh was removed. The broccoli was past producing a harvest but the wood pigeons enjoyed the old leaves. They don’t just attack young plants. Established plants will soon disappear too.
Next, I planted a batch of broad beans - De Monica. Last year we had a total broad bean failure, hopefully this year we will do better. A second batch will be sown to plant later.
I planted two beds of potatoes. The first was our early potatoes - Casablanca and the second lot were the freebies - Royal from Thompson and Morgan. For some years now I have planted all our potatoes using a trowel and find the harvest is just as good as when we used the back breaking trench method. The early potatoes were earthed up as we don’t grow them under weed control fabric. 
 
The later plants that will be harvested in one go have been planted through weed control fabric and will not be earthed up.
Finally we planted onion sets - Sturon, Centurion and Hercules, shallot sets - Longor and Meloine and a batch of garlic - Solent Wight that had been started off in pots. The onions and garlic that were planted last autumn - shown in the top photos above - are now growing away well.
Last week along with some Timperley Early rhubarb, we harvested the last of our purple sprouting broccoli and a tiny cauliflower. It may have been tiny but most of our late brassicas failed, probably due to the incessant rain, so this one was most welcome. Ironically although it has been cold, it has also turned very dry so we have had to water everything. It’s all or nothing with our weather! These are not ideal growing or planting conditions but we really did have to get something into the ground! 

As always in these uncertain times keep safe and well.

This I'm joining Harvest Monday on Dave's Our Happy Acres blog so I have linked to him this week  

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

18 comments:

  1. Well you are back with a bang. Hope this indicates a full recovery!

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    1. Not 100% yet, Mal but getting there 🙂

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  2. Sorry you've had an enforced break, I hope you are back to full strength very soon. The morello cherries here aren't quite in flower yet, but my white camellia is very brown from constant frosts. Other casualties in the garden - a wisteria that I had been very carefully training for three years hacked off at the base by the man who came to replace the fencing (sigh) and a whole nestful of baby blackbirds eaten by a magpie. It was brutal.

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    1. That is so sad about the baby blackbirds, CJ and also devastating about your wisteria. I bet you had to bite your tongue.

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  3. We have a freeze forecast this week so that will likely do our cherry blossoms in as well as set the asparagus and rhubarb back. I'm glad to hear you are up and about a bit more too!

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    1. We’ve just had one frost after another, Dave. It’s most frustrating. I seem to be more or less OK now but being careful.

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  4. Nice to see all your crops going in and the fruit blossoms. Those wood pigeons do a number on your broccoli. So long PSB!

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    1. Wood pigeons do a number on lots of things if unprotected Sue. They strip leaves off cherry trees and will strip berries off too. Luckily the PSB was finished.

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  5. Wood pigeons can be so destructive? I'll have to be on the lookout. This year is the first time in 20 years that we have a pair of wood pigeons visiting our garden. They are so fat I thought they were ducks when I first saw them. But they are very polite. Don't do any damage, just walk around the garden. At least for now they don't eat my veggies.

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    1. Wood pigeons cabin be very destructive, Ana see my previous comment. Have netting at the ready. Interestingly they don’t seem to cause much of a problem in the flower garden.

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  6. I hope your shoulder is fully recovered soon. These niggling injuries can go on and on though, just when you think it's on the mend the least little thing can set it back so go carefully and try not to do too much too soon. It's a lovely time of year with all the blossom out, only time will tell if the frosts have damaged it. Fingers crossed that all's well and bountiful harvests are to come.

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    1. My shoulder seems to have recovered, Jo but I’m being careful. The fruit blossom does look lovely. Believe it or not our council made a ruling that no new fruit trees were to be planted on allotments.This goes against the green/biodiversity brief that politicians reckon they support. Fruit trees provide for lots of other wildlife and also are an early form of sustenance for bees. Fortunately our trees predate any new rules which in any case are unlikely to be enforced.

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  7. I'm glad your shoulder and back are improving, long may that continue. Lucky you getting more tulips each year, here we get less. It's been bitter of an evening here too, I do hope it doesn't damage all that wonderful blossom. I agree about using a trowel to plant potatoes, I do the same and see no difference. What a cute cauliflower, completely perfect.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Dina. Night time temperatures really are ridiculous at the moment. Surely this can’t go on for much longer. The tulips on the allotment were just a cheap mixed pack bought some years ago. They aren’t as fussy as the posher varieties. 🙂

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  8. I'm glad to hear that you are in less pain Sue. No doubt giving the affected area a serious rest helped. Make sure that you still take it easy for a while and keep well wrapped up if there is a cold wind. Fingers crossed for all your fruit trees. These beautiful sunny days have been good for working in but we could really do with some rain. Must be such hard work for the farmers. My shallots have just been planted in my reduced vegetable growing space and I have planted some 'Charlotte' potatoes in bags. Courgette sowing next 😄

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    1. I think the period of inactivity really helped, Anna. Not too long ago we were wishing that the rain would stop!

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  9. Good to see you back in action. Your fruit area is stunning, such a shame about these bloomin’ cold nights but there are a lot of bees about, so fingers crossed!

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    1. It’s good to be back in action Belinda. If only the nights were kinder we could really make progress.

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