Monday, June 28

A week of firsts

Last week was a week of firsts, in more ways than one. 

Ruby had her first visit to the beach. On Jo's blog, she wrote of a visit to the beach at Fraisthorpe. It's a dog friendly beach on the east coast, and only an hour and a half's drive from home. It seemed an ideal place to introduce, Ruby to the sea and sand. Various Covid restrictions meant that we couldn't venture this far when Ruby was a pup.
Jo, reported that, on her visit, there was hardly anyone else there, but when we arrived it seemed that lots of people had had the same idea as us. We were somewhat perturbed to see so many cars parked up, but it was easy to maintain a safe distance and we had taken a packed lunch with us. Pre Covid we would have bought something from the café.

Ruby, was wary of the sea as it seemed to chase her, but once she plucked up courage she was splashing in the shallow water.
She loves digging, so it was no surprise when she began digging in the sand. She was surprised though, when her hole began to fill with water.
She was a very wet and sandy dog, as we left the beach, however she dried out quickly and was looking herself again when we had a walk along the coastal path after lunch. I think Ruby enjoyed her day out at the coast but she wasn't keen when she had a shower later to rinse out any saltiness.

Tuesday afternoon was spent at the allotment. We filled up the last of the main empty beds. We sowed a long row of peas - Onward along one side of the bed and half a row of peas - Terrain alongside this. The row was completed by planting a few beetroots - Boltardy, a few swedes - Invitation and sowing a short row of Mooli - April Cross. We haven't grown Mooli before but I read about Mal growing them and so thought that I'd give them a try.
The bed was covered with enviromesh to protect the seeds and young plants from any wildlife damage. After the failure of our first sowing of peas we didn’t want to take any risks.

The resown peas are now growing well so, Martyn inserted some twigs to give them something to cling to.
The parsnips germinated well and actually needed thinning out, so this was reluctantly done on Tuesday.
I was very disciplined, last week, as not only did I thin out the parsnips but I also cut all the flowers and immature fruits from our new strawberry plants. As the old plants are still producing a good harvest, I felt that I should give the new plants the chance to build up their strength. I also cut off most of the runners that they had produced. I just left a couple to produce plants to fill the gaps where a plant failed.
Our weekly harvest is starting to look less embarrassing and included some firsts.
22 June 2021 Strawberries - Sweetheart & Elsanta, Calabrese - Aquiles, Garlic - White Casablanca,  Onion - Senshyu and Sweet Williams
After several failed harvests, I had decided not to bother planting garlic, but then that feeling, all too familiar with gardeners, kicked in. I'm sure you've been there. You see the bulbs for sale and you think, "I'll just have one more try." Well, I'm glad that I did. The tops of the garlic had dried up so we decided to dig them up.
White Casablanca
One decent bulb of garlic, that had successfully separated into cloves, would have been regarded as a major success, but we actually ended up with 17 bulbs of varying sizes all having produced usable cloves.

We did have some failures, Three bulbs had split into mini bulbs rather like shallots do. Last year most of the bulbs were like this, and we thought that it was that we had left them in the ground for too long. This year we whipped them out as soon as they stopped growing. Were these three ready before the rest or did they split for another reason?
There were also three bulbs that had rot.
Expecting failure, we also planted some Solent Wight bulbs that were advertised as suitable for early spring planting. I wonder how these will fare. White Casablanca is a hard neck variety and Solent Wight is a soft neck that should store better. That is if we manage to get any successful bulbs. Oh dear, I feel my expectations have been raised!

Although our autumn planted onions are still growing we have decided to lift some as we need them. Lots of them sent up flower stems so, even though I nipped the buds off as soon as I saw them, I'm guessing many will have an unusable central core. Still we should get enough cooking material from them.
Onion Sensyhu
Another harvest first of the season was some heads of calabrese - Aquiles. The spell of summery weather had brought them on quickly, so quickly that one was on the verge of bursting into flower.
Calabrese - Aquiles
In March, we planted up a couple of crates each with two tubers of Casablanca potatoes. The intention being to obtain an earlier crop than from those planted in open ground. We tipped out one crate last week, and were satisfied with the yield. Potatoes have been very slow to start growing this year so these were a welcome treat.
23 June 2021 - Casablance potatoes
Another harvest first last week was a picking of broad beans - de Monica.
26 June 2021, Onion- Senshyu, Strawberries, Sweetheart and Elsanta, Calabrese - Aqulies & Broad beans - de Monica
We are still harvesting rhubarb. These sticks of Giant Grooveless Crimson are going to be used in a rhubarb and strawberry compote.
Rhubarb- Giant Grooveless Crimson

Now a question. Do you remember our battered sweet corn? It's making an attempt at a revival. What do you think? Will it go on to produce any corn?

If you are interested, Martyn filmed an overhead view of our allotments that can be viewed here.

As always wherever you are keep safe and well.

This week I don't feel embarrassed to join in with Dave’s Harvest Monday collection of posts over at Our Happy Acres.

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

Wednesday, June 23

Just Yellow

Day lily


Rose Golden Showers

Rose Golden Showers

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

Monday, June 21

Things are filling up

We've had another busy week. It's been a case of, not so much making hay while the sun shines, as filling the plot while the rain holds off. I have to be honest though, the allotment could really do with some 'proper' rain. We've had a couple of light showers but nothing like the forecasts promised. Any rain falling on the UK has fizzled out before reaching us, or has swerved to avoid us. This has meant one task has been to water everything - no mean task, as now we have so much planted and the water pressure, on our site, is such that if two people try to water at the same time it can take ages to fill a watering can.

We haven't spent all our time at the allotment though, as usual we had an afternoon walk in the parkland at Nostell. It's interesting to see how the dominant plant in the flower meadows change in just a week. The week before, buttercups took centre stage and last week, Ruby was running through clover.
Pathways have been mown through the long grass. Ruby doesn't stick to them, but she leaves no trace in the long grass to give away where she has been.

As well as clover, there are large patches of bird's foot trefoil and dog daisies,

I wonder what next will take over from the clover as the star flower?

The good news is all four cygnets are still doing well.
The family was some distance away, so the photos aren't brilliant, but hopefully, you can see how quickly the cygnets are growing.

Back at the allotment, Things are filling up ...
... but planting goes on.

 I planted some of the remaining climbing French and runner beans.
We planted more brassicas. This time, these were calabrese - Montclano, purple sprouting broccoli - Rudolf and Claret, red cabbage - Red Lodero and savoy - Wintessa, Cordessa and Rigoletto. Some filled a bed already half planted, and the others filled a second bed. As the ground was so dry, we filled the planting hole with water before planting. As brassicas are hungry plants each was given a helping of fertiliser to give them a boost and lime to help thwart club root.
The brassicas planted earlier are now starting to take off.
It also looks as though, this year, we will actually have some broad beans to harvest. The first batch is now producing pods, and the second batch is flowering.
It's always a tense time after sowing seed or planting out, when nothing seems to be happening so it is satisfying when things start to grow away.
I've planted out more annual flowers. This year they have been sown in trays, as conditions for sowing directly into the soil were never right, too dry or too wet! In this bed are planted, dahlias, cosmos, cornflowers, calendulas, godetia, scabious, poppies, sunflowers, nigella and one or two zinnias.

Sweet Williams that were sown last year are now flowering and producing the first cut flowers of the season.
As well as planting on the allotment, I have also been adding plants to our new bed at home.
As we are not yet adventurous enough to visit garden centres so plants were ordered online. They were quite small specimens, so once they arrived plants were potted up to grow on. Growers are, like us behind schedule so some plants have arrived later than expected. In fact, some have still to be delivered. I've chosen perennials with a long flowering period for this bed, although I don't expect many flowers this year. I planted, penstemon, rudbeckia, sedum. achillea, astrantia and geraniums. Each was a collection of a few varieties. There are some lythrums growing on in pots and we are awaiting delivery of some heleniums.

We managed to take time out from busily planting to smell the roses on the allotment and in the garden.
As others have mentioned on their blogs, the roses seem to be beautiful this year. Maybe they know that we need cheering up!
When it came to harvesting we had a treat last week. At the beginning of the week, we picked our first punnet of strawberries.
Then on Sunday, we came home with six large punnets full of lovely ripe strawberries. This poses a bit of a dilemma as they were produced by Elsanta and Sweetheart, two of the varieties in the old strawberry bed which we are digging up at the end of the year. I am intending to root runners from these two varieties, but we are now wondering whether we should leave these two varieties in situ. It's a decision for later.
Another first harvest was a cucumber - Pepinex, from a plant growing in the garden greenhouse.

As well as gardening at the allotment, we also filmed a plot tour which, if you are interested is posted here.

As always wherever you are keep safe and well.
This week, once again,  I'm going to join in with Dave’s Harvest Monday collection of posts over at Our Happy Acres.

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

Monday, June 14

A very busy week - part two at the allotment

We made the most of the good weather last week, and spent four afternoons on the allotment, so we managed to get a lot of planting done and seeds that were sown directly are now making an effort.

Parsnip germination has, in the end, turned out quite well. As I sowed two seeds to every station, I will soon need to carry out the heart-breaking task of removing one seedling where both seeds have germinated. It's such a shame that we can't transplant the thinned seedlings elsewhere.

The carrots are also starting to grow away.
The peas that were resown, after the first sowing failed to show, have grown really well which means, at least, the seeds were fine. We covered the second sowing with enviromesh so did that protect the seeds or did the drier conditions mean that the seeds didn't rot? Who knows? At least now we have peas that will soon need to be given twiggy supports.
The runner and climbing French bean supports were already in place so we just needed to plant the beans which is done. 

One planting that didn't go so well was the sweet corn. Every time we plant out our sweet corn there seems to be a fairly strong wind blowing, and last week was no exception. To try to thwart the wind, I popped up a temporary barrier of enviromesh. Unfortunately this didn't prevent the wind from flattening the young plants. Time will tell whether or not any plants recover.
Whilst I did some planting and general tidying, Martyn set to with the rotovator and prepared all the remaining beds so that they were ready to plant up.
In some of the beds were planted the curcurbits. We planted three varieties of squash - Crown Prince, Autumn Crown and Pink Banana and three varieties of courgette - Ambassador, Boldenice, a round fruiting variety, and Black Forest, a climbing courgette. We've never grown a climbing courgette before so it should be interesting.
I crawled into the makeshift, open topped tent to plant the left over tomato plants. We don't expect too much from them, but hate to throw plants away, so they are given a chance to grow. As well as working in a rather cramped position, I also had to keep a wary eye out for my nemeses - the ants!

This year our annual flower seeds were sown in the greenhouse, so some of these were planted alongside our new dahlia plants, and some extra dahlias given to us by a fellow plotter.
A bed has been prepared, and covered with an enviromesh tunnel  in readiness to plant more brassicas - hopefully next week.
Alongside the tunnel, another climbing bean frame has been erected, ready for our left over bean plants. 

Where flowering plants self seed, unless they choose an inconvenient position, they are left to just get on with life. Foxgloves growing, in the fruit beds, and sweet rocket growing in various random positions, are now flowering and putting on a display. The sweet rocket is providing some attractive perfume too.
As we have been doing for some weeks now, we harvested a few sticks of rhubarb. The variety was Raspberry Red which when stewed is a deep pink colour.

As well as harvesting rhubarb we had a couple of firsts. We picked a couple of small helpings of strawberries from our fading strawberry bed.
I also cut our first bunch of cut flowers. The sweet Williams are from our plot and the sweet peas were cut from a neighbour's plot. He did tell me to pick some as he had too many for himself. Our sweet peas won't be flowering for a few weeks. The scent is perfuming the house as I type.

One meal that used some of our frozen French beans was a vegetable rice dish based on this recipe.
In another I used some of our frozen squash to make a Thai style curry based on this recipe.

All in all it was a very busy week, after all you never know when all that wet weather is going to descend on us again. Now at least we don't have lots of empty beds to look at and the plot looks lived in!

I nearly forgot - I said that I would put the link to the video showing how we planted our leeks the week before last. If you are interested it is posted here. The leeks, by the way, are now starting to perk up nicely.

As well as working on the allotment we managed to get out and about. I posted about this in my last post.

As always wherever you are keep safe and well.
This week, once again,  I'm going to join in with Dave’s Harvest Monday collection of posts over at Our Happy Acres.

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