Saturday, 19 April 2014

Potatoes and Beans

We had a successful afternoon on the plot today. It was reasonably warm, though if the chill wind blew while the sun wasn't shining I needed to grab my jacket. The temperature fell to zero over the last couple of nights.
One of our rhubarb plants had sent up this flower head. When the bud starts growing it looks like any other stem, but now the flower has developed it's obvious and easy to remove - to stop the whole plant going to seed.

After cutting the stem off there's a gaping hollow stem.
To avoid it filling with water and rotting I put a cover over the top. The flowers are really pretty, but I'll enjoy them on other people's plots rather than on our's :-)

We achieved today's prime objective and got our spuds in! We've only planted 20 this year: 10 x Chopin and 10 x Desiree. Spread across three rows. The Chopin are on grass clippings and manure while the Desiree also have shredded paper in their trenches. All have a bit of added 6x and of course the nematodes should be doing their thing to keep the slugs at bay.

Rain threatened, but stayed away

Here's Jamie adding Christmas tree sprinkles as a further slug deterrent! (I rather like the shadow in this photo).
Christmas Tree needles
We also sowed some broad beans: 15 x Suttons and 10 x Express - we're hoping these varieties will result in their own succession harvesting...
As usual we protect them immediately with bottle cloches. There's debate at Marsh Lane as to whether the pheasants or mice are the biggest broad beanshoot chompers; they're both unwelcome, but frequent, visitors.
The cat is enjoying all the activity, human, gnome, rodent and feathered!
Gnome Toppling Time
The strawberry flowers make it look like it could be a bumper year, if the frost stays off. I thought it funny that this photo shows flowers on the same plant with 5 and 6-petals - 6 is apparently more common, will have to pay more attention next time I'm on the site

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Hand Bag?!

Here are our leeks we picked today - some real whoppers! Looking forward to having them in a cheesy sauce, with Quorn, topped with lovely mash - yum!
Oh, yes, and it's a gratuitous shot of my iridescent handbag, which I love :)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Time to Get On

We had a great weekend, particularly today - 5 hours on the site in the lovely warm sunshine. 
As soon as we arrived on site Tanya offered us a box of red onion sets. We were resigned to not growing any this year because Thompson & Morgan couldn't deliver our Santero sets. So that was much appreciated - I popped 14 in Plot 8 and the rest of the box went up to the allotment spares table in the communal area on site. Finally, some planting!
Plot 8 is looking loved again, with newly barked paths and dug beds and a weed-suppressed area for the seed house.
The raspberries are covered in fresh green leaves and buds. 
Jamie cleared last year's rotten potato patch and tidied the edges and I mixed some lime and a bit of fertiliser into the bed for the broad beans next week. So, we actually feel like we're getting somewhere now!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

OK Slugs - it's War!

The clocks have gone forward an hour to British Summer Time so we should get a few evenings up the plot quite soon! This weekend was a good start, with warm temperatures and no rain.
We bought our potatoes yesterday: Chopin and Desiree. We may get a few more but had decided to be a bit more selective this year.
So, today, Jamie watered in the nematodes which have been waiting in our fridge for three weeks. We had enough to share between our potatoes, onions and the raised bed. That should protect the ground (by killing slugs) for 6 weeks and then a second lot will be delivered and a final delivery will complete the programme. Let's see if that does the trick...
Plenty of nematodes to go round!
There were a lot of butterflies (mostly tortoiseshells) around today and I found a good deal of millipedes whilst I was digging a bit more of the legume quarter - still pulling handfuls of roots; we think it's tree roots!
Here's a pretty pied shield bug that Jamie spotted on the earth - it looks like an adult, but I'm no expert (unlike these people!)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Two weekends for the price of one!

This weekend we were planning to buy our potatoes but that still hasn't happened! We were expecting the weather to be worse than it was, though we had a few very heavy wintry showers. We did manage to visit the plot and replenished the raised bed by adding 125l of multi-purpose compost and a generous sprinkling of vegetable fertiliser - my florence fennel should enjoy that!
The grape hyacinths are providing a welcome splash of colour. So pretty and fragrant, so the bees and butterflies love them too.

Last weekend was perfect as a HAHA Working weekend: Blue sky and sunshine always help the volunteers - as do the refreshments! So now we have a reasonably tidy-looking allotment site and a water supply with no leaks - thanks to our Water Boys!
Partying after the work!
Apart from the work party Jamie and I managed to get more of the plot dug for onions, broad beans and potatoes. Jamie finished working on the potato plot during the sunny days during the week too so we're certainly not feeling so far behind now, though there's plenty more to do. This is Plot 8B ready and waiting for potatoes and onions (and nematodes).