Saturday, 30 June 2012

A sunny day in June 2012!

We had a fab day on the plot today. Took our lunch with us and stayed for 6 hours. We were in the sun for much of the time too, though it was very windy, it was warm!

We moved our store of bags of manure, etc. and there were so many slugs - I counted 25 of the biggest, most horrible ones in that small area - ugh - they went over the hedge, anyone walking along the towpath could have got a shock :-)
Multi-coloured, but not pretty!
We dug an area on the new plot (ok, Jamie reads this - he did most of the digging) for rhubarb, which we were kindly given by another allotment holder, Terry. We sorted out two bags full of our compost which we'll put under the rhubarb, along with some horse manure.
There have been a few sunny and warm days over the last week and many of the plants have really cheered up as a result. Flowers are beginning to show on the beans, at least one of the squashes looks like it's pretty happy and there are a couple of peppers actually growing!
We've got a green pepper!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Butterbush squash

A lovely sunny day today so Jamie was digging for most of the afternoon and I joined him on the plot after work.
Planted the two Butterbush F1 squash plants into the new plot - both on top of farmyard manure within a metre area so they've got a bit of room to spread - though they are meant to be a bush variety.
We pulled our second Belana potato. About 680g from this plant and again delicious!  :-)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Come on England!

Had a few hours on the plot in the sunshine (!) today. As intended, I removed all the brown leaves from the celeriac and weeded throughout.
Spot of weeding before the England match
It had rained so much overnight that it wasn't possible to dig.

Jamie's planning what to do with the compost which will go under the rhubarb. Our compost has rather a lot of roots in which really don't want to break down very quickly so we're going to have to remove them before we can use the compost which is also rather wet and heavy at present - it needs a bit of work... But look how far it's degraded since the last photo!

Some you win, some you lose

We had a few hours on the plot yesterday morning. Jamie digging the new plot - which is a real struggle, so many stones; and I was mostly weeding - the weeds sure do love this weather!

I planted the remaining french marigold plants. Most of them are in the legume quarter as they are meant to ward off aphids and I put the last 5 plants in the cabbage plot for the same reason. We have a bit of extra space in there because one of the cabbage plants died. We're not sure why. It went a bit reddish (we thought we'd sowed a red cabbage by mistake) and then it just gave up growing and shrivelled away :-(
Happy cabbages
Two of the sweetcorn plants didn't survive but the rest look pretty happy - we've left their protective cloches on because it's still windy (and obviously rainy!). 

We've noticed that the celeriac leaves have started going brown. I've checked it on a few websites and it is either celery fly, celery leaf miner or fungus blight or leaf spot. I figure the leaf spot or blight are the most likely so we're off to the plot shortly to pull all the affected leaves off - hopefully there will be a few left growing!
Browning leaves on celeriac
Some of the shallots have formed flower heads, so I pulled them off - don't want the energy going into the flowers rather than the bulbs.
We managed to get home before the torrential rain started. Me with a small handful of mange tout as usual! I like them just cooked briefly in boiling water - it's a scrummy snack but not a diet I'm going to live on for long!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Not a swallowtail butterfly larva

Got very excited when I found a couple of these lovely looking caterpillars at the site today. However, it doesn't turn into an amazing swallowtail butterfly - it turns into a rather dull (sorry, but it is!) brown mullein moth :-(

Mullein Moth caterpillar
Jamie did some more digging of Plot 8 as the sun actually shone today and there was no rain! Broad beans are growing well, although they have developed chocolate spot on the leaves (the beans should be fine). I keep picking small handfuls of mange tout and I took a bit of salad home today too, but things are growing slowly...

By the way, the belana potatoes we picked at the weekend were really delicious, so I wish I hadn't been so negative in that post!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

First Trug of the season

At last we got back to the plot. The last week has been mostly rainy and windy with a few glimpses of sunshine. Everyone's feeling down about the weather and it's reflected in our plot. It's really not looking as happy as it should as we get close to Midsummer!
First trug
We pulled our first Belana potato, just as it started to rain again today. They've been in the ground 10 weeks and the flowers have just opened. We were expecting them to have small new potatoes and that's what we got - 11 of them (just 380g). There were about 6 not-fully formed ones too so in a couple of weeks we hope to get a few more spuds from each plant.
We also pulled some little turnips, some chives and another handful of mange tout. Looks a bit nouveau cuisine but hopefully they'll be nice added to salad tonight!

The runner beans have grown a bit taller but aren't wrapping round the canes as they keep getting blown about. But some good news is that the recently sown broad beans and french beans have sprouted. Jamie planted the four leonaris on Plot 8 - they look really healthy. We just need some sunshine now so that they grow nice orange flowers!
Garden Chafer
Found this little chap sitting in the mange tout flowers last Sunday, This is one of the bugs that emerges from the white grubs that we found masses of whilst digging in the last year.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Stupid Wind!

Quick visit to the plot yesterday afternoon - while the crazy wind was still blowing. Loads of debris from trees over the roads and pavements.
When we got to the plot we saw that our netted sprout cage had blown into the hedge (again!). It seems to be just too tall so catches the wind easily. We've taken it down a level while the sprouts are still small enough to fit. Our potato plants had been blown flat and one had it's stems broken but hopefully there's enough greenery left for it to survive that breakage. And one of our runner beans had snapped, but luckily just above a joint so that should be fine too. We tied the other runners to the bean poles to stop them blowing about so much.
There were a few other casualties around site but nothing too disastrous from what we saw.
Then we put the England flag up for the Euro 2012 championship - COME ON ENGLAND!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Rain stopped play

We were too slow this morning and didn't get to the plot till lunchtime - unfortunately that's when the showers started. Some of them were really heavy so we kept having to run for cover in the container.
We did get some digging done but had to leave when we were picking up so much mud on our boots. Jamie found this little spider in the earth. We thought it may be a red spider mite (bad guy) but have found that it's a velvet mite, a good guy - eating other mites and small insects in the ground.
Velvet mite - a good guy on the plot
Back home another of our squash seeds (the 2nd Cornells one) has actually started growing. The germination of the 6 seeds has been very sporadic over the last 3 weeks. One of the green courgettes hasn't done anything (yet) but we've got 2 of each of the others (Butterbush, Cornells bush delicata and Rocky cucumber).

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Nice weather for snails (again)

A very quick visit to the plot this afternoon - we just wanted to check that our cloches had stayed on and the little sweetcorn plants were still upright (they are). It's cold (about 15°) and rainy.

All we saw, in the way of wildlife, was a few birds - one pigeon which we freed from a plot holder's netted cloche - and these snails.
Both these were on the thyme flowers
Pretty - brown lipped banded snail

Monday, 4 June 2012

Tidying and weeding

After a too long walk yesterday I didn't have the energy to do much on the allotment today. Did a bit of tidying this afternoon and sat around while the sun shone.
The peppers look a bit more at home on the plot now
The rainfall yesterday has really made the site look happier, but the weeds have gone crazy on the overgrown plots! We weeded throughout the onions and shallots and have given the onions a new mesh cloche so that they're not touching the top - apparently they'll stop growing if they bend over and they've a long way to go yet (leek moth and downy mildew permitting..)

We planted out our 11 little sweetcorn plants. Protected with bottle cloches because they're only small. And Jamie sowed some Early Nantes 5 carrot seed so hopefully more of this sowing will germinate...
Earlibird sweetcorn

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jubilee digging!

There were quite a few of us on the allotment this afternoon - we could hear music from the Hungerford jubilee celebrations in the background. It was pretty hot but very little sunshine.
We cleared another area on the new plot - we were going to have a bbq but weather wasn't nice enough for us.
Jamie earthed up the rest of the potatoes - definitely only two of the Orlas are doing anything which is a shame but not too bad as long as the rest give us plenty of tubers!

I sowed some petit pois (Peewee 65).
Our little robin is getting very cocky - he comes within a couple of feet from us now. He takes some food away but mostly seems to be eating it himself!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Beans, beans, beans!

Had another fab day on the plot today.
Jamie's dark side :-)

A lot of sitting in the sun chatting but also got some weeding and sowing done: 2 rows of Speedy dwarf French beans and 2 rows of Express broad beans - covered with plastic cloches for a bit of protect.

Legume quarter
We dug over the area for the sweetcorn; 11 of 12 have germinated. And Jamie earthed up some of the potatoes, including the 5 purple congos which were accidentally left in from last year.
Cinnabar Moth
Managed to snap this lovely cinnabar moth and the brilliant forum members from Wild About Britain pointed me to this website to identify this yellow fly... I think Trypeta Zoe is correct based on the wing pattern. There were several hanging round our radishes - which, by the way, are going to seed :-(
(male) Trypeta Zoe