Thursday, May 31, 2007

Potatoes & Courgettes

The potatoes haver come into flower very quickly this year! I am leaving them for a bit as we have had a couple of days rain and I hope it will help the tubers swell.
I have left the courgettes under the bell cloches for now as it has been quite windy and not very warm recently. I am thinking of taking them off very soon.
The squashes in the greenhouse are looking a little yellow and sorry for themselves so that is one more thing to worry about for the time being...
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Artichoke Update

The Jerusalem Artichokes seem to be really flourishing this year. We never use all that many but I enjoy watching them grow, their little yellow flowers and the privacy they provide later in the year. We always have them on Christmas day! I should stake and rope them soon or they will be flopping about all over the place if we have a windy day.
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Asparagus Bed Update

Today I nearly finished this end of the asparagus bed....
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....and I got the other row of beans in (my Mum lent me some string). I also covered the entire bean bed in a three-inch layer of mushroom compost.
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Saturday, May 26, 2007


Here are the runner bean Lady Di waiting to be planted out without attracting too much attention from the paparazzi...
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...and done

...and here they are in their final positions. I will mulch with mushroom compost after the next good bit of rain we have. I didn't finish the french beans on the other side as I ran out of string!
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Chance would be a fine thing...

I kind of imagined lazy days down at the allotment taking it easy before I actually got one! The only time I have sat down recently was when I was potting on the tomatoes! Still, it's nice to think about it every now and again...
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'Usual' View

Today I focussed on preparing for the runner & climbing french beans as they are about two feet high now in their pots! I decided on this before I went down and it really helped cut out the distractions such as weeds, weeds & more weeds etc. I think this year I won't use the carpet to plant the beans through but will mulch with mushroom compost to try and improve the structure of the soil a bit. I will probably recret this if I end up knee deep in horsetail again but if the worst comes to the worst I will cover the mushroom compost with plastic as best I can. When the beans are done I need to prepare the sweetcorn bed even theough they have not been sown yet so I can plant them out as soon as they are ready.
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Chirpy Chives

These chives make a pleasant patch of colour where they are growing at the edge of the asparagus bed.
Yesterday I:
*Potted on a load of tomatoes
*Cut the grass
*Weeded the strawberries & asparagus (half-heartedly)
*Pulled up & disposed of the spent purple sprouting plants
*Took the cosmos home ready for potting on
*Decided the runner bean bed needs sorting out v. soon
*Pulled the door off the greenhouse
*Put the door back on the greenhouse (!)
*Watched Jack plant out some extremely healthy sweetcorn plants (I am waiting for my seed to arrive in the post!)
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Saturday, May 19, 2007


Oh...I almost forgot this comfrey flower caught my eye this afternoon.
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What I did today...

Today I riddled some soil into the new bed and planted five courgette Romanescu. (Sounds easier than it was!) I also got rid of the enormous chard plants which were in the seedbed frame below right of the greenhouse in this picture. The idea is to sow some leeks there tomorrow. I also watered the greenhouse.
The tomatoes really need potting on and the beans desperately need to go out but it is just too windy. Have more pics from today but no time to post just now. Must remember to prepare the bean bed and get the bed ready for squashes again. (It's the same bed as last year but I want to add more soil/manure. Am considering adding mushroom compost to improve the structure of the soil in several of the beds. I sprinkled pelleted chicken manure around before planting out the courgettes.
I had given up on getting any sweetcorn 'Indian Summer' which we so loved last year but it was back on the Thompson & Morgan web site yesterday & so I ordered some. It will have to be sown as soon as I get it but if we do get a long hot Summer as expected it should be ok!
Life seems to be slowly starting up again after six weeks of daily visits to the hospice. Every seed sown is a statement of intent and of faith in the future - good times ahead and meals shared with family & friends.
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Frank Ian Lee 'Grandad Binky' RIP

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Frog Update

Cora and this little chap were staring each other out in the garden this afternoon! This and the blackbird photo isn't really allotment stuff but never mind...
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Sunday, May 06, 2007


These germinated in the greenhouse from scratch even though it is unheated and freely 'ventilated'. Must be the warmest April since records began! I ran out of plant labels but I think these are Crown Prince. They're either that or courgette Clarita. For many years Clarita was our favourite courgette but it has been superceded in pole position by Romanescu which has a lovely scalloped edge when cut.
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Gone to Seed...

The Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli has finally gone to seed and is ready to come out. It is always very welcome as the harbinger of Spring on the allotment but we won't really miss it now as we are flush with Asparagus for the time being. Must remember this next time the horsetail is really getting me down...
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Broccoli Bounty

Speaking of Broccoli I potted some on ready for next year. They look a bit sorry for themselves at the moment but I find if I plant them deep into their final position it doesn't do any harm and they recover very well. It's hard to believe that these little things could grow into monsters like the ones just a few feet away waiting to be uprooted.
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Asparagus Bed Update

I have at last started to enclose the asparagus bed. It is very fiddly but at least I now have a level to work to all the way round.
So far I have made five pickings of 41, 51, 41, 83 & 36 spears! I never used to count them but Paul next door told me he picked over a thousand spears last year and I have succumbed. There are of course a range of thicknesses, mainly medium with some very large and some 'sprue'. They are all delicious.
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Hello Blackbird

This little fellow is lucky I was around to protect it from the attentions of two cats and a dog. Two parents were chirping anxiously to very little purpose. I released it into the rose on the shed roof and it scampered to safety.
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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cosmos Update

These wonderful cosmos 'candy stripe' that we had loads of in the garden last year were ready for potting on today. I don't usually catch them before they are a bit past it! Shame they got a bit leggy as I didn't notice they'd germinated! I think they will recover - I potted them quite deeply, but I am going to sow another lot as we've had requests from people we gave them to last year. It's not strictly allotment business but I might post some pics of the flowers from last year as they are so beautiful.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

'Usual' View

This was taken on 27th April to help me keep up with the seasonal changes.
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Little Potatoes

I cut holes for the remainder of the potatoes under the groundcover today. This one is a first early Red Duke of York with very pretty foliage (alright then haulm). I have still to plant the maincrop, maybe in the bed next door.
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Cool Bro!

My brother John popped down to the allotment to help with a few jobs recently after a visit to Dad. His wife Sue is a rhubarb fiend. As you can see he cuts a rather more dashing figure down the allotment than I do.
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