Sunday, 13 April 2014

Allotment update ...

It's the time of year for an allotment update,well actually having checked it's actually a bit earlier than it was last year,but then in this neck of the woods the weather has be decidedly mild.

First picture -

Not much to do really.

The picture above was taken in February,I had visited the plot just to see how things were getting on because I had planted some onions and shallots in November last year and some spinach,just to see what happens really so I didn't actually do any work.

I did start working on the plot about two weeks later,I got the top section cleared,and I also took one of three net frames I've made down,they're for protecting things like kale and broccoli from pigeons,I also managed to sow a load of carrots and parsnips in between the onions and shallots.

Top section cleared and ready for stuff - 

Didn't take long to do.

Weeding around onions and shallots done,carrots and parsnips sown -

It's so much easier to get on top of the weeds now.

The next visit was about two weeks into March,the winter has been very mild this year,we've not really had much in the way of frosts and generally speaking it's been quite pleasant,so I decided to take advantage of the weather and make an early start on things,so on the next visit,apart from weeding I managed to get the bean frame in place,ready for beans probably near to the end of April start of May time.

I also got seven short rows of spuds in,and on top of that I've planted six rows of peas and seven rows of broad beans,and a few rows of beetroot in the top section of the plot that I cleared in the last visit.

Here's the plot before -

Despite the mild winter there weren't many weeds.

And here it is after -

Doesn't look like much was done.

All in all I did get a fair bit done, the next visit was general tidying,there's a new sheriff in town (so to speak) and he seems to be very much on top of things.

The council have also introduced a new system whereby you are now graded on how your plot is kept,this grade will help towards getting your plot extended (if you've applied to get more space that is) and obviously a good grade is better in terms of keeping your plot.
It's a bit like being back at school in some respects,but there are some plots that really need a bit more attention than they get,and with waiting lists being quite big I can understand the council wanting to give plots to people who will actually use them.

Anyway over the next few weeks I managed to get the plot in a good order,again there was more weeding and I also started to use some of the wood shavings from my wood turning exploits to mulch the path to help keep the weeds down.

Before -

Getting there.

And after -

Almost done.

And that was March,on to April.

This was the plot when I visited on the 11th of April, few weeds to sort out,but not much else to do,the peas and broad beans are starting to grow nicely,and I'd had some kale and some broccoli growing in the greenhouse to plant,and I'd managed to make another two net frames,I was going to leave them in the garden until I needed them,but our cat kept getting caught up in them,so I figured they'd be safer at the allotment.

Here's how the plot was - 

Again more weeding.

Here's two of the frames now in use - 

The white stuff is crushed egg shell.

Fingers crossed the nets will keep the pigeons off the plants,the crushed egg shell works really well for slug control,I've tried various things and so far crushed shell is what works the best,so I guess it's handy we have chickens.

Here's how the plot was when I left it - 

Up and running,much earlier than last year.

I didn't weed round all the onions because the carrots and parsnips have just started to sprout,so in a couple of weeks I'll get that done,and by then I should have some runner beans to go in,I'll start them off in the greenhouse,I'm going to try and get some more peas in as well and I'm also going to start some squashes off,we've got another load of seed spuds for a late crop and the leeks I planted a month ago are almost big enough to go out,so hopefully this year will be as good as last year,but I'm going for better.

Thanks for reading.

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