Sunday, 1 May 2016

Allotment updates 2016 edition...

And so a new year (yes I know it's been a new year for a few months) and as ever there's loads to do on the plot, so here's where we're at with the allotment so far this year.

I started a little later this year, and this is what greeted us, which to be honest isn't bad at all -

The plot as of February -

As usual weeding is the order of the day.

After deciding to start at the top and work down I set about weeding around the raspberry plants and weeding out the strawberry and asparagus beds, this didn't take too long.

Bit of weeding done - 

Starting to look better already.

The other thing I did on this visit was to tidy up the path and put the mulch down, we do this every year, and we use the cuttings from the privet hedges we have around the house, normally I shred them and leave them in black bags over winter, then come spring we clear any weeds from the path and cover it in mulch, I also keep the saw dust from my wood working exploits to use on the path as well.

Path tidied and mulched - 

Path done.

Having put the main part of the path in a while ago I decided it was time to sort out the rest of it, so I marked out a small path that goes round our raised beds at the top of the plot, and then decided that rather than have string or some kind of edging like with the rest of the path I'd make some kind of framework, that way we can grow stuff, like peas, beans etc up it.

Frame work started - 

Bit wobbly, but it's a start.

And apart from more digging and putting in some garlic and shallots that was it for February.

So on to March.

March was much the same as February, more digging and weeding, and a bit more planting, I also finished off the frame work around the top section of path.

Path frame work done - 

Blue string to hold it together, it's what I had at the time.

Framework from another angle - 

Might be a bit 'rustic' but it works.

Time for some planting, first thing in was broad beans (Wilkinsons The Sutton variety) usually people plant broad beans and over winter them, but to be honest from my experience at least it seems to make no difference in how quick you get beans if you plant at the end of the year or whether you plant at the start of the year (around March) yes the plants will be a bit further along if over wintered, but they soon catch up when planted at the start of the year.

Beans in - 

Here's to a good harvest of beans.

I also planted a load of peas along the line of the new framework, this will stay where it is and we'll also grow other things up it as the year goes by, after the peas it'll be french beans (saved from last year) fingers crossed they won't get eaten like last year.

Peas in (I used Kelvedon wonder, they do well here) - 

You can't tell but there are peas there.

Next spuds, planting two different varieties this year, the first being reds (Rooster) and some whites (Maris piper) both are good spuds, and this year I'm planting them lengthways along the fence between our plot and the next plot, usually I plant them across the plot, but I've noticed that there's a slight slope towards the fence and when watering the water tends to run that way, so I figured I'd try planting the spuds along that side and in theory they'll get more water, the spuds at the end of the rows when we've grown across the plot always seem bigger and the plants do better.

Spud planting - 

We shall see if they do better grown this way.

I also put in a load of other stuff, carrots (autumn king) spinach (saved seed) pak choi (saved seed) chard (bright lights, beta vulgaris) beetroot (boltardy) turnips (snowball) and radish (sparkler 3 mix) and some mooli (mino early) most of the other things we'll grow this year (squashes etc) have been started off in the greenhouse at home and will soon be ready for planting out.

I also relocated our rhubarb plants from the bottom of the plot to the top of the plot, so now all the fruit type plants are near the shed, the rhubarb will get more shade there and from looking at other plots it seems to do better at the top end of a plot.

And that was March done - 

About half of the plot is doing something, or should be.

I only made one trip to the plot in April, on a decidedly wet day I figured it would be a good time to plant some onions (Stuttgarter) now onions are something I never seem to do well with, but I'm not giving up, it's odd as I can grow leeks, garlic, shallots pretty well, but onions not so much.

Onions in - 

The green things in the top right are leeks, those I can grow.

And that was it, as yet I haven't been back to the plot (but it's only just turned May) I will finish digging over and tidying up and fixing things in the next week or so, and then it'll be ready for the stuff in the greenhouse.

The story so far - 

It was a soggy day.

Thanks for reading.

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