Monday, 10 April 2017

Allotment update (part 2)

Welcome back, this is part two of my current allotment adventures, I had to break it into two posts as it seems I've done quite bit.

So this is pretty much where the new plot was at in part one -

Oh look weeds, some things never change.

The first job this visit (it's now March the 18th by the way) is to prepare some areas for sowing more seeds, and do some weeding.

Bit of digging and raking and voila - 

On to sowing.

You may have noticed that I haven't sorted out pathways and such like yet, this is because I'm taking the same approach with this plot that I did with our half plot, that being I'm letting it evolve, I will eventually put in a path that runs the full length of the plot, I'm also not having a load of defined beds for growing things, apart from the fruit, and I need to put in an asparagus bed, but that will be it for beds as I like to move things about.

After a while the newly prepared section is done, I've sown carrots, parsnips, three different types of radish, mixed salad leaves as well as lettuces, mud fruit (beetroot) pak choi, and spinach, although I suspect the parsnips won't do anything, every seed from that pack of parsnips has failed to germinate, even the ones I've sown at home to see if they'll grow.

Sown areas sectioned off and watered - 

Looking like it might actually be productive.

And now we get to April, this visit consisted of putting in some canes for beans and peas, I also rescued a few more alliums and put in some more parsnips, this time from a different packet of seeds, I'm also pleased to report that the grape vine I moved is showing signs of life, it may not produce any fruit this year, but at least it's still alive.

Pea and bean canes in, peas (Kelvedon wonder) and beans (borlotti) sown and watered - 

About half of the plot is now doing something.
Rhubarb is coming along nicely now as well - 

Quite a lot of it as it happens.

And that brings us up to date, I have recently finished the main frame work for a home built polytunnel which needs to be put on the new plot and be covered in plastic, I will write about how I made it so keep an eye out for that, and obviously there will be a few more allotment updates throughout the year, but for now I'll leave you with a picture of a hedgehog, I found him stuck between a gate and gate post on the site, I set him free and he seemed to be fine, hopefully he'll repay me by coming onto my plot and eating all the slugs that usually eat all my veg.

He's not very talkative - 

He was a good weight, at least a kilo.

Here's the plot as it is now - 

A far cry from what it was just a few months ago.

Thanks for reading.

Allotment update (part 1)

So if you didn't know already it's spring and things are racing ahead of me as usual, but I have managed to get our new plot up to scratch, well more or less, so to that end here's the first of a couple of posts on where we're at with the new plot.

A quick recap, this was January this year (the 6th to be exact) -

This is how I left it, a lot clearer than it was.
And so on a frosty morning on the 20th of Jan I set about making major inroads to getting the plot ready for growing things this year.

Early morning frost - 

A frosty start.
After five hours of burning the massive pile of rubbish I had and digging over some very hard frozen soil what I had left was a blank canvas, I put the the larger bits from the bonfire in the compost bin and spread the ash around, and I managed to dig over the top section near to where the apple trees are, and that was all I managed that day.

Slow going, but making progress - 

Digging hard soil is not fun.
I did intend to visit the plot again a few days later, but time got the better of me, so the only visit was after the strong winds we had to check for damage, luckily there wasn't any.

And so onto February and it was more digging, only this time the ground wasn't frozen which made life a little easier.

A couple more hours of digging and removing very long dock roots - 

Starting to look like things might grow in it.

Two weeks later (around the 17th of Feb) and it was the final stint of digging, by this time the ground was thawed and actually quick pleasant to dig through, although I did have to remove the longest dock roots I've ever seen, some at over two feet, very difficult to get out in one piece, most weeds I just chop up with my spade, but dock roots, dandelion roots and nettles I try to get out whole, otherwise they come back, I have special areas for nettles though as they are good for bees and make good fertiliser.

So after more digging the new plot had been entirely dug over, and I even managed to do a small bit of digging over on our half plot.

New plot done, it took some time to clear but it looks good now - 

Still some weeds lurking though.
And the half plot also being worked a little - 

It looks a lot smaller than our new one.

That was about it for February, I then didn't do anything to either plot until the first week or so in April, but most of the hard work was out of the way.

I spent two days planting various things on the new plot, on the first day I planted broad beans, french beans more onions, early spuds (also put three rows of early spuds on the half plot) and mulched round the rhubarb and fruit bushes and lastly I cut back the green manure on the half plot.

Broad beans and onions in (only a small amount, the main crops are on the other plot) - 

Sowing has commenced.

Five and a half rows of spuds on this plot, and three rows on the other plot, and I also have some more spuds for later on in the year.

Spuds - 

Much bigger rows than I'm used to putting in.
More spuds - 

These rows are about half the size of the rows on the other plot.

The rhubarb on the new plot is starting to grow (it's much further along now) and it turns out there's two different varieties, I've also started laying some old fence posts down along one side of the plot where all the fruit bearing plants are, eventually I'll move the fruit plants from the other plot down to this one as well, need some more fence posts though.

Rhubarb - 

I'll add our other rhubarb plants to this bed as well.

Green manure cut back - 

I will dig it all over soon.

And finally allium rescue, whilst I've been removing dock roots and such like I've been finding various allium type plants, these are mainly self seeded leeks, but there are some garlic and possibly a few onions, so rather than bin them I've sectioned off a small area for the purpose of rehabilitating these neglected alliums, whether I'll get anything useful from them I don't know, but that's no reason not to try.

Allium rehab - 

Waste not want not.

And that's just about it for part one of this two part allotment update, stay tuned for the next thrilling episode.

Thanks for reading.