Monday, 28 May 2012

What on Earth........

What another wonderful day, morning off work my 2 girls at school so off the allotment I go. Time to get the sweetcorn in the ground, a spot of light weeding first to make the bed ready for planting and In they went, learning from last year when I planted out sweetcorn I made sure they were a little deeper planted to give them more stability when growing. I am growing mini corn and normal sweetcorn both were a big success last year and can’t wait to eat them again this year.

All my regular readers will know I am trailing loads of old heritage potatoes this year so today was the final earthing up of them. I thought I would use a technique I haven’t tried before using hay instead of earth to cover my potatoes I have read that it works really well and will also help to improve my soil for next year as I can dig it in once the potatoes are removed.

I was quite lucky that the council cut the grass around the allotments about 4 days ago and left the cuttings spread all over the place they had since tuned to hay so off I went with rake and wheelbarrow to collect to use for my potatoes.

I was a little concerned that once there was a little wind the hay would blow everywhere so just to make sure I added a small amount of earth to the tops to stop it all blowing away. I know it doesn’t look the most attractive in the world but the proof will be in the potatoes at the end.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Squashes, Wigwams & Raspberries

WOW. What a difference a week makes, this time last week it was chucking it down with temperatures of 10°C this week it’s in the high 20’s and with a prolonged spell too, so I made the most of it and planted out the squashes and courgettes, this year I am growing 3 types of squashes (check out my planting plan for the variety’s) the butternut squash I am going to have a go of growing it up a wigwam I am using the large branches from my eucalyptus I felled back in march. They look pretty good I think.

I am not going mad on courgettes this year only planting 4 plants 2 yellow and 2 green, last year I planted 10 plants and well to say I had a glut would be an under estimation I could have kept the whole of Essex supplied with them!

I have now moved the last of the veggies stored in the house out into the cold frames to harden off in readiness for a mass planting session next week.

Highlight of the week on the plot is by far the raspberry’s they are looking really healthy =, better start thinking about covering them up before the birds get hold of them.

It’s amazing what a few days of sun can do  to a plant the growth put on in just 2 days is staggering.

We’ll have a good week folks and make use of this fine weather.  

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Frozen in time,waiting for the sun.....

I must start with an a apology, I haven’t blogged as much the last few weeks, I am in the process of moving jobs, to a much larger kitchen within the same company and this is putting a big demand on me at present so my allotment time has been short and sweet.

But that said all its done is rain, rain, rain and when we did get a spell of good weather like over the weekend just gone I was working!! Typical.

I have so many tender plants sitting in the green house and cold frames waiting to go in up the allotment but the temperatures haven’t been warm enough to risk planning them out, I don’t want to lose any of my plants they are all looking really healthy and strong.

Today is my only chance I think I will get to get down the allotment but as I type it’s starting to spit with rain outside and the forecast for later is rain so I may not get the chance anyway.

It’s been a very frustrating year so far for the allotment march promised so much but all downhill from there. I have never know a May as cold as what we are having at present, nothing wants to grow most plants seem “frozen in time” ready to burst into life at the first sign of sun.  so lets all hope that it shows its face sometime soon!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The first harvest of the new season....

Well today saw me harvest the first meaningful crop from this year’s sowings, I had a lovely bunch of radishes, they were sweet and very peppery just what you want from a radish, they went well with our salad for tonight’s dinner.

There is always that extra excitement with the first crop of the year I know it’s only radish but the taste is better than anything you can buy.

Today was also the first time I managed to spend some meaningful time up the allotment, what with all this rain (much needed in this part of the country) it made what time I did have spare for the plot almost impossible to do anything, some parts of the allotment are VERY muddy and some plots resemble bogs not allotment plots, but my investment in bark chipping has already repaid me I was able to come and go on the plot with ease. The weeds are at a manageable level too; wish I could say the same for the plot next to me it’s a vacant plot that has just been left to its own devices for a year and the weeds are now waist height!

I tried to give the potatoes there first earth up today I say tried the soil was so wet it was just sticking to the folk I did my best but will have to neaten it up when it dries out.

The carrot seeds I sowed back in late march have all germinated and I have today put some fleece round them to stop the carrot fly, I have never had an issue with this before but there is always a first time for everything!!!

The plot is looking really good at present the soft fruit is looking superb I have never seen so many flowers on my strawberries and the raspberries have flourished in this wet weather, the rhubarb looks like it’s a week or 2 from harvesting and the broad beans planted a few weeks ago are looking healthy. The early sowing of lettuce is a week from harvesting too. All in all I am pleased with the progress made so far in my first part of the season and can’t wait to get some decent weather so the tender plants can start to be put in their final homes.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Adventure one year on..........

Wow has it really been a year?.....tomorrow(4th) sees my first year as an allotment holder the time has really flown by, I can’t imagine life without the allotment now it’s become such a big part of my life most of my free time is spent at the plot in one way or another, it’s my way of dealing with the stresses of running a busy kitchen and the challenges that it throws at me. I can spend an hour after work just pottering about and the stress and worry of the day just lifts from my shoulders.
I love spending time with my whole little family at the allotment if the girls aren’t digging or planting something they are hunting for daisy’s or playing with the other children on the plot.I have such big plans now this year for the allotment and I spent all the winter preparing for it with the addition of my raised beds and the new compost area it feels almost complete.I did have a really good harvest last year but I didn’t prepare much for the winter or spring but this year it will all be different.

Bring on the next 12 months………