Thursday, 19 May 2011

Allotment Update

Despite being way ahead of ourselves earlier in the season, it's a real struggle keeping up with things at the allotment at this time of year and we've got the usual mix of good and bad going on.

Good: the potatoes are doing well, and ready to be earthed up just as soon as I pluck all the bindweed out.

Good: I've planted the leeks out. 12 Autumn Giant, 12 Malabar F1 and 12 Musselburgh. These were sown in seed trays in late February.

We plant them in a grid, pushing a 6" deep hole in the soil using the end of a hoe, dropping the baby leek in and watering well. I do think some of them were still a bit small really, so fingers crossed they're not too swamped! I'm keeping the extra seedlings on standby just in case.

Bad: the spinach has gone to seed in the warm, dry weather, and I barely got to harvest any! Boooooo.

The chard is finished too, and will need clearing a.s.a.p. to make room for a new lot.

Good: the broad beans are thriving and flowering away. As always, please ignore the carpet of weeds...

The two lefthand rows are Aquadulce, the two righthand rows are Bunyards Exhibition. I know which one I'm growing next year!

Good: We've weeded the asparagus (again) and planted out the petunias (reputed to keep away the dreaded asparagus beetle).

Bad: the asparagus beetles are really going for it this year and causing serious damage. Some of this could be slug/snail damage too. I've never seen anything like this - the whole tips are gone!

Good: we've netted the strawberries, adopting a much simpler system than the rickety frame we constructed last year!

The net is simply draped over a few canes topped with plastic bottles, and weighed down round the edges with stones tied into the netting.

Good: I've direct-sown runner beans (Polestar) round the feet of four obelisks, and a few rows of French beans (Delinel) in front. Eddie's grandparents kindly sent us a few runner bean plants back at Eastertime, too. They've been getting a bit stressed and lanky in their little pots and will take some settling in, but they're out there now and will hopefully give us a small early crop!

Bad: we still have to finish digging the brassica patch and the three squash patches! The weeds have really taken over since last growing season and the soil is very hard and dry because of the weather we've been having, so progress is slow. I'd hoped to have cleared the paths and got some weed-proof membrane down on them by this time too, but I guess that can wait til everything else is sorted.

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