The last few weeks have been very busy and to get a couple of hours of allotment time has taken a lot of effort and determination. Despite several attempts by outside forces to steal my plot time I made it down to the lottie on Friday for a few hours.
The first thing I encountered was Malcolm, a seasoned and successful plot holder, much envied by others, sitting outside his shed, brew in hand, surveying his extremely tidy, organised and well kept plot, oh to be retired. On the plus side he came over and gave me a good review of my broads, sprouting broccoli and onions so not all bad.
I had gone down with a 2 specific tasks in mind, weed and mulch the asparagus, weed and mulch the permanent bed.
If it was green, not asparagus and in that bed out it came. Once the bed was clear it was covered in a good layer of manure for the worms to work in. In the process I discovered our first spear of asparagus for this season, about 3/4 of an inch so far but hopefully a sign of things to come. The bed had a good seaweed feed at the end of last season, a top dressing in Jan plus this manure so fingers crossed.
The permanent bed is the raspberries which I think I may have accidently over pruned last year following a mis-communication with my dad, rhubarb which is going rather mental and a few stray plants (lavender, curry and dill) that we couldn't bear to throw out and made a home for, if for nothing else than to attract bees . This area has been rather neglected so got weeded and manured to top dress and mulch it. The spare spots in this area will get filled with something this year I'm sure.
Apart from that I hoe'd and weeded to old parsnip and leek area. I earthed up the remaining leeks, not sure what that will do and cleared the spot for this years peas where our overwintering attempt failed.
All the weeds are taken home for bin disposal. We never put weeds, even annuals into compost to try and keep it weed free for next year. Two big buckets headed home.
Under the cloche the lettuces are slowly growing and I've thinned the radishes and turnips which are doing well. The ends are off the cloche now to prevent dampening off and temps getting too high in the day. I plan to start another couple of rows of radishes, turnips, spring onions and beetroot under another cloche next week.
At home I planted our tomatoes, 20 pots, 4 varieties, 2 seeds per pot. If they all come up I'll prick some out. I am growing extras for my dad and sister, Heather's balcony and a couple in my back garden, just in case blight strikes.
I also potted on my winter PSB for next year and pricked out marigolds into cells. 48 plants for next year should do it. All plants are now getting some outside time in the mini greenhouse to start hardening them off.
My lettuces in pots on the kitchen window sill were a disappointment. The Sierra only managed 4 seeds germinated, the Little Gem and big fat zero. The Little Gem seeds were old so maybe I planted them in both pots accident?? They have been replaced and planted again, and another sowing of Sierra seeds started. The compost is also a slightly different Jon Innes variety so hopefully the usual faithful window sill will succeed this time.
I got some sugarsnap pea seeds from a garden magazine, the average pack contents was 13 seeds (we got 16, yeahhhhhhh baby), so I decided to start them off in cells as we have no spares for gaps otherwise.
I've seen seed catalogues advertise baby beetroot plants. Beetroot I thought were tap rooted and should not be transplanted so I've always been suspicious how well these would transplant. I had 8 cells left in the pea tray so I've put 4 x Golden Burpee and 4 x Bolthardy in to see what happens when I transplant them if they come up. Hopefully they provide a small early crop.
A few pots with Minicole cabbages, Green Sleeves celery and Golden Berry cape Gooseberries completed a fun filled Saturday evening.
So a productive weekend given the time available.
Finally... as you may have noticed my plant labels are printed... I'm a geek, I have access to a labelling machine so why not. Also my hand writing is appalling so it makes life easier.
I recently had a gardening supplies catalogue come through the door advertising a garden labeller, for the princely sum of £43.95 (a Brother PT_GL_H105). The one I use is a slightly different model, but essentially the same machine (a Brother H101), by the same manufacturer, using the same tape, for £13.24 on eBay...And labels last for more than a season. I don't like this over charging, its folks like my dad who will stump up the £43.95 without thinking to check the internet for a cheaper options. What they are charging it clearly taking advantage of those who don't know/trust/have access to the internet to find cheaper options. it pays to shop around for such equipment.
Next week I must get the spuds, peas, parsnips and carrots in...........
Happy Gardening Folks!!