Allotment Gardening

A Weekend Off

Any veg grower will know that at this time of year a lot can happen in just a few days if you are not around to keep on top of things. Well last weekend was my best friends stag party in my favourite city and previous home, Prague.

Whilst a good time was had by all, 4 days away from the allotment has left me with a lot to do. The weather in the South East consisted of rain, sun, rain, more sun, then even more rain. So inevitably the weeds had a growth party and took over the plot. But after a few hours of hoeing and hard graft on my hands and knees, I’m back on track.

I have a long list of things to do this month that I am slowly getting through. Top of that list was to prepare the soil for the Galia Melons, build a polytunnel and get them in the ground. So thats exactly what I did. Melons love weed free, well draining, warm soil. So its important to give them a good start by mixing some potash through the soil. Then the trick is to water the soil well and cover it with clear polythene for a few days before planting them out, but dont forget to keep watering it to keep the soil moist. This will really heat up the soil so the melon plants will feel right at home.as you can see from the photos, I have planted too many for the space, but my plan is to train them in the direction I want them each to travel and eventually remove the polytunnel at the height of summer so they can spread.

The polytunnel itself couldnt be simpler. I had some curved canes and a good friend that works for a plastics company that supplied me with lots of different lengths and widths of polythene. Then I just weighed the edges down with the wood from the old raised beds. 

Top Tip: If growing melons in a greenhouse or tunnel, be sure to remove the tunnel or open the greenhouse door once the plants start to flower. This will allow the pollinators in to make the magic happen. Otherwise you will have to self pollinate by picking the male flowers and rubbing them on the female flowers. That can be a bit fiddly so I find it easier to allow nature to do its thing.

Two other things I had on my list were sowing my winter cabbage and cauliflower. So I looked in my trusty box of allotment seeds from www.sowseeds.co.uk for my all year round variety of cauliflower and winter tundra cabbage. Both have been placed in the greenhouse before being planted out under a netted cloche once they are ready.

Last but not least, I saw a video on Facebook of someone laying slices of tomatoes in pots and they succesfully germinated. So I thought I would give it a try with some cherry tomatoes I had. Im pleased to say that I already have seedlings popping through. So they are currently growing in the greenhouse. Ill keep my fingers crossed that they produce fruit and will keep you updated.

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