Allotment Gardening

Bursting into life

If you read my last post, you will know how much I love this time of year on the allotment. Its just incredible to see the changes each day.  There is always something new flowering or a new tomato or runner bean has begun its journey to my kitchen from being a flower just the day before.

I look forward to arriving on the allotment each day and walking around to see what’s new since yesterday. So much changes overnight.

The sweetcorn is firing out its hairy bits from the stem and the male flower has sprouted from the top of the plant, ready to drop its pollen and turn them into lovely corn on the cob. I can see lots of side stems that will bear corn so I’m optimistic for a big crop this year.

I’m really pleased with the spaghetti squash too as each of my 3 plants have at least 20 flowers. Although I’m  still a bit worried that I’ve planted them too close together. I guess we will just have to wait and see. If all goes well, I’m going to need to start planning recipes. I’ve heard that this variety can be used as a replacement for pasta.  That was the whole point in trying it.  I really hope the kids like it. Especially if I end up with a huge crop.

I did make a bit of a judgement error with the brussel sprouts. I kept trying different types of slug and snail repellents, but nothing was working. They still kept getting munched on. After a little more research, I discovered that the culprits of the munching were pigeons! So as you can see in the photo above, I have now netted them. Hopefully they will fully recover now and go on to produce some lovely brussel sprouts.

One of the highlights of my morning on the allotment was picking the first batch of redcurrents before the birds ate them. Last year was very disappointing as I saw that they were ready one evening and decided to pick them the next day while it was warm. But the birds had eaten every single one of them for breakfast. I was not going to let that happen this year. I am already planning on building a fruit cage next year to cover all of my berries and currents.

I also managed to pick some of the ripe raspberries for the kids lunchboxes. Although I never seem to bring many home because they are so damn sweet and tasty. I just can’t help myself when I’m there. They taste so good when they are warm and fresh straight from the plant.

 

After a busy morning on the allotment, I had some editing to finish at home from a recent photoshoot before a beach shoot in the evening. Once I arrived home from the photoshoot, I opened up a bottle of Badgers Poachers Choice and sat on the Rattan on the patio to pot up the pepper plants that were kindly donated by my mum. Without her, I really wouldn’t have a bloody clue what I’m doing. She has grown all sorts for as long as I remember so I learnt a lot about gardening growing up.

As any allotmenteer will know, the allotment never sleeps, so I’ll be back in the morning with the hoe. Then off to the garden centre to buy a replacement watering can as my dear old metal one has finally died.

I’ll leave you with this fabulous selfie of me and my hoe, enjoy!

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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.

Allotment Gardening

Getting things under control

You may be bored of me banging on about the overgrown end of the plot. But I cant help it. It really frustrates me that I haven’t found time to sort it yet and the weeds are 5 feet high and starting to go to seed. Well my allotment neighbours would be jyst as annoyed as me if weed seeds stsrt blowing everywhere from my plot. Time to call in the cavalry, or to use his actual name, Darren. He’s a good friend and a gardener by trade, so I knew he would have either a cordless or petrol strimmer to lend me. Luckily enough he had both and even offered to strim it for me. Legend!!!

Needless to say he did me a right favour and its looking so much better. Should also keep the moaners off my back too.

The best part of cutting the weeds back in this section is that I can now get to my fruit bushes. Im finally able to see how well they are doing. Im pleased to say they are full of gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries and red currents. Just got to wait for them to ripen

Now that I can see the end of the plot, its given the motivation I need to dig those weeds out so I can utilise every inch of space I have. So although its a bit late in the season, I finally dug a huge chunk of weeds out, dug a bed and planted 2 rows of potatoes. Im so happy that Im getting closer to have control of the entire plot and will keep my fingers crossed that its not too late in the season for the potatoes. Im pretty sure they will be fine and I’ll just get a late crop.

I ticked another couple of jobs off my list today, including thinning out the brussel sprouts. But I dont like to take something out and waste it, so I tried to move them so they were spaced correctly. I think that was a mistake as despite watering them in well, the ones I’ve moved had wilted quite a lot by the time I had left. Hopefully they will be back to normal tomorrow.

The galia melon seedlings are bursting out of the seed tray and deperately need to be planted out soon, so I’m currently preparing the soil by mixing lots of potash in, some well rotted manure and ive absolutely soaked the bed and covered with polythene to get the soil nice and warm before they go in. Im thinking i might squeeze 4 in there.

That’s about it from me today. Still plenty to do. Ill be making a list tomorrow so I can prioritise all my jobs. Ill also be putting lots more on Instagram and Facebook.

Allotment Gardening

Weed Weather

It’s that time of year again where we have a week of blazing sunshine, tyen a few days of non stop rain. We know what such a combination brings………WEEDS!!

What I’d  like to know is, why on earth do the veg crops not grow anywhere near as much as the weeds? I spent an hour this evening hoeing the plot. Luckily I quite enjoy it.

Not much of an update since my last post im afraid. The brussel sprouts are doing well and may need thinning out soon. The coffee grounds that Reg helped me with seem to be keeping the slugs and snails away, so I’ll certainly be using coffee a lot more on the plot.

The sweetcorn is also doing well and seems to be growing an inch more each time I visit the plot. I’m really hoping I’ve got the spacing right as I’m eager to get a good crop from these.

I also got the spaghetti squash planted tonight. I dug the bed a few weeks ago and have been putting lots of organic material, compost and well rotted manure in as I’ve heard these squash are very hungry. Im really looking forward to sering how these go as i think the kids will love the novelty of it when its cooked and served like spaghetti.

I will soon be starting a vlog on YouTube and have already recorded 3 videos to upload. It will have a fancy little intro too, so keep checking back for details.