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.

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Things to do in June

So, as I do not have much of an update on the allotment, apart from the rain and sun have made the weeds grow a lot, I thought I would just write a blog about what we should be looking at planting in June.

 

Beetroot

Continue sowing beetroot seeds in June – perhaps a few at the beginning of the month and a few at the end so that in September and October you’ll have some to harvest that haven’t grown too large. They can be stored for the winter if necessary.

Sow beetroot direct. Seedlings don’t like being transplanted.

Top Tip – Sow beetroot direct. Seedlings don’t like being transplanted.

Broccoli

Sow late sprouting broccoli seeds either where you want to grow them or in a seedbed for transplanting later. Depending on the variety, you should be able to harvest them in autumn or overwinter them for picking early the following year. This late in the year, calabrese is better sown where it is going to stay as it is a crop that doesn’t like being moved once the weather is warm.

Carrots

This is the last chance to sow maincrop varieties that will be ready for harvesting in September or October.

 

Chicory

All three sorts of chicory – Witloof or Belgian, sugarloaf, and radicchio – can be sown outdoors in June. The former will be ready for forcing during the winter.

Courgettes, summer squash, and marrows

If you don’t already have plants you’ve raised in pots, you can sow seeds directly outside now that the soil has warmed up thoroughly. Sow two seeds together and, once they’ve germinated, remove the weaker of the two. Leave plenty of space between plants as they spread widely and need a lot of room.

Peas

The beginning of June is probably your last chance to sow maincrop peas, mangetout, and snap peas. Towards the end of the month switch to a fast-maturing early variety. These should be ready for harvesting in about September.

Young pea seedlings are irresistible to pigeons and need protecting with nets or wire mesh.

Top Tip – Young pea seedlings are irresistible to pigeons and need protecting with nets or wire mesh.

Cucumbers

Outdoor cucumbers are usually started off earlier in the year in pots or under cover, but if you sow some seeds outside this month they should give you a crop in August or September.

Endive

Sow curly or broad-leaved varieties outside for a crop in autumn and early winter. Germination may be erratic in hot weather.

Lettuces

Sow in situ and thin out if the seedlings are too crowded. High temperatures may hinder germination – which is perhaps why folklore has it that seeds are best sown at the end of the day, when the soil is cooling down.

Oriental leaves

Sow mizuna, mibuna, mustard greens, pak choi, and other Oriental leaves for salads when leaves are small, and for stir-fries when larger.

Swedes

Sow if you didn’t do so last month. Thin out seedlings and if necessary cover with fine netting to keep off birds and cabbage root fly.

Turnips

Sow another batch for harvesting in August or September before the roots become too large.

Florence fennel

Traditionally, the best time to sow fennel is after 21st June, the longest day of the year. It’s said that the plants are then less likely to bolt. Modern varieties are more forgiving, so anytime in June should give you a crop in early autumn. Sow successively and sow more than you need in case some seeds don’t germinate or slugs gobble up your seedlings.

French beans

Sow a second wave of French beans to follow those that were sown outside last month.

Herbs

June may be your last chance to sow seeds of herbs such as coriander, basil, chervil, fennel, dill, and parsley before the weather becomes too warm for them to germinate reliably.

Kale

Sow a second batch of seeds in seedtrays, modules, or pots ready for planting out next month. Alternatively, leave them in their trays – or even in seedbed somewhere on your allotment – and pick young leaves for salads.

Thin out kale seedlings once “true” leaves begin to appear.

Top Tip – Thin out kale seedlings once “true” leaves begin to appear.

Kohl rabi

Continue sowing seeds where you intend the plants to grow. Thin out seedlings if necessary, keep well-weeded, protect against slugs, and net to keep off birds.

Leaf vegetables

Continue sowing seeds of Swiss chard and spinach beet.

Pumpkins and winter squash

These are usually started off earlier in the year in pots, but they can be planted straight into the ground in June. Prepare the soil by adding lots of well-rotted compost or manure.

Radishes

Sow a few salad radishes in small quantities throughout the month for a constantly replenishing crop.

Runner beans

This is your last opportunity for sowing runner beans. With luck, seeds sown at the end of June may provide you with a crop as late as October – or at least until the first autumn frosts.

Sow runner beans direct outside, at the foot of canes or other supports.

Top Tip – Sow runner beans direct outside, at the foot of canes or other supports.

Salad leaves

Continue succession sowing of rocket, corn salad, summer purslane, chard, kale, mizuna, and other mixed leaves to use as cut-and-come-again salads.

Spring onions

Sow a couple more batches of seeds during the month to ensure you have a continuous supply through the autumn.

 

There should be plenty of information there to help you make the most of growing in June. It can seem like a tall order this time of year as the weeds keep trying to take over and you are constantly working on your allotment to keep up to date with everything. Just remember that you don’t have to grow everything. Just grow what you enjoy eating. But most importantly, plan it well. The key to any successful allotment is planning. Do not give yourself too much to do. Lists are my best friend on the allotment. I wake up in the morning knowing I have loads to do, and therefore struggle to get motivated to get it all done. I’ve now learned that it doesn’t all need to get done in one go. just prioritise the most important tasks. If the weeds are in such a state that they are almost going to spread their seeds all over your plot. Then sowing your runners or digging that bed for the squash can wait until tomorrow. The whole point of it all is to enjoy growing. It can fast turn into a chore if you don’t pace yourself and plan in advance.

I’ll leave you with my 2 best tips for this month. Coffee grinds or wool pellets are by far the most effective natural, organic slug and snail repellent you will ever use and weeing in your compost bin will significantly increase the rotting process. Just make sure you do it into a watering can in your shed first 😉

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.

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Tomatoes and coffee

Had a nice relaxed morning on the allotment today with my eldest boy Reggie. He is currently off school with a broken arm so I thought he could come and find bugs and help me putting out some slug and snail deterrent that I’m trying. He wanted to do a video so he could explain to everyone what we were up to.


The tomatoes also went in to the new tyre beds today. I was a bit worried that having 3 in each tyre would be too much. So I asked the question in an allotment group that I’m a member of on facebook. The response was 50/50, but as I have 6 more plants at home in large individual pots that will most certainly yeald fruit, I thought I’d take a chance. Lets wait and see what happens.

I’ll leave you with another short video of everything we got up to today.

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Planting Out

Away from the allotment, things are getting exciting at home in my little greenhouse. This is where the magic happens. Everything that ends up on the allotment, begins life in this little 3 tiered, pop up greenhouse.

Because space for seedlings and potting out is very limited, everything I grow is meticulously planned to make the most of the available space. 
The next things to leave the safety of the greenhouse and go into raised beds on the allotment, are my grand marmande tomatoes. All I need to do is clear the rest of the area on the allotment so I can get them in the raised beds. They should have probably gone out weeks ago, but I just hadn’t got round to preparing the raised beds until now.

Once I have cleared the area for the tomatoes and moved the raised beds, I should then have a good space for my galia melons. I have grown far too many but have a number of friends that would like to take some on. I’m also making my own 2 metre wide polytunnel for those, using some polythene donated by a friend that woks for a plastics company. So that was very kind of him and will prove very useful.

I’m in two minds about the spaghetti squash that I’m growing as I have already dug a bed thatch had intended to transfer them too. But have seen on YouTube that people seem to be climbing them. I have a criss cross wire fence at the back of the plot that I guess I could grow them up. This wouod free up a lot of space for other veg. I have 3 of those to plant out as a trial as I’ve not grown them before.

I’m a bit worried about my peas as I may have sown them a little late. They are now starting to come through, but I really need them to hurry up and grow a few inches so I can get them in the ground soon. The support and netting is already built on the allotment. So hopefully I can get them in the ground before its too late.

I always like to finish on a positive. I have lots of mixed lettuce leaves growing in the garden as, despite my belly, weceat a lot of salad. Tonight I cooked fajitas and there is just nothing better than having some crisp, fresh lettuce with them that you have ground yourself.

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The Raised Beds

So, as I’ve mentioned before, one end of my allotment, where the fruit bushes are, Is heavily overgrown with grass and weeds. As is the other end where the raised beds are. I’ve been spending a lot of time on preparing the central part of the plot so I can get veg in the ground. But the time has come to clear the rest of the plot before the weeds get too out of hand with all this rain and sun we’ve been getting.

I’ve decided the best way to tackle a big job is to just do a little at a time so I can see the progress. So I started on the easier end of the plot. It might not look like there is much to do here but I’m no spring chicken and I’m not as fit as I used to be. So for me, clearing something like this is backbreaking work.

The wood for the raised beds is rotten, so I’ve decided on a different type of raised bed. I’ve picked up 3 tractor tyres from our good friends that have a farm. I filled them with soil and arranged them together in a triangular shape, closer to the perimeter so that I have space for a bed for the kids to grow stuff, or for my galia melons to go.

I think its looking a hell of a lot better. So after 2 days in blazing heat and one broken toe later. I’m off home for pizza and a cold beer.

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Tomatoes

I have two different varieties of tomato this year. Gardeners Delight and Grand Marmande. They are doing well but have outgrown their three inch pots so I potted them out today and donated a few to my mother in law.

I already have 5 tomato plants in large pots with cane supports in my garden that I planted a little earlier. But I plan to put the rest on the allotment.

I currently have 2 raised beds I would like to put them in. But the wood is completely rotten and has fallen apart. I don’t really want to spend money building new raised beds as the whole point of my allotment is to do everything as free or as cheap as possible. Even my compost bins and water butts are scavenged from skips.

Luckily, we live in the countryside, surrounded by fields and have some good friends that own a nearby farm. They have very kindly offered to donate some old tractor tyres for me to use. They will look awesome with the rest of my tomatoes in. I might even take three so I can put the runners from my strawberry plants at home in them. It’s all quite exciting.

Well. That’s it from me for today, I’m thinking of maybe making some videos of what I get up to on the allotment. But not sure if anyone would really want to watch those haha. I’ll leave you all with a photo of my little helper for today. My youngest boy. He loves helping Daddy.