I got up to the allotment early so that I would have some time to do the planting. I decided to put the lettuce in first. To do this I needed to move the tarpaulin. I took off all the slabs and just slid it across the soil so that it was out of the way. The line was put in four feet from the track way.
Lettuce do not need to be very far apart when you first put them in. If you put them six inches apart along the line then you can thin them out as you take them to eat. This gives more room for the others to get bigger. So, I used the green trowel with the scale on the blade to measure between plants and to dig the holes.
I put some comfrey liquid into the watering can and filled it with tap water. I have emptied the water butts now so I cannot use rain water any more. A three to four inch hole was dug for each of the lettuces and a little mychorrhizal fungi was added before the lettuce plant was carefully dropped in. I do not drag the soil back into the hole with the trowel. Rather, I water the soil around the hole so that soil is washed onto the roots.
This does several things. It puddles water around the plant and this means that they rarely wilt. It washes soil onto the roots so there are no gaps or air pockets and it fills the holes so that a cursory hoe around the row means that the holes are completely filled.
But for about three seedlings I got two rows out of the lettuce. I had already watered the Nemaslug nematodes onto this area so I am hoping that they will be free of slugs for most of their lives. The tarpaulin was pulled back next to the lettuce and the slabs returned to keep it from blowing about. I will make sure that there are also some beer traps to make sure that no slugs get to the lettuce.
I moved over to the other side of this bed to plant the onions. I wanted to be as far away from the hedges along the trackway as I could because Phytomyza gymnostoma shelters in hedges. I doubt whether it will make a difference but I wanted to give it a go and see what would happen.
The onions were planted more or less like the lettuce and then given an additional watering of comfrey liquid. As a further precaution against Phytomyza gymnostoma , I put a three plastic cloches over the lines of onions. I will leave them there until I crop the onions because I don't think that the onions will mind. I will remove the cloches to weed between the onions but put them back as soon as I have finished.
I planted three double rows and I think that this will be sufficient. I still had some left over in the sectioned trays and rather than waste them I will use them in salads for spring onions.
I hoed the area between the onion cloches and the tarpaulin because there were lots of weed seedlings germinating from the compost I put on this bed in March.
I really needed to hoe between the sweet peas as well. Weed seedlings were starting to grow here as well. I was going to water the sweet peas but ran out of time.
The newly planted Early Onward seedlings have settled in really well and are growing away now. The swedes, salsify, scorzonera, rocket, spinach, Boltardy beetroot, carrots, and parsnips have all germinated. The potatoes are also showing through the soil and I will have to hoe them up to prevent the foliage being scorched if there is a frost.
I hoed around the broad beans which are flowering profusely. I will get a crop off these plants in the next few weeks.
The winter cauliflower head was quite large now and I thought that I would take it home. I also picked a few rhubarb stems as well.
Just as I was going to the car, I started to talk to one of the allotmenteers about the skip that the allotment society had provided. I said that although the committee had cleared off the glass on the allotment too far they had not removed the old bath. We went down to the allotment too far to see if the bath was a cast iron one or a plastic one. It was plastic so we decided to carry it to the skip. The problem was that it was full of soil. Turning it over and emptying it was a job for two strong men. However, we had to do it instead and it was a great effort.
Carrying it over to the skip was easy in comparison.
Then I went home.