Thursday, 21 April 2011

The allotment soil is getting very dry and powdery

The ground is getting very dry and powdery.  It really needs some rain.

I decided to water and hoe the whole allotment and started with the peas.  They are growing remarkably well but I am keeping them well watered.  They seem to be responding to this now.

There was not much weed germinating but it is worth hoeing where there are no weeds and remarkably you get no weeds growing.

More water was given to the sweet peas under the French bean poles and I gave them a really good weeding.  I used the swoe again under the poles because it is much more manoeuvrable than the big hoe.  The corner of the big hoe had turned up and was not helping with the hoeing so I got the big bull hammer and encouraged the corners to curl back.   It was doing a much better job after that.  I might sharpen it tomorrow.

I watered and hoed the sweet peas.  They will need tying up soon.  Most of the plants have two side shoots growing well.  I will choose the best one to tie to the cane and cut the other one off completely.

I went back to the brassicae bed and watered the broad beans.  Hoed a little around, used the three clawed cultivator and rake to smooth out the soil a little more.

I watered the American Cress which is just germinating.  It has very small seedlings but you can just make out where the line goes.  The Marion swede, on the other hand, has great big seedlings that you cannot miss.  Hoeing between the rows was relatively easy.  I bought some kohlrabi which is bright red so these were put in next to the swedes.  It is not on the plan but I probably can squeeze them in.  I made a v shaped drill and watered along the line with comfrey liquid.  The seed were sown on the damp soil. I covered the seed using the rake and tamped down to firm the ground around the seed.  I gave them some more water because the weather has been particularly dry.

I watered and hoed the garlic and the lettuce then moved over to where the onions were planted.  I needed to change one of the enviromesh sheets on the onions because the one I got last evening was too small.  I like to bury the edges of the enviromesh in the soil so that the little beggars have no way to get the onions.  I watered all the onions well.

I didn't do much to the potatoes.  There is not much to do now they are all earthed up.  I did get some compost and put it on the potatoes nearest the shed because they needed a little more soil to cover them.

I am a little worried about the oca.  I am not sure whether I have buried them a little too deep when I earthed them up.  Not too sure whether they are as strong as potatoes in growing through the soil.

Hoed and watered the roots and they are all coming very well.  Thought about planting some Woden beetroot  but I can leave that until next couple of weeks or so.  I had bought some Hamburg Parsley yesterday and I wanted to put it in.  You eat the root and it is supposed to taste like a cross between kohlrabi and something else that I can't think of at the moment. Again I made a v shaped drill with the back of the rake (it is a straight rake and well suited for this but if you haven't got a rake like this I often use the hoe). I watered the drill with diluted comfrey liquid and then sowed the seed.  I used the rake to cover the seeds and smooth the ground.  Finally I tamped the soil down over the seeds with the rake to firm them in.

Whatever, I will give it a go and see what it tastes like in a vegetable curry or stew.

Watered the carrots and the parsnips.  I carefully weeded along the parsnip line with the onion hoe - a very useful tool.

After this I went up to see if I could dig out a carpet from below a mound of nettles.  The secretary of the allotment association said that they were having difficulty getting this carpet out and into the skip.  I went up there and dug two carpets out and put them into the skip.  There are at least another four there.  Why on Earth do people bring these things onto allotment sites.  All that happens is that they are left and some poor soul, like me, has to go and get rid of them.

I am now going to shut the green house up.  There were two pumpkins germinated this morning.  I hope there are some more when I close up tonight.

Gave the greenhouse a good watering. More Big Max pumpkins have germinated.  Some of the duff seed has actually germinated.  I have at least one Galaxy runner bean.  The French dwarf bean Delinel, however has not germinated and I don't think that it will.  This is why I have bought some others - French dwarf bean Ying Yang, Borlotti bean Supremo and Cannellini bean Sorano.  You can use them all as a French bean and eat them when they are young or leave them on the plant until they dry and have the beans for winter stews or curries.

I planted some celeriac in a pot yesterday and left it in the plastic greenhouse.  It was 20oC in the greenhouse when I went in at eight o'clock.  No problem with frost at the moment.  I am not too sure where I am going to put the celeriac on the allotment because it was not in the plan for this year.  I do have some room between the parsnips and rhubarb though and I think I will put them in here.  Hopefully the rhubarb will not start growing big and swamp them.

I'm just worried that we will be clobbered with a frost in the next couple of weeks. I remember a really heavy frost on June 1st.

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