Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Allotment photographs for May

The April photographs are at:

I may well have put things out a little too early.  There is a threat of cold weather on Saturday this week.  If you are reading this in 2012 Tone DON'T PLANT TOO EARLY.
Well here are the photographs for May.

The comfrey patch looks a little unkempt because I have just cropped most of it and put it in the green bins in the background.  The bins are chocker block full now because I have also cropped nettles from various sources around the allotment site.  It is certainly making a really rich liquid fertiliser.

A good view of the allotment up the hill.  This side of the hill is north facing and exposed with severe cold winds and frost.  If  you can garden here you can garden anywhere.  The carrots are coming along well but they need to be weeded and thinned now.  I will take off the netting to do this.  Carrot root fly will not get to the carrots if they are not exposed to the elements for too long.  

Salsify, Scorzonera, then spinach, rocket, two rows of Boltardy beetroot and a second row of rocket (I like rocket).  The Hamburg parsley and the Woden beetroot have germinated but you cannot see them in this photograph.  

Three rows of parsnips with Swiss chard on the left - but not germinated yet, spinach on the right similarly not germinated yet and a further row of poppies not germinated yet.  Two or three potato plants growing in the middle of this area.  Apart from sieving the soil, I cannot see how you can ensure that you remove every last potato from the ground.  I will have to dig down quite deep to get these ones out and I hope that I don't disturb the seedlings.
Strawberries have fruit on them already.  They are quite big as well.  I have been taking off the runners with a pair of scissors.  If you do this all the energy of the plant will go into making fruit.  After the strawberries have fruited then I will let some of them have runners and keep the plants that they make.  

The back rows are mainly Marshmallow and the front ones are mostly Cambridge.
The oca should have been growing here but there is no sign of it yet.  I do hope that it comes.  I don't think that I will be eating any of it this year.  I will just keep the tubers for next year - if these ones grow.  

A lot of the potatoes have got caught by the frost.  It does not seem to have stopped them from growing.  I have tried to hoe them up as much as I can to cover the foliage but as you can see they are far too big for that now.  I will just have to grin and bear it.
The raspberries are growing well.  This is their second year in this ground and they are not as big as my previous plants grew.  I will get bigger plants next year.  These are the only soft fruit that never goes home.  I eat them all at the allotment.  

The sweet corn and squashes seem to have suffered from the frost too.  I think that they will recover but I might loose one or two of them.  I planted them in the allotment far too early because of the hot April weather.

This is what I have to do to protect the onions and the leeks from the leek miner fly Phytomyza gymnostoma.  What are things coming to that we have to protect onions?  Still I am determined to get some good leeks and onions this year come what may.
Garlic in the foreground with three rows of lettuce, half a row of celeriac and Florence fennel then a row of cucumber.  The tarpaulin is where I am going to put the late sowing of leeks.  The nematode worms seem to have done their work here because there is no sign of slugs or snails in this area.
Garlic is getting quite big now.  It will probably start going brown next month and be out by the end of June.  They say that garlic should be planted on the shortest day and harvested on the longest day.  Well that might happen this year.

The blackberry has very large flowers but last year the fruit were very disappointing.  I am hoping for better things this year.  The sweet cicely has grown like this since it rained.  I will have to take another crop from it but the butts are full so I will have to leave if for the time being.
Jilly and Eclipse Sweet Pea

Mollie Rilstone and Bristol Sweet Pea
My first lupin this year.  
   Although the sweet peas still look small they are growing at a pace.  They are quite hardy plants and the frost has not affected them at all.
April 24th                Restormel and Valerie Harrod Sweet Pea.              May 10th
I am really glad that I protected the beans with a bit of old netting.  They have not suffered from the frost at all.  I have pinched out all the growing tips to encourage side shoots to develop.  This way I get more beans.

There is a line of American land cress, swedes, kohlrabi and then cabbage, calabrese and summer flowering brocolli.  The summer cauliflowers are under another net held up with black hoops of water pipe.  This is to stop the cabbage white butterflies getting to them.  Two lines of winter flowering brocolli and three lines of winter cauliflowers.  

 I knew that the broad beans would get in the way of the brassicas.  They are growing well and have no blackfly at the moment.  I will be pinching out the growing tips soon to make sure that I don't attract any of these aphids into the allotment.

I put the nets up with no great planning.  A few canes and the netting stretched over the brassicas like this will keep the pigeons away.  This will not stop the cabbage white butterflies but I can deal with these caterpillars later.  

Four rows of Onward peas.  They are supposed to be in succession but they are catching each other up and they will probably all crop at exactly the same time.    
The mange tout peas seem to be very slow in growing.  I did water them during the hot weather but they did not respond as much as the garden peas.

I thought that the climbing French beans had escaped any damage from the frost but they were slightly burnt and so too were the courgettes.
That is the end of the allotment and the end of this blog entry.

Now have a look at the photographs for the end of may.
See how the plants have shot up.


  1. My oca is only just beginning to come up despite having been sitting in pots for weeks. I forgot to fleece the onions. Hope it's not too late!

  2. Hi Robert
    I now have oca! And I am dead chuffed.