Saturday, 16 July 2011

Photographs of the allotment in July.

It was raining this morning so I went to the garden centre to get some potting compost and some peas.  I will have to put these into my spread sheet as expenses.  The sun came out when I was walking around the garden centre so I thought lets go down and finish layering another double row of sweet peas.

Just after I started I remembered that I wanted to take some pictures of the allotment in July.  July is a cropping month and this means that the allotment is beginning to look a little untidy.  Where crops have been harvested and new crops planted everything looks a little dishevelled. I do not grow to look pretty though.  This is a working allotment and crops are grown to produce food.  I do  not grow for exhibition or for competition; I grow for food.

The Boltardy beetroot are being harvested now.  I have replaced al line of rocket with spinach.  I have not looked at the scorzonera, salsify or Hamburg parsley to see if they are ready yet.  As you can see the carrots are still under the enviromesh.
The strawberries have well gone over now.  I am leaving on the runners now so that they will make lots of new plants.  I will put these new plants into 3 inch pots to transplant later in the year.  The parsnips have decided to start to grow big.  I have watered them a couple of times with comfrey liquid just to make them grow a little quicker.  It seems to have worked.
The champaign rhubarb has suddenly made a great deal of growth as have the Victoria rhubarb in the background.  I might start to harvest this again later this month.
Next years raspberry fruiting canes have grown very big.  The next job must be to tie these into the wire support frame.  I usually do this after I have cut out all of this years fruiting canes but these canes are still fruiting so I am not going to cut them out until I have finished harvesting them. The old canes are the ones with yellowy leaves.  They will be cut out at ground level when they have finished cropping.

The Kestrel and Pink Fir Apple potatoes are still looking green.  I cannot see any blight on them yet but I am keeping a vigilant eye on them.  The rain today will go to making the tubers bigger.  I do not want to crop these until the tops die off completely. All this goodness in the tops needs to be taken down into the tubers.  Several of the allotment holders want me to dig them up to see what kind of crop I have.  I am not expecting to have a spectacular crop.
Potatoes looking north east
As you can see the potatoes are planted right up to the raspberries.  They seem to be completely happy growing next to each other.  There is no blight at the moment.  Raspberries and potatoes can grow together very happily.  They may not be the best of companion plants but they do not have any adverse effects on each other.  So where the "don't plant potatoes next to raspberries" came from I don't know.  They are fine together.  The Pink Fir Apple next to the raspberries was about 4ft tall, although now they have fallen down a bit due to the rain.   
Potatoes looking south east
My five oca plants.  I don't know whether they are doing well or not because I have never grown them before.  Keeping the potatoes off them is a bind because they do not like to be over shadowed.  Next to them is a small row of gypsophila paniculata.

I think that the oca will grow a bit bigger in August.  You can just see the Totem tomatoes in the background. I have my first red one on one of these plants.  I am a bit concerned with one of the container tomatoes by the shed.  I think that it might have blight.

The lettuce are going over now.  I am not too concerned because I have a lot of succession lettuce in the bed and we can easily start to eat those now.  A lot of these lettuces have a stem rot and it is making them flop about.  The celeriac seems to have taken quite well.

The lettuce are going over now
The celeriac has grown well.  It is forming good stems now and so too is the fennel.  I would have liked a little more fennel but this might be adequate.  You can't really see from these photographs but there are some cucumbers in the ground here.  They have no flowers on them at the moment but I expect to see some any time now.
The broad beans have been planted after the garlic was harvested. I have left the garlic in the store shed to dry off really well.  The broad beans are flowering now but I really  just want them for a green manure.  The seed was given to me last year and I didn't think that they would germinate but here they are. 

The onions don't look too good.  They might have white rot.

 Trying to grow onions on the allotment is becoming more and more difficult.  What with onion miner fly and white rot there does not seem to be any incentive to grow them.  I will be dead chuffed if I can get some this year.

Now that the sweet peas have reached the top of the support canes they will have to be layered. This means that they are taken off the canes and laid on the ground and taken up another cane further down the row.
Valerie Harrod and Restormel sweet peas layered
This gives the sweet peas another length of cane to climb up.  Eventually these stems will be 14ft long or more.  I have taken off most of the lower leaves off so that the stems lie flush with the ground.

Bristol sweet peas being layered
You can see the Bristol sweet peas lying on the ground ready to be tied into new canes.

This time the plants will be taken up the fourth cane from where they were.  So the next four still on the canes will be bought this way along the back of the canes.  If you take all the stems along the front of the canes then you get a thick wodge of stems that you constantly tread on.  You can take all the stems the same way and then at the end of the row turn them onto the next varieties canes.  It looks more impressive if you keep the same colour plants together though so I do a criss cross along the front and back of the canes.

Juvenile robin.

This young robin was so close that I nearly trod on him several times.  It had made the sweet peas its home.  Getting so close to wildlife is one of the pleasures of gardening.  I sometimes take this kind of encounter for granted but really they are to be treasured.  How many other people have got this close to a juvenile robin.  It was literally nearly under my feet.  
More sweet peas to layer tomorrow.
Aintree runner beans.  
The Aintree runner beans don't get much sun on this side of the row because there is an oak tree shading them.  I will take off the overhanging branches in the autumn and bury them in the subsoil.  I have mowed the paths alongside the allotment and they look quite good now.  
This side of the Aintree row gets much more sun and produces many more flowers.  I hope that I get as many beans off these plants.  As the bean stems reach the top of the support canes I cut them off.  This encourages side shoots to form and start to grow up the canes.  The more stems you get the more flowers there are and potentially the more beans you will get.  Well that's the theory anyway.  

Brassicae bed
The kohlrabi has got a little over shadowed by the rest of the brassicas.  Not to worry because I can't eat everything that I am growing at the moment.  I think that the cauliflowers under the netting have got cabbage root fly.  It is in the turnips making them not worth the trouble.  The cauliflowers might be small but I will still harvest them and freeze them.  I have the big winter cauliflowers to come next April so I will have lots of cauliflower.  I have replaced the summer calabrese and purple sprouting with some more calabrese and cabbage plants.  They are not too brilliant so I decided to experiment with them.  I filled the planting holes with inoculated charcoal.  I want to see how much charcoal I can add to the soil and what effects it has on the plants.

The small plants are winter cauliflowers planted to replace the broad beans.  They are not doing particularly well at the moment.  I have watered them with comfrey liquid and hoed them up.
 The Brussel sprouts seem to be doing well.  They had a lot of cabbage white butterflies on them yesterday so they will have to be watched carefully and any caterpillars removed.

Squash Hunter
The squashes are now doing very well.  They have flower buds on them but there are no open flowers yet.  The peas have gone over and I have harvested them all now so I am going to take them out.  This will give the squashes a bit more light and hopefully I will get some good squashes.
New bay tree
My allotment ends at the concrete slabs - the weeds are not mine! As you can see the bay tree died during the cold winter we have just have.  However, alongside a sport has grown and I will convert this into the new bay tree.  The old one was worth about £200 so I was a little sorry to loose it.  Nonetheless I will endeavour to persevere.
The peas have been harvested - except for one or two which I will collect when I take the plants out.  That's why they are looking a little untidy.  The plants are going yellow and this means that they will not produce any more edible peas.  I will be digging these into the soil they were growing on and I will replace them with more peas.  I have got some Kelvedon Wonder.  I will plant them in some New Horizon's peat free compost in sectioned trays like I did with the Early Onward.  When they are big enough and I have cleared this bed of the old pea plants I will plant them out and construct the chicken wire supports again.
Dwarf French beans seem to be doing well. There are no black fly on them that I can see.  If I do get them on the beans, all I do is wash them off with a strong spray of water.  Either that or remove the infected leaves.

The climbing French beans are beginning to grow well now.  They are being over shaded by some sweet peas I put along the row.  The courgettes growing under the climbing French beans are doing very well as well.  However, when have courgettes not done well?

I must remember for next year to give plants a lot more room to breath.  Too many are getting overshadowed particularly in the brassicae bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment