Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Finishing off the supports for the newly planted peas.

I've finished putting up the chicken wire supports for the Kelvedon Wonder peas.  They haven't grown on as fast as I would like since I planted them but I reckon they will do ok.  The peas have settled in quite well and the dryish weather has not made them wilt.  I did put a watering can of water on each row and this seems to have helped.  I did not use any comfrey liquid so I can see what effect just watering with water has on the plants.  Will they grow as large as the Early Onward?

The sweet peas growing up the climbing French bean supports have really taken over and are shading both the climbing and the dwarf French beans.  As I have not had time to take off the flowers that have gone over there were a lot gone to seed.  I decided to cut them down as far as I could so that light could reach the beans. I gave the whole bed a good hoe to remove any weeds although there weren't that many.

After this, I started to take some more potatoes out.  I filled one of the plastic baskets, which was about half a row, and took them up to be washed.  I like to wash the potatoes at the allotment so that any top soil remains on the allotment and not going down the drain at home.  Several of the potatoes had little round holes in them and when they were cut open the insides were riddled with tunnels.  This is slug damage but I only found one of the beggars in a potato.

The trouble is that if you store potatoes with slugs in them they tend to burrow into others.  This means that the whole bag of potatoes can become useless.

There were only three or four potatoes that had  tunnels within the potato.  They would not store well even with the slug extracted so I put them into the worm bin.

I harvested beetroot - mainly Boltardy, carrots, courgettes, runner beans, climbing French beans and the outdoor tomatoes.  This is the first year ever I have been able to grow outdoor tomatoes.

I talked to Fred for a bit and I remarked on how large his sunflower flowers were.  They were self sown and so were the ones on my allotment.  They grew from the bird seed I had been putting out.  The point is, when ever have sunflowers been able to self seed in this country?  That one crept up on me without me knowing.  Twenty years ago, growing sunflowers involved sowing indoors.  Then carefully planting after the frosts.

There are parts of the allotment that are particularly dry while others where the soil is quite moist.  The moist areas are probably where the springs are. I am going to continue to add lots of organic matter to the soil to increase its water holding capacity.   My next door neighbour allotment holder said that I could have  a large pile of weeds she had taken out.  These will be dug into the potato bed.  When I have packed this organic matter into the soil, I will plant winter green manures to be dug in next spring.  I have grazing rye, winter tares and clover to plant.

I may also plant some winter salad leaves on the old potato bed too.  I was going to plant some carrots but I have far too many with the ones I already have so there is no point in sowing more carrots.  I am going to plant lamb's lettuce, rocket, spinach, chard and American land cress instead.  This will see me through the winter I think.

Tomorrow I will take some photographs of the allotment.  It is a bit untidy this time of year because a lot of things are being harvested leaving large areas of bare soil.  I am endeavouring to make sure that I cover the soil this year.  I will mainly be using green manure to do it.

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