Friday, 17 February 2012

Allotment photographs for February 2012

I remembered to take my camera and take some photographs today.  It is a bit over half way through February. Allotments do not look good at the best of times and this is not the best of times. They are honest photographs of a hard working allotment warts and all.
Worm bin
The worm bin has been very useful recently because I have been putting dandelions, bind weed and mare's tail in it for the worms to get their teeth into.  It is producing quite a bit of liquid which I drain off using the tap at the bottom.  I am just mixing worm bin liquid with the comfrey liquid at the moment.  The nettles have died right back but I am sure that they will start shooting in a couple of weeks.  I will put them with the comfrey and sweet cicely to rot down in the big green bins and make some lovely liquid manure. I am going to take down one of the compost bins because I never fill them.  The one behind the worm bin is going to go.  It had the pigeon muck in it so the ground will be quite fertile.  As it has so many stones in it, I will leave it to the nettles to colonise.  I will use the nettles to make nettle liquid fertiliser.

 I will fix up that bird table when I get a chance.

Comfrey bed in January
Dug over in February.

It does not look like it but I have dug over the comfrey.  Got rid of those stones thank heavens.  The comfrey died right back when the cold weather came during the beginning of February.  I have put the sundial up but I am not sure whether I am going to keep it here.  
Seived new potato bed soil.
Finally finished sieving this soil at the end of January.  I have taken a lot of cuttings from the gooseberry.  Some of the autumn cuttings have rooted all ready.  The black bins at the back of the bed are over the rhubarb to force it.  I have put some horse manure around the bases to try and warm the soil and speed the process up.  I doubt if I will have any manure left over but if I do I will put it around the rhubarb.  
This is all the manure I have left
I am going to put oca alongside the trackway and 90 degrees to the path.  It is very open here and they will get the light all day.  Update in March - only if you buy some more Tone because all the tubers were killed by a heavy frost.  
Poor old vine
I have moved this vine so many times that I am really surprised that it is still going.  It is in the poorest ground on the allotment. Vines are put into poor ground to restrict their prodigious growth during the summer and to encourage fruiting.  When it was growing strongly, I had to cut it back about three times a year.  I have built up the soil quite a bit by adding dead organic matter.  To keep this good soil away from the vine, I put the slabs around.  It meant that I did not need to move the vine again..  I reckon that lots of nutrients will get to the roots because the slabs do not keep enough of the poorest soil around it but nothing I can do about that except continue to cut it hard back in summer.   I decided to use the stone that I have been sieving out to make a stone mulch for it.  
Rhubarb under the forcing bins
A good sieved soil for the potatoes
This soil still looks a bit ropey but I reckon that it will grow some good potatoes and oca Oxalis tuberosum.  You can see the stone that I removed in the background.  

The new onion bed is full of green manure, garlic, American land cress, rocket, broad beans and tulips.   

The garlic got knocked about a bit by the frosts and snow but it grows much better when it has been frosted like this.  
Raspberry canes
Raspberries are doing all right.  They usually get broken by the wind but I have tied them in very carefully this year.  
New sweet pea bed.
The new sweet pea bed is nearly empty now.  I have dug in some horse manure and leaves.  It has been rough raked and will need another rake before I put the poles in.  There are still some leeks and celeriac to be eaten.  
Leeks under enviromesh
New brassica bed.
I have a flower garden here.  All the bits and pieces have either been given to me, come from cuttings or grown from seed.  The old plum stump might come in handy because I want to do some bud grafting onto it. 
Green manures in brassica bed
The green manures were planted a little late and have not developed very well.  I will leave them in until the brassicas are ready to go in.  
No sign of big bud on the blackcurrants but I have cut them so hard back that I don't think I will have much of a crop this year.  
Strawberry bed.
The strawberries are getting a little overwhelmed with the poached egg plant seedlings.  I will take the poached egg plants out soon but use them elsewhere in the allotment as a green manure or companion plant. The purple sprouting broccoli has not flowered again.  I will only plant one small row this year.  
Winter cauliflowers
I still have quite a few winter cauliflowers.  They will come in April and I am hoping they are out of the way when I want to plant my late peas.  
More of the winter cauliflowers
I have decided to put in a huglekulture bed where the Brussel sprouts are being taken out.  I am burying the old big bud infected blackcurrant bushes and other stuff I have found round the allotment.
Been eating Brussels since before Christmas
And I still have these left.  They will be eaten in the next few weeks though.  They grew quite large this year. They are about 3 foot tall.  

I have sieved this soil in readiness for the carrots.  There should be an unimpeded root run for them.  The bay tree is well and truly wrapped up.  I did not want it to die back this year.  
Green manure on roots bed
Celery and leaves bed
I have dug and sieved horse manure and pigeon muck into this area for the "leaves".  I will be planting Swiss  chard, celery, celeriac, lettuce, etc. where the tarpaulin is.  I have put about ten beer traps under the tarp to try to reduce the number of slugs and snails here.  It is the first time for a great number of years that I have tried celery.  It is usually spoilt by slugs before it can be eaten.  I am going to use nematodes over this bed later in the spring in order to reduce their numbers.  

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