Friday, 23 March 2012

Allotment photographs March 2012

I think that it is important to show the allotment how it is and not particularly tidied up.  This blog is more of an allotment diary than a how to.  This is how I grow things.  I hope the blog does help others to grow plants but it is not the primary purpose.  So don't expect the photographs to show a pristine allotment.

Allotment looking up the hill.
The sundial will stay in the comfrey bed this year.  It keeps good time.  The old metal watering cans are full of wood ash.  I am going to use it as a top dressing for various things. The tree in the foreground is a pear.  I don't really like pears but three were given to me so I planted them.

The comfrey is starting to grow back now.  I am hoping that it is in straight lines.  If it isn't I will take it all out and replant.  I can't be doing with it all over the place.  There are lots of things being left on the allotment where they will be used in the next couple of weeks

It looks fairly straight at the moment.  I will take the Pulmonaria officinalis out and plant it somewhere else.  I thought that it was comfrey because it did not have white spots on its leaves.  This variety does not have white spots.  Three watering cans are full of wood ash ready to put on as top dressing.
I still haven't got round to putting new roofing felt onto the store shed.  It really needs doing but I will be busy over the next few days planting and sowing.  This area will look a lot tidier when I have put up all the supports for the beans and peas.

I have put in one and a quarter rows of Red Duke of York and another early potato.  I will be planting the kestrel potatoes soon.  The gooseberry bush and cuttings are growing strongly now. I may even get some gooseberries this year.  The bins at the back are over the rhubarb to force them.  I took one off the Champaign rhubarb and picked some of the blanched stems.  I haven't eaten them yet but I expect them to be very sweet.

The raspberry canes' buds are bursting.  The canes have survived the winter well and none of them have broken off in the wind. I have been using the water out of the blue butt.

There is not much water left in the bin and there does not seem to be any rain in prospect.

 The tulips are flowering in March!  The pink ones are early but I think that this is earlier than I have ever had tulips.  How can you be a gardener and see things like this and not be convinced that there is global warming?
You can't have too many tubs and baskets.

The garlic is not growing too well at the moment.  I have given them some comfrey liquid and a good watering to see if this cheers them up.  I will cover them with enviromesh supported by the black tubing. The rocket and American land cress are both past their best now and I am leaving them to flower.  I am hoping to get some seed from them to plant this year.

My herbs have survived the winter.  I have parsley, thyme, lemon balm, fennel and mint.  The tub is just useful to put things in.  You can never have too many tubs.
This is where I crush the charcoal and you can see the residues on the slabs in front of the shed.
I have already taken out a row of leeks.  These are not doing too bad but I know that in April they will start to get eaten by the Phytomyza gymnostoma.  Although they are not very big, I will take these out to eat during the next couple of weeks.  In any case I need the ground to plant my runner beans.  I will probably plant three rows of runner beans.  As I collected my own seed, I have plenty to sow.  They will also aid in increasing the fertility of the soil when I dig them in at the end of the year.  I have put in a new drainage pipe alongside the allotment here.  That is why the trackway looks so untidy.

I have planted out all the sweet pea seedlings.  I planted them with some inoculated, crushed lump charcoal and mychorrhizal fungi.  This is probably why I am running out of fungi.
There are about 187 plants in 11 rows.  I think that I have already written this but I will repeat myself so that I will remember the order.  Pale lavender Honeymoon and White Supreme on the far left near the sheds.  Next are cerise Restormel and mauve Eclipse.  After that are rose, pink Angela Ann and orange pink Lizbeth.  My favorite ice blue Oban Bay and cream Jilly come next. A very robust, bright pink Gwendoline with pink picotee Anniversary are in the next row and finally salmon cream Nora Holman.  A few too many pinks this year but these are the varieties that grow strongly and produce good flowers.
 The Rubus fruticosa buds are starting to burst now.  It has kept its leaves throughout the winter although it did loose a lot during the few cold snaps we have had.  The sweet cicely is beginning to grow quite large now.

The new brassica bed has had both lime and wood ash added.  I have just raked it to incorporate the fertilisers.  The brassicae seedlings are starting to get quite big and will need to go out into the allotment quite soon now.

 The Ribes nigrum have had a really good mulch of old horse manure.  This will give them a good damp root run.  They are "hungry feeders/?"  and take a lot of nutrient from the soil.  With this in mind I am applying some diluted comfrey liquid fertiliser once a week.  I am still finding a few big buds on the canes.  Cecidophyopsis ribis  can be a persistent little beggar but I seem to have removed the major infested branches.  As I cut the bushes so hard back last year in order to get rid of big bud mite all the new growth is fruit bearing.  Hopefully,  I will have a really good crop this year.

The Fragaria ananassa  have had a mulch of straw.  This is the first time I have ever put straw down for strawberries.  I  doubt that it will have any effect on the crop but it will keep the mud off the strawberry fruits.  It also looks quite impressive.
This is my viburnum, primula and grape hyacinths.  I planted them mainly to keep the soil from washing through holes between the slabs.  However, they are a pleasant splash of colour this time of year.
  Too much ground,  too big and too little to harvest from it.  I am not impressed with this purple sprouting broccoli.  One small row near the shed for this year.  I am going to crop it until I need the ground for peas or beans but it is not a very economical crop at all.  I think that the ground is far too rich for it.  It needs very poor ground to produce a lot of purple flower clusters.
The winter cauliflowers on the other hand are growing large and will produce very big cauliflowers in a couple of weeks.  I am very happy with these.  They are being given comfrey liquid fertiliser and being watered regularly.  They have also watered some of the anti slug nematodes Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita underneath them.  They are in the ground for a long time but they do reward you well.  Also there are no cabbage white caterpillars in them which is a big bonus for cauliflowers.
The wire is ready to put up to support the peas.  They will be going out very soon.  I will be putting up some poles for the climbing French beans on the right of this picture.
Carrots seeds have been sown and covered with enviromesh supported by cloche wires.   This is to protect the carrots from Psila rosae. I bury the enviromesh in the soil all the way round the seed rows.  This keeps the enviromesh securely anchored to the ground even in very windy weather.  The mesh can be removed for weeding whenever. The time to do this during the day is on my blog about carrot root fly.  The carrot seeds were watered in with some inoculated bamboo charcoal and mychorrhizal fungi was put along the rows.  There are four rows under the protective barrier very thinly sown.

I will be planting other roots near to the carrots but this end of the bed will be the leaves.  This will include parcel, celery, chard, lettuce, fennel and celeriac.  I have watered Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita over the whole of this bed and have had to keep it damp by watering with rain water.  I am hoping that there will be little slug damage because I have been putting beer traps under the tarpaulin all winter.  The bucket is full of stone and rubbish and I am using it to weigh the tarpaulin down.  You can never have too many tubs.
The allotment looking down the hill.  There is a path running left to right just at the end of the carrot mesh barrier.  You can't see it because the allotment soil is raised up.  It looks like the roots bed runs right into where the brassicas are.


  1. Do you use organic fertilizer? or you preferred with the artificial?

  2. I only use 'organic' fertilizers. In other words home made compost; animal manure; green manure; comfrey, sweet cicely and nettle liquid manure and brushwood.

  3. brilliant blog but how do i follow :-/

  4. Not being experienced in the ways of blogs, I have no idea about following. Sorry :-(