Saturday, 5 May 2012

Planting regardless of the cold weather.

This blog is a personal reflection on what I have been doing on the allotment.  It is a working allotment that is designed to produce as much fruit, vegetables and flowers possible.

The blog just records how and when I do things in order to inform next year's planting plan. The blog does not give a very good explanation about how to do things.

There are a lot of plants that have been potted up and are in the greenhouse waiting for the weather to become a little more clement.  It started off really warm this morning but by twelve o'clock it was very cold again.  A north easterly wind was blowing onto north facing allotments.  Little or no protection against it was available for the plants.  This has put us back about two or three weeks compared with last year.

So what is germinating and growing on the allotment in the first week of May?

The carrots are through as are the parsnips but they are not growing very fast.  Salsify has germinated but little of the scorzonera is showing.  There are no signs of the Hamburg parsley,  beetroot or salad burnet.  The lettuce plants planted in April are surviving well but do not seem to be growing.  The Swiss chard, celery and celeriac seem to like this wet weather and are growing quite well.

I have a tray of dill to plant out on this bed and I will probably have time to do this tomorrow.

Strawberries are beginning to flower - what can you say?  Peas are doing remarkably well.  The winter cauliflowers still have not headed up.  I will give them some more comfrey liquid fertiliser tomorrow.
The polls are up for the heritage "Trail of Tears" climbing French beans.   It is far too cold to plant them out at the moment and they are languishing in the greenhouse at the moment.  They will have to be hardened off soon though.

All the brassicas are doing well but some are being eaten by flea beetle.  A little annoying but I have more seed and seedlings to replace any badly affected.  It is mainly the kohlrabi and swedes that are affected.  I still need to plant out the Brussel sprouts and the purple sprouting broccoli but when I do that will be the brassica bed full.

The black currants have a remarkable amount of blossom on them.  If it turns into fruit then we will have a good crop this year.

The sweet peas have not liked this wet weather at all.  They have stopped growing and started to turn a little red.  All they need is a little warmer weather to start growing again.  I cut out the extra shoots and left only one then tied up the plants so that they did not blow about in this cold wind.

I have put a row of gladioli between one of the rows of sweet peas.  I put some mychorrhizal fungi in the planting holes and I am hoping that this helps to produce some big flowers.

The rest of the bean canes were put up where the leeks had been taken out.  There are a lot of beans potted on in the greenhouse, which I am trying to harden off.  These cold nights are not helping.  When I get some more glass for the cold frame I will be able to harden them off on the allotment.

Onions, garlic and shallots are growing but very slowly.  I have started to remove the tulips from the rest of the bed so that I can put in the sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin  and tomatoes.  I have built a hot bed with the farmyard manure and put a cold frame on top.  The cold frame does not have glass in it at the moment so that is another project for as soon as possible.

Rhubarb is producing some good leaves and petioles.  I am taking some home almost every time I go to the allotment. I love eating rhubarb.

Spuds - the potatoes are the only things that are growing and they are just what I do not want to grow in this cold and frosty weather.  I have hoed them up again and the mounds are quite large now.  Covering them with soil in this way might help them to survive the frost.

I emptied one of the comfrey bins today putting the old comfrey onto the compost heap.  I will be filling the bin with this years first cutting of comfrey, nettles and sweet cicely.

Due to the cold wet weather nothing is growing very fast so I am running out of jobs to do on the allotment.  When the weather warms I will be hurtling about trying to get everything in and growing well.  Roll on the warmer days.  Blooming English weather.

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