Thursday, 17 January 2013
Snowy weather at the allotment.
I went down to the old allotment to get some vegetables and a load of horse manure had been left. Well you can't look a gift horse in the mouth; so I set to work taking as much as I could down to the compost bins. As the snow gently fell, I eventually got about seven barrow loads and capped the lot with two barrow loads of mixed leaves and lawn mowings. I have now filled two compost bins with manure and lawn mowings. I will probably use this later on the potato bed.
I raked up as much of the horse manure as I could but what is left will be barrowed up when I get the rest of the leaves and lawn mowings. I thought that I would leave these down in the communal bins until I needed it mainly because there is no space on the allotment to store it and nobody else seems interested in it. I could put it on top of the green manure growing on the potato bed but this will just waste the green manure. I would much rather allow the tares and rye to grow on until just before I plant the potatoes.
So much for not doing very much down the allotment. However, it only took me about two hours to barrow the manure. This is probably just as well because the ground was rock hard with frost and it began to snow heavily. I had already slipped on the ice in the roadway and I did not want to slip over again.
I have also got a new plum and pear tree for the new allotment. The new allotment was always going to be mainly fruit so the trees will be planted down there.
Now that I have seen the Birmingham borders photographs, I don't think that I have enough plants to fill them. So, I went down to the garden centre and bought some dwarf french beans 'Yin Yang' and 'Purple Teepee' ; climbing french beans 'Cobra' ; tomato 'Tigerella' and pepper 'Numex Twilight' seeds. Together with some 'Swift' potatoes, that should fill the border quite well. It is always good to write the names in this blog because I am sure to forget what they are by the time I plant them out. I will sow some of them now for the show border but the majority of them will be sown at the proper time for the allotment. The trouble with growing for show like this is that you have to count back from the show date to find out when to sow seed. This will give you mature plants that are either flowering or fruiting at the time of the show. I would like all the plants to be flowering or fruiting in June and this is quite difficult with these South American plants. I may also be doing a show border at Shugborough ( http://www.shugborough.org.uk/Homepage.aspx ) if I get a chance and I would like to do a 'La Culture Maraîchère' technique using some of the old cloches they have there. I am hoping to get some manure from the farm to make the bed. If the seeds for the Birmingham bed germinate, then I will probably have too many and I will be able to use them for other projects or just down the allotments.
Actually, I would be planting the tomatoes and peppers now anyway. I will be planting all my onion seeds this week if the weather warms a little more. I have some 'Red Barron' red onion sets to plant as well. If they do not fit in the old allotment allium bed, I will plant them at the new allotment. I like red onions in a salad sandwich
I bought the seed at Ashwood Nurseries ( http://www.ashwoodnurseries.com ) because I wanted to have a cup of tea and a bite to eat in their cafeteria. I like to go around their displays because the plants are really good and well labelled. It helps me with my identification using Latin names.
I am going to make some charcoal soil with some marinaded charcoal and some New Horizons multipurpose compost to grow them on in.
So, even with the cold weather - the temperature this afternoon was -1oC, there is still lots to do. I am still trying to revise for the RHS level 2 diploma exams in February. I really must get on with that.