Thursday, 25 February 2016

General Feburary Allotment Tasks.

I worked quite hard on the allotment today.  I decided to put one of the large pieces of outdoor ply wood on the path and cover it with shredded woody material from the pile in the other car park.  The other car park is quite far away from my allotment but it is where the shredded woody material is usually put.  The car park is down the hill which means that I have to go up the hill when the wheel barrow is full.  I also use a large plastic tub to put even more shreddings onto the wheel barrow.  I got two loads of shreddings and bought them up the hill to the allotment and covered the large piece of outdoor ply.  I thought that I had done a good job but I  would have to get some more to mulch around the redcurrants.

I had moved four very large redcurrant bushes that someone had given me onto the car park bed.

Redcurrants planted alongside the car park.
I planted them here for several reasons.  They would give the allotment a little protection from north east winds but  would not shade the allotment being relatively small;  they would supplement my redcurrant harvest; they would help to reduce weed regeneration;  they would help to stop pollution from the car exhausts from  getting to my allotment and they would help to regulate hard surface water run off from the car park. I like it when I can use a plant for a variety of design objectives. 

Stunning red bark of the redcurrants with the sunlight passing through them.
I have removed the cabbage and kale plants from the old brassica bed so that I can dig it over and level it.  I will be planting this with peas.  There was a large net over the cabbages and this was put onto the new brassica bed in preparation for putting over the brassica seedlings.  The blue pipe supports were put away next to the big shed and these will be washed and used for supporting nets over the onions.

I have also taken out all of the carrots, parsnips and beetroot.  The small ones I put into a tub and the larger ones I washed and put into the wheel barrow.  Even though I threw away quite a few roots, there was still enough to last us until April.   I was thinking of composting all the roots that I had put into the tubs but had second thoughts because of the amount of pest damage on them.

So, I dug a trench across the new potato bed two spits deep and buried all the roots there.  Burying the roots this deep means that they will still rot down and any pests would not be a problem.  I thought that a good long trench like this should not be wasted and went looking for other stuff to bury.  I put in all the rotten pumpkins and squashes - which was all the uneaten pumpkin and squashes and then when to prune what I thought was a jostaberry.

I am not too sure what gooseberry this is.

Jostaberries are not supposed to have thorns but this plant has many and they are pretty lethal too. So I am not thinking jostaberry but one of the American gooseberries.  I'm still not sure which one though and it may be another hybrid with more gooseberry than blackberry.

I am pruning it back because it is a large bush and it is tending to shade the growing bed.  It is planted under the canopy of the Victoria plum tree.  It seems to like it there and has grown about four feet high.

I still need to take off the damaged branch of the Victoria plum. 
Damaged branch on the Victoria Plum.

The advice is not to prune until the spring to avoid silver leaf disease.   So, as soon as the weather changes and gets a little warmer this branch will be pruned off.  It means that a lot of fruit will be lost but this tree produces more plums than I can deal with anyway. 

The trench was filled in and I continued to dig the ground without trenching but adding lots of farmyard manure.  I have and have seen other people plant potatoes in fresh manure without any detrimental effects on the potatoes so I had not reservations about adding a lot of this fairly well rotted manure into the soil.  There is still some of the early potatoes' bed that needs to be dug over and this will be done today. 

I really need to get some multipurpose compost to sow some more seeds and to transplant the ones that have germinated.  My pepper and melon seeds did not germinate and I would also like to resow these.

Getting towards grafting time and Stephen Hayes said that he would let me have some scion wood and I have given him a number of varieties that I would like to try.  I am more interested in the heritage varieties than the modern ones.  The reason why heritage varieties are heritage varieties is because they are subject to diseases and they don't crop very well.  However, the heritage apples are not like that and the old varieties are, in my view, better than the new varieties.

When I have become fed up with grafting desert apples, I will start to graft cookers and cider apples.  Furthermore, if the peach budding is successful - and that is still in doubt - then I will start to graft other fruit trees as well.

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