Saturday, 28 May 2016

May allotment photographs.

As April and the beginning of May were so cold, it has been quite difficult keeping everything growing.  When the plants stop growing they are more susceptible to damage from slugs and snails because they do not grow out of the damage.  The sweet peas have been particularly damaged this year.  Initially they were eaten right back by flea beetle and then the damaged plants were eaten by slugs and snails.  Usually they can recover quite well but not this year.  I am seriously reconsidering whether it is worth bothering with October sowings of sweet peas. 

Leeks and onions under protective netting. 
The leeks and onions under the scaffold and enviromesh netting are growing away well now.  The onions under the enviromesh are all from sets but the ones under the scaffold netting are from seed.  They did sit for a while during April without making any growth at all.  There is very little evidence of the leek miner fly Phytomyza gymnostoma, although any misshapen plant makes me think that the flies have got through the protective nets.  I have buried the edges in the soil to make sure that there is a seal all around and make sure there is no entry gaps that the fly can find.  Between the rows of leeks and onions, I have spread some woody chippings.  These seem to be a very good seed germination suppresser.  Very few weed seeds have germinated under the netting, however some of last year's potato volunteers together with some docks and a little horse tail have grown and these will have to be weeded out. Phytomyza gymnostoma flies are laying eggs in April and the beginning of May so the danger from these pests is much less now, which means that the nets can be taken off and the bed weeded.  I will put the nets back on after tidying and adding a little more woody chippings.  The chippings make a really good mulch for the onions keeping the soil moist. 

Leeks and onions grown from seed.
Onions from sets
It has been a long time since I grew onions from sets.  I got two free bags of sets and planted these at the end of January. 

Autumn Raspberries. 
The autumn raspberries have started to grow with some vigour now.  They will grow about five feet high in the next few months.  These plants were ones that were gleaned from other allotments where people were throwing them away.  They have not grown very well because they were out of the ground for some time before I rescued them last year.  They are growing quite well now but they are still showing signs of being mistreated in the past.  I have not grown autumn fruiting raspberries before but these fruited quite well last autumn and I was pleasantly surprised how good they tasted.  I probably should have stopped them from fruiting and allowed them to build up a bit of strength but I can never resist a fresh, ripe, juicy raspberry picked and then eaten straight from the cane.  There are one or two runner beans germinating by the raspberries.  This is where I threw the bean pods after podding the bean seeds to keep for this year.  Some of the doggy seeds were not so doggy after all. 

Wine berry on the east side of the shed. 
The shed and the wineberry are mine but the damson tree is my next door neighbour's.  There are two wineberry plants here and they were both given to me.  I am growing them up concrete reinforcing wire nailed to the side of the shed.  I am not very impressed by the fruit of these plants - they are small berries and not very tasty.  However, they add to the diversity of fruit on the allotment and they are out of the way here where they can cover the side of the shed and hide it from prying eyes.  I am tying in the canes carefully so that they are spaced out well to allow air and light into the fruit.  I put a little chocolate mint alongside the slabs here too. 

Gooseberry on the north east side of the shed. 
This gooseberry was one of the plants already on the allotment.  I moved it here to grow up the north east side of the shed which is in shade for most of the day.  As you can see gooseberries don't mind being in the shade and this one is growing well.  I pruned it back very hard last year so that I could fan train it.  It will need some summer pruning to keep it correctly shaped.  There is a little fruit on it but I would not expect much until it gets very well established.  It is planted in pure clay subsoil that I dug out of the trenches - I dug out the top soil to replace the subsoil on the growing beds.  There is also some variegated ivy and astromeria in this little bed.   The concrete reinforcing wire is a very convenient place to store my tool cleaning tools.

Red currant growing up the west side of the shed.

The red currant is pruned to a kind of fan and is growing well.  It is fruiting but not as well as some of the other redcurrant plants I have.  The hanging baskets have pansy seedlings in them grown from seed collected from last year's plants.  I  will collect seed from these plants later in the season.  The hanging baskets will add a little colour to the allotment during the summer.  I found a strawberry grow bag somewhere a while ago and decided to  hang it on the concrete reinforcing wire and give it a go.  The strawberries are growing and flowering but they are not very big plants.  Might as well use it now I have it and the strawberry plants were ones I was going to throw away.  The white clematis at the base of the blue bin is throwing up some more shoots this year.  It was severely cut back last year by slugs.  I am hoping that it will cover the side and the back of the shed.  From little cuttings mighty clematis plants can grow.  The slabs are beginning to subside here.  It is mostly stone and clay under the slabs so why this is happening I am not sure.  I will not lift the slabs unless really necessary. 

Behind the shed.
It might not look like it but I have tidied up around the back of the shed.  It means that I can get to the two big, green, comfrey bins and put the comfrey in much more easily.  The small blue butt is the worm bin and is chocker block full of kitchen scraps.  It is producing a fair amount of liquid and I am adding it to the comfrey liquid.  I am using dilute comfrey liquid to water all the vegetables that are growing quickly so there is not much in the butts.  Water from the shed roof is harvested in the big blue butt.  I am using the old, black dustbins as storage mainly for the allotment nets.  I have two wheel barrows because I had allotments on two different sites.  The large green bins are full of comfrey and are producing comfrey liquid.  Now that the vegetable plants are growing quickly, I am using the comfrey all the time. 

Blackcurrants between the onion and potato bed. 
These were the blackcurrants that I coppiced last year.  They have thrown up some strong, healthy branches which are covered in fruit now.  I am in the process of mulching them with woody chippings.  Apart from monitoring the plants for pests, I will not do anything with these plants until they are harvested.  They were covered in ladybird beetles this morning so I doubt if they will have many aphids on them. 

Potato bed
The furrows are being filled with woody chippings as a mulch to retain moisture and supress weeds.  This bed got green and farmyard manure dug into the soil so the potatoes should not need any extra nutrients.  Virtually all the potatoes have pushed their heads through the soil and will grow away now.  I will be interested in how well they do because this was the last of the beds to be dug over last year and the soil is fairly poor even with the manures added. 

My ridging fork
I ridged up the potatoes using the potato ridging fork.  The fork is made of cast iron and is very heavy to use, however it makes the job of ridging up the potatoes so much easier.  It breaks up the ground and renders it fairly friable to pull up into the ridges.  Attempting to do this with a draw hoe means that the soil between the potatoes has to be loosened  with a fork first and this takes more time. 

Pitmaston Pineapple graft from last year. 
Although the Pitmaston Pineapple graft is growing strongly, it is still not big enough to start to prune and train it to espalier.  I might just let it grow on and train it next year. 

Sue's path. 
I still haven't sorted out Sue's path.  It is very wonky and needs levelling out.  I might sort this out soon because most of the allotment has been planted up.  I will have to find somewhere sensible for the redcurrant cuttings alongside the path.  I might just prune and train them to a fan shape where they are now.  The Cox's Orange Pippin budded rootstock has not grown.  A bit disappointed that it hasn't come but this will not discourage me from trying again.  I think that I will use this rootstock for grafting next year rather than to try budding on it again.  I will just let it grow up from the base for the rest of this year.  I have about ten unsuccessful grafts stored away next to the little shed and these will be left to grow on.  They can be used next March/April for grafting.  Some of the apple varieties that I really wanted did not take but you have to be philosophical about things and accept that some are going to fail particularly if you are a novice grafter like me. 

Victoria Rhubarb
The Victoria rhubarb is still not a third the size it was on my last allotment. I am expecting it to treble in size next year.   However, it tastes very good.  I have had rhubarb and custard, rhubarb and yoghurt, rhubarb and ice cream, rhubarb crumble and rhubarb pie and I am still not fed up of it. 

Three sisters. 
Sweet corn, pumpkins, squashes, courgettes and climbing French beans have been planted in this plat.  I am trying to grow them together as the three sisters method.  They look a little anemic at the moment because of the cold weather.  I have put a lot of compost on this bed so it will be interesting to see how it affects the plants.  I sowed the climbing French beans as seeds and they are already germinating.  It shows how much the soil has warmed in just a few days.  Tracy has given me four pumpkins and these have been added to the milieu. 

I am growing cucumbers up the metal mesh frames.  The frames were a rabbit run and they have seen better days.

Any spaces left will be filled with lettuce, radish, spinach, and rocket.
King of the pippins and Cucumber supports.

The supports for the King of the Pippins apple are not very picturesque but they mirror what the Victorian gardeners did when they were espaliering their fruit trees.  They did not use wire but used branches and stakes to train them. 

King of the Pippins espalier.

I have two good laterals on this King of the Pippins espalier.  This will give me a very good espaliered tree with branches right down to the bottom.  I was wondering if it were possible to graft just one branch of an espalier to a different variety.  Maybe each of the arms could be a different variety. 

The cucumber is going to grow up the mesh supports.

These are the rabbit run mesh supports for the cucumbers.  Although they are still quite small they are growing very quickly and will climb the mesh on their own.  I am hoping that the mesh will keep the pumpkins from overwhelming the cucumbers.  I have put some tall canes in to support the mesh frames.  This was not really necessary but I didn't want to cut the canes.  I put a couple of runner bean seeds in next to the canes.  They have now started to germinate and grow up the canes.  I will probably just use any bean fruit for seed rather than to eat.  They will be dug in during the autumn to add more nitrogen to the soil.  The compost, made from the very rough material earlier in the year, was put on this plat from the cucumber supports over to the left.  You can see the charcoal quite clearly in this photograph.  This charcoal had been marinated in comfrey liquid manure for several months before being added to the compost bins.  The compost looked much finer than this when I put it on.   During the rains of April and early May the finer compost has been washed down to the top soil while the rougher stuff has been left on the top.  It has made a fine mulch but it shows you that the composting was not as good as I thought it was.  - still pretty good though if you remember what that compost came from. 

Fan trained white currant and red currant .

The fan trained currants have sent up a lot of new growth and this will need to be tied in or pruned out during the summer.  I will wait until I have harvested the currents though.  The weight of the plants and fruit has broken one of the supports and I will have to repair this soon because a strong windy storm will bring the whole lot down. 

Broad beans and dwarf French beans alongside the path. 

Great efforts have been made to keep these broad beans alive.  They have been severely attacked by flea beetle and slugs and now they have the dwarf beans to tuck into they are having a go at them as well.  Just so they are not left out of the fun the pigeons have started to peck at the beans as well.  I had never heard of pigeons eating French and runner beans until I came to this allotment site but I have seen it all now. 

There are three blackcurrant bushes grown from cuttings just pushed into the soil.  The have all come well and they have some fruit on them so I will be leaving them where they are for the time being. 

This Pitmaston Pineapple could be trained into a step over cordon.  

I don't really want to train the Pitmaston Pineapple into a step over.  I would much rather a big espalier in this position to shelter the rest of the allotment from the cold easterly winds that blow across the site. 

Lavender alongside the trackway. 
The lavender edging is flowering now and attracting a lot of bees.  I have tidied the grass and weeds along side the track so that it looks a little more presentable. 

My  Dad's little Conference pear tree.
My Dad's pear tree has started to grow with much more vigour.  I am really pleased.  I really thought that I would not be able to save it.  It has genuinely been through a fairly rough time being covered by a compost heap and being ripped out of the ground from between the planks of a pallet.  Still better times now and better looking plant by far. 

Slug and flea beetle eaten broad beans. 
Whereas most would avoid showing photographs of poor vegetables,  it is always good to show that even I cannot get it right every time.  While I admit that the broad beans could have been protected with a net with centimeter square mesh, I am still not sure that the soil on this bed is very good.  Last year they were not as badly affected and they grew away very strongly when the weather warmed in May.  These have sat for two months doing very little except being eaten by various members of the local wild life.  While I have no objection to feeding them ,  I would like to have a little to show for all my hard work and possibly something to eat as well.  Blooming animals. 

Tall peas Alderman and Champion of England (heritage variety)
The tall peas are growing well mainly because they are protected by a small mesh, hard plastic net buried in the soil all around the row.  This has kept all of the pigeons, rats and mice away from the seedlings and given them time to eventually grow.  Unlike my Bunyard's Exhibition broad beans...

Very poor Bunyard's Express broad beans.

These poor specimens of broad beans are not a third of the height they were last year.  I have no idea why they have done so poorly except that it might have something to do with the soil being so poor.  This part of the bed had compost, green manure and farmyard manure dug into it. A poor broad bean year for me this year. 

Speckled seed and pod climbing French beans. 
 If you are asking yourself why the beans look so ropey it's because I didn't put the nets up and the pigeons started to demolish them.  They have already started to recover and throw up side shoots from the lower leaf axils.  They got very well watered with comfrey liquid feed and I also sowed some more seed along the row. 

The expensive seed French beans. Pigeon damage!
I have put netting around these posh French beans now and they are recovering, however the slugs have started to eat them too.  I have sown some more seed and watered with comfrey and this together with the net may give me a crop of French beans this year. 

Possibly a row of dwarf French beans under the white currant.
I think that they are dwarf French beans but I am not sure, regardless the pigeons do not seem to like them as much as my expensive French beans so I am thankful for that.  If they are climbers then I will just pinch them back and keep them small.  The fan trained white currant is growing rampantly. 

Fan trained white currant. 
So it will have to be pruned and tied back in the late summer after fruiting. 

Cardoon planted next to the trackway
I'm never going to eat one - I don't think but their flowers are enormous and attract a lot of bees.  Worth putting in any garden.  I have planted lupins as a perennial nitrogen fixer alongside the track.  They can also form cluster roots which mine phosphorous and add it to the allotment soil.  The laburnums are growing very strongly now and will need pruning and tying back to keep them from over growing their allotted space. 

More dwarf French beans - I think...
The sage has started to bush up again and it looks a lot less twiggy now.  I will keep it cut neatly and not allow it to flower this year.  The supports for the Court Pendu Plat need tightening a little more.  There are no leaves on the apple tree yet but it is a very late fruiter.  I am just hoping that there is another apple tree that is flowering as late as this one or I will never have any fruit on it.  I am told that some of the crab apples flower really late as well so maybe one of the gardens around might have one. 

Herbs alongside the path. 
The herbs alongside the path include sage, hyssop, lemon balm, mint (several)  thyme, chives, fennel, rosemary, bay, oregano and maybe marjoram (if the slugs have not had it all), sweet cicely and salad burnet. 

Room for two more rows of peas if I can get them to germinate. 
For some reason the peas will not germinate this year.  What am I doing wrong.  They are in multipurpose compost in section trays and molly coddled in the green house.  What more do they want?  This is the latest that I have ever sown peas they have always germinated.  Well there is always a first and this, it seems, is it.  I have resown  with my own saved seed from last year because the commercial seed is **** or, in other words, not very good.  I am hoping that it is not too late and I can still get a good crop out of them. 

Lincoln peas.
These Lincoln peas are growing fairly well. They were planted in April and they stood still for several weeks but they are growing now.  I have managed to keep the pigeons off the plants for the moment but I can see that they are trying to peck through the chicken wire. 

Early onward peas.

Another good row of peas but the amount of protection I have to use is getting a little onerous. 

Douce Provence Early peas. 
I am hoping for a succession of peas throughout the summer.  Any over will be frozen. 

The laburnum and lupins grown from seed last year planted as perennial nitrogen fixers
They will provide nitrogen which will flow down the slope in solution due to mass flow. 
I am hoping that the laburnums will form an espaliered hedge alongside the trackway to protect the allotment from car fumes.  I am pleaching the stems together so they form a continuous set of branches across the allotment.  They are nitrogen fixing so they will be adding nutrients to the allotment and the flowers look really good this time of year.  Needless to say, these plants are not flowering this year. 

My First Peach from tree in the Peach greenhouse. 
I have my first and only peach from the peach tree I planted last year.  It had a lot of blossom this year but because of the cold April only one peach has been fertilised.  I will cherish that peach and if nobody nicks it eat it with due aplomb.

Alicante Tomatoes and apple grafts in the peach greenhouse.
The tomatoes have already grown twice this size and are producing trusses of little green fruit.  You can see some of this year's successful apple grafts.  The difficulty will be finding somewhere on the allotment to put them. 

Black Russian tomatoes with more successful apple grafts. 
  I have fourteen successful apple tree grafts and fourteen new varieties.  Maybe I should stop grafting apple trees now.  The Black Russian and Alicante tomatoes are growing in ring culture pots.  (pots with no bottoms) filled with general purpose potting compost.  Their roots will be able to grow out of the pots and into the woody chippings.  They did well like that last year but will still need to be fed every week with a weak liquid feed. 

I've labelled this Discovery but I think that it is a James Grieves apple tree.
I bought this tree from my previous allotment where it was growing as a bush.  Turning it into an espalier has not been very successful although it produces a lot of big apples.  I am not really expecting much in the way of a neatly trained tree and I would just rather let it get on with its own devices just so long as it stays within the boundaries I have given it. 

Espaliered Ribstone Pippin. 
The Ribstone Pippin (and I am fairly sure this is right) was my first successful grafting experience and is growing as a passable espalier.  Again it produces some very big apples. 

A Conference Pear (I think)
This pear came from my dad's garden.  It was growing right up to the compost heap on my last allotment and it was one of two that I did not think I would be able to move.  However, it was moved and has produced arguably the best espalier on this allotment.  Pears are a darn sight easier to espalier than apples.  This tree has not flowered since I moved it two years ago but I do not begrudge it that because it has not had a particularly good time of it until it was planted here. 

The red grape. 
The laterals of the grape will be grown vertically being tied to the wire supports until they reach the top of the supports where they will be pruned off.  As a bit of fun and to see if I can do it, I have pleached together two of the grapes.  I cut a section of the bark away exposing the cambium of two of the vines and then bound them together.

Wrapping around the pleached grape stems.

It is not particularly clear but it shows you how I used some of the grafting tape to bind the two stems together.  I will try to forget this until next year so that I don't interfere with it.  The white grape stem was not long enough to pleach so I will do that next year. 

Parsnips and beetroot have germinated. 
There is a line of Good King Henry and salad burnet between the parsnips and the post but I cannot see them germinating at the moment.  The parsnips look a bit thin, however there is more than enough for me in this line as with the beetroot.  Every year I think, "Not enough there" and every autumn I have far too many to cope with.  They are fine Tony leave them alone and do not sow seeds in between in the gaps.  Bit of asparagus in the background grown from seed two years ago and producing some good spikes.  I don't particularly like it though so I just let it grow under the grapes. 

Four rows of carrots under scaffolding netting. 
 Even though it does not look as picturesque with scaffold netting, I would still rather use netting than spray or use "Bromophos" as we did in the past against carrot root fly.    The more we use pesticides the more pests we get and that is particularly true this year. 

Chard, asparagus pea, and poppy germinated. 
There is also some spinach and rocket germinating in the poppy row.  I am growing the poppies for seed to add to my bread making efforts. 

Celeriac and Celery.
The celery and celeriac have grown without too much damage from slugs.  and they were not protected either.  I still need to feed these with a little comfrey liquid fertiliser. 

Lettuce, bulb fennel, and sunflower. 
I will be using the sunflower seed for bread making too.  The lettuces have been devastated by slugs this year but I am getting on top of them now.  The net would you believe is to keep the pigeons off the lettuce.  Never had pigeons eating lettuce before.

Pitmaston Pineapple graft that will be espaliered this year. 
This Pitmaston Pineapple was another of last years successful grafts.   It is growing strongly. 

Blackberry 'Adrienne'
It has never fruited particularly well but I like it.  I have another further down the supports and am hoping that this one will fruit much more prolifically. 

Loganberry LY654
The loganberry, however produces lots of fruit.  So this makes up for the blackberry.  I put another loganberry at the other end of the supports by the big greenhouse.  The concrete reinforcing wire does not look very good but it is a very effective support for the loganberry which is already sending out some very robust shoots from its base.  I will use the wire to tie these in. 

The early potato bed. 
I am hoping to have eaten all these early potatoes before the end of the salad season.  They will be removed and an early green manure will be sown.  Probably the green manure phalacelia mainly to provide nectar for foraging bees. 

The espaliered apple is probably a James Grieves but I am still debating.  It was the only
successful graft I had two years ago because I stepped on the other two. 

One of the mini swales along here filled with woody chippings and planted with fruit bushes.  There are two Blackcurrant 'Ben Sarek' and two  Gooseberry 'Hinnonmaki Yellow'

'Golden Reinette' a successful graft from last year. It will espalier very well. 
The Golden Reinette is planted on the other side of the path next to the large net over the onions.  While on the other side of the path is...

Another King of the Pippins.
I am going to keep this "King of the Pippins" because it is espaliering on its own and I originally planned to have it here.  However, I do seem to have a surfeit of "King of the Pippins". 

Bottom of the allotment path.
 There is lavender edging the path here with a little rosemary on the other side.  The oca has pushed its head through and is growing strongly.  I am wondering if this will become an invasive plant because it is coming up all o'er the place.  There is another  row of leeks and onions under the scaffold net. 

Shallots, pickling onion and elephant garlic under this scaffold netting. 
I know there is a lot of scaffold netting but I would rather have the netting than pesticides on the allotment. 

Path to the little store shed. 
The newish raspberries or ones that I have been given.  Some of these I brought from my last allotment.  They have all come really well after last year's die back.  I have planted comfrey all along the hedge bottom now.  I will cut back the carpet on the bank and plant more comfrey.  The hedge has responded well from being trimmed regularly and is forming a dense barrier between the allotment and the busy road on the other side.  As you can see next to the shed I still have two bags of potatoes that I haven't used.  I will take them home and see if they will make chips and if not they will go on the compost heap or in the worm bin. 
Garlic and elephant garlic with a woody chippings mulch.
The garlic and elephant garlic have not been affected by the leek miner fly Phytomyza gymnostoma which I am really pleased about.  However, there is a lot of summer to go yet. 

I think that this is a Cox's Orange Pippin.  These apples are best eaten from the tree.
 This tree has been through the mill as well and never has much foliage on it.  However, it produces a lot of fruit. 

Cambridge Strawberries.
Two lines of two year old plants and three lines of one year old plants which are flowering well and will produce strawberries for Wimbledon week in June.  These plants have had a thick layer of compost put under them so they will not have anything else added to the bed.  I will be netting them, believe it or not against the birds when the fruit has set.  I want the pollinators to have as much access as possible until I have to put the net over them.  There is a box edging alongside the path here. 

Black currant bed.
These are the cuttings that I bought from the old allotment and fruited really well last year.  I coppiced them and they have thrown up some really good stems.  There is no fruit on them but I have enough other plants not to worry and wait for next year when I will have a really big crop.  The gooseberries next to the rhubarb are just beginning to flower and produce fruit for the first time. 

Two roots of Champagne rhubarb and one root of Timperley Early Rhubarb.
Although I have a lot of other named varieties of rhubarb on the allotment, these are the very best for taste.  They have done well this year and I am still taking petioles for pies and crumbles. 

Cold frame full of salad crops: lettuce, radish, spring onions, small carrots, spinach and rocket
Poor old sweet peas.
I have lost about a third of the sweet peas so I have resown them and planted the seedlings out.  Even as we speak flea beetle is having a go at them. Usually by the end of April we do not see them until the next year.  Why they have stuck around this year I don't know.  Once weakened the slugs take over and demolish the plants completely.  I will continue sowing but I do not expect to get anywhere near the standard of plants I usually get.  So disappointing.  And  such a bad year all round. 

Teasel under the little leaning pear tree. 
My one conciliation is that I have a wonderful set of teasel plants.   These will produce a lot of seed for the birds.  I am joking...

Little pond. 

The new solar fountain is bubbling away.  I've taken the fountain off it because it was spraying water everywhere except in the pond and the level of the water was slowly going down.  The pond is residence to several frogs and newts which is great in the eating as many slugs as you can department. 

I have put too many tomatoes in this greenhouse but until they object I will keep them here.
Lots of flowers on these tomatoes.  So I hope that they will make good tomato fruit. 

Cucumbers, melons and peppers.
Together with reseeded peas and sweet peas.  The lettuce was planned for so that has a right to be in the greenhouse but the peas and the sweet peas should be outside growing big.  I have used some of the rabbit run mesh frames in the greenhouse for the melons and cucumbers to grow up but they grew up strings well last year.  Once I can clear out the peas and lettuce, I will wind  them around strings  like the tomatoes. 

Two melons will be grown up the shelves in the plastic greenhouse. 
These two are my biggest melons and I'm hoping that they will give me some big heavy fruit.  A few more peppers as well.  There are a variety of peppers all of them sweet.  I am growing them to put into salads during the summer. 

Path down to the greenhouse. 
You can see the line of box alongside the path.  I will be using cuttings from this to extend the edging along all the paths.  The birds keep throwing the mulch onto the paths.  They are looking for slugs and worms so they are doing a good job even if I have to go round sweeping up after them. 
Path alongside the hedge. 
I will be using this comfrey to put into the bins to make comfrey liquid.  I have put various bird related artifacts in the hedge.  The person who drives the hedge cutting tractor has endeavoured to destroy all my efforts and smashed up quite a few but I am determined to put as many back as I can. 
It will become easier as the hedge thickens up.  It is remarkable to think that this hedge stretched about 20 feet into the allotment when I first took the allotment over. 

Looking up towards the peach greenhouse from the path alongside the hedge.
Although it has been a very poor year up to now, the allotment seems full and fairly healthy.  Maybe things will improve now we are in the summer. 

Now I have walked back round to the front of the allotment along the trackway to the brassica bed. 

Kohl rabbi and Swede
The kohl rabbi and swede are covered mainly because they were next to the cauliflowers.  I wanted to protect the cauliflowers from cabbage white caterpillars.  I will have to thin the swede and kohl rabbi. 

Cauliflowers and calabrese.
These cauliflowers and calabrese have not been mulched and weeds have started to grow under the net.  I will take the nets off this week and hoe between the plants.  I may put mulches down but I am still debating with myself whether this is worthwhile doing. 

More cauliflower and calabrese.
I have mulched these cauliflower and calabrese.  They don't seem to be growing any differently to the others, however there are no weeds. 
Red and stonehead cabbages.
Brassica bed
In here I have winter cabbage, Brussel sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, winter cauliflower and kale. They will make up a lot of the autumn and winter vegetables. 
They are netted against the pigeons.

The espaliered Egremont Russet apple tree dividing the beds. 
Pear 'Doyenne du Comice' Espalier

My attempt to make a hot bed. The old Victoria plum is in the background severely pruned.
The woody chippings do heat up and produce some warmth so I thought that I would pile them up in the composting area and put a frame on top to see if I could make a hot bed.  Well it worked for about three weeks and then went cold.  However, it is growing some good cucumbers. 

The red currant and gooseberry I planted last year to cover the compost area pallets are doing their job to and producing a little fruit.  I have tried to fan train them and have been partially successful. It is more a case of trying to keep the bushes growing flat along the pallets rather than bushing out
Cherry tree “Stella”
I am going to train this cherry to a fan shape along the side of the allotment. 

Runner beans alongside the sweet peas.
These beans are on the high side of the allotment so they will produce a little nitrogen that can flow down the slight slope. 

Little store shed.
The store shed has two clematis and two loganberries growing up it.  I have stored the unsuccessful apple grafts here behind the rhubarb. 

So that is the very long tour around the allotment for May.