|Leeks and onions under protective netting.|
|Leeks and onions grown from seed.|
|Onions from sets|
|Wine berry on the east side of the shed.|
|Gooseberry on the north east side of the shed.|
|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.|
|Blackcurrants between the onion and potato bed.|
|My ridging fork|
|Pitmaston Pineapple graft from last year.|
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.|
|My Dad's little Conference pear tree.|
|Slug and flea beetle eaten broad beans.|
|Tall peas Alderman and Champion of England (heritage variety)|
|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.|
The expensive seed French beans. Pigeon damage!
|Possibly a row of dwarf French beans under the white currant.|
|Fan trained white currant.|
|Cardoon planted next to the trackway|
|More dwarf French beans - I think...|
|Herbs alongside the path.|
|Room for two more rows of peas if I can get them to germinate.|
|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.|
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.
|My First Peach from tree in the Peach greenhouse.|
|Alicante Tomatoes and apple grafts in the peach greenhouse.|
|Black Russian tomatoes with more successful apple grafts.|
|I've labelled this Discovery but I think that it is a James Grieves apple tree.|
|Espaliered Ribstone Pippin.|
|A Conference Pear (I think)|
|The red grape.|
|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.|
|Four rows of carrots under scaffolding netting.|
|Chard, asparagus pea, and poppy germinated.|
|Celeriac and Celery.|
|Lettuce, bulb fennel, and sunflower.|
|Pitmaston Pineapple graft that will be espaliered this year.|
|The early potato bed.|
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.|
|Another King of the Pippins.|
|Bottom of the allotment path.|
|Shallots, pickling onion and elephant garlic under this scaffold netting.|
|Path to the little store shed.|
|Garlic and elephant garlic with a woody chippings mulch.|
|I think that this is a Cox's Orange Pippin. These apples are best eaten from the tree.|
|Black currant bed.|
|Two roots of Champagne rhubarb and one root of Timperley Early Rhubarb.|
|Cold frame full of salad crops: lettuce, radish, spring onions, small carrots, spinach and rocket|
|Poor old sweet peas.|
|Teasel under the little leaning pear tree.|
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.|
|Cucumbers, melons and peppers.|
|Two melons will be grown up the shelves in the plastic greenhouse.|
|Path down to the greenhouse.|
|Path alongside the hedge.|
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.|
Now I have walked back round to the front of the allotment along the trackway to the brassica bed.
|Kohl rabbi and Swede|
|Cauliflowers and calabrese.|
|More cauliflower and calabrese.|
|Red and stonehead cabbages.|
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 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”|
|Runner beans alongside the sweet peas.|
|Little store shed.|
So that is the very long tour around the allotment for May.