Thursday, 11 May 2017

Second week in May

I can't believe it is the middle  of May.  The cold east winds have kept me from sowing seed and planting out.  I am quite grateful for this because there have been some significant frosts.  The only things that has been cut back are the grapes.  I am not too sure whether I will have any fruit this year because everything was flowering.  The apples particularly.

The winter and early spring have been particularly dry  and this has lead to me loosing four of my apple grafts and they are the ones that I didn't really want to loose.  Two May Queens, a Queen Cox and a Orleans Reinette.  There is always next year and more anticipation to look forward to.

Got most of my seed sown.  The only seed that has not germinated are the carrots.  I think that they need a good dose of water to get them started.  So we have parsnips, beetroot, chard, spinach, dill, chamomile, tarragon,  Florence fennel and Good King Henry.  I am going to put some more carrots in just in case the others don't germinate.  The sweetcorn has begun to grow in the greenhouse but with  poorer germination than I wanted.  I have used last year's seeds so I should not expect too much.

Lots of squashes have germinated and have been transplanted into three inch pots.  Leeks are coming on well and will need to be transplanted soon.  I already have some planted in the onion bed.  Garlic and Elephant garlic are growing and not being eaten by the Phytomyza gymnostoma.  The onions are fairly securely protected by the scaffold nettling stretched over the blue water pipes.  I have buried the edges of the netting in the soil.  Thankfully, I had just hoed up the potatoes before the worst of the frosts and they have survived unscathed until now.

I have planted all the early sweet peas and am starting to plant the later ones.  They are being watered in with comfrey liquid but I am not giving them any other nutrients except what was in the soil from the green manure.  I planted them as late as I could to avoid the flea beetle and I seemed to have missed most of it.

The tall peas and the ordinary ones have germinated and I have put up the mesh for the Alderman and Onward to grow up.  I will wait until the others have got a little bigger before I put up the mesh for them.  I dug down at least three feet to get out some old curbing  that was concreted into the soil in the pea bed.  Who buried it here is anybodies guess and I could have ignored it, however it was annoying me and I could use it for edging the path.  So I dug down and hit it with the bull hammer.  Remarkably, it came away without a fuss and now lives on the edge of the main allotment path.  The bits of old scaffold boards that I had there originally had rotted away and were just good for slug homes.

Sowed some swedes in the brassica bed.  I don't really think that I will sow any kohl rabi this year.  It is good to put into stews, vegetable curries and soups but I had far too much last year.  I don't have any seed left so I will have to buy some more if I do decide to sow some.  The other things I have not sown this year are American land cress, Hamburg parsley, salsify and Scorzonera.  Got a few herbs sown in the greenhouse to replace the ones that are getting a little moth eaten in the allotment.  The thyme and sage are already germinated.

Being so late with everything this year, I have decided to buy tomato plants.  I always did in the past and it is much more convenient unless you want to grow specific varieties.  I have Alicante and a couple of others making twelve plants in all.  They will easily fit into the two greenhouses.  I am only going to have two tomato plants in the peach house.  Mainly because I don't really need that many tomatoes but also because it shades the peach tree and that is the main plant in this greenhouse.  The peach has quite a few fruitlets.  This never usually converts into ripe peaches but you can always hope and that is what I do.

I need to transplant out all my brassicas into three inch pots - I told you that the I was behind - and plant out the beans.  After I plant out all of these, the allotment will be full.