Monday, 25 April 2011

Busy day

A fine, warm Easter Monday tempted out a lot of people up to their allotments, including a few new faces. Roz seems to have persuaded a bit of turn over so plots get properly used which I agree with, especially since there is a waiting list.

We planted out some beetroot which is getting too tall and leggy in the rather-too-warm greenhouse. We watered things that looked dry, especially the newly sown carrots and the planted out beetroot. The broad beans have flowers, so they got some extra water. The strawberries are covered with flowers, so they got some water.  The spinach is looking lovely so that got some water. The asparagus is sending up even more shoots, so that got some water. The sweet peas are beginning to reach up their sticks so they got some water. The winter onions are beginning to swell so they got some water. The garlic is throwing out extra leaves so it got some water. The raspberries are looking stronger than I expected given they were moved, so they got some water. All of the seedlings in the greenhouse looked dry so they got some water.

The tanks are getting emptier again, so rain is needed or a huge topping up session. 
Winter Onions

Broad bean flowers
Strawberry flowers

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

French beans

Every year we have tried to grow something new to us. This year it is dwarf french beans. The consensus seems to be that they are prolific, so you don't need many plants and that they are not hardy so they need protecting from frost. We sowed our first batch today and that may be the only batch we need. We also sowed the next batch of beetroot and some courgettes. All of these are in the greenhouse to germinate to ensure they stay frost-free. We will grow more courgettes than we need because the process of transplanting them from pot to ground doesn't always work. We have sown more french beans than I think we need, just because I don't know how they will perform. Unused plants are easy to give away.

The ground is thoroughly warm and very, very dry. Without rain soon we will have to soak the ground just as preparation for planting.

We took some more asparagus today; it will probably get used at lunch time. The spinach is looking very strong and is responding well to watering. Our strawberries look good, with lots of flowers already. The blackcurrants and gooseberries have lots of flowers and hold the promise of a bumper harvest. The warm weather has brought things on quite quickly, I just need to keep up with watering to swell the fruit.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Spring onions

The first batch of spring onions got potted on today, three to a pot. They then went up to the greenhouse to harden off, although the temperature is so warm (21°C today) they will probably wilt rather than harden. The asparagus is getting into its stride. We took some more with some rhubarb. There will need to be some more watering soon since there is no rain in the offing.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Asparagus and weeds

A leisurely visit to the plot with a couple of jobs in mind turned into a watering session. The ground is dry as dust and newly planted things were very dry. Jean planted out the spinach - which looks very promising, I harvested some asparagus - our first this year - and transplanted a strong looking raspberry plant. It had grown up close to where the raspberries used to be so I moved it to where they are now, filling a gap where a plant hadn't survived the winter. I weeded the strawberries, which are filling out nicely and have a few flowers showing. Jean weeded the winter onions and planted the last few sweet peas. I added a few more canes for them to climb.

We then watered the freshly planted spinach and sweet peas and after checking the rest of the plot we watered the asparagus, broad beans, summer onions, parsnips and raspberries. I would have liked to water the other fruit bushes which have flowers on them, but our water tanks are nearly empty. I estimate we have used about three hundred litres of water in the last few weeks, and the thirsty plants are not sown yet. A few very wet days would be welcome to water the plot properly and refill the water tanks, but nothing is in sight.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sickly beetroot

We start our beetroot in pots, a couple of seeds in each pot and then they go out as soon as they look big enough. We sow them in batches so the beets are ready through the season. Our first batch of beetroot started off well, but much of the young plants have keeled over an died. We have taken the remaining ones to the greenhouse in the hope that they will like the cooler space. We have sown a lot more to try to catch up.