Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Asparagus at last

The first spears of asparagus are finally big enough to cut. They tasted great, especially with eggs, but it was not much more than a taste. There are many more spears growing and this year many of them are quite fat. I expect we'll be having regular harvests for the next couple of months.

The strawberries, now mulched with fine wood chippings, have their first flowers. The broad beans are thickening up with extra side shoots - more places for beans to grow. Many of the newly planted onion sets have sprouted. The winter onions are beginning to fatten and the garlic looks tall and strong.

Everything got some water today. It might rain at the end of the week, but the lesson from last year was make sure things get lots of water.

No sign of carrots yet, but there's still plenty of time yet.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A frame for the sweet peas

The warmer weather tempted us to plant out the sweet peas. I made a frame for them from canes and Jean planted them out.

Friday, 23 April 2010

More shoots

We went up today so I could build the last of the frames I want. I ran out of time to finish it, but the wooden frame is complete.

The ground is dry, the steady rain earlier in the week is really required again. Jean watered some of the newly planted things. Last year I think we did well with watering some things, especially out fruit bushes, but some things we ignored and they didn't do as well as they could have.

The second sowing of peas and the second sowing of beetroot are both beginning to come through. At home the sweetcorn, courgettes and spring onions have all sprouted. The night time frosts are declining, so more stuff can go out soon.

Monday, 19 April 2010

It had to happen

Yesterday we watered the allotment, today it has poured down for hours. Steady rain is much better than a few watering cans, so I don't mind really and the rain will be refiling our water butts.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


The really dry spell means that everything needed watering. The grass on the paths between the plots has started to grow too, so Jean gave that a trim. I spent a few minutes getting some bindweed out from the raspberry canes and elsewhere.

The gooseberries have their flowers out. They seem small and insignificant, but they are the source of this year's crop. They were being attended by a few small, orange bumblebees. There's been a lot of talk about how the decline in honey bees will stop crops being pollinated. We hardly ever see honey bees; all of our pollinators are bumblebees and hoverflies both of which seem plentiful. I like honey, so I hope honey bees thrive, but our plants seem to manage without them.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

A few photos

We planted a few more peas and mange touts so I snapped a few photos while we were there.

The sweet peas are doing well, but not quite big enough to go out.

Mange touts are sprouting well, most pots have a plant or two in them.

This year is our first attempt at growing red cabbage, so far so good.

Tomatoes are doing well. They will go into a growbag soon.

Outside the rhubarb is bursting into fresh growth. We certainly have too much, but it's too late to dig it up.

The newly uncovered parsnips are responding to the extra sunlight. They grow slowly, they will be in the ground for the rest of the year.

The broad beans are responding to the wind and cold by getting a few extra side shoots, which will all produce extra bean pods.

And lastly a picture of the various frames I've been building to keep the birds off our plants.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Carrots (maybe)

A lovely afternoon tempted us up to look at the allotment. We took the latest batch of potted leeks to the greenhouse. About half a dozen of the existing leeks had keeled over, but we still have more than enough for what we want.

I made another frame to protect our plants from the ravages of the birds. There's still one more to make, but I need some more plywood corners and some more staples to fix the mesh to the frame.

Jean dug the carrot plot over again and sowed our first row of carrots. She moved the fleece tunnel from over the parsnips to over the carrot row.  Given our poor record with carrots I hope these grow. The parsnips are growing well, although a few have not survived the planting out process.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Shoots are showing

The seeds in the pots in the greenhouse have started to sprout. We now have beetroot, red cabbage, spinach and peas alongside the mange touts, tomatoes and sweet peas.  Jean sowed another batch of beetroot - we have set aside lots of space for it and this year we are going to let more of it grow into bigger beets, tennis ball sized, rather than taking them at golf ball size. 

The asparagus is also beginning to show, with the tips of three spears just poking up through the soil.   This is the first year we can harvest it fully, everything that appears before mid summer day is for the pot and everything after then is left to mature for the plants' to feed from.

The broad beans and parsnips are both getting bigger, so much so that I will be able to remove the fleece tent from the parsnips to use for the carrots when we're ready to sow them.

We still have lots of seeds to sow, but we have run out of the soft plastic pots we prefer and I can't find any more to buy. Wilkos used to sell them but they don't seem to have any this year and I haven't seen them anywhere else. Shame.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Our first potatoes get planted

We've not grown potatoes before, but this year we thought we'd squeeze a few rows in. The weather has warmed up so today was the day to get them into the ground. Three trenches, about 60cm apart and about 15cm deep. These are first earlies, Pentland Javelin, I hope they are going in soon enough, but the ground really has only just warmed up. After burying them the onion sets went in too.

The half kilo in the bag from Wilkos turned out to be about 140 sets. The sets were planted quite close together, 25cm between rows and 10cm between each plant. We covered the freshly planted rows with the frames that have covered the winter onions and garlic over the past few months to keep the birds from pulling them up.

I refitted the tap outside the greenhouse. I took it off to protect it from the frost over the winter, but now we are watering things it is much easier to use outside again. I had a quick tidy of the greenhouse too, which makes it much easier to get in and out. When the peas go out (they haven't sprouted yet) the pile of pea sticks will go out too.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Only leeks

We potted the last leeks from the first packet of seeds and took them up to the greenhouse this afternoon.