Sunday, 8 June 2014

Dodging The Deluge

Nature in action
Two fairly fruitful visits to the allotment this week, one each side of a mahoosive downpour on Saturday which certainly negated the need for us to get the hose out and has actually made things a bit plodgy on some of the paths. We're getting desperately close to the point at which we'll actually be able to eat decent quantities of the stuff that's growing, which'll be great; it has been a while.

Don't squash them in
Evening trips to the plot are always a rush job; back from work, on with the gardening togs, get a few bits done then home in time to get some food on. On Wednesday we planted out a bunch of climbing beans and various squash: a couple types of courgette, butternut and a winter squash we've not tried before. They look a bit daft being planted so far apart when this size, but if they're spared by the gastropod horde they'll take up the patch in no time.

Spot the difference
Annoyingly, quite a lot of the spinach we planted in one of the raised beds has bolted before it's even got going. Reading up on why, it looks like we might have planted it out a bit late; apparently it's liable to bolt with longer days, growing most effectively in spring and autumn. We'll need to remember to sow it again as the days shorten for an autumn crop.

Another annoyance, although more mysterious, is that it looks like something has been through our autumn-planted red onions and shallots and flattened them all. I'm pretty sure it's not the wind, as nothing else has gone similarly horizontal. You can see where they're trying to grow back again, although some stems have been sheared through. Pigeons? A cat or fox? Or even some low-level anti-veg vandalism? No idea.

Cheerier news is that some of the things we actually want to go to seed are doing their thing. There's a shitload of flowers on the strawberry patch and some green fruit are beginning to form. We'll need to net them soon.

The tomato plants, although still very small, are also setting some mini-trusses.

The comfrey is as popular with our nectar-gathering friends as ever. This guy didn't move an inch from the moment we got to the plot til we left. I think it was all too much for him/her.

Future crop?
So that was all for Wednesday. We're just back from a few more hours down there today. Weeding and strimming was the order of the day. I thinned out and weeded the parsnip bed which badly needed going. Instead of lobbing the thinnings in the compost, I just popped them back in a different part of the patch where, for whatever reason, nothing had germinated. Will this work? I was careful to keep the root intact with as many little hairs as possible. I also gave them a good soak, although they had noticeable wilted after just a few minutes out of the ground. If they survive we've more or less doubled our parsnip crop, so here's hoping.

We met our new allotment neighbour Eddie, who has taken over the (very) abandoned plot next door to us. This is cracking news, as we'll have a lot fewer weeds seeding all over our plot once he gets up and running.

We got the last of the current batch of climbing beans and squash plantlings in, weeded some more, put some more support around the broad beans and then weeded some more again. There was an amazing number of ladybirds about; some, like those at the top of this post, getting up to all sorts of shenanigans

Some weeds are worth leaving a bit alone. I don't know what these are, but they're a riot of colour now that they're in flower.

We headed home with the plot in very decent shape. The first properly homegrown meals of the season are just around the corner...


  1. I hope there will be picture/recipes of these homegrown meals Mr B!

    1. Why not? Ps, read your cake thing- good luck with that!

  2. I'll be really surprised if the parsnip transplants work but hey gardening always throws a curved ball.

    I think your weed is orange hawkwed - many weeds are really pretty.

    1. Only one way to find out! I vaguely remember Charles Dowding talking about doing this, dunno if it was with parsnips though.

      Thanks for the weed ID!


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