Allotment Blog April 2013

Tuesday 2nd

Early dwarf beans sown in greenhouseAnother month started, the weather is bright but there is still that darn wind. I did a bit of croming on one of my newer raised beds, and added some more soil to the other. I then picked some rhubarb for lunch tomorrow. I sowed some dwarf french beans and some beetroot in the greenhouse SFG bed, they will stay in the greenhouse until harvested. I am hoping for an extra early crop, as I am getting fed up with frozen vegetables from my freezer. I watered the strawberries, garlic, onions and greenhouse and called it a day.

Wednesday 3rd

Cold, windy and overcast today. I purchased some more compost for the last two SFG raised beds last night. I took them to the allotment this morning and added 250 qts to bed 5. I still need to break up the soil better in bed six before I add the compost to it.

Friday 5th

Potatoes being planted in a large potCold, and windy again today, and yesterday we had snow. I decided to try and plant my first early potatoes today, but realized I had too much seed potato for the raised bed I will be planting them in. So I will grow half of my first earlies in large open bottomed pots. To do this I forked over the growing area placed the large pots in position and using a bulb planter made three holes about 6in deep, in ground where the pots will stand. Then I added compost and general purpose fertiliser to half fill the holes, then placed the potato eyes up in each hole ( see picture on left). Next I covered the potatoes with more compost and fertilizer. Finally watering them and covered the pots with a plastic sheet to try and give them some warmth. The rest of my potatoes I will plant using the square foot Gardening method later, when the weather warms up a little. I then did a little more croming on the last of my SFG beds ( this is where I will be planting the rest of my potatoes). I then called it a day and went home for lunch.

Saturday 6th

planting the last of my first early potatoesA very bright day today, still a little cold and windy, but the sun made a very nice change. My wife joined me at the allotment this afternoon to help plant the rest of my first early potatoes. I used about a quarter of bed six. and sowed them per Square Foot Gardening recommendations (one plant per one square foot). So now all my first earlies are in the ground. I will fill the rest of bed six with my second earlies and main crop at the end of this month. I gave them a good water and called it a day.

Tuesday 9th

Carrot mats used to sow my carrotsHad an early start today, the morning was a little chilly. I spent the time sowing seeds in my SFG raised beds. First I sowed my carrots, see picture on the left. A week, or so ago, I made seed mats using tissue paper, for my carrots and brassicas, to make them easier to sow. Firstly I wet the soil, placed the mats on the damp soil and then quickly watered them to stop them blowing away in the wind. I then covered them with compost and gave them another water. I followed the same procedure for my brassicas and covered those with fleece. I sowed my parsnips, beetroot, parsley, radish, and peas directly in the soil. finally I planted out some lettuces from the greenhouse. By the end of the week I will be uploading a video covering making seed mats and sowing seeds. which will be found in the SFG section under seed spacing.

Wednesday 10th

carpet placed between raised bedsAnother early start today at the allotment the weather was bright and quite warm with very little wind. I spent the morning making my paths between my SFG raised beds. I made sure the ground was fairly level and that the Lawn edges were about 3-4in higher than the ground level, where the path was to be laid. I then cut old carpets up and laid them between each of the beds. ( see picture on the left ). I then covered the carpets with weed depressant membrane and secured them with plastic pegs. ( As can be seen by the picture on the right ). membrane added between rasided beds I have still three more paths to do but I hope to complete them by the end of the week. I will document the laying of the paths in more detail in the SFG section, under construction, once I have completed all the paths. This afternoon I went and purchased some bean and pea netting ready for setting up the pea and bean supports, which will be my next task.

Friday 12th

Square Foot gardening planting gridPlenty of rain yesterday and overnight so the allotment was very wet, therefore I could not finish the laying of the paths between my last two SFG raised beds. So instead I took my tomatoes, peppers and marigolds down to the allotment greenhouse and I gave the greenhouse seeds and plants a good water. I then spent some time marking out more of my SFG beds into 1ft square sections using tacks and nylon string, It started to rain again so I went home for lunch and called it a day. Lets hope the weather brightens up soon, so we can get on with the work that needs doing on the allotment.

Saturday 13th

panths laid with carpet and membrane.A very nice day today at the allotment, sunny and quite warm. I managed to complete the laying of carpet and membrane for the remainder of my paths between my SFG raised beds. See picture on the left. I just need to tidy up the membrane sides by tucking the lengths under to fit and secure to the ground. I then completed the marking out of my SFG 1ftx1ft grids. On my next visit I will build the supports for my Peas and Runner Beans.

Sunday 14th

Went to the allotment this morning, so much for the weather reaching 21 degrees and sunny! It was showery and windy. So I gave the shed a good clear up and the brick paths around the shed, I cleared from overgrown grass. I did not realise how big the paths were, and that they extended to in front of the shed. and when I got home for lunch the sun finally came out.

Monday 15th

Iron Runner Bean supportThe weather was a lot better today plenty of sun, although we still had some wind, being on the coast that is quite normal for us. I built two iron runner bean supports made from old angle iron and bolted the tops together with threaded iron. As can be seen from the picture on the right. All I need to do now is to add the plastic netting when I plant the beans. I checked on my plants and seedlings, all are doing well. the beetroot I had sown the other day in the greenhouse are just showing. Gave the greenhouse a water and then came home for lunch.

Saturday 20th

raspberries sproutingA nice bright morning, when I arrived at the allotment I noticed that the wind had moved my empty compost bins, one of my membrane sheets had become unpegged and some of the carpet had disappeared on to another plot allotment about 25 yards away. I sorted out the wind damage and then spent a couple of hours weeding and tidying up my raspberry bed. The raspberries are starting to show growth, along with my asparagus. The plants in the greenhouse looked rather dry especially the tomatoes so I gave them a good water. The picture on the left shows the raspberries shooting and the bed weeded.

Sunday 21st

Another nice day today and quite a few people at the allotment. I decided to plant the rest of my potatoes which included Second earlies Charlotte, and main crop Desiree . I watered some of the plants growing on the plot and then went home for lunch.

Wednesday 24th

Onion seedlings ready for plantingAnother nice bright warm day today. My first job was to water the plants in the greenhouse which I did. I then planted my onions which I had sown in modules in January into their growing positions in SFG Bed 2. ( see planting plans ). The next task that I completed was to re-edge my lawn so that the grass edges were higher than my dirt level, so that when the grass is cut, and the edges trimmed it will be easier to do. I might add strips of membrane to them to stop the weeds growing, I will see how it goes. I then went home for lunch. I went back to the allotment this afternoon and managed to cut the grass paths, either side of my plot, and trimmed the grass edges. I tidied up the shed and then added more pegs to support the membrane on the paths between the SFG raised beds. Finally I went home and cut the front and back garden grass. I think I will call it a day.

Friday 26th

Plants growing in greenhouse raised bedWe had quite a bit of rain overnight and this morning, therefore I decided to do some work in the greenhouse. Firstly I planted two tomato plants, one in each corner of the SFG raised bed (bed 1). Then I planted 4 pepper plants in the same bed. I thinned out my beetroot that's growing in the greenhouse and noticed my french beans just starting to poke their heads out of the ground. I then toured my allotment and noticed that the peas are shooting in bed 5 and the radishes, beetroot and carrots are starting to show their shoots in bed 2. So at last things are starting to move.

Sunday 28th

Asparagus shootingA very nice morning, sunny with some warmth, but still a little wind. I took grass cuttings and home compost down to the allotment and added it to the compost bins. I then spent a couple of hours weeding my asparagus bed, as you can see from the image on the right the asparagus is now sprouting and almost ready for picking. I cleaned the brick and slab paths of weeds and dirt. After a little refreshment I gave the greenhouse plants and seeds a good water. Finally I watered some of the plants growing in the raised beds outside. My early potatoes are just starting to show. I then called it a day and went home for lunch.

Tuesday 30th

Another bright but windy morning. My wife and I popped down the allotment yesterday afternoon just to water the greenhouse and raised beds. I spent some time this morning weeding the rhubarb bed and then added bean netting to my Runner bean frames. I finished by watering the greenhouse and my raised beds that contained plants and seedlings before going to my aqua aerobics class at the local swimming pool.