March 2014

Friday 28th

Netting errected for barssica beds

Another bright and warmish morning at the allotment. I added compost to most of my beds and gave them a light rake. After that I sowed some more carrots in bed 5, giving me eight square foot of carrots. The peas I had sown in February are starting to show, so I have added a support frame for them. I then gave my seedlings a good water in the greenhouse. Finally I erected the butterfly (7mm) netting protection for beds 5 and 6, where I will be growing my Brassica plants. On my next visit I will move my Brassica, leeks and onion seedlings from the greenhouse on to bed six and keep them under fleece until they harden up ready for planting out next month. The image on the left shows my beds protected by butterfly netting.

Thursday 27th

Cleared rubbish from behind the shed

Another bright warm morning at the allotment. I managed to take the compost purchased yesterday to the allotment, I spread some old sharp sand over the beds that I found behind the shed. later I will spread the compost over my remaining beds. I continued to clear the area at the back of my shed and greenhouse. I managed to remove all unwanted items and took all rubbish to the local tip which is a couple of miles down the road. I have a little more to do behind the greenhouse ready for the next task which is to add guttering to the shed and greenhouse to collect rain water for use in the greenhouse " drip watering system ". The image on the right shows the cleared area behind the shed.

Wednesday 26th

The rubbish behind the shed

Quite a dull morning and plenty of rain. I visited the allotment and started to clean up around the back of the shed. I managed to move the unused water butt ( although it was fall of water ). I will set it up to get rain water from the shed roof and use in the greenhouse. I managed to clear some old unused items that had been there for at least 20 years, and also filled 4 rubbish bags ready to take to the local tip. There is still another day's work there, so I will continue on my next visit. I purchased some more compost for the allotment this afternoon. The image on the left shows the state of the back of the shed and greenhouse. after doing some clearing.

view of the beds 2,3,4

Tuesday 25th

Another very nice warm day with very little wind. My first job today was to build a compost mound for each of my pumpkins' planting position, to do this I dug down a spades depth and filled the hole with compost then adding back the earth to form a mound, a stick was placed in the centre to show the middle where the plant will be grown later in the season. I did four of these two each end of the Three Sisters planting area in bed 3. My next job was to compost the area where I will be growing my runner-beans, this done, I erected the climbing structure made from bamboo canes. I then added the last of my home made compost to the Three Sisters Bed, and also bed 4 ready for sowing later next month. I gave the beds a good watering to help soften the earth ready for raking later in the week. I used more bamboo canes to finish off the frame ready for my Brassicas later in the season. Finally I planted some lettuce in the greenhouse and gave all my plants and seedlings a good water before heading home to lunch.

The image shows:

  1. The potato bed covered ready for planting main crop potatoes early next month.
  2. Frame over strawberries ready for netting
  3. The 'Three Sisters Bed' four mounds have been made ready for pumpkins
  4. The other bed has been composted and runner-bean support canes have been erected
  5. Behind the compost bins you can just see the frame built ready to add netting for the brassicas beds

Monday 24th

We had a nice frost this morning I noticed as I got up from a good nights sleep. By the time I got to the allotment it was nice and sunny and I did not need a coat. I carried on breaking down my earth. Then I watered the greenhouse and my sown seeds in bed 6. The seedlings in the greenhouse had not been affected by the frost. I finally fed my strawberry plants with potash and came home for lunch.

Saturday 22nd

Soil Broken down

Plenty of sun this morning but it was rather windy. I continued where I left off yesterday, by breaking down the earth in my beds by using a spade as a hoe to breakdown the sods. It worked well today. I then gave my main-crop potato bed a good watering and covered it with membrane to soften it up ready for planting my main crop potatoes in the middle of April. If the weather stays dry I will keep watering the potato bed until I plant the potatoes. I then watered the greenhouse seedlings and went home for lunch. The image shows the bed's soil broken down, and the top (main crop potato bed) covered with membrane.

Friday 21st

planted broad beansAnother nice bright morning, We had some welcome rain over night, that had softened the sods a little, so I was about to spend some time breaking down the earth on each of my SFG beds ( 3.5 hrs. my arms ache ) . There is still more to do so I will continue on my next visit. I was given some broad-bean plants from another allotment holder so I planted them next to bed two. See picture on the left.

I have decided to try out the "Three Sisters" growing method. This is where you plant Corn, Beans and squash or pumpkins together. The corn is in the middle, the beans are planted around the edge of the corn and use the corn stems to climb up, finally you plant your pumpkins around so that the leaves give shade to the beans and corn roots. I will use bed three for this which will be next to my strawberry plants. I will update the planting plan to show this.

Monday 17th

planted comfrey

Not a bad morning weather wise, so I made a trip to the allotment. I watered the greenhouse and my peas carrots and parsnips in bed five. I got my tiller out to till the outside beds, but the ground was too hard, so I will wait until we have had some rain, so that the sods soften up. I dug the Comfrey bed next to my compost bins and planted my Comfrey which I grew from root cuttings. see image on the right. I then covered them in fleece so they don’t get too cold while they settle into the ground. Finally I sowed some nasturtium seeds in the greenhouse. All my other seedlings are developing well including my first sown early potatoes, which are just showing their shoots.

Wednesday 12th

Posts errected ready for netting protection

Another great morning it is warm and the sun is shining. I ventured down to the allotment this morning. I spent most of my time sowing peas, parsnips and carrots into bed 5 see planting plan for more details. I then set up my posts ready for supporting my netted section for this year mainly for my Brassica plants. Finally I gave some of my paths a clean up, but I could not complete the task as my broom kept breaking due to woodworm in the handle. I then watered the greenhouse and went home for lunch. The image on the left shows my posts erected and the flat earth area shows were I have sown seeds.

Monday 10th

Another very bright and warm day. I took my sweet pepper seedlings down to the allotment greenhouse and pricked them out into individual modules. The rest of my seedlings in the greenhouse are developing nicely. The temperature in the greenhouse hit 100° at one point over the weekend and the lowest temperature was 5°. My garlic plants are shooting up outside in their bed. I spent my time at the allotment digging in the rest of my green manure turning it into the ground. I found it dug in quite easy going.

Friday 7th

I had a good morning at the allotment today. I started off by planting another two bags in the greenhouse for my early potatoes. I then composted and setup three large white planters ready to plant the rest of my early potatoes at the end of this month. Finally I started digging in my green manure on beds 5 and 6. Hopefully I will finish bed 6 on my next visit to the allotment.

Wednesday 5th

view of allotment after cutting grassI pricked out my three varieties of tomatoes into modules yesterday, I took them down to the allotment greenhouse today. I then cut my grass boarders and trimmed and cleared the lawn edges. I retook the tour video as the other one had a lot of wind noise and I was unable to remove it properly. I then finished clearing my shed and went home for lunch. I have now up loaded to Allotment tour for February and it can be viewed on You Tube and also under the February diary section.

Sunday 2nd

strawberry bed cleaned up A very nice bright morning so I visited the allotment. I took my next set of seedlings down to the greenhouse
( brassicas, Lettuce, beetroot, spinach and marigolds ). I started to dig in some more green manure, but it was too wet so I spent some time cleaning up my strawberry bed. I also strimmed back my green manure as it is still growing. I took a video of my plot for February and hope to have it up and running in the next few days. It will be on "You tube" and on this website under the February Diary section. The image on the left shows my strawberry bed that I worked on today.

March

What needs doing this month

Fruit:

  • Complete planning of new fruit areas
  • Complete planting as soon as soil conditions permit
  • Firm trees and bushes lifted by frost
  • Complete pruning of trees and bushes
  • Feed established trees
  • Spray apples, cherries, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums and damsons.
  • Train new shoots of blackberries and loganberries on to wires.
  • Protect flowers on wall-trained peaches and nectarines and pollinate artificially if insects are scarce
  • Plant raspberries and strawberries

Vegetables:

  • Sow seeds for main crop Brussels Sprouts
  • Sow seeds of late summer cabbages
  • Sow leeks
  • Sow summer spinach
  • Sow parsnips if ground is not too wet
  • Sow main crop leeks, peas and carrots.
  • Sow salad onions and radishes
  • Plant early potatoes in the middle of the month
  • Feed winter lettuce with a general fertiliser to boost growth.
  • Place main crop potatoes in trays to 'chit'.
  • Plant out young lettuce under cloches.
  • If soil has dried enough to work, prepare seedbeds by raking to a fine tilth.
  • Sow Parsnips, Onions and Broad beans.
  • Plant Horseradish and Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Sow lettuce under cloches.
  • Boost the growth of spring cabbage by top dressing with a high nitrogen fertiliser such as nitro chalk.
  • Plant more early potatoes to give a succession of crop.
  • Start Mint (preferably in a container such as a bucket to restrict root spread)
  • Plant main crop Peas.
  • Sow a catch crop of Lettuce, radish or spinach in-between the rows of peas.
  • Sow turnips in rich ground.
  • If Rhubarb has been forced, remove covers to prevent the plants becoming too weak.
  • Sow Onion sets.
  • Plant out new crowns of asparagus.
  • Plant out strawberry plants.
  • Plant more early potatoes to give a succession of crop.
  • Plant early potatoes.
  • Prepare celery trenches and work in plenty of well-rotted manure.
  • Broad beans and Peas started off in pots can now be hardened off ready for transplanting.
  • Plant out onion sets.
  • Sow spinach.
  • Plant out Jerusalem Artichokes.
  • Lime any sites to be used for brassicas if this was not done in the autumn.

Greenhouse:

  • Make successional sowing of salad vegetables
  • Sow herbs, summer cabbage, cauliflowers and winter celery
  • Sow melons, cucumbers, sweet peppers and aubergines
  • Sow tomatoes for unheated greenhouse and outside
  • Sow basil

Herbs:

  • Prepare seed bed as soon as soil is warm
  • Sow small amounts of chives, chervil, dill, marjoram, parsley and sorrel.
  • Layer shoots of pot marjoram and divide fennel roots
  • Split old clumps of sorrel

General:

  • Keep an eye out for slugs on early sowing in cloches.
  • Pre-warm the soil by covering with cloches or black polythene.
  • Have you cleaned your shed yet?
  • Is your equipment working ready for the spring?
  • is it time to give your grass paths a cut