February 2015

23rd February

greenhouse ground dug over

A bright but very cold morning so I made my visit to the allotment a shorter one this morning.

I still need to do some adjustments to the greenhouse frame to accommodate the door mechanism. and as it was too cold to mess around with small nuts bolts I decided to do something else this morning instead, so I used my time digging the ground inside the greenhouse before I start to add the glass, as it helps to stop hitting the glass with your head or your spade. The image on the right illustrates this.

21st February

greenhouse frame errected

A nice bright morning at the allotment. I managed to complete the erection of the greenhouse frame with help from a couple of my allotment friends. The frame is now secured to the base and feels very solid.

My next job will be to sort out the sliding door and its fittings. Once that has been completed I will  collect the glass and start fitting the glass to the frame hopefully on my next allotment visit.

The image on the left shows the greenhouse frame to-date.

20th February

This morning I visited the allotment to build the framework for the greenhouse. I managed to complete the two sides of the frame. I spent quite a bit of time trying to work out the front and rear of the green house but I run out of time as I needed to get back for lunch. I will continue on the greenhouse frame on my next visit to the allotment.

18th February

New compost bin started

Another bright morning and a productive visit to the allotment this morning. My first task was to sort out the compost at the top of my newest plot. I started by using the garage doors to make the sides of the compost bin. Then I added all the compost and manure that was at the top, into the compost bin. I will make the front and back sections later in the year. See image on the right.

My next task I completed was to dig over the green manure that is in the raised bed that I will use for my early and second early potatoes. I completed this by lunch time. The image on the right shows the digging half way through the process. I then went home for lunch.

17th February

Just a very quick visit to the allotment today, so that I could cement in the corners of my greenhouse base to the ground. I spent an hour using ready mix cement to complete the task.

16th February

base leveled and squared ready for greenhouseA great morning at the allotment. I managed to put together my base for the greenhouse, and bolted on some steel rods that will be sunk in the ground and then  concreted  once the frame has been squared and levelled properly. I managed to get a basic level but still need to square it off. I then went home for lunch.

My wife and I returned to the allotment this afternoon, and we managed to square off and level the greenhouse base, hopefully it will stay like that until my next visit. On my next visit I will be able to concrete in the steel rods. The image on the left shows my greenhouse base levelled and squared ready to be concreted.

13th February

marked ground ready for greenhouse Another great morning at the allotment and the sun was out so it was nice and bright for the first hour. I spent my time this morning removing the membrane that covered the area to the side of the shed. I then roughly marked out where my greenhouse will be positioned.  I  went and collected my greenhouse frame including it's base, I will collect the glass when I have completed building and levelling the frame which I hope to complete by the end of next week.

It looks like I  may have managed to secure some second hand decking that I will be able to use to raise some of my beds on the newer plot, I will keep my fingers crossed.

11th February

Had a fire to burn all my rubbish A great morning at the allotment I started by collecting together all my burnable rubbish, and burnt it, as can be seen from the image on the left. This took most of the morning. I then salvaged two old aluminium garage doors that I will make into a compost bin and place it at the top of my newest allotment plot.
On Friday I hope to collect and start to erect my greenhouse, Its the greenhouse I used to have at home before our conservatory was built, and I gave it away. The chap I gave it to never used it so he is giving it back to me and I will be erecting it next to the shed on my newest plot over the next week. I then went home for my lunch.

9th February

Cleared Raspberry canes, Asparagus ferns and tidied rhubarb

A nice bright morning spent at the allotment. I managed to cut down my Asparagus ferns, my Raspberry canes (Autumn Bliss ). I then trimmed up my Rhubarb, added straw to them to help protect the young shoots from the cold weather. The image on the right shows the area where I cut down the Raspberry canes, Asparagus, Rhubarb and straw added to the Rhubarb.

I then removed the last of my cabbages and took the best of them home to use later in the week. I also had to improve the netting over my Broccoli as the birds were sitting on the netting, nibbling at the new growth. My last job of the morning was to sow my three varieties of tomatoes (Gardener's Delight - Alicante - Smadar F1), which I then took home to germinate  on the kitchen window.

6th February

Potatoes chitting in the greenhouse

I have finally got back to the allotment to start getting ready for the 2015 growing season. It was nice and bright this morning but extremely cold and windy. Luckily I spent most of my time in the greenhouse where I arranged my potatoes  for chitting. I will be growing four varieties this year. (See image on the left)

  1. First early are Vanessa
  2. Second early are Anya
  3. Main crop Pink fir apple
  4. Main crop Desiree

I then decided to give my garlic a flying start by planting them in modules, to get the roots to develop before they are planted out into their growing positions later next month. I gave my greenhouse raised bed a weed before harvesting lettuce, red cabbage, and cabbage which we will eat over the next few days.

February

What needs doing this month

Fruit:

  • continue planting if soil conditions are suitable
  • check stakes, ties, framework supports and wires and replace or repair, if required
  • Continue pruning trees and bushes
  • cover strawberries with cloches planted for early fruiting

 

Vegetables:

  • Transplant Autumn sown onions to their final place.
  • Continue to plant Shallots.
  • Plant Garlic bulbs.
  • Check soil pH and add lime, if needed, to the Brassicas bed.
  • If the soil is not too wet sow Parsnip seeds.
  • In milder areas, Sow Broad beans under cloches for an early crop.
  • Ensure that Autumn sown Onions are kept free of weeds.
  • Feed Asparagus plants with a general fertiliser at the rate of 2oz per Sq. Yd.
  • Lift any remaining Parsnips still in the ground from last year.
  • In sheltered areas plant Shallots.
  • Check spring cabbage and firm the soil around any that have been loosened by movement. Dress with a quick acting Nitrogenous fertiliser such as Nitrate of Soda to help increase growth.
  • Clean established Asparagus beds ready for spring growth. Top dress with well rotted manure or compost.
  • Plant out Jerusalem Artichokes.
  • Put Early Potato tubers to chit.
  • Sow early cabbage.
  • Sow Lettuce and Radish (under cloches if necessary).
  • Sow Broads beans.
  • Sow peas in a sheltered border.
  • Plant out shallots.
  • In sheltered areas, Peas, Onions, Carrots, radish and early lettuce can be sown. In less
    sheltered areas they can be planted under cloches.
  • Now is the time to prepare new Asparagus beds. As this is a permanent crop the ground must be well prepared. This means removing all weeds and digging the bed to a spades depth. Incorporate plenty of manure or compost in the bottom and a dressing of Bone meal. Three year old crowns are usually advised but you can use 1 year old crowns if you are prepared to wait a bit longer before cropping.
  • Lift and divide Rhubarb if it is getting congested.

 

Greenhouse:

  • Keep on top of greenhouse hygiene: wash and sterilize seed trays and pots
  • Continue careful heating, watering and ventilation
  • Check insulation
  • Sow early melons and cucumbers for raising in a heated greenhouse
  • Sow early broad beans and early peas if not done in autumn
  • Sow early lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts

 

Herbs:

  • prepare soil for new herb bed by digging and incorporate peat and compost to lighten the soil
  • sow parsley if the weather is dry and not to cold
  • propagate mint by runners
  • Divide herbs such as Sage and Thyme and cut back any excess growth to encourage new fresh growth.
  • Divide and replant Chive Plants.

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?