My planned activities for this month - February

Activity Comment
Start seed sowing in modules at home: Tomato - Cucumber - Leeks - Parsnips - Cauliflower - Spring Cabbage Sown: 02-02-16 see Blog entry for the 2nd February below for further information. - 12-02-16 Parsnips Sown 48 modules (best of 3 seeds)
Compost Beds that have not had "Green Manure" added. 10-02-16 Completed composting - The beds composted will be used later for my Potatoes.
Plant another batch of early potatoes into bags in the greenhouse. 12-02-16 planted Two more potato sacks with three potatoes in each. "First Early Premiere"
Sow in Greenhouse Pots for early crops: Beetroot - Radish - French Beans - Peas 17-02-16: Sown Peas 1 wicking Pot of Pea Shoots
Clear remaining crops that are passed their best.  
Purchase compost for grow beds and wicking pots. 11-02-16: Purchased compost for "Wicking Pots" only. 16-02-16 Purchased more compost 600lt, which will be used for the grow beds
Finish guttering to shed and greenhouse 11-02-16 Completed Shed Guttering Started Greenhouse guttering.
Complete Wicking Pots for greenhouse 10-02-16 Completed All wicking pots with reservoir and wicking compost - 19-02-16 planting compost added to wicking pots.
Prepare grow beds ready for planting, onion sets and shallots 19-02-16: chromed onion bed ready to plant shallots and onion sets. I am not using composted grow beds.
Start turning in green manure ready for soil preparation 25-02-16: turned green manure and composted on Runner Beans (bed 15a) and Leek bed (bed14a) 26-02-16: Completed preparation for beds 9B, 10 and 11 A and B
Tidy up paths between beds removing any dirt and weeds  
Finish weeding and straightening path edges.  
Warm Bed ready for planting First Early Potatoes in March.  
Sow peas in guttering for early start. ( 3x4ft ) 17-02-16: Sown Peas ( 3x4ft gutters)

February Allotment Blog 2016

29th February

Just a quick visit to the allotment today. All I did was to record my allotment tour video for the month of February. To see video visit Video section under allotment tours. The video can also be found on You Tube.

26th February

Preparing beds by cutting back green manure and adding membrane

Another productive morning at the allotment. I cut back the green manure from four of the beds ( 11-A and B and 10-A and B ) that will be used to grow my Brassicas plants for winter harvest and Spring 2017. I have not dug these four beds as Brassicas prefer a firm soil. I then covered the four beds with fabric membrane, and I will plant through the membrane to reduce the need for weeding. The fifth bed ( 9-B ) has been dug and raked and I added compost on top and also covered with membrane. This bed will be used as a seedbed for my Brassicas and leeks which will be sown in March. Once the plants are lifted and planted in their final growing position I will resow with autumn and winter seeds. The image shows the five beds that have had the green manure removed and are now covered. The first four on the left will be used for Brassicas and the last one on the right is to be used as a seed bed.

25th February

Tured Green Manure and covered with membrane

Visited the allotment this morning it was bright and once work commenced it was nice and warm. I spent my time this morning digging over my green manure on beds 14a and 15a. Once dug over I added some year old horse manure to the beds and then covered them with some membrane. The image on the right shows the two beds covered with membrane. The bed on the left in the image (bed 15a) will be used for growing my Runner beans and Dwarf French Beans. The bed on the right (bed 14a) will be used for growing leeks, I will be leaving the membrane in place when I plant my leeks to save on weeding. It was then time to return home for lunch.

22nd February

Rods cut to support Pipe used for protecting crops Rods and Pipe testing

It was rather wet today but I did manage a quick visit to the allotment. My first task was to check to see if there was any wind damage as it has been quite windy over the last couple of days, luckily for me all was well. I had some old steal threaded rods that I decided to use as lengths of steal hammered into the ground to support my hoops that were made the other day. I therefore cut the rods to a length of 75cm so I will hammer 45cm into the ground and use the other 30cm to slide the pipe onto. The first image on the left shows the cut rods.

I then harvested some Purple sprouting broccoli ready to eat with out Grilled trout at lunch time. Finally I then tested one of the hoops with the rods and it gives me A meter height in the center of the hoop see the second image

20th February

Pipe used for protecting crops

It was rather wet today so I did not visit the allotment, but instead I purchased 50m x 25mm blue MDPE water pipe, which I will be using to make some protection hoops for my crops especially my Brassicas. I managed to produce 12 x 2.6m lengths to give me a 1m center height with a 1.2m base width. Also I produced 8 x 2m lengths to give me 60cm center height with a 1.2m base width for smaller crops. With the surplus I made clips which will hold the cover to the pipe. The image shows my hoops and clips sitting in the garage waiting to be transported to the allotment.

19th February

A chilly but bright morning at the allotment. I started by tightening the water-but tap as it was leaking rain water, and I also spent some time tidying up some of my scrapes of timber as it was looking rather untidy. I then chromed the bed which will contain my onion sets and shallots. I was going to grow the onions in composted grow beds but I will need too much compost so I will grow then directly in the soil and put up with some of the onions getting onion root rot. The next task that took most of the morning was the filling up of my Wicking Pots with planting compost and perlite. I just managed to finish this task in time for lunch

17th February

Sowing Peas in guttering

Visited the allotment this morning. My first job was to remove one of my greenhouse staging benches from the shed and place it into one of the greenhouses, ready to use for sowing. The next task which took most of my time was to repair wind damage to both of my greenhouses, this included replacing glass in the old greenhouse window and cutting plastic sheets to replace three glass panels in the rear of the newest greenhouse. Finally I spent my time sowing Peas in guttering ready for planting out in Spring. I also sowed some Peas for growing as Pea Shoots for salads and stir-fry. The image shows peas being sown in guttering.

16th February

Seedlings in modules moved to conservatory

Visited the allotment this morning mainly to deliver another load of compost ready to be used in my Grow Beds which will be used for the growing of onions and shallots. I am growing them in clean compost this year as we tend to suffer from onion white root over most of the allotment plots. I then made some end pieces for the guttering, that I will be using to sow an early crop of peas.

I have also moved my seedlings into the conservatory as I needed greater space to allow the seedlings to develop. See the image on the left showing my seedlings in the conservatory.

12th February

Parsnips sown in modules

Another morning at the allotment it was overcast which meant it was a lot colder than yesterday. I started by clearing all unwanted pots and plant trays from the greenhouse and placed them in the storage shed. This cleared some space in the greenhouse ready for sowing and planting. My next task was to add the membrane dividers to the "wicking pots" with a handful of compost to hold the membrane in place. Finally I set out my newly purchased seed potatoes in the shed to chit. The garlic that was growing in the unheated greenhouse has been placed outside to finish the growing process. My feet were cold so I returned home for a nice cup of coffee and my lunch. This afternoon I hope to sow my Parsnips using toilet rolls. I did manage to sow my parsnips, variety is "Tender and True" see image showing Parsnips on the bathroom windowsill.

11th February

Seed with striplight

A great morning at the allotment, it was warm, sunny, and no wind. Using old guttering found on the allotment, screws and gaffer tape. I managed to make the guttering system for the shed. It's a bit "Heath Robinson" but at least it did not cost me a penny, just a little time.

I then went home taking some membrane to make some round mats to add to my "Wicking Pots" to separate the wicking compost from the growing compost, before adding the planting and sowing compost.

After lunch I went and purchased some more seed potatoes and some potting compost for my "Wicking Pots" as the potatoes I saved from last year look a bit rough. Although if they chit well I will try a few of them separated from the other potatoes.

    Potatoes purchased:
  • First Early: Premiere
  • Second Early: Charlotte
  • Main Crop: Cara and Sarpo Mira

When I returned home I made the remaining 24 membrane mats.

10th February

Seed with striplight

I have had a very productive morning at the allotment today. My first task was to tidy my Brassicas bed. I did this by removing the last of my Brussels Sprouts, I managed to harvest about 6 portions of Sprouts and a couple of portions of Brussels Tops, before chopping up the stems which were then placed in the compost bin. I also harvested some Purple Sprouting Broccoli enough for a couple of large portions. Finally I rearranged the Brassicas protection and composted ( Horse Manure) the cleared bed ready for planting my main crop potatoes later in the season, once the Purple Sprouting Broccoli has finished producing and cleared. See image above left.

My next task was to work on the bed that will contain my Early and Second Early potatoes. So I weeded the bed and raked over compost, ready for planting in late March, and once the Celeriac has been cleared. See image above right

Finally I completed another 18 "Wicking Pots" for the older greenhouse. This gives me 37 pots ready for planting and sowing crops in the greenhouse. All I now need to do is to add fresh compost at the time of sowing or planting up the pots. See middle image above. I then returned home for a well earned lunch.

9th February

Seed with striplight

I finally popped down to the allotment this afternoon after all the wind, and rain, mainly to check on any possible wind damage. On investigation I found that a piece of glass from one of the greenhouses was missing but I found it undamaged on the ground. The plastic in the older greenhouse window was missing but after a tour of the allotment I found it a few plots up from mine. When I got home I assembled my lighting on my seedlings to give them a little more light in the evening. This is made up of two L.E.D. lighting strips that we used when camping. see image. Later these seeds and others when germinated will be moved from the windowsill to the Conservatory as I will need to have more space.

2nd February

Seeds sown in Modules

I spent my time at home today sowing seeds into modules and just popping down to the allotment to collect my name tags for the seeds. Here is a list of the seeds that have been sown today, (number of modules shown in brackets). Some of the seeds sown can be seen in the image on the left.

    Seeds sown that will be grown until harvest in the greenhouse
  • Tomatoes (21), Peppers (12), Melons (10), Cucumbers (6), Parsley(6), Spring Onions(18), Beetroot(18), Lettuce(18).
    Seeds sown that will be grown until harvest outside in beds.
  • Cauliflower (9) Celeriac (12) and Calabraise (12)

1st February

Harvest containing Celeriac, Brussels Sprouts, Brussels Tops, Leeks, and Parsnips.

A Bright day today but we have still got plenty of wind. The first task this morning was to make my allotment tour video for January. I completed this task. I then spent the rest of my time harvesting the crops that you can see in the image on the right,containing Celeriac, Brussels Sprouts, Brussels Tops, Leeks, and Parsnips. I then returned home and edited and uploaded my allotment video tour to You Tube, and a copy can also be found in the video section under allotment tours.

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 fertilizer 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 fertilizer 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?