Allotment plans 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

There's no doubting that we've been caught on the back foot this year due to the slow to non-existent start to spring in March. What happened?!! All of that ruddy snow when we should have been seeing the soil warm up. Let's not get caught up in grumbles, hopefully things are on the up here on in.

What's been happening on the plot?
The strawberries have been planted. There are two varieties (elsanta and a forgotten one - C is awful at abandoning keeping track of what we are actually growing) they are in a new patch, spaced at much more generous intervals and about  a third of the quantity we previously grew which was definitely too much of a good thing as weeding, harvesting and navigating around the patch were too difficult and the wastage was high because of it. Initially I assumed that putting in young plants early in the season would mean a decent quota of fruit this first year but with the soil still warming up at this late hour it may be a scant harvest if at all. The cover needs to be finalised and put up else the birds will be on them before we know it.

Potatoes. I'm sure we had all of them in by mid March last year but the most we could muster were the first earlies a couple of weekends ago before all the rain which rendered the ground far too wet to work with. The rest are patiently chitting and demanding to be planted. I'd like to see them in ASAP!
There will be less than last year as many didn't store well, though we are still eating some of the last of them. First earlies are Arran Pilot and Sharps Express. Other varieties to be confirmed.

We missed the rhubarb forcing boat so it's rudely going to flower instead of producing boughs of tart fruity goodness. I am frowning fiecely thinking about it. Hopefully we shall still reap some decent armfuls. I did mulch with well rotten horse manure in an attempt to bolster production.

Asparagus. No sign as yet but the crowns are quite deep now that C applied woodchips to the bed. Maybe in early May?

The winter brassicas, leeks and parsnips have all been cleared with copious soup made and the spaces manured and rotivated.

Onions, garlic and shallots have been in since autumn and are looking good. The plan this year is to lift while smaller, dry thoroughly and eat as well as store. The larger things get, the worse they store from our findings, especially double shallots.

Broad beans planted last autumn survived the freeze, the snow and the doom but they sadly didn't survive the winds which ripped through the plot and spoiled the crop. About 90% were wiped out. Such a shame.

We have a shed! It's tiny but perfectly formed and C has popped trellis up both sides as I want to grow sweet peas up it. Just lovely!

The fruit trees are just about to blossom which is a little nerve wracking as we had NOTHING to take home last year. I sowed direct seeds amongst the trees. Sadly many of the anemones and all bar one tulip didn't make it at all. Some natural seed dropping has resulted in some early larkspur and cornflower growth.

Fruit bushes are leafing up.

And in the greenhouse? It's jam-packed at this moment in time, it really is. All my flower seeds with all the veg seeds too and a few dahlias and freesias in pots. Many vegetables are grown in here from seed but plants like carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc are better sown direct and not moved, but the ground needs to be sieved but is too wet as yet.

Some bits and bobs have been started in the heated propagator which seems to work well, though a little too well for some early victims which grew like giant cress. Kept in the greenhouse over summer will be mini munch cucumber, cucamelons (first time, these sound exciting), two types of cherry tomato, aubergine, several types of sweet peppers and chilli peppers.

In a feat of extreme organisation, though not to the extent of noting the potatoes, strawberries or onions etc, I've drawn up a plan of the allotment and where everything is going and the varieties. I've printed off a few copies and will laminate at least one for the shed so that planting out is easy instead of protracted by spontaneously deciding where to plant.
I've also noted flowers down though this is more just for me to remember what I grew and how well it worked for next year.

I can't wait to crack on. The plot will want frequent weeding and the greenhouse needs watering and soon repotting (no idea how we'll manage with space) but there is certainly plenty needs doing.

Have you got growing intentions this year?

Take care,

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