The allotment and fruit plot in mid April 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

It's high time I reported back from the allotment on what's happening and plans for the growing season.
I've spent a nice slice of time tending the plot over the last month - it does seem to have dried out much faster than expected, the first potatoes went in a month ago. I'll try to give you a fairly orderly tour round the plot.
Below, (front left). This will be the brassica patch and the other veggies which linger on well into winter. So the sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers as well as leeks etc. This looks to be a really generous size patch for all of this.

Above, C gave the shed a lick of paint and it now looks so much more cheerful. The roof drains in to the barrels. The first of the new raised beds. This one has just had parsnips sown in to it.
 Above, the shallots, onions and garlic. Lots of varieties, some sown last year and some not long in. A mixed garlic row. We are almost out of our stored onions from last season and we get through loads each year, hence the large patch.
Below, two more raised beds C built in lockdown, one has carrots in.

Above, beetroot next to the raised beds (good germination rate) and standard allotment mess. It drives me mad that C is so happy to leave carnage in his path; the allotment is no exception, bits of crap everywhere. The pallet remnants from raised bed making, someone's propagator which blew into out plot, we don't know who it belongs to. Below, wire, buckets of crap... and our bench we never sit on.

 Above, the new rhubarb patch which were sown from seed last year,
Below, the muck bays to rot down. I need to plant into them mid May with courgettes and butternut squash so will need to be topped with compost.

Above, the potato patch. We have first earlies 'Swift', as well as maincrops 'Setanta' and 'Maris Piper'. Maris Piper are an especially useful potato. Swift will be for salad potatoes and Setanta will be the everything else fill in. This is fewer potatoes than ever before which is good. After last year's storage success we have a few to use still although they are getting eyes now.
Then the beans and peas... I also want to put the movable trellis along the fenceline and grow climbing squashes up it.
Below, sugar snap peas under polythene for protection. Then a mysterious row of garlic which presumably has decided to make a resurgence after the nil result of last season, most unexpected.
Between the mysterious row of garlic and the strawberry patch shall be the sweetcorn if we are able to grow any. These are notoriously difficult to germinate and at this rate there may not be any!!

The strawberry patch is now all weed free after I spent hours meticulously weeding it. C's irrigation system is still in place from last year and I'm very much hoping we get a good crop this year.
Below, the asparagus bed. We are REALLY hoping for some spears to start appearing soon.

So that's the main plot covered.
On to the fruit plot which is half the size. To the front we have our original rhubarb plants. For some reason our rhubarb is always behind everyone else's at the allotments which is infuriating as we like to harvest and use our whereas others don't seem in any hurry.
Behind the rhubarb there is half a row of currant bushes (no leaves yet) and half a row of gooseberries. I love gooseberries and make crumbles and jam with mine, they are a real treat. I don't even mind them raw. The year before last we had a monster haul but last season not even a third.

Then we have two rows of fruit trees. Some apples, pears, cherries, plums and a mystery tree which was supposed to be apricot which has actually turned into a greengage, Isn't nature astonishing?
We have taken care to keep the trees well pruned in the last 3 or so years (after a rough first few years) and although it may not be 100% accurate, we have achieved what we set out too. They are a good goblet shape, not too tall, plenty of blossom, no inward or overlapping branches. Very tidy and manageable. It's amazing how the trunks have thickened so much since they went in. As you can see, lots of blossom (except the apples, which aren't out just yet but should be good).
I have flowers in between the trees, with various bulbs for spring and summer then topped up with what I have left over summer.

Behind the trees we have another row of currants. We have red, white and black currants but every year we fail to label, catalog or remember which are which so until they fruit we are none the wiser. Again, the year before last we had a mamoth haul but last year very few. C likes blackcurrant jam, but we both gorge on red/whitecurrant jelly all year with chicken. Yum!!
The penultimate row is a raised bed of raspberries and hops. The hops are beautifully decorative. Fingers crossed for raspberries this year, their first year produced a pitiful amount.
And the back row which I usually fill with flowers. You can see sweet williams in a nice cluster which should be lovely in a month or so. I might use the rest of the space for my overspill tomatoes; there will be some in the greenhouse but the remainder shall go outside and this will be their home.

Also, note how well the rear hedge is blossoming. You guessed it, we'll be in for plenty of sloes again if we're lucky. We planted various roses in the hedge which look pretty lovely in summer too.

If you made it through all that then congratulations! It took me ages to write and I could have babbled on even more, I thought I was keeping it brief. The allotment plan of varieties still isn't complete (and keeps changing due to last minute variety swaps) but if you have any questions about varieties then just ask and I'll try and answer.

Take care,

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