Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tuesday 14th March 2006 - Weather: overcast with occasional snow showers.

Well, as planned I packed up the car with broad beans and peas and after droping the munchkins at school I headed off to the allotment. As expected, I was the only 'hardened' allotmenteer there. First job of the morning, a cuppa from my flask and survey my kingdom. The ground is really looking good now after a couple of years of digging and getting loads of compost and manure in. The rhubarb is coming along very quickly, I can't wait, just love bubby crumble! Am contemplating covering a crown to force some early young shoots, but it means I need to get hold of a bin to cover them....wonder what I can scavenge.....?

Now Broad Beans 'Red Epicure'. The ground was already prepared so I planted them in 2 blocks of seven. Not many plants, but as I am the only one in this household who likes broadies, it is pointless growing hundreds of them. I would rather save the room and grow more peas and french beans. I had sown the beans in paper pots, and of course the roots had all grown through, but I think they will be okay. I also had to give them all little bamboos for support as where they had suddenly started growing fast as the weather has warmed up a touch, they were a little bendy and if they touch the ground, the slugs will have a field day! Once planted I made a bamboo frame around the plants and wrapped a layer of fleece around the outside to create a tent. This will serve (hopefully) two purposes. Firstly I will keep them snug as it is still pretty chilly at night and they have been hardened off a little, but not really as much as they probably should have been, and it will stop the pesky squirrels and Jays from eating the beans. I plan to keep the fleece on until I have finished picking, and if necessary, I can place a piece of net over the top to stop the birds trying their luck. I tell you, it is a battlefield out there!

Next, peas. Daughter sowed these about 3 weeks ago, 3 to a cell, and there must have been 99% germination success. These were destined for cloche life. Six weeks ago I made a cloche with the old greenhouse roof to warm the soil up. In the middle I had staked into the ground a wire net to support the peas. I planted the peas in a staggered row either side of the netting - 24 blocks of two to three pea seedlings. Once in, the glass 'roof' was replaced and I staked a piece of corrugated plastic at each end. This roof will stay put as peas do not need insects to pollinate them (or so I believe) but the pea moth is a pest and I do loose a lot of peas to these litte wigglers, so hopefully the protection will reduce, or prevent any moth damage. If the peas get frazzled in the sun (if it ever shows itself again!) then I do have some old net curtains and I will make a tent for the peas, similar to the broadbeas, but much closer to try and keep the moth at bay.

The next job was to get the last few spuds in. I still had a dozen Cara and 6 Orla to get in. I have run out of room over on plot 2, so decided I would plant them in a row by the shed at the very end of my plot. The ground is pretty wet there all year round, and right by my waterbutt, so I could pamper them...if I were that way inclined. I also edged the end with a couple of very long pieces of wood that have been hanging around for ages and I had forgotten about.

The, after another cuppa break I put up my supports for the Alderman Peas. These are an old fasioned variety and grow up to 6foot tall so need supporting similar to beans. I used some 7foot canes and pushed them into the ground about 2 foot apart across the bed, then using plastic coated wire I fixed strong pea netting to them. I used stones to hold the net to the ground. I will get the Aldermans sown in the next couple of weeks. I will do half the packet in cells and half the packet directly and see if the meeces ignore them!


mc55 said...

EJ you wear me out just reading your blog !

mc55 said...

EJ - you wear me out just reading your blog !

busy_lizzie said...

EJ, It is great to read what you are getting up to. Brilliant blog! You seem to have got loads done despite the extended winter weather. Are you doing anything extra to try to insure you have enough water this year? busy_lizzie

Emma Jane said...

oh mc55, I am petitioning the council to provide me with either an extra hour of daylight per day, or an extra day of weekend per week! Somedays I don't know if I am coming or going!!

Glad you enjoy reading it BL. I have been offered an old bath for the allotment to store more water, but we are thinking about it because our site has a garden backing onto one side so don't want to cause offence, also we would worry about kids/animals falling in as there are no gates on our site so people can wander through. However, constantly on the scavenge for old water butts or dustbins.

simon 404 said...

Hi EJ, love the blog, glad to see you're persevering with the broad beans and peas!

Emma Jane said...

Thanks Simon. Glad you like the blog. I do love the broadies and the urchins love the peas, so it has to be worth a go!