Tuesday 5th June 2007 - Weather: Glorious sunshine!
Can you believe it, I am back at the allotment again. Will wonders never cease. Thing is, with my hernia operation now looming, I need to get everything done before I am out of action. Todays visit didn't start until lunch time as I worked in the morning. I lifted 2 half rows of my Japanese onions as I really do need all of that space now for sowing and getting my last 2 batched of sweetcorn in. I am really pleased with these onions. Growmore from the Allotments 4all site sent them to be at the back end of last year when Marshalls let me down and couldn't fill my order. There must still be 150 on the allotment to lift. I also have shallots bunching nicely now and red onions which were maincrop sets, and they are now growing quite quickly. I never have any success with maincrops as the rot gets to them quickly, but I thought they were worth a go as I got them reasonably priced in our local nursery. Any tiddlers are pickled in a sweet and spicy mix, for just a short time - we don't like soggy onions that taste just of vinegar. Oh, just to say, in the gap that I cleared I sowed half a row of little gem lettuce and I planted half a row of beetroot seedlings. These seedlings were a gift from a newbie on site. Funny being given excess plants from a newcomer, but he has been gardening at home for over 40 years, so extending by having an allotment. He sowed an entire pack of beetroot seeds in one tray and after he had planted out 4 rows he couldn't stand to just bung them on the compost, so he passed them on to me. I don't know how they will do, I have planted beetroot seedlings out before, but these were quite congested. They had a good watering. Who knows, a bonus crop!
Next I had to deal with yet more onions. These are Bunton's Showstopper (I think) onions that I grew from seed at the start of the year. They have been quietly growing in the greenhouse so today I planted them around the edge of my carrot bed. I have never grown maincrop onions from seed, I can't imagine these little mini plants ever bulbing up into proper onions. However, by being around my carrots they should put of the dreaded carrot fly, plus if they don't grow big, I will have plenty of salad onions, and if they do, well good stuff!
From here, back over onto plot number one. I cheated and brought 2 honeydew melon plants yesterday, so they went in under my glass tunnel. I also puchased a Beefsteak tomato plant called Big Boy. Well with a name like that how could I leave him behind! The squash bed is really filling up nicely now but whilst there is room I made a wigwam to plant some climbing drying beans up. Fancy name which I can't remember, but they want to climb and they should be well away long before the squashes cover the ground.
Last proper job of the day, start to get the netting on the fruit cage. My darling has agreed that the cheap netting you get in a roll from the garden centre is weak and a right royal pain in the bum to unravel and use, so we have brought a slightly more expensive, and only about £1.50 more expensive, netting. It comes folded and is thick and strong so no trying to untangle, unroll and wripping. The one pack we had covered way over half of the cage, so I will pop back tomorrow and get another pack....or 2, to finish the job.
Both allotments are looking great now. I have plenty of carrots and radish germinated. The spinach has all bolted, but the swiss chard is looking lovely, and to be honest, I prefer it. I will oik out the spinach next visit and sow something else there. The peas have pods, so do the broad beans, so a couple of weeks and they will be ready. Hopefully there will be fresh pickings around the time of my op so mum can take the kids to the allotment for a gathering session. The highlight of the harvest, sheer extravagance.....I picked the last 3 spears of asparagus, a beautiful globe artichoke, and 1Ib 8oz of ripe, sugar sweet strawberries. Honestly, nothing is better!