Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday 17th May 2009 - weather: AWFUL! Wind, rain, more wind and rain, followed by a brief dry spell, then more rain!

Regardless of the weather, it had to be done, I had to spend a day on the allotment to get things shipshape. I have made the decision that I am going to reduce some of my workload to allow me some time during the week to get to the plot as it is knackered going for a full day at the weekend and having to work flat out, and still not getting all the jobs done. Anyhow, winge over. All four of us headed to the plot which was great. I do love to be there with all the family, providing they are all content. The kids played happily and Mark was on shed duty. What a star! He emptied my cobweb infested shed, cleaned it all out, swept and washed, then fixed my table, repaired the holes in the floor where the mice were getting in, sorted out all the rubbish to take home, and by the time we headed home for lunch, my shed looked better than it ever has. He was hoping to give it a coat of paint also, but rain stopped play. Doesn't matter. Half term is looming so the kids and I can arm ourselves with brushes and do it ourselves.

Whilst Mark was busy in the shed and the children were getting muddy, I started planting. I have been stockpiling young plants for the allotment over the last couple of weeks. A combination of home grown plants now ready for the outside world, and purchases from local nurseries. During the course of the morning I planted a row of cos lettuce, a row of cut and come again salad leaves, a row of spinach and some red and green curly kale. These were all planted in the bottom half of plot number one and as I planted, I weeded. Glad to say, my overwintering onions are looking amazing with only a couple going to seed. I will leave these as I love onion flowers. I have left a couple of leeks to flower, and years ago I left a garlic in the ground to flower and it still comes up year after year, getting bigger and bigger and flowering better and better. I pulled some rhubarb and must say, this half of the allotment looks stunning.

From there I moved past the fruit cage and apple trees onto the top half of plot one and this is where I plan to grow my squashes. I didn't have a very good year last year so have sown a few more this time around. In the ground I planted 6 different courgettes, a butternut squash, giant pumpkin, marketmore cucumber and watermelon cucumber and watermelons. I then constructed a rather interesting mini greenhouse come polytunnel so I can give aubergines and chillis a go outside.

It was almost lunchtime so I now shot to plot number 2 and sorted out the covered tomato growing area and managed to get 21 tomato plants in before the family started revolting. So, as lunchtime now beckoned and as we were all rather wet, and it was 1.30, we headed for home.

An hour later, I was back, on my own this time. Straight over to plot number 2 and infront of me was the most boring, backbreaking job of all. My lovely seed bed was a mass of annual weed seedlings and no veggie seedlings! What happened to them? I assume that the hot dry spell we have had since I sowed has frazzled them off and then the renewed damp cool patch we are going through currently has allowed the weeds to spring into life. So, I spent several hours hand weeding half of allotment number 2. To say it was boring was an understatement, but also, perversely satisfying and it looked so lovely when I eventually finished. By now the afternoon was pressing on, so I got on with some sowing. I sowed a row of parnsips, a couple of rows of carrots, including some purple ones, a row of beetroot, another of radish and some sunflowers. Fingers crossed they will all germinate quickly as the weather is wet and warm otherwise we won't be having parsnips with our Christmas dinner!

Before leaving I picked a basket full of rhubarb to turn into curried rhubarb chutney and picked probably the last of the purple sprouting broc. I need that bed for the sweetcorn plants which will be going in over half term, so the PSB's days are numbered. I still have leeks and a selection of brassicas to get in, but as usual, I am fast running out of room!

I did take some photos, but as the evening is pressing on and my camera card is playing silly buggers, I will sort them and post them tomorrow.