Friday 1st April 2011 - weather: ummm, I can't remember!
A flying visit to the supermarket, then one of my customers meant I didn't arrive at the allotment until 11am. Not to worry, it is all looking so shipshape on site, I want to brag, but alas have nobody to brag to.
I realised last visit I had cocked up my rotational plan so my greens are going to have to languish in the same bed as last year. However, last year they were down the bottom end half of plot number 2 and this end they are at the top end half of plot number 2...clear as mud? I have limed the ground and relaid the weed supressing membrane. I have grown the best brassicas since I started using the membrane. Whether it is because there is no weed competition, or whether it is because the plants have a cool, damp root run, I have no idea. Mind you, as smug as I am, I still can't grow successful caulis. Such a shame as I love them so. The white sprouting is making up for the lack of creamy curds though and again I picked a bag full. The purple sprouting plants have sat for at least 12 months looking lush and static and they were about to be pulled out by their shirt tails when I noticed the first sign of 'sprouting', so they have been repreived. I planted a row of red curly kale and re-netted the brassica plot, a somewhat frustrating, and earing slinging job. I lost a pair of opal earings on the plot a year ago when they were whipped clean out of my lobes by some windswept netting.
The rhubarb is growing like a triffid so it was radically reduced in size and will next be found taking the form of a crumble or pie. It has to be said, a good top dressing of slightly rotted manure is very late winter or very early spring gives it such a good kick up the bum. I am going to split a couple of the crowns this autumn as they are becoming huge, but I don't know if I really need anymore bubby plants hogging valuable plot space. I may plant them around the back of my shed where I am currently planting all of my spare fruit bushes that I strike from the prunings and then can't bear to bin.
I planted a row of young mixed salad leaves which I had grown in plugs and I must start direct sowing some little gem now things are starting to grow.
I pottered around, had a chat with Jack, sorted out my canes ready to put them in for the runners and then headed for home, picking the last of the daffs for a vase. The schools Easter hols are looming so goodness knows when I will next be down, if the ankle biters have their way, it won't be with them, but planting and sowing is reaching fever pitch so I think I will have to come up with some suitable bribes.
Just to show you how I spend my 'down time, here are my seedlings to date. In the conservatory are my tender babies, toms, chillis, peppers, aubs and squash. In the greenhouse, semi hardy and those that just need hardening off, so brassicas, beans, lettuce, etc. Then on the garden table are those which are as tough as old boots, peas, broadbeans, celeriac, lettuce, leeks and so on. Begining to think I need a better social life.
The quaily babes are doing great. I am constantly amazed at the rate of growth. Today (Monday) they are 10 days old, and they have their adult plumage, apart from on their heads which always seem the last to turn. They are very cute. Pip, the first born, is a thug, is huge and loaths being handled. James, the range, is placid and doesn't mind being held, and is also huge (he may also be a she). Migit, the last babe is still by far the smallest, and she also dreads being held.
The second batch of eggs have only 7 days to go. It would be great if we had all 7 hatch.