Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday 13th May 2011 - weather: still hot and dry (and some photos - at long last)

A whole day at the allotment, alone. Can't be bad. Today was tender planting day, so squash and toms. I filled the car with as many plants as I could and headed off. The problem with these tender plants is they have all been growing for several months so are all in large pots, so even in my big old Landie, I couldn't get loads in. I sensed several journeys home were infront of me.

Upon arrival, of course, I was alone on site. No mucking around, down to business. I planted an array of toms; Alicante, Gardeners Delight, Marmande, Roma, Yellow Stuffer, Tigerlla, WhiteBeauty, Rose, Lemon Drop, Idle, St Pierre, Riesentraube, Black Plum, Moneymaker, Costoluto Genovese, Jersey Sunrise and San Marzano. I think that is all. The great time saver is, the leaky pipe watering system clever hubby installed the Sunday before. Once all the toms were planted, I turned the tap on and 20 minutes later, turned it off leaving happy, watered tomato plants. I also planted 8 mixed chilli and pepper plants and 3 aubergine plants at the front of the tom bed.

Squashes next, and after last years failure thanks to our slimey friends, I have grown larger, stronger plants which should withstand a certain amount of munching. An array went in, through weed supressing membrane and in rich planting holes full of ripe manure. I can't remember them all but those I can are; Hooligan pumpkin, Atlantic Giant, Butternut, Cobnut, Turks Turban, Marrow, Marina di Chioggia, Hawk, Arrowsmith, Courgettes green and yellow, 4 different varieties of cucumber - approximately 10 plants, Uchiki Kuri, Sugarsweet, Sweet Dumpling, Watermelon and Honeydew melon. There are also a couple of gourd plants; Caveman's club, Speckled swan and a small gourd mix so it could produce anything. I reakon that should cover all of our squash needs. The irony is, I am alone in my liking for cooked squash, although the family do get it in soups and stews during the winter, but I like it steamed or roasted as a veg in its own right. They love me to grow them purely for ornamental purposes, but I don't mind, I love them all.

By now, I had been home once and filled the car back up with plants, leaving the allotment site empty. When I got back, there was nowhere to park! All the old boys had arrived, Ray, Jack and Joe and even the site secretary was over planting and sowing. You have to understand, for our allotment site, which is small, that is very busy.

The lovely Jack, my allotment buddy, gave me 6 white sprouting broccoli plants and Joe (aka smokey or coughing Joe as he has terrible Emphysema) gave me 6 spring cabbage plants. I never turn down donations, but it does mean I have a shortage of room for my brussel sprout plants. I think they will have to go in once my garlic comes out. I also planted another 8 Cos lettuce plantlets. I am really trying my best to be organised and keep sowing at home in modules so everytime a gap appears, I have something to put in it. I still have masses of plants at home and have just germinated another tray of All Year Round lettuce seeds, runner beans, peas and red sweetcorn.

The turnips haven't germinated but the kohl rabi sown the same day has, so the turnip seeds must have had it. I will buy new and sow again. Parsnips are up, beetroot and carrots are starting to push through. Mixed salad leaves are germinating in dribs and drabs but that is okay as it means I should have plenty to pick as and when, little and often. The baby corn seeds I sowed direct are starting to push through properly now and the childrens rows of carrots are through and are very thick so some careful thinning will have to take place sometime soon.

That was it, time up. Hopefully next week I will be able to make several brief visits after work, and have at least half a day on the plot on Friday again.

Now for some more long awaited photos. As you can see, things are marching along - I seem to be the only person on site harvesting and am regularly picking strawberries, lettuce, spinach and broadbeans. I have also had a couple of spears of asparagus from my one that survived the cull a couple of years back.

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