Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday 21st June 2011 - weather: changeable

Sorry dear readers, I have been slacking with the Blog. Of course, since my last entry I have been to the allotment numerous times, however, I haven't had the chance to do any full days, lots of hours here, half an hours there, but no dedicated time. Life has just been a rollercoaster with family events, animal husbandry and work work work.

So, to recap. The allotment is so very grateful for the recent rainfall. For a brief spell, East Anglia, our region, was in an official drought. Farmers had to ration water on their crops, rivers and streams were running dry and trees started shedding leaves like autumn. Now however, lawns are again green, crops are pert and blowing in the breeze and the weeds are growing quicker than I can oik them out. I have sown a lot of seed on the plot as I am determined not to have bare patches or miss out, so I have rocket, dill, coriander, lambs lettuce, Kohl Rabi, dwarf french beans, radish and carrots all sown direct and starting to germinate thanks to the rain. I have also sown seeds at home in modules to fill in caps and so far have beetroot, turnips, chard, spinach, florence fennel, french beans, lettuce, purple sprouting broccoli and pak choi. At home, already growing as strong plantlets I have leeks, lettuce and an array of brassicas. I also have a few straggly tomatoes and squash plants that I may just poke in around the edges rather than compost them. So, the theory behind this sowing madness is that everytime I dig up a potato plant, for example, I rake the soil down, give it a light feed, then plant something immediately in its space.

Things are growing well on the plots. The toms are big and bushy and desperately need their side shoots nipping off and tying in. The sweetcorn plants are growing fast now thanks to the rain, as are the brassicas. In fact, I am planning to start harvesting some of the purple kale now before the horrid white fly strikes. The squash plants still look a little weedy, but they have time and once they get going, there is usually no stopping them. We have had a few courgettes already and there is a baby butternut developing nicely. The raspberries have been a joy, as they always are. Glen Ample is a really good, large berry, sweet and delicious. I have a few unamed strays that have wandered onto my plot from surrounding plots, and they all come a few weeks later which is perfect. The strawbs were okay....we started picking them weeks ago, but because they were so dry, a lot were small and seedy. The first flurry were devine and I noticed there are still flowers and fruits, so hopefully now we might get a late picking.

Directly sown seeds are patchy, aren't they always, but the gaps soon fill either with the same plants, or I fill gaps with other things. The parsnips are big and busy, but from a short row, I think there are only about a dozen plants. The carrots are all patchy, but I just keep sowing those as we don't mind them finger thin or arm thick. The spring onions and beetroot which I sowed in modules in very early spring and planted out and fab and we are already enjoying the thinnings. We have had our first few feeds from the peas, but the marrow fat style have out performed the petit pois varieties. Again, I have sown more directly and they are through and romping away. I will sow more of those directly. In fact, I will continue to sow right into August with the faster growing and hardier crops as I have found on our sheltered site, things grow almost 12 months of the year.

I have taken Friday off work to spend the entire day on the plot, so I will have my trusty camera to show off my labours. I shan't have to water which will be a relief, but I know the weeds are growing thick and fast thanks to these wet, warm, bright days.

No comments: