Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Spring Sunshine

What a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. Once the boring chores were done, I was deposited at the allotment for a few hours.  My neighbours Rosemary and her husband and Tracy were already on their plots working hard. It is amazing how the temperatures have risen as the trees are all smothered in young green buds, the weeds are growing and the birds are singing.

First job of the day, planting a row or young pea plants and then a wigwam of sweetpeas.  It is so lovely to see plants growing on the plot at long last.  The onions all have green shoots and the elephant garlic is really growing thick and strong.  The rhubarb is getting big, ready for it's first pick next weekend and the currants already have flower buds.  Joy!

Next over to plot to and I raked the area I dug last week and created a lovely fine tilth.  I sowed some litle gem lettuce and then put a cloche over, just to help things along.  In open ground I then sowed a row of pingpong ball style carrots, parnsips, red salad bowl lettuce, cylindrical beetroot and radish.  I also sowed long rooted carrots in the two crates that I filled with compost last visit.  Yay, the first seeds are in.

Now it was back to digging and by the time I left I was practically down to the tomato house, very satisfying.

Once home, after prepping dinner and filling the washing machine, I then had an hour in the greenhouse and pricked out a tray of cos lettuce, pixie cabbage, pruple sprouting brocolli and some californian poppies.  They were all moved outside to the cold frame to harden off and make room in the greenhouse as I want to put the tomato plants and squashes up there to toughen up and slow down as they are growing at high speed in the warmth of the conservatory.

Happiness is a greenhouse full of seedlings.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunday 14th April 2013

What a glorious day. At last, I do believe, spring is springing.  The daffs are finally open, the buds are bursting on the apple trees and the weeds are growing.  All is good.  I really lost the will to work the allotment last year, everything seemed to fail, but already this year, I am loving the plot and have a good feeling.

I was up with with lark and left hubby at home in charge of the dog and kids.  I don't think he could quite believe I was deserting him but I needed to really get on top of things, and the forecast for the day was good, and boy was it lovely, so I took full advantage.

I finally cleared plot number one and finished putting up my bean poles.  Plot number one looks great and has rhubarb, onions, garlic, sorrel and jerusalem artichokes in front of the fruit cage, then in the middle of the plot there is the fruit cage packed with Glen Ample raspberries, gooseberries, currants and jostaberries, then there are 2 apple trees, an eater and a cooker.  Beyond the fruit I now have a cleared area with the bean poles then there are few last leeks and the spuds that I planted a week ago and finally the strawberry bed with a hedge of daffs, glads and annual flowers.

By now, several other members of the allotment fraternity have arrived and are enjoying the sunshine and birdsong.  I do love it when there are other people milling around. We aren't a very sociable lottie but it really feels productive and spring like when you see other people digging and planting.

I headed over to plot number two, a plot that we pretty much left to its own devices last year so it was looking pretty weedy, however, the soil was so lovely and fluffy, the digging was a breeze and the dreaded creeping buttercup gave up its anchosr relatively easily.  I started at the top end, furthest from the stream.  Up this end I have some stowaway raspberry canes that have breached the path between me and my neighbour, so I have a little cluster of sweet, autumn fruiting rasps.  Tight against the path, smack bang, top middle, there is a black currant bush, a remnant of the plots previous ownership, Bernie who passed away probably 8 years ago now and I inherited his plot, and a couple of fruit bushes.  It has teeny currants that are sweet, but they are teeny and a pain to pick, so I tend to leave them for the birdies.  Then at the other end against the path is a small fenced off area which James used to garden.  As he has lost interest, I have put to storage crates there and filled them with compost and into these, I am going to sow carrots.  Hopefully the soft soil will encourage nice long, straight roots and the height will prevent carrot fly from being a nuisance.  I dug and cleared about two thirds of the first half but by then I was knackered and decided to call it a day.

I will be back at the weekend and by then I reakon the apple blossom with be bursting, the fruit bushes will be in leaf and I will be planting my pea plants.