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May 2013 Allotment Diary

Posted by on April 24th 2013

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Om Amriteshwaryai Namaha

Allotment Diary

Well spring is finally here, or is it?? This weather we are having is so changeable now that we cannot rely on the time of year to tell us what weather we should be having. Down on the allotment we have been very busy as have the resident wildlife.
Potatoes, potatoes and yet more potatoes. We have planted over 60 potatoes ranging from earlies (those that can be harvested July/August thereby theoretically missing the dreaded blight season) and main crop. This year we have chosen supposed blight resistant ones (called Sarpo Mira), guided by the Times newspaper. They are all in deep trenches with old manure and compost to feed them, and all in one big bed. Like all plants it is best to rotate them so that there are not the same plants in the same bed year after year. If you don’t this it can create a build up of pests – if you have different plants in the soil each year, the pests get confused and generally do not survive as there is no food for them to eat.

We have also seeded up runner beans and French beans in our highly successfully though perhaps unattractive cardboard loo roll pots. They are totally fab. They are a good size and depth, they break down in the soil so you don’t need to disturb the roots, they are a by-product of something else so no cost and take up less room then pots. Also if we are looking at AMMA’s InDeed Campaign, they have a low carbon footprint as we are not buying plastic. The important thing is to keep them moist, this helps them break down and soften so roots can start to grow through them.

We have got our sweetcorn going as well, this time we started the seeds off on absorbent material/paper (well, loo roll actually) soaked in water. We then placed the seeds on this wet substrate and covered with plastic. This will keep them moist and warm. Once the roots show (ours took 3 days!) we then gently transplanted them into soil filled loo roll pots.

One of the most amazing things that has happened is success with our cauliflower plants. We seeded them up last year and planted them out June last year knowing nothing much about them really but having space on the one of the beds. They survived this winter and appeared to be doing very little, so we pulled up the smaller plants earlier this year. Then on Friday we were looking at them, and realised that nestled in all the bedraggled greenery were cauliflowers. Proper sized ones!!!!!! AWESOME!! Here is one of them.

On top of this really amazing find, we were looking into our pea-soup pond and saw a NEWT! We saw a butterfly, which will have hibernated over winter and some bumble bees. Our daffodils are now out, but there are no other flowers out on our allotment at the moment. Usually there are dandelions but even they are late. We were serenaded by a wonderful frog for a week and the birds are starting to do their territorial displays and sing to us (well, to their potential suitors mates!). Our allotment is such a unique gift. To be able to have lovely vegetables and to offer a safe and friendly home to our wonderful precious wildlife is such a privilege.

Om Namah Shivaya

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