Saturday, 21 April 2018

Strawberries and Spuds

We've done the majority of major jobs this past week, so now we're left with a few smaller jobs just to tidy the week up.

Firstly The Wife is still amassing her Strawberry Empire. What started as 5 original plants (50p each or 5 for £2 from a car boot sale in Lincolnshire) now spans three beds, 39 individual pots, about a dozen of the 3-plant pink stacking things...

Meanwhile, I'm on leftover spud duty. We got some spare buckets at B&Q the other day. They'll do.

After that there were a few fixes to the rain water barrel, and covering up of the new courgette mound.

Plus a smattering of other odd jobs that needed doing.

Then of course there was some watering to be done. This dry weather has finally evaporated the paddy fields and kicked the turnips into growth.

And close on the heals on Yesterday's Apple Blossom, the Blueberries have started flowering.

Looks like this hot weather is coming to an end... as is Allotment Week. Picked a good week for it. More by luck than judgement.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Allotment Week: Potting on

So this week has been a bit warm. We've often reached over 40C in the greenhouse, which means that the seeds in there have really got off to a great start. Now a lot of them need potting on.

First off there are the old faithful Courgettes. We start them in the small pots (right). Those that actually sprout and make it to the cotyledon stage get potted on into bigger pots.
If you look closely above, you'll notice that some of them failed to germinate.

And then we have the sweetcorn. We're growing two varieties here labelled "sweetcorn" - and unknown organic, large cob variety, and "popcorn" - our existing variety that does superbly in the popcorn maker. Some of the sweetcorn have also failed to germinate, so planted another 9 to see if we can make up the numbers.

The Edamame (Soya Beans) are doing really well. The Toilet Roll trick seems to work well with them.

Then there are the Cape Gooseberries. These are the saved berries from last year. Also they are doing well and will need potting on soon. Probably at the weekend.

Outside, there are beginnings as well. The Apple tree has started to blossom.

And I've been delving into the murky depths of one of the compost bins.

I'm sieving out the compost. All the fine stuff is going into a clay and claggy bed whilst anything larger is getting thrown onto the new courgette mound.

Soon this will get covered with weed membrane and then we'll put a few holes in it and plant the courgettes through. Wonder what this year's tally will be. Probably less than last year as we won't have as many plants.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Allotment Week: The hottest day in April since 1949

Whew, what a scorcher.

Well I guessed it was going to be hot because I keep an eye on Weather Underground. A useful little website where you can even setup alerts for potential frost warnings. No need for those today, as apparently it's the hottest April day since 1949.

Just as well I pushed The Wife out of bed at 7am so we could get down to the plot before the big heat hit. First on the cards was the third and final trough.Then, as I turned round from making that, I saw the sorry state of the shed.

One quick coat of Ronseal later and it looks so much better.

I guess the grape vine won't notice any difference. It hasn't started shooting yet, which is no surprise. It always takes an age to get started. Mind you, last year it had already started budding by the 16th April. I guess the late winter has set everything back about 2-3 weeks.

Anyway, by the time noon rolled around, we were definitely wilting under the heat, and thought it best to head for cover.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Allotment Week: A quieter day

There's this thing called sunshine. And for some reason there appears to be a lot of it at the plot this week.

Which is no bad thing really. At least it's taking a while to dry up the paddy fields on the plot. Although now the water level has dropped sufficiently that the algae is growing all over the place and makes it smell like a swamp.

Anyway, I managed to get some legs made for the other set of shelves for the second greenhouse.

Just in time too, as the Pak Choi has been sprouting well in it's little seed tray and needs to find a new home.

So now it has pride of place as being the first produce on the new shelves.

It seems that there will be other ready for transplanting soon, as everything is trying to play catchup after the rains and late winter. Lots of things are sprouting in the greenhouse.

Tomorrow we're going to try and get there first thing in the morning to do the work. Then we can slack off back home come noon and the main heat of the day. We might pop back later in the day for a BBQ.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Allotment Week: Can you build it? Yes we can.

If yesterday I was Samwise Gamgee, today I was Bob the Builder.

The day started out with a long trip to B&Q to look for various bits. We wanted a kind of rubber mat to put on top of the various tables that we'd built over the time. But sadly we had no luck in finding anything suitable. Certainly not in the small quantities we needed. Rolls of Lino, yes. Offcuts? Not so much.

We did buy a whole load of cheap buckets which will do for spuds, so that 10 more spud "bags" for the plot. And a new wood saw.

Back on site the new saw made short work of the wood pile. So now there is a second trough to go with the first.

And I added legs to the low shelves from last year, for the second greenhouse.

Hopefully keeping things raised up will stop some of the wood louses and mice from getting at the crops.

But I'm afraid that building work stopped at that point. Not because I ran out of energy, but because my drill did. The old trusty is getting long in the tooth now, what with it being a Ni-Cad battery. It's definitely suffering.

Tomorrow hopefully I can get the second shelf done, and build the third and final trough.