Sunday, 8 June 2008

We live in an extreme world

As in, it goes from one extreme to another with the great British Weather!

For the last few weeks we've had persistent rain, the only dry days have been midweek when I'm stuck in the office looking longingly out at the glorious sunshine.

Oh well, I had some time today to get down to the plot and make a little headway - whilst I still can.

The pile of horse manure I have maturing nicely is now almost entirely covered in bindweed. I know the organic brigade would have me dig it out bit by bit, but time is of the essence, and quite honestly the thought of getting stuck into horse crap just to rid the bidnweed does not appeal. I've therefore resorted to glyphosate (Roundup) to kill it off.

The rest of the plot was also starting to get taken over by some weeds - far less troublesome varieties which I have yet to look up, but I tackled them with a pair of extendable shears and the hoe.

On to what's now been planted.

I planted the rest of the Stephens peas, so I now have 2 rows of 5 plants - hopefully enough to get a decent crop and allow me to save some seeds over for next year. One of the rows has started to develop flowers. Appologies for the camera skills (or lack of), but I was hot and hungry so they were a bit rushed.

I also planted a row of Sugar Snap Peas that someone kindly gave me - Sugar Ann.

A few days ago I also planted out the sweetcorn (9 plants) and celeriac (9 plants). The sweetcorn looks much like grass at the moment - I'm hoping they soon start to flurish and catch up with some of my plot neighbours, time will of course tell. The celeriac looked very healthy when I planted them out, but a day or so without rain has left them looking a little lacklustre. Well watered today I'm hoping they perk up a bit.

Some of the other plants I'm somewhat more pleased with are the parsnips and beetroot. The parsnips are the result of the loo roll centre method - where seeds are planted in the cardboard loo roll centres filled with compost and stood in a seed tray. The beetroots were simply planted in a seed tray and thinned out as required. The carrots alongside the beetroot were also planted using the loo roll method but don't seem to be doing so well.

I'm going to sow some more carrot seeds over the next few days to extend the harvest - I'm not sure the same can be done with parnsips, but it looks like I'll have a few for Christmas dinner at least (sorry to mention the "C" word so early on in the year, but such is my mindset now that I'm planning so far ahead with what to plant and when...)

Potatoes seem to have recovered from the frost - in most cases anyway. I'm getting twitchy now waiting to have a "furtle" under the plants to see if any tubers have formed yet - the first earlies can't be far away now!!

The garlic and onions are looking pretty good - not sure how much longer to leave the garlic in, I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that you wait until the leaves turn yellow and "flop" - again we wait!

Some of the onions are doing a great impression of the Kremlin...

Again apologies for the fuzziness, but I just could not get the camera to focus on the "bulbs". I think the onions are "bolting" - going to seed. I'll need to look up what needs doing again, if they can still be used, or if I've lost them. Thankfully only 4-5 are showing the flower heads, so I should still have plenty of onions.

Broad beans have also picked up pace since my last visit - so much so that I've removed the netting that had until today been covering them. I did also pinch out the tops as one of the plants seemed to be quite badly infested with black fly.

However, I may have come across a bit of a plan! Whilst mooching about I discovered a couple of little friends...

The ladybirds, not the parsnips! I moved them onto the broad bean plants and they seemed pretty interested in their new flatmates - go get 'em girls!

One of the more established allotmenteer dudes kindly donated some lettuces to my neighbour and me a few weeks ago, and they're doing pretty well. Not exactly sure which type they are, but I'm sure it'll be obvious when they're ready...

The seven runner beans that I planted seem to have suffered over the past few days, but hopefuly they'll pick up. I'll save them the embarassment of having their faces shown - likewise with the courgettes, although they've got some decent looking new growth at their centres.

I spotted a couple of tadpoles in the pond so it looks like there's still a chance that I'll have some frogs.

Also had a quick look at the apple tree and it seems that as I suspected the blossom that was covering the plant earlier in the year is turning into apples - there are loads of tiny little apples growing. If only I had the rhubarb to go with it!!

I'm sure there's loads of other stuff I did - spending 5 hours down there you'd hope so wouldn't you?

Anyway, looks like it's time for bed (plus my typing's getting a little erratic), so for now....

Looks like it's time for bed, so for now...


Veg Heaven said...

Plot's really looking the business now Wayne. Aren't heritage peas gorgeous?

Su aka "Clarkie" said...

great going wayne, the plot is looking great, those lettuces look slug proof, mine are holier than that lol!!

HayWayne said...

Cheers ladies. Plot still has a long way to go before I'm happy with it (will I ever be satisfied?!).

Peas do indeed look gorgeous - almost good enough to eat... well, soon hopefully.

Slug proof lettuces eh Su? Maybe I should market them...

Are your lettuces Vatican Specials Su?