Jobs for this week include:
Sow rest of sweetcorn seeds (in a block 4×3)
Thin out the Perpetual Spinach plants
Space out lettuce plants (as they are all in a clump)
Sow a second bed of peas (Klevedon wonder)
Search for suitable pea sticks
Make fleece guard for carrots (hooray they are actually sprouting!)
Sort out flea beetle problem (post on A4A)
Buy some more strawberry plants
Put dead grass around strawbs (Dad’s idea)
Buy a new cucumber plant (to replace my ailing attempts).
This week has been pretty slow on mtp. Apart from the fact that Ryan and I were away this weekend on ‘bonafide’ minibreak in Stratford (and to watch this- it was amazing). The main reason is the weather, it’s so unpredicatable. Tonight I had planned to spend some time at the plot watering, weeding and sowing but the torrent of rain stopped me leaving the house. Instead, I have to be content with looking at pictures of my lettuce which are growing nicely. I had seven or eight germinate in a glump (I mean clump obviously!) and so carefully broke them apart and replanted them a few inches from each other in a neat line. The Snowball turnips have germinated (it seems) over night and the gooseberries are getting fatter each day.
I had a minor disaster with some small aubergine plants though. I put them out before I went to work to harden off (planning to take them in tonight) and by the time I got home they were all dead! Rats… Good job I have some more to replace them with. Next week will be more productive. It has to be otherwise we won’t have any veg come July!
I took a picture of what has now become my toolbox (it’s actually an old seed tray). As you can see I have all the vital items in there. A carrot-shaped box to hold my seed packets (thanks Ryan’s Dad), some scissors, bits of old string and weed surpressing fabric (just incase a rogue weed should appear), suntan lotion, peas and beans (donated by David) and car keys. Perfect! There are no actual tools in the mtp toolbox as they live in their homes scattered around mtp (ready for use at any given moment). Tell us what’s in your toolbox – or better still send me a picture.
The seed planting production line ground to a halt this week mainly because the weather has been rubbish. The mtp site is a bit exposed and prone to windy conditions so it’s been bitterly cold up there the last few days. I had planned to have all the beds planted with seeds but it wasn’t much fun to hang around up there. Hence the only work I’ve done this week is to frantically water the new artichoke plants in a bid to get them to lift up their heads. Administer protective fleece to the potatoes to help stave off the advancing frosts. And reset the slug traps (beer in jars, which seems to be working as there are now only a few slugs in each jar – compared to the 30 or so I caught in the first night alone). Unfortunately, the frost has nibbled the edges of the potatoes, and only three of the four artichoke plants (mail order, £9 for two) have survived. But hey, I’m happy. At least my lettuce are coming up strong! Anyway, I’m off to mtp in around 20 mins as the weather is beautiful today and there is no wind (or should I say a slight breeze). By the way, there’s still no sign of my carrots (planted around 3 weeks ago). Any ideas? Should I replant or wait a bit longer?
Hoorah! We’ve finally finished marking out all the beds and the pathways – Holy biscuits, that was a mission! Now its time to sit back with a smug beer in hand and survey the work. Just look at the difference. We’ve been working like miners all weekend (I have the sunburn to prove it!). First we finished off the beds, then we cut some weed-supressing fabric to fit the shape of the pathways. We nailed it into place as it was quite windy and then dumped the wood chips over the top. As we ran out of chips near the end Ryan scooted off to buy some more which as it turned out were not quite the same as the rest. I think the two-tone effect is quite charming!
We can hardly believe it’s happened in just under 10 weeks. Now we can get down to the dirty business of growing some plants. Stay tuned…
Everything is happening at once at mtp. I’ve put the carrot seeds in (in two rows, 12cms apart), the leek seeds have been sown, as have the perpetual spinach. Also one of our neighbours (a different one) gave me some young cabbage plants and the cucumber plants are happily hardening off in the cold frame (now that I am a hardening-off expert). The best news this week is that the potatoes are coming up. I’ve never grown potatoes before so I had no idea what they were suppose to look like when they came up. When I saw the first shoots I have to admit that I had to dig one up just to make sure that it wasn’t a weed. When I had verified that it was indeed attached to a potato then I quietly reburied it and the celebrations began! I’m so excited to harvest potatoes from mtp in a few months.
I can’t believe we’ve been working on mtp for eight whole weeks. The time has flown by, but of course we’ve got a lot done. The top beds are starting to take shape now and I spent the last 20 minutes yesterday flattening out the top area ready for our brand new bench when it arrives (up to now we’ve been sitting on Clive’s bench when he’s not looking but shush don’t tell him). I’m also toying with the idea of buying some artichoke plants to put in the middle bed. We love artichokes and the thought of picking our own makes the expense worth while.
Do you like my arty picture?
The beds are starting to take shape now. We had thought that we would edge each bed with wood to make the plot look classic, traditional, environmentally-friendly. But then we went to Homebase and saw the price of wood and thought hmmm….these plastic edging-type products look interesting don’t they? So the end result is that we have tidy-looking beds complete with ready-made walkways perfect for size 9 wellies but now the plot looks like my grandma’s garden. All we need now are some marigolds!
I can’t believe it’s already six weeks since we got the allotment. It has flown by. We’re busy digging the beds over and adding a little bit of lime here and a bit of manure there. We also bought a brand new fork (we bent the last one) and some edging to keep the beds in order. The potatoes are in (a week apart) and the garlic plants are doing well, as you can see. Our neighbour gave us some strawberries that are currently settling in over in the seed bed. So, it’s all good! Just hanging around waiting for the potatoes to show!
Wow what a weekend! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the allotment was swimming with new people checking out their plot for the first time this year. Invariably, they would shake their heads and tut loudly, and curse the soil that mocked them with a brand new batch of weeds. Not so at mtp because the weeds are cleared (at last!). The couch grass is gone and the battlelines have been drawn. I must admit we got a few raised eyebrows regarding our proposed layout but hey…don’t forget mtp commandment number one ‘your plot must look pretty as well as
feed your tum.’