Thursday, 4 July 2013

Lots of Weeding to be done...

 The seedlings and the weeds are now growing well.  These are parsnips which have now germinated, alongside the weeds.
 My dwarf tomato plants have also put on a lot of growth and the first flowers, which is good, just need the weather to be warmer and drier now.
 I've planted out the marrows, pumpkins and courgettes.  I lost one plant, and also have a few gaps as the low temperatures earlier inhibited germination.  So I have sown more direct into the soil,  with cloches over the top.
 Weeding is now the major activity.  At the back of this picture are the lettuce and summer cabbage, to the left the tomatoes.  At the front you can see the newly weeded pumpkin patch and by way of contrast the weedy bit behind is the parsnip bed.  The seedlings are too small for me to weed just yet.  Unlike last year, we are getting dry spells between the downpours so I can try to make progresss on the weed problem.  Should keep the Allotment Gestapo Police happy...
 The broad beans are flowering well now, even if very late as normally I would be eating them by this time!  Some of the runner beans have germinated but once again it seems patchy due to the temperatures so I will resow this week.
 The peas attacked by the woodpigeons have made a good recovery and I should be able to remove the net soon to stake them up.
 This is the old strawberry bed, after a dig over.  A few plants were left at the side as they had flowered and are fruiting, I'll remove them once they have finished.  The new strawberry plants have settled in well and are flowering though the crop will be small this year.  This patch of ground will take its place in the vegetable rotation once cleared, manured and rested.
 The potatoes are looking very healthy and are huge already.  I hope it will be a good crop this year and that what is underground matches what is above.  The biggest plants are Lady Balfour, which I have never grown before, so it is a bit of a gamble.
 The lettuce and cabbage are also doing well -  the combination of rain and sunshine suits leafy plants and I am cautiously optimistic we will have cabbages this year.  I hear there is cabbage root fly about - I've never had a problem with this before and wonder if it is more a problem for winter cabbage?  I suppose there is a first time for everything, so will have to wait and see.
 The plums are also doing well.  After experiences of previous years with the weight of fruit damaging the tree in the rain and the perennial problem of rot, I am going to thin out the plums to improve the quality of the fruit.  Same for the apples, which also need reducing.
 With much of the plot under better control thanks to the weather, we have turned our efforts to the overgrown bits we didn't get to last year.  Here is an example - the patch of ground on the left of the picture looked just like the patch on the right a week ago!  These are old herb beds which needed clearing.  The biggest problem was some escaped mint which will take some time to eradicate.  One trick I did discover is that the mint roots travel horizontally at a set level below ground and it is possible to get your spade under them to remove them. Next week we will tackle the second bed.
 Having been thwarted from their attempts to eat the cabbages and peas, the woodpigeons turned their efforts to the redcurrants.  The cheeky birds seem to be treating my plot like an all you can eat buffet!  I have netted the currants, not easy as they are big bushes.  In truth, the birds can get at the berries on the edge but will not be able to eat the bulk of the fruit.  They even turned up while we were on the plot, flew straight to the fruit bushes and perched there, one on the fence and one on the open shed door, eyeing up the currants!
 The spinach and chard have also benefitted from the improved weather and I have been able to pick a small first crop.  This was my first sowing, which germinated poorly due to the cold, the second sowing is doing better and this week I filled in the gaps in the lines here.  I've also done a second sowing of lettuce nearby.
And finally, this isn't my garden though I wish it was.  This is a small cottage garden (literally, it is outside a cottage I pass by on my way back from the allotment) which I admire frequently.  Some of the flowers are past their best in this pic, mid June is the best time for it but I do love this style of garden and am deeply envious!
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