March 2016 trip to the allotment

The sun shone in Cornwall for a good few hours this weekend! Ashley and I have been meaning to get to the allotment for several weeks now, however bad weather and a dislike for standing out in the cold meant that we kept putting it off! The last meaningful visit to the allotment was just before Christmas to dig up some parsnips for our Christmas dinner!

We were greeted by a flattened gate and we were already aware that the poly tunnel hadn’t survived the winter. There was little other damage which was a relief! The aim of the day was to clear weeds from the beds. Working at a leisurly pace in the sunshine was a joy – I was a little worried that I had fallen out of love with the allotment already, but it turns out it was just the weather that was the problem!

3 hours of weeding later, all but one bed was weeded, the autumn raspberries had been cut right back (leaving a few new shoots that were already growing), and we moved some wooden boards to mulch different parts of the paths between beds. We completely filled the (previously pretty much empty) compost bin! It felt very much like a job well done and it’s great to have the beds cleared ready for this years seedlings.

We already have some cabbage, kale and purple sprouting broccoli growing that were planted last autumn. The unused parsnips are still in the ground to be dug up as we want them and there are also some leeks left in the ground, although they aren’t looking too great. I thought the leeks would be fine left in the ground over winter – maybe it’s just been too wet for them or maybe I should have stored them some other way. I will have to do some research for next year.

At this time of year, it seems quite exciting to see the purple sprouting broccoli in its glorious colour!

I am ever so pleased that the autumn raspberries have spread, but I’m a little concerned that the rhubarb doesn’t appear to be showing any growth at all after dying right back before Christmas. We will see soon enough if it has survived or not, and there’s nothing I can do about it now.

Next, planning when to start seeds off and get planting at home. Thanks for reading!

September on the allotment

Leeks are looking lovely on the allotment in September

Things are still looking quite good on the allotment. As you can see, the leeks are doing well and I think that some might even be about ready to use. Unfortunately, the wind has been a bit too much for the sweet peas and they are all at quite an angle! But they are still flowering well, so I will keep picking them! Last weekend, Ashley and I made 2 new beds, we will let them sit over winter and start planting in spring. We dug up the first of the vegetable bedsparsnips to have with our Sunday roast – I was expecting them to be a bit small still but boy was I wrong! They are absolute beasts! And very difficult to dig up as they have grown down into the packed earth under the shallow bed – I think I’ll put them in the deep bed next time! I have heard that parsnips are better tasting after frost, but these were delicious! There are still plenty of runner beans to be eaten and they are going down well in all manner of meals. The summer fruiting raspberries are finally booming (although only getting 5 or so ripe ones at a time).

As my kale seedlings were completely neglected whilst we were away, I bought some ‘ready made’ to try out. I also got some cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli. A few of each of these have gone into the top middle bed and promptly covered with fleece as the cabbage whites are very active still.

Next on the ‘to-do’ list is sorting the poly tunnel for winter planting. I would love a raised bed (or two) in there to keep some more tender plants going over the winter, and the shelving needs organising to make it more productive. Ashley has also mentioned making me a cold frame at home, so he has plenty to be getting on with!