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!

Allotment visit – 30th June/1st july

Summer arrived here in Cornwall yesterday! High temperatures and glorious sunshine all day long meant that the allotment was really going to need some TLC but watering was going to have to wait until quite late in the evening. After visiting my best friend to help resolve a ‘which dress to wear’ dilemma, it was nearly 10pm when I stopped by the allotment. The temperature was finally dropping (but still not enough to need a cardi!) and it was light enough to spend a good half hour watering everything. I gave everything a good soak (except the onions, which I’ve read you should stop watering when the bulbs are starting to swell) and was thrilled to see some ripe fruits on the raspberry canes, flowers on the peas and beans and even a fruit or two forming on the sweet and chilli peppers in the greenhouse! After feeling for so long that this year might not be very productive and that we’d missed the chance to enjoy fresh peas, it is wonderful to finally be seeing some progress.

So this morning, I couldn’t wait to get back down there in the light of day and really see what’s happening! I was indeed met with the sight of 20 or 30 flowers on the peas (variety – Onward),peas flowering 2 flowers on the runner beans (which I didn’t think would produceĀ anything given the state they were in!), raspberriesjust 2 ripe raspberries (but more looking like they’ll be ready in just a day or 2!) and courgettes (varieties – Zuchinni and a rogue seed from last year) flowering and fruiting (is it a fruit?! You know what I mean!).courgette I’ve never had any trouble with courgettes when growing them at home, they’ve always been so prolific we’ve been sick of the sight of them after a while! Maybe the more exposed conditions at the allotment have really slowed them down because we’ve barely had a flower until now. But there they were, in all their glory! There are at least 2 or 3 that, although tiny, could be picked now. I will wait a few more days as I already have some in the fridge to use up first. It’s so exciting to see things growing and fruiting!

rhubarb

The rhubarb has really picked up in the last week or so. It was a small plant when I bought it, just 2 or 3 stems on and these quickly got damaged by the wind. I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to recover, but I really shouldn’t have worried at all! It is booming! I won’t be harvesting from it this year but I think it will be good to go next year. I’ve seen an interesting rhubarb jam/butter recipe that I’d like to try. We only ever really had it stewed or as a crumble when I was growing up and, although I don’t mind eating it like that, I’d like to try something different with it.

The onions are looking good, too. As I said, I’ve stopped watering them now, a couple went to seed but I’m letting them do that and I’ll try to save the seed for next onions year – I’ve never done that before so we’ll see how it goes! I’m growing a red and a white onion, I can’t remember the specific varieties. Interestingly, none of the white onions went to seed, only the red. I don’t know if the variety has been bred to avoid this or if it’s just luck that the white onions haven’t produced seed but the red have. I’ll have to try and find the packets – I’m sure I kept them!

 

 

I started some more Dwarf French Beans (variety – Borlotto Firetongue I think!) in the greenhouse last week as the originals died outside. I really wanted to try these as I just love the colour of the beans and think they’ll be good for winter storing and using in stews and maybe some home made beans on toast! They are just starting to peek through, as are the cauliflowers and kale that I planted at the same time. The cauli and kale were free seeds with a gardening magazine. I just wanted to give them a go as I’ve never tried to grow either before! There are plenty of seeds left over for next years plants. I’m quite surprised that they are coming through already – I guess the conditions have just been right for them.

Weeding was the order of today, after I’d finished inspecting the veg and talking to myself about how much they’d grown or were ‘coming on nicely now’… passers by and the builders working opposite probably thought I was a bit nuts! Once my fingers were tingling from stinging nettles and I cleared as many weeds as I could bear, I started boxing up the mammoth harvest of summer raspberries (ha ha! maybe one day…) and picked some elderflowers for my next batch of elderflower cordial (the first lot is long gone and the second batch is well under way!).

Home for a much needed cup of tea and to write this up… my fingers are still tingling!