I told the man I was going to the plot for a quick wander round, a bit of watering and a hobnob with the neighbours whilst he got his haircut. Five hours later I stumbled through the door smelling of smoke and covered in mud. I blame the longer days for losing track of time!
I took a tray of seedlings down to the plot today. The plan is to have successional Brassicas and so far it appears to be working. Also in the tray were some zinnias, tomatoes and aubergines. Pre this morning’s allotment trip I came across a discarded plant pot whilst walking along the Thames. Every so often plant pots get washed up and they always seem to be in good condition so I picked up it, filled it with seaweed and lugged it home. This got taken along today as well as 3 grow bags to warm up in the greenhouse. I chucked the seaweed into a half empty compost bin to rot down a bit. I plan on making another trip soon to collect more seaweed for mulching the courgettes and squashes. This worked well last year and as it’s drier this year I’m hoping it will keep the plants as bit happier as they bake.
I noticed that the warm weather appears to have spurred on the bindweed which I decided needed tackling first. 2 hours later and 4 buckets of weeds, I declared the beds weed free. The normal practice in winter is to either drown the weeds or take them to the dump. Given the lack of water in my butts and the dry days we have had it made sense to burn them instead. By the time I left the plot all my wood and the weeds were gone and I had about a third of an incinerator full of ash.
I have been pondering what to do with my patio area which was originally designed as a picnic area but is rarely used by us, who habitually sit on the floor or camping chairs wherever we have been working. It was time for drastic action so I halved the paved area to make more room for flowers but made sure there was still enough room for the incinerator. As everywhere is now woodchipped it would be rather disastrous to burn straight onto the floor.
Into the new space I put in a mixture of sweet peas, blue cornflower and cosmos double click cranberries. There is already lavender and verbena in the space which will give a pretty combination of blue, purple and pink this summer.
The next job was to plant out my peas and runners. I interspersed these with sweet peas to help the pollinators.
As the forecast is for warmer nights from now on I put all my marigolds and cosmos outside to fully harden off. I gifted some marigolds to my scaffolder friend who had given me 2 gojii berry plants earlier last month.
Then it was time to have a natter and a cuppa. The plot next door to me has been empty for 4 years and last year I enquired about taking it on. I was advised that it had been re-let and there was a policy of not allowing existing plot holders to have 2nd plots until all plots had been taken. I was also informed that there were no free plots as they had all been let that year. That clearly is not the case as there are (on my count) 6 or 7 vacant plots including the one next to me. Talking to some of my neighbours I found out that they had been allowed 2 plots by putting down each spouse as a single tenant. They also told me that there are 2 more plot holders who are giving up this month. The most interesting thing however was that the lady who runs the allotments now lives opposite them and they had very recently told her I wanted the plot, therefore putting it back on the agenda for me. Tonight I plan on sending another email to her. If that doesnt work the man has agreed to put his name down for me as long as he doesn’t and I quote ‘have to do any maintenance or actual work’. Eeek; Exciting!!
I gave everything on the plot a thorough watering and had a good examination of each bed. There were some developments afoot; the peas are now flowering and I have 4 new strawberries beginning to redden up. Compared to last year when I had only just direct sowed my drills I am really ahead on the pea front. That makes me feel super smug especially when I think about beating last year’s harvest which only just filled up a freezer bag.
I also observed that my gooseberries have started to fruit and both blueberry plant now have loads of berries on. I will need to net soon to ensure the fruit goes into our bellies and not the birds’.
Finally I had a quick sort of the greenhouse. My greenhouse now resembles an odd supermarket shelf where the plants are grouped into families. Very satisfying to look at!