So, the weather seems to have returned to normality for April ie. it’s rained quite a lot this week. This has meant fewer visits to the plot but despite this there have still been some changes.
Monday was still dry and quite warm and I spent a couple of hours on the plot in the afternoon.
After last week’s weeding I felt the strip of land I’ve been working on was ready to have something else planted in it. So, after marking out 3 lines with tent pegs and some twine (does it sound like I know what I’m doing?!) I planted 3 lines of parsnip seeds. Having since spoken to my AA it turns out I planted them in a way he’d “never heard of” (his words) I’d used a dibber (I’d just bought a new one) to make holes for the seeds – this was wrong, I should have made drills to drop the seeds into (yes – I now know what a drill is!) and the soil hadn’t been raked enough. Based on this I’m not expecting any parsnips any time soon but we’ll see.
I checked the potatoes – I’ve planted something correctly and they’re growing! I know I shouldn’t really be surprised by this because that’s what they’re supposed to do, right? But, based on my total lack of knowledge I am completely surprised when I’m able to grow anything.
The onions that Louis planted last week are also doing quite well. I’m pretty sure we lost a few to pigeons (we should have covered them so the pigeons couldn’t get them) but we definitely have some green shoots emerging.
The ongoing saga of the rhubarb continues and we seem to be in a bit of a cycle where a stalk grows, then either gets attacked by slugs or just falls over and dies and then another stalk appears. It’s happened again! The current stalk has grown and is now tall enough that it’s just lying on its side feeling sorry for itself and, meanwhile another stalk is emerging from its base. AA has advised, due to not being able to harvest any of the stalks the first year anyway, to just break the long stalk off and let the new one grow and, sooner or later it will sort itself out and grow properly. The major irony of all this is there’s a rogue rhubarb growing against the fence along the path. There it is, just growing beautifully all on its own and my one, with all the slug repellants and love, is refusing to co-operate!
I started to feel a bit overwhelmed on Monday. The weeds just seem to be growing like…well, weeds. They’re everywhere and getting quite tall. So, after an email from the local allotment association telling me they will be inspecting all the plots and I’d need to be able to show I’m growing something (that’s not exactly how they put it but it’s sort of how I read it) I had a bit of a panic. After further emails between myself and the allotment association I have been informed the main problem is the weeds. Weeds on any of the plots, if left to their own devices willl go to seed and spread all over the place, which will annoy the other plot holders – which I don’t want to do – obviously.
After checking with my AA and doing some reading I came up with a plan. My plan is cut the weeds back where I can and cover the whole plot with weed suppressant fabric. I know, I know! Those of you who have been following this little adventure from the start will remember this is what I was advised to do back in week 1 and I’m only just getting round to doing it now. It may take me a while but I get there in the end.
So, today (Sunday) I asked some friends to join me on the plot to help me – this was definitely something I couldn’t do by myself. I picked up 4 rolls of weed suppressant fabric from The Range yesterday and today we spent about 45 minutes laying it across the whole plot.
I now have a plot that looks more like a building site than an allotment but I won’t annoy my neighbours, I, hopefully won’t get told off when the site is inspected and, of course I’ll eventually have a beautiful weed free plot.
As I couldn’t get as much work done this week as I would have liked, due to the weather, I’ve been watching some YouTube videos showing how to plant seeds properly and how to compost. Yeah, yeah, I know I should have watched the videos BEFORE I started planting anything but I genuinely thought ‘just chuck some seeds in the ground and they’ll grow’ (this is very similar to the way I play pool in which my philosophy is ‘hit enough balls and one of them is bound to go in’) Seriously – who knew this gardening lark was THIS complicated?!