Another week of glorious weather and another enjoyable week on the plot.
I’ve been on the allotment a lot this week – it’s rapidly becoming my favourite place to just be. Despite being incredibly close to a main road and surrounded by houses it really is so peaceful down there.
I’ve spent most visits this week just digging, weeding and watering (hoping I can make that interesting but maybe brace yourself for a slightly tedious blog post! I’ll put extra photos in if that will help?)
On Monday I found out what had been eating my potato plants. Of course it was slugs (obviously!) I’d put some slug pellets in the potato tub on Sunday and I found lots of dead slugs in the tub on Monday. Infact I found LOADS of dead slugs, great for me and my potatoes but not so great for the slugs.
On Tuesday I had a quick trip to The Range to pick up some compost. It was on offer so, of course I had to buy 3 bags. I didn’t make it to the plot until about 4pm after Louis was home from college (I spent the afternoon having my nails done – thanks Mandy) Louis and I stayed for a couple of hours although Louis spent most of that time ensconced in the shed.
While we were there Dan showed me a quick way to plant plugs. He dug a shallow trench, separated the roots a bit and sort of laid the plants along the trench. He then went along the trench and covered the plants all at once. This is so much quicker than the way I was doing it – painstakingly separating the roots of each plant and digging a hole for each individual plug. This is exactly why it’s so great that I’m sharing Dan’s plot this year – I am learning from him all the time.
I earthed up the potatoes with one of the bags of compost. The potatoes are growing brilliantly. The plants have grown well over the top of the tub and there’s not a lot of room for much more compost.
On our way out we stopped to chat to Jane. She, very kindly helped me carry the other 2 bags of compost from my car. She was happy for me to store them behind her shed until the next time I’m down there. Another example of how generous and helpful allotment plot holders are.
We didn’t make it down there on Wednesday but I popped down on my own on Thursday (Louis was round his friend’s house watching Marvel films which, of course are way more interesting to him than the allotment). I moved the 2 bags of compost from behind Jane’s shed down to my shed. I keep being told, having an allotment is as good as but cheaper than a gym membership and carrying those compost bags pretty much convinced me of this – they’re heavy!
I watered everything and weeded which seems to be getting easier – I’m just digging up the odd piece of bindweed. I suspect I’m lulling myself into a false sense of security thinking I’ve beaten the bindweed but the thought that I may have is making me feel good (honestly, I’m fully aware that I can’t beat the bindweed but just let me have this moment!) I also watered Dan’s plot. The onions needed weeding but I really didn’t have time so I had to leave them.
On Friday, Louis and I popped in after running club. I actually ran at running club this week! Normally I walk round the track while the kids run but this week one of the kids didn’t have a running buddy so I ran with him . For those who know me you’ll totally understand why I’m super proud of this! Of course I’m using the word ‘run’ in its very loosest sense ie. we walked most of the laps and did a gentle jog for the rest of the time.
Dan was on the allotment and I mentioned the onion bed weeds to him. He said he would leave them until they’re a little bigger when they’re easier to remove. Pleased I left them now. I watered and weeded my plot but it really didn’t need much.
On Saturdays I help out at a local community cafe. A friend, who supports the cafe arrived this week with a chrysanthemum for me. We’ve spoken about my allotment a few times as she’s a keen gardener but I wasn’t expecting her to bring me a plant – such a lovely surprise. She’s also offered to come and help me dig which is really kind of her. I haven’t planted the chrysanthemum yet – I need to decide the best place for it.
Today, Louis and I headed down at about 11am. Dan was there (I later found out we just missed Michelle by about half an hour which was a shame) and we had a quick chat about how well everything is growing. Louis checked his peppers and onions as soon as we arrived, as he always does – they’re all doing well.
I made a start on the current bed. Dan came over with a long handled fork for me to try. I used it to dig the rest of the current bed. It was pretty easy to use and I finished digging the bed with it. So, I now have 6 beds which either have plants growing in them or are ready to have plants put in them. I am so tempted to start naming the beds to avoid any confusion when I write but the only decent name I can come up with is for the shaded bed next to the shed that has the shower doors next to it which, obviously has to be called the En-Suite. Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with any fun names for any of the other beds but I’ll keep thinking.
Today, in the latest bed I planted the parsnip plugs that Michelle gave me. I also took a bit of a punt and planted some carrot seeds that Jane gave me a few weeks ago. I realise I’m quite late with these but I’m happy to give it a go and see what happens.
Dan pointed out I hadn’t mentioned in last week’s blog my first harvest. I didn’t reallly feel like I could class it as mine as I just picked some strawberries from Dan’s plot. He assures me, though that a large part of gardening is the harvesting so I should definitely include it. They were really tasty and definitely better than any shop bought strawberries. I picked a few more today and they were just as good. I forgot to take a pot to collect them in so I had to use a plant pot (I think the next item on my gardening shopping list will be a trug)
I also have strawberries growing on my balcony at home and I was really pleased to see the first one turning red this evening.
My friend, C and I are having a bit of a kale competition. We both bought a kale plant at the market garden event last weekend and she has challenged me to see whose plant grows best. She’d had a couple (!) of ciders when she suggested this but I’m totally accepting the challenge so here is a photo of my kale plant – over to you, C!
I have, today conceded my A.A. was completely correct about the wooden border edging. He told me, even before I put it in I didn’t need it, it would just encourage slugs and it wouldn’t help anything grow (apart from, maybe weeds!) but I really wanted it so I ignored him and went ahead with it anyway. Today, I finally admitted I was wrong about it and I’ve taken it up. Lesson learnt (make the most of it A.A!)
I nearly forgot to tell you about Rhubi! She’s doing amazingly well all things considered. I counted 7 leaves today – the 4 large ones and 3 new shoots. I even saw a ladybird on one of the leaves (thanks Michelle for sending them my way as requested!)
As ever, I’ll finish with a photo of what the plot looks like today. I’m pretty pleased with this week’s progress and really looking forward to, hopefully completing another bed next week (I’ll get my thinking cap on for names – we already have an en-suite and the extension so maybe master bed, spare bed? This could get very silly, very quickly!)