An emotional week for us. Louis has finished his first year of college and has left school (he was doing a transition year to help him settle into college, so 3 days at college and 2 days at school) We have formed strong ties with Louis’ secondary school and they’ve played a huge part in our lives over the last 6 years so it’s sad this part of our lives is over. On the plus side, Louis has about 9 weeks until he has to go back to college (think of how much gardening he can do in 9 weeks!)
So, this week has been pretty busy with award ceremonies (Louis won Master Chef Champion #hecancookhisowndinnernow!) and proms etc. but we’ve still managed a few days on the plot.
I spent a couple of hours down there on Tuesday afternoon – on my own, no one else there, mainly digging and weeding the 4th bed. Still digging up lots of paving slabs and bindweed. While digging I came across an ant’s nest. One of the little buggers bit me on my ankle so I had to stop digging. I put down some ant killer which I hoped would sort out the problem (spoiler alert – it didn’t!)
The poor kale has been completely demolished! A couple of people, after last week’s blog post, recommended I check for caterpillars. I checked – there were none but I suspect this has more to do with there being no leaves left to eat rather than any miraculous form of pest control on my part.
We have carrots! There are 2 definite rows of lovely green shoots. At first I was worried they were just weeds but all the shoots are in beautifully straight lines following the lines I planted so I’m pretty sure they’re carrots. I’m so excited to have grown something from seed.
On Thursday I popped down to the plot at about 4pm to water and weed. Dan was there and he let me borrow a couple of different style hoes to try out. I really liked the one shaped like a golf club. I forgot to take a photo but having googled it I’ve found it’s a Long Handled 3 Edge Hoe. This has now been added to my allotment shopping list (I now have a whole separate savings account just for my allotment!)
I had a bit of a revelation while I watched Dan hoe. I have always found the long handled hoes hard work because I’m too far away from the soil to see the weeds so I ended up just bending down and using my trowel to dig out each individual weed (stop laughing!) Watching Dan, I realised he just hoes everywhere regardless of whether there are weeds there or not. While I realise I may be the last person on the planet that this has occurred to, this was a real lightbulb moment for me and is going to make weeding so much easier!
On Saturday Louis and I were on the allotment, raring to go at 7.15am! We were the only ones there for about an hour before Michelle arrived. It was so lovely and peaceful at that time of the morning we should do it more often (but we probably won’t!)
The destroyed kale has new growth! I showed Michelle and we agreed the best course of action would be to just cut off all the eaten leaves to give the new growth a chance to come through. When I popped in on Sunday morning it seemed to have worked – the kale is growing. While I’m pleased it’s growing back the problem is I don’t know what ate it in the first place so I don’t know how to stop it getting eaten again. A couple of people have suggested squirrels (not to stop it getting eaten – I don’t think that would work at all! They’d take too long to train for a start! No – they’ve suggested it’s squirrels eating the kale) If it is squirrels eating it I genuinely don’t know what I can do to stop them.
I carried on digging the 4th bed but, despite all the ant powder I put down on Tuesday there was another ant’s nest so I had to stop again.
Louis helped Michelle pick some redcurrants and some blueberries – I think he tried a few!
I have, inadvertently created a bit of a courgette experiment. I’ve planted 2 either side of the shed so 2 of the plants get full sun and the other 2 get almost no sun at all. One of the plants on the sunny side is enormous. Seriously, it’s growing so big I’m worried we’re going to run out of space. The butternut squash next to this enormous plant is getting a bit overshadowed – literally! The courgettes on the shady side aren’t as big but all 4 plants have flowered.
Rhubi’s doing well – lots of really big leaves. Like the courgette she’s growing really big and I’m worried I’m going to run out of space.
Everything on the loaned plot is growing brilliantly. Dan is doing most of the work although I did pinch off some side shoots on one of the tomato plants this week so I’m doing my fair share too (!) It turns out one of my favourite plants is sweetcorn. I love how it grows so quickly and so straight. I read somewhere this week that the plants should be “knee high by 4th July” to get corn from them but surely it very much depends whose knee?!
Louis’ peppers look great. They are growing so much better than I ever expected. I am really going to have to read up on what I need to do with them now as they have grown tall enough to hit the lid that’s covering them. It’s going to be really hot this week and next so I may chance my arm (or theirs?!) and leave the cover off. I suspect, long term it may mean a move to my mum’s greenhouse.
Louis’ onions are just quietly going about their business. They need very little maintenance – just minimal weeding and a bit of water now and then. They still look a bit ropey to me but I’m told this is normal and not to worry.
The potatoes have grown so much they’re actually becoming difficult to water. I have to push the watering can through all the leaves to make sure the water reaches the soil. No flowers yet though and I know I have to wait for them to flower and then for the flowers to die back before I can harvest them so we have a little way to go yet. (Did I sound like I knew what I was talking about then? Almost?!)
We’re in for some really hot weather over the next couple of weeks so, hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy it on the allotment.