Week 60 – Bolting and Bunking Off!

We’ve had a busy week this week but mainly away from the allotment.

My sister and nephew arrived last Sunday. We don’t see them very often as they live so far away so we bunked Louis off college on Monday and headed into London. We had a look around the Imperial War Museum, we found a beautiful shop door handle and, possibly the smallest school in the world! We had lunch in a lovely pizza restaurant which not only does wonderful pizza but also offers a Nutella pizza for dessert (my nephew is Nutella mad – possibly why he suggested this particular restaurant) We shared one and it was bloody lovely!

We only made it to the plot at the weekend. I took the drill with me on Saturday morning – the idea being to drill some drainage holes in the wheelbarrow before I put the plants in it. It didn’t exactly go to plan! I had bought metal drill bits but, for whatever reason they just would not go through the wheelbarrow. I tried 2 or 3 different sizes but in the end I had to give up. I’m now left with a completely useless wheelbarrow to, somehow dispose of. In fairness, it does get in the way a bit and I only kept it as I knew it would be an absolute pain to remove it. Maybe my 2 helpers can help me carry it to the car over the easter holidays. After the disappointment with the wheelbarrow I spent the rest of the morning just pottering.

I thought the chrysanthemum was dead – it certainly looked dead. I was wrong – it’s alive! Lots of lovely new growth. This is just another example of how much I have to learn. I had no idea chrysanthemums came back every year and, at one point I thought about digging up the ‘dead’ chrysanthemum and throwing it away – my laziness has paid off! Yay! Go me.

Talking of new growth, on Saturday morning I noticed some growth on Rhubi. I hadn’t seen anything like it on her before but I wasn’t particularly worried (ignorance is bliss?) I popped over to see Jane (from Random Cafe) on Sunday- she’s stuck inside after an operation and is researching growing fruit and veg in her garden so I took her some compost to start her seeds off with. I mentioned the new growth on Rhubi and she handed me the latest ‘Kitchen Garden’ magazine which had an article in it about rhubarbs. Turns out the new growth is actually the rhubarb ‘bolting’ (another new gardening term for me) which isn’t good and I need to remove what I now know are flower spikes. Growing rhubarb may not be quite as straightforward as I was led to believe!

Some flowers I’m happier to see are Louis’s alliums. They look absolutely enormous next to the onions and have the beginnings of flowers on them. I’m excited to see what colours they’ll be when they eventually flower.

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The neighbour’s fence is down again!. I don’t remember there being particularly strong winds since it was put back up a couple of weeks ago but I guess there must have been. This is the neighbour with the dog that barks a lot so she’ll be keen to make it safe as soon as possible. I hope so because I’m not sure I can cope with a dog running amok on my plot.

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Louis and I were back on the plot on Sunday morning. I’d asked Dan to meet me to try and figure out some sort of a plan as I was feeling a bit lost and not sure what to do next. He showed me how to level off the green manure bed which I’m hoping to plant potatoes in. Dan also pointed out how wonky the green manure bed is (I’ve always known it’s wonky but, so far I’ve ignored it) Using some string and a couple of tent pegs he squared it off for me. Now all I have to do is dig up to the string and I’ll have a much better shaped bed.

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Part of why I’ve felt overwhelmed the last couple of weeks is because the plot always feels untidy – there are still large rocks and bits of concrete piled up and pieces of wood scattered about. Turns out, as ever I just needed a bit of a kick up the backside from someone else to motivate me to make a start. Between us we convinced Louis to pick up the broom and sweep the main path, which I know sounds a bit bonkers but it really did help to make the  plot look immediately better. I moved the remaining bricks and concrete to the edge of the plot where they’re not so obvious and then weeded the spot I’d taken them from.

Louis also emptied the weed box into the garden waste bin at the top of the site.

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This, plus the sweeping clearly exhausted him because this was how he spent the remainder of our time on the plot – feet up on the table, playing his Rubik’s cube!

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So, overall, not as much actual gardening this week as I had hoped but the plot is much tidier than it was. I hated how messy it looked so I’m much happier now we’ve had a tidy up. Louis has 2 weeks off college now so, with a bit of planning (not my strong point, I know!) we might manage a few trips to the allotment and really start to get ready for the upcoming growing season.

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One thought on “Week 60 – Bolting and Bunking Off!

  1. I have NEVER grown alliums. Nor have I seen them grow anywhere else. I have seen a few bulbs in nurseries, so I know someone else is growing them. I am hesitant to try them because most bulbs do not bloom reliably annually like the do where they get more chill. Even though I doubt that alliums need much chill, I have not yet gotten around to try them. The only ones available in nurseries here are the really big ones, like ‘Gladiator’. I might mail order smaller ones instead. I have not thought that far ahead. ‘Gladiator’ might be fun.

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