Week 63 – Oxford

I’ve been on the plot a few times this week but each visit has been fairly brief. I’m still surprised how little there is to do on the allotment at this time of year.

Each visit I’ve brought the seedling out of the shed and put them outside in the sunshine. AA confirmed this is a good thing to do with them (I’ve done something right!) and it certainly seems to have worked because they all seem to be growing really well. I’ve taken a photo of each seed tray during each visit so I can see the progress.

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The squash, pumpkins and peppers have made the most progress this week. The peppers are still on a windowsill at home as I’m too scared to leave them outside just yet (it’s still too cold for them) but all the other seedlings are in the shed on the plot. The squash have gone from  5 tiny little shoots at the beginning of the week to 8 robust seedlings by the end of the week.

 

The pumpkins have done similarly well and increased their numbers from 3 to 5 pretty tall seedlings in the last week. I am not going to have space to plant all these little plants so I think once I’ve potted them on (I think I know how to do this!) I may have to give some of them away.

 

I remember, as a kid being monumentally bored whenever my mum stopped at a plant sale and I couldn’t understand why she needed so many plants but I totally get it now! There’s something almost magical about a newly grown plant. Knowing, with a small amount of care it will continue to grow into something much bigger and possibly produce fruit, inspires an optimism that’s hard to beat. I really hope I always feel this excited about watching seeds grow.

 

I harvested a little bit more rhubarb. Only 3 stalks this time but they’ve been washed and chopped and added to the previous harvest.

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It was back to college this week and on Tuesday, back in our normal routine I took my 2 helpers to the allotment. As a treat I’d picked up a (half price, thank you M&S!) easter egg for them to share after they’d done some work.

 

Helper number 2 helped me plant the potatoes. I’m really not sure we did it right! I’d already raked over and levelled the bed as best I could but the soil still had some fairly large lumps. Helper number 2 and I dug over the bed to try and remove the lumps but we were fighting a losing battle really so we just planted the potatoes anyway. We planted ALL the seed potatoes I had – so about 15 potatoes in all. If they all grow – and I have no reason to think they won’t, we’ll have 15 potato plants and an almost endless supply of potatoes! I suspect I’ll be giving away potatoes much like I was giving away marrows last year. It is so easy to get carried away with planting because, as a newbie it’s so difficult to imagine what it will look like when all the plants grow. The great thing about potatoes is I can leave them in the ground until I need them (do you think they’ll be good until 2021?!)

 

The strawberry plants have started to flower. I know from growing them on my balcony (not very successfully) each flower will become a strawberry. I can’t wait to be able to pick my own allotment grown strawberries. I need to have a look at the best ways to stop them from being eaten by anything other than me!

 

I made a quick visit to the plot on Friday morning to check everything was OK before I left it for the weekend (I’d booked a weekend away in Oxford) The flowers are looking amazing and adding the splash of  colour I really wanted on the plot. Louis’s alliums have just started to flower – the first one was showing the first signs of fully opening. I removed all the lids from the water butts before I left as rain was forecast. Michelle messaged me while I was away to let me know there had been a storm but everything was OK on our plots.

 

I spent a lovely weekend near Oxford. I stayed in a beautiful hotel just north of the city. I used the Park and Ride to travel into Oxford on Saturday and spent the day wandering around marvelling at all the amazing buildings (and I did a little bit of shopping!)

 

In the afternoon, I found a remote (seriously, this place was in the middle of nowhere) nature reserve and spent a blissful (for me) couple of hours just walking round listening to and watching wildlife while trying (and mostly failing) to capture it with my camera.

 

I was in no rush on Sunday on my journey home and I stopped several times at places I just liked the look of. One place was Water Perry Gardens which I’d been to before with my mum on our way home from a few days in Gloucester a couple of years back. But today I was visiting for the first time as a gardener (I’m pretty sure I can class myself as a gardener even if it’s only loosely) which put a whole new perspective on it. It’s quite a big place with a museum, a church, a garden centre, a farm shop and tea rooms. I had a look around the garden centre (of course I did!) and picked up some new gardening gloves (you can never have too many, although I may be  pushing this theory to its very limit!) some plants for my window boxes at home and a grafted tomato plant. I messaged Michelle as I was sure she’d mentioned something about grafted plants previously and I just wanted to check what I was buying. Put simply, they take the best bits from 2 different tomato plants and mash them together (scientific term!) to produce a really brilliant tomato plant (or something like that!) The really brilliant tomato plant produces loads more tomatoes than the original plants, which I really liked the sound of, so I bought one to try out. I have absolutely no idea where I’m going to put this brilliant tomato plant because, as per my plan there is no room for it but I’m sure I can squeeze it in somewhere.

The house and museum at Water Perry Gardens.

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Here’s how I left the plot this week. Still looking a bit barren but I know that will all change in the next few weeks.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Week 63 – Oxford

  1. One of the advantages of a freezer is that it can accumulate rhubarb as it becomes available. I think that in harsher climates, rhubarb might develop mostly at the same time. Mine often develops slowly through the season, so I often find it necessary to collect little bits at a time.

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  2. Yes, a freezer is definitely worth having. It looks like I will be picking my rhubarb throughout the season so freezing it means I can keep it until I have enough to do something with.

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