Michelle and I finally managed a full day on the plot in the sunshine. We were there from around 9am until around 4pm – Louis even joined us! We stopped for lunch (I nipped out to the local chippy) but, apart from that we spent the day working hard.
I spent the day moving the compost bins. I think, the last time I wrote I was thinking about moving them and had cleared a space for them. Well, it turned out to be a much bigger job than I’d anticipated and it took me almost the whole day to finish the move. I thought it would be a simple case of just (don’t you love the word’ just’ – one of the most misused words in the English language!) lifting the bins off and shovelling the compost across to the new spot. It wasn’t!
The first bin – the one that’s been in situ the longest, was very full, much more full than I realised, and the bin just would not move. So I had to take some of the contents out before I could even think about moving it. There was compost in there! I know I shouldn’t be surprised – it is a compost bin afterall, but I really am! And there wasn’t just a bit of compost, there was loads – enough to mulch the whole plot when it needs it. I was also surprised at the amount of worms in there (I know – it’s literally how compost works but this is all new to me so allow me my surprise!) So, I emptied the first bin enough to lift it off and move it to its new spot.
I was left with the remaining contents of the bin to move. As you can see from the photo there was still quite a lot of uncomposted paper etc in there but the process of moving the contents meant they all had a good mix up which will help it all decompose. The second bin, having not been there as long was a much simpler job. Both bins are now in place in their new homes and I’ll be concentrating on filling the 2nd bin from now on. Hopefully, by the end of this season I’ll have enough compost to cover the whole plot with a thin layer of compost as a mulch.
Once I’d moved the bins I realised, despite having cleared a space for them, the area immediately around them was pretty overgrown so, of course I set about clearing that aswell! I think it looks much better and I’m really happy with where the compost bins are now.
Since then we haven’t managed another full day on the allotment just the normal couple of hours at a time and I haven’t done anything as large scale as move compost bins unless, of course you count making rhubarb gin! I hadn’t harvested the rhubarb for ages so I felt it was time to take a few stalks. I toyed with the idea of a crumble until I remembered I still had the bottle of gin I’d bought last year to make the first batch of rhubarb gin so, of course gin wins over crumble! If I remember correctly, last year’s offering was very strong as I’d left it fermenting for ages so this time I made a note of when I put the gin in and I’ll leave it the suggested 4 weeks this time.
I spent the morning on the plot today and came away feeling a bit disheartened. I completely lost all 5 pepper plants – eaten down to the stalks, one of the kale is almost gone, the broccoli has been eaten as have all the cauliflowers and I have no idea what’s happened to the chard – only about 3 plants left. Proper miffed!
I knew the peppers were likely not going to last so I’d already bought some replacements from a local selling site. I’ve planted 2 on the plot and have kept one at home to see if I have better luck inside away from everything that can eat it. I’ve also ordered another cloche to cover the peppers on the plot. The idea of this was more about giving them a bit of heat but it will, hopefully also protect them from slugs (or marauding beasts as I’m now calling them)
Oh, and the spinach bolted so that’s gone aswell!
All in all it feels like I’m not having very much luck at the moment. There are some bright spots though, the cucumber plants are doing well – no flowers yet but lots of growth and the pumpkin plants have flowers and are spreading out nicely.
I’m doing so much better with flowers. The sunflowers are looking great and most of them have multiple flower heads. The sweetpeas seem to have found their feet and one of them is noticeably taller having finally found the trellis!
We also have surprise gladioli (the best kind!) I told you I was doing well with flowers. These were the original flowers Michelle gave me way back at the start of all this and they’ve suddenly appeared again in front of the water butts. Not the best place for them to be fair but it’s where I originally planted them so I only have myself to blame. They look amazing and they’re so tall I’ve had to stake them today.
It looks like I’m going to have a bumper crop of blackberries – so, the one thing on the allotment I haven’t touched is doing really well. I think that says it all really! I didn’t cut the brambles back much this year so there are absolutely loads of blackberries and some of them are nearly ready to pick.
Finally, mum’s greenhouse. We popped over there today to have lunch with her in the garden and while I was there I had a wander down to the greenhouse. It’s just amazing. It’s all growing really well. One of the aubergines has a flower and the cucumber plants are getting enormous with, what look like potential flowers on a few of the plants. The pepper plant has an actual pepper! There’s hope for home grown peppers this year afterall.
So, here’s how I left the plot this week. Feeling a bit fed up that so many plants have been chomped but still hopeful I’ll end up with something (anything!) At least I have my compost.