The plot is bursting into life, and with a day free from illness, injury, bad weather or other commitments, we have both managed a full days work on the allotment. And about time too, at this time of year, you have to run to keep up with mother nature. It feels like Spring takes forever to arrive, and then suddenly it’s all go. The weeds have kickstarted into action along with everything else.
This is the Victoria plum tree showing signs of life. I’ve not had any fruit from this tree yet, so I really want some blossom this year, please, pretty please.
The rhubarb is growing well. Already had a few short stems from this. See my ‘rhubarb crumble cake‘ post if you want a good cake recipe.
This is a row of Sweet Williams. I use the allotment to grow flowers for cutting as well as vegetables. These flowers are very easy to grow from seed and look great in vases in the house. They keep fairly well in water once cut, and the plants are winter hardy, so should keep going for a couple of years at least before they give up. Click here to see how they looked in flower last year. There’s lots of new green growth on these, so I should (fingers crossed) get more flowers than last year.
I’ll also be growing a full row of sweet peas this year. And I have some tulips which I cut for the house too. In previous years I’ve also grown Chrysanthemums, but I’ve pulled them out as they’d gone too woody and didn’t produce much last year. I’ll get some going again I think, but not this year. I also grow lots of flowers for wildlife, including, tagetes, calendulas, sunflowers and nasturtiums. More on that over the coming months.
This is my herb bed at the very top of the plot. I should have taken a ‘before’ shot, as it was completely over grown with weeds, and dead stems from last years growth. It’s been weeded and covered with a layer of homemade compost. I found some chives attempting to grow under the rosemary and sage which have taken over the top corner. The parsley I had in there last year has self seeded prolifically, which is good (saves me a job) and at this end I have space to fill with basil and spinach.
This is the top half, from the shed up to the main site path. Just a few left over leeks up there to use up, but otherwise a blank canvas to be filled. John has done a grand job digging this over. The first bed you can see has two compost trenches running underneath. I got so carried away I forgot to take photos of the process. But basically I dug two trenches along the plot width (about 4 and a half meters) and about a foot or so wide, lined the bottoms with cardboard (which helps to hold the moisture) and filled them with the chopped-up left overs from the brassica bed, along with some leek trimmings and some manure from a friendly neighbour. You can add any compostable material you like, but best to use stuff that will rot down quickly. Grass clippings are a good option. I then poured a full can of water into each to ensure the cardboard is drenched and will help it to rot down, and hold some moisture, and back filled both trenches. This is where I will grow my runner and french beans and sweet peas. They’re very greedy and thirsty plants, so the trenches will help them along.
Just got the bottom end to sort out now, when my back recovers, and some potatoes to plant. We normally plant the spuds over easter weekend, but it’s late this year, and have decided to stagger the planting a bit over the next few weeks.