Emptying the cold frame

strawbs+beans

The big ’emptying out of the cold frame’ has begun. This means all of the tender crops that wouldn’t survive a bout of frost can now be moved out to the plot to take their allotted space. It’s a bit earlier than usual this year, but the weather has been so glorious, I’m prepared to risk that we won’t get a frost from here on.

There are also plants that are hardy, but just need to grow on a bit more in order to be big and strong enough to handle all that the great outdoors life on the allotment can throw at them. Such as strong winds; hungry pigeons; weevils, slugs and whitefly; water drought and/or water deluge; blight and rust spores; clumsy hoers and careless steppers; small dogs chasing cats off the plot; and even muntjac deer who have been known to hop across the site. To be fair, I’m often surprised anything survives at all.

The strawberries have been mulched with newspaper and straw, some new additions from the market have been planted, and they’ve been covered with a tunnel of chicken wire.

The bean poles are up and the beans planted (sweet peas on the far right). I decided to do 3 wigwams rather than the normal A frame, just for a change. Some lettuces have been planted in between the wigwams, and I’ve used wheat bran around them to ward off the slugs. It sort of does the same job as a beer trap, except they die from a food related indulgence instead of a boozy one. Nasty I know, but it’s a tasty snack for the birds/frogs and they won’t get pissed in the process.

spuds+beans+broc

I’ve also planted out some broccoli plants which are currently under plastic bottle cloches, just to keep the pigeons off for now, but I’ll construct a proper tunnel at some point. You can also see I have some dwarf beans coming up and the potatoes are just starting to get going.

middle section

The middle section looks much more lush at present. My row of sweet williams are just on the verge of bursting into a riot of red and pink. On the downside, I lifted one garlic to see how it’s doing and just got one single bulb. I have a feeling last winter wasn’t quite cold enough for the bulbs to split into individual cloves, or I’ve just gone wrong somewhere, but it’s never happened before. I’ll leave it for a few more weeks yet, but it’ll get eaten anyway.

I also planted 1 courgette (I downscaled from 3 plants to 2 last year, and still had too many), and 1 very random purchase of a ‘squash’ plant from the garden centre. I’ve no idea what it is, what variety, the label had a picture of a whole variety of squashes on it, so I decided it would be quite exciting to see what I get. I’ll be very disappointed if it’s another courgette.

Just the tomatoes and leeks left to plant now, and a few late sugar snap peas. Phew.

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