Thursday, 30 April 2009
I reckon I'll probably get around 24 tomato plants, 2 cucumbers and 2 melon in there. Then on the bottom shelf of my staging I'll have sacks with sweet potatoes growing (if I get the slips... maybe too late already).
On Sunday I (well my lovely friend) cleared another bed ready for the three sisters - sweetcorn, climbing beans and squash. I pulled up the remnants of the purple sprouting broccoli plants to make way for potatoes and to give the broad beans room to grow.
The last of the leeks have also been harvested and mostly given away as I'm a bit fed up with eating leeks.
Tonight after watering, I sneaked in planting a few seeds: lettuce, beetroot, broccoli, and can't remember the rest!
I need to plant another load of carrots and onions as well as try adding some more parnips seeds into the rows as only 4 have germinated so far. Not sure why.
Friday, 17 April 2009
7. Alway put extra bolts in the bolt channels. For shelves, hooks, or just those bolts you forgot to insert. Tape them in place as well.
9. It takes longer than you think! If you count everybody's input around 35 hours work went into my greenhouse by my three assembly teams [making the sides, putting frame together and then glazing/finising] or 14 hours overall. It will take longer than that if you work alone for some or all of it.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
After a week 'up north' I came back to a plot that was bursting with life. All the trees had leaves and/or blossom, weeds had shot up (including the dreaded bind weed) and my leeks and garlic had doubled in size. The seedlings in the greenhouse had turned into plants and the grass needed mowing. Ornamental alluims in the perennial bed have appeared and my grapevines that I was sure had died have little buds the length of them. How can one week make such a difference? Even the street trees and hedges along my short drive to the allotment had burst into life: pink white and green everywhere. Amazing. I say it every year but it is still unbelievable!
So what did I do? The plan was to sit in the greenhouse, drink tea and pot on my seedlings (I was expecting rain). I managed that but it took an age (Italian Pimenello plum tomatoes anyone? I have 27 plants!). I admired my self-watering system that lasted the whole week (capillary matting, drip watering bag and a soak-up-able reservoir) and extended it to the full length of the staging; I drank tea and ate a penguin biscuit; cut grass and weeded a couple of beds (fresh greenstuff for the compost - hurray!); re-seeded the bit of lawn that I killed when making my deck; harvested veg; oversaw the removal of my original rhubarb (I remain to be convinced that it's gone, I've tried this before!) and removed the protective coverings from the peas, onions and carrots/parsnips. I also planted out some of the herbs I'd overwintered in the greenhouse into the new bed by the deck.
My planned one hour visit turned into four hours as so often happens and I only tore myself away because I had other things to do.
No, I haven't turned this into a recipe blog (yet!) but yesterday was a day I have waited for: my first asparagus was ready to harvest!
There were six of them (seven actually but one had been munched on by a slug or snail) waiting for me when I returned from The Hut [more about that later]. I waited until I was about to leave my plot before harvesting the precious produce. Not quite as I expected. I tried to cut them deep under the soil as I've seen on Gardeners' World, but only bumped into the crowns so had to satisfy myself with a mere centimetre or so [not deep enough for inches]. And the white blanched area was very woody and had to be discarded during preparation. I think this means I need to add even more compost to the bed. Also, unlike the nice and evenly sized produce I usually buy in Waitrose these came in a range of sizes. Short and fat, tall and thin, as well as short and thin (a bit like people I suppose???).
Anyway, it suited us fine. Mummy and Daddy (me and my partner) shared the larger ones and Elizabeth ("I'm two not nearly three") had the two small thin ones. I made risotto with them. Ok, I served them with the risotto (purple sprouting broccoli, dried porcini mushrooms, onions, veg stock, glug of white wine, arborio rice and plenty of parmesan). Delicious. Even Elizabeth agreed. Well worth the three year wait! I hope there will be many more to savour in the next 6 weeks and in the years to come.
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Weekend's sowings have started to appear - the red peppers first followed by the BIG Italian tomatoes whose name has escaped me. What next?