Tag Archives: allotments

Down at the allotments – what’s growing on!

allotmentA few weeks back the pumpkins and courgettes were still tiny..

I’m really enjoying myself at the allotment lately. I’m finding it a wonderful place to put my feet up and relax and I also love potting on in the greenhouse and watching the crops grow.

courgetteThe pumpkin patch growing a little more

Last year was also very enjoyable but because we had so much wet weather followed by lots of dry weather the harvest was quite mixed. I had amazing tomatoes, chilies and peppers but a severe lack of pumpkin, squash, courgette, beetroot, peas and potatoes. I suspect those crops didn’t enjoy the grey sky and rain.

allotment-courgettesNow the pumpkin patch is taking over!

This year I’m hoping for an all-round better performance from my edible plants and so far things are looking good (apart from the mess caused by ‘shed’ making!)

We are currently on holiday in Provence and I hear that there is a heatwave at home. Adam set up an ingenious timer controlled watering system and ‘allotment Bill’ has offered to help out too, but if this is what my crops were like before we left then I imagine (and hope) we will go back to a full-on harvest festival!

Here’s what was happening before we left…

tomatoes-growing

pears-growing

gooseberries

curly-kale

broad-beans-and-strawberries

lettuce

peas

The pea plants are so short and sparse this year but they cropped a long time before anyone elses at the allotments. I think this is because I sowed them earlier in guttering in the greenhouse.

broad beans

My broad beans have been cropping for many weeks now too, maybe because I sowed them back in November. The ones I sowed direct in March had caught up in size before we left but not with the beans.

peppers-growing

potatoes

redcurrant

I’m looking forward to these little cucumbers growing a bit more!

cucumber

I can’t say that I’m 100% looking forward to going home because our holiday in Provence is wonderful but I am looking forward to doing some gardening and seeing how much our plants have grown.

How are your crops getting on? Are you finding them better this year compared to last?

 

Quick DIY for the garden – the net box

bulbs_under_cover
If you’re a bit of a handy man, handy girl or you’re living with one then I highly recommend having a go at making something Adam made for me a couple of years ago. The net box! It’s got so many uses all year round. I’ve got a couple of these in different sizes for different plants.

allotment_net_box

I often throw netting over my crops and stake it in place with canes but I find having ready made boxes really useful, for example, covering pots of bulbs that aren’t through yet to protect them from pesky squirrels. They’re also brilliant  for warming up sections of soil ready for planting and for protecting any newly planted crops. Later in the year I’ll use them to protect crops from birds and to provide toasty micro climates. I also find it puts cats off from using freshly raked beds and beds with small seedlings, as litter trays.

Garden centres do sell a range of netting, fleece and plastic cloches which are also useful around the garden and now is good time of year to get these things in place, warming up the soil for spring. I have a couple of those too but don’t find them quite as handy as these boxes. A colleague was telling me about his neighbour who’s made a massive version that covers a much bigger area (around the size of two of my biggest raised beds) and it’s head height so he can get inside! Now that’s some serious veggie protection!

squirel_in_the_garden

Adam made the boxes by screwing together 12 lengths of 2×1 batons and he stapled on the netting with a staple gun. Other allotment folk make some brilliant curved ones by using plumbing piping. One important tip, don’t double the netting up and create any gaps, bees can easily get trapped in between so it’s best to just use one layer. Adam used scaffolding netting which is available in 2m wide lengths, most garden centres sell something similar.

Do you have any net-boxes or cloches? What kind of things do you make for your garden?

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