I called in at the allotment on my way to work this afternoon only to find that most of my plants looked either dead or very sorry for themselves. From the state of the leaves I believe that there may have been a bit of frost recently that I didn’t notice in my back garden. The result is that all the tops of the potatoe plants are withered, the beans (runner and dwarf french) and squashes have either died completely or look half dead and I wil lbe surprised if they pick up. The only things to survive were the onions, garlic, shallots, carrots, parsnips and beetroot. Fortunatly the raspberries don’t appear to have suffered either.
I also had a good look at the asparagus bed and found that six plants have survived my lack of care last year and although i can’t harvest anything this yar ( it is only the first real year of growth) if I look after them well this year I may get an harvest next year. I also plan to fill in the gaps where the plants died so that eventually I have a full bed and can feed the whole family asparagus.
things in the back garden are doing much better with baby apples and blueberries in the fruit bed and the squashes, tomatoes and other things that are in pots looking very healthy. I am however, a bit reluctant to plant anything else out in tha allotment at the moment incase the frost makes another appearance and wipes out more plants.
The last few days have seen some fantastic weather, which has helped the weeds grow very well on the allotment. However, in the back garden and shed the plants are coming on very well. Since the chillis have been under lights they have come on very well and will be moved into the greenhouse as soon as I have one.
Today on the allotment the wife weeded around the raspberries, all of which seem to have survived the planting, I dug a beg and planted some dwarf french beans (speedy ) amd some runners (scarlet emperor ) that I started off in pots in the shed. The carrots and beetroots have sproted and even some of the asparagus that I planted last year ( and didn’t look after) has survived and sprouted (we have got 6 spears of far) but we must resist the temptation to pick any as the plants need a couple of years to get established before they are harvested.
Although I thought that this year on the allotment I would experiment with raspberries, I have branched out and have bought some quinoa and amaranth seeds (from www.realseeds.co.uk). I know that I am not going to be able to produce enough grains to provide for my family, but I thought that it would be fun to try. From trawling through the web I have discovered that quinoa can grow in a cold climate and amaranth comes from a warm climate, but both should be treated like tomatoes in the beginning so I have brought my seed trays to live on the front window ledge for a while, well at least until they sprout.
So tonight I planted some quinoa, amaranth, cucumber, salad leaves, rocket, runner beans and sunflowers.
Incidentally I spent a short time on the allotment this afternoon and planted some broad beans that had been growing in the shed and did a small bit of digging before my daughter woke up and we had to go home.
My chilli seeds that I planted months ago have sprouted but not really done much since then so they are now in the shed under a couple of 2foot strip lights, as are the chilli plants that I boughton ebay (dorset naga, red habanero, birds eye & scotch bonnet) and they all seem to be appreciating the extra light. To ensure that they don’t get too cold in the shed I have built a small box around them out of some spare hard board which I have lined with silver bubble wrap insulation. I have also planted some salad leaves, but have brought then inside to give then a head start.
As I didn’t look after my banana plants very well over winter and they all died I have bought some more seeds and have just planted them in the hope that they will sprout, grow and I will manage to get them to survive the winter this year!
As spring is really taking hold I have started the task of taking on the weeds at the allotment and after several mornings digging I feel that I have made a good start. Currently I have planted some broad beans, onions, shallots, garlic, raspberries and some potatoes (mayan gold & arran pilot). I my potting shed I have planted some dwarf french beans, butternut squash, celebration winter squash and some ridge cucumbers. Last year when I planted my squash plants they were all eaten overnight by slugs, so this year I plan to launch an all out war on the slug population on my allotment (and also in the back garden). Several years ago I used some ‘Nemaslug‘ in the back garden and found that the slug population was reduced to virtually nothing so this year I will be getting a large pack and seeing if it can have the same result on the allotment.