Wednesday 27 May 2015

Weeding peas

Weeding peas is a fiddly job! Peas need plenty of water but of course that encourages the weeds as well. In the gap between rows, hoeing is possible if you are careful but otherwise it is a hands and knees job!
Be very careful, peas at this stage, just flowering and producing the first peas, can be uprooted very easily and peas will often try and use the nearest object, e.g. a weed,  for support instead of all those pea sticks collected over previous months.
I have found that, despite getting dirt up fingernails and on hands, it is better to dispense with gardening gloves in order to pick out the weeds from in amongst the peas.

This year has been cold for them, the earliest pods did survive the frost but went a bit of a funny colour, but now there's plenty of pea flowers and pods forming. CDs on strings have also been used as a defence against sparrows looking for a nice bit of greenery to munch!

Monday 18 May 2015

What's going on at the allotment - part 2

Despite the slow start, there is quite a lot of activity in the allotment and most of it is under cultivation. Eats at the moment are the very last of the leeks - they are getting a bit tough and the ends are swelling up into bulbs, a small bit of asparagus - picked very sparingly this year so as not to weaken the plant in the 3rd year of growth, some rhubarb and some broccoli.

 These are the overwintered onions and garlic.

Overwintered onions - sometimes called Japanese onions - are planted in September as sets and are hardy enough to stand even the coldest winters we get here.

There are 4 garlic plants among these. I planted a whole bulb's worth of them so I don't know what's happened to the others.......

These will be ready towards the end of June.

One of the garlics will be saved until next year, however you can just go to the supermarket, buy a garlic bulb, break it up, peel the papery skin off and plant! That's what we did when we first got the allotment!

Here are the strawberries, flowering with one or two very small strawberries forming.

In autumn last year, I dug out all the strawberry plants and runners, and gave the bed a really good weed, getting rid of as much of the invasive couch grass as possible. Then, putting in plenty of manure and compost, the best plants and runners (including some from the window box at home) went back in and certainly looking at them now it was worth the effort!

Blackcurrants - these seem to grow more and more currants every year, which is good providing you have an infinite freezer and an lifetime's supply of Kilner Jars!

They are turned into jam (along with the raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, some of the apples and the occasional blueberry!),

 and preserved in vodka!

What's going on at the allotment - part 1

It is now mid May and the weather doesn't seem to have warmed up any!
On my Twitter account
there are followers from various parts of the UK, and it is really quite interesting to see the difference in the growing conditions between such as Dorset and Kent - very much ahead in terms of what is ready, here in North Yorkshire and indeed in the northern parts of Scotland, where frost (and indeed snow a couple of weeks ago) are still a problem!

 Here is a general view of the allotment, with the poor peas that seem to have had everything against them this year, being pecked by sparrows until CDs on strings and mesh were deployed, frost and cold conditions, nearest the camera, with the potato patch next, and in the background the fruit area which has flourishing rhubarb. Beyond the fruit are areas for brassicas and for onions, carrots etc.

Here is a closer view of the potatoes....

 As you can see, I have already made ridges to save a bit of earthing up, the ridges have also meant that only a little covering up with earth was necessary to protect the earliest shoots from frost.

All the potatoes are in now, it has been a bit of struggle finding space due to the overwintering and indeed overrunning broccoli!

 Can't complain though, even at this time in May there's still some really nice purple brocolli to eat. That is, if you like brocolli - my family do but I don't! Really don't.....but I am happy to grow it for others to enjoy!