Sunday 5 April 2020

Lockdown Day 13 - Allotment

The weather was a lot warmer today and it really felt like Spring in the sunshine. So, it was back to the allotment to catch up on a few jobs.

First task was to plant out some early peas that have been growing first indoors and then in the lean-to greenhouse in the garden.

We have some very inquisitive house sparrows around the allotment who are very keen to take beak-sized chunks out of the leaves of pea plants so mesh netting is necessary to protect them until they are tall enough to withstand a few nibbles!

Though, with a sparrowhawk flying around this morning, I think they spent some time hiding in the hedge....

As the peas grow, we'll add taller sticks (leftover hedge and hawthorn clippings) to support the peas as they grow.

Our Meyer Lemon tree used to live in the house during the winter but was very prone to scale insect and even when in the yard in the summer, it had aphids and ants that would "farm" them.

So, last summer we took it up to the allotment and within weeks it was clear and looking very healthy. Always good to have natural pest control!

Of course, it needed protecting in the winter and it was wrapped in plastic to create a mini-greenhouse. Luckily the winter was mild but I do wonder how it would have fared in a colder one.

Now the weather is warmer, we have taken the cover off a bit but it will go on again if there's a late frost forecast, we have had frosts in early May here before now which have damaged potato leaves and damson blossom.

Last year we had a huge number of damsons, the most we have ever had from this tree. This is, although it has grand ambitions, a minarette damson and most years we will get damsons from it, apart from occasionally when there has been a late, damaging, frost.

There is some kind of moth that lays eggs on the fruit, a kind of sticky egg sack with pupae that burrow into the fruit causing it to shrivel and then drop off. This is easily rubbed off the fruit and it is a daily task in summer to keep them free of these.

There is also blossom on the Conference pear tree. Again this is a minarette tree and there is a Comice pear next to it. The Conference pears are much longer storing whereas the Comice ones are better eaten quickly or peeled and stored in sugar solution.

Jobs also done in the allotment today were chopping up hedge clippings into small pieces to form the base composting of the carrot tyre stacks and also digging over the area where the parsnips were now that they have all been harvested.

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