Thursday 30 April 2020

Lockdown Day 38 - Quick allotment update

This morning, before the rather welcome showers came, I went up to the allotment for some quick jobs.

The strawberries are starting to show now and there are still plenty more flowers on them.
The strawberry bed was refreshed last year with new plants.
We generally eat strawberries as a dessert although some years we have enough for a bit of jam.

This is the first bit of the bean patch this year. There's a small number of broad beans which have been struggling a bit, maybe we planted them too late. On the right there are four (so far) borlotti bean plants with more yet to go in or indeed be sown. Still plenty of time to sow these in May. We dry these off and use them with tortillas, tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms, with a dollop of salsa and hot authentic Cholula Mexican sauce!

Next to the beans are peas, and we've gradually planted these out, with about 30 plants in so far. They are covered in netting to stop sparrows having a pea party! Once they start flowering the netting will come off. To the right of the photo will be more peas. These might be sown directly into the soil now that it has warmed up a bit and protected with more netting. We'll need bigger support sticks, there's plenty of privet hedge and hazel sticks to use.
The parsnips are just starting to show and will need thinning out soon. These will start being eaten from early October though a frost will make them sweeter.

As I discuss here  I also make wine from the remaining ones in March. In the house now are some bottles that are ready to drink, a demijohn from last year that now needs bottling and a demijohn just started to ferment.
The potatoes are all above ground now and there's only a slim chance now of frost. If frost is forecast (and we have had frost in early May before now) we will need to cover them all over with earth again to protect them. Once year I did see a few that looked like they were burnt, which was the effect of the frost on them. Luckily they survived! We have red Duke of York and Cara potatoes in this year.
This is the brassica patch this year. As you can see the cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli are defended! This may need to be adapted as they grow bigger but for now it stops birds having a nibble! At the rear of the photo are some beetroot, spinach, spinach beet and radishes. The beetroot have a net over them now to stop them being pecked by sparrows!

Although I do leave a patch of nettles for any butterflies and moths that require them, they do get everywhere and a chunk of this morning was spent clearing them from underneath the damson and apple tree. I might make a liquid feed from some of them although we do have comfrey for making this.

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