29 August 2007

There goes summer

And somehow I seem to have missed it.

Having all but given up on attempting to grow anything else this year I've been busy working out what to do with the beds (courtesy of some Garden Planner software) and getting started with some of the preparation of these. And this is (roughly) what the current plan for the allotment is, sorry no labelling:

The first bed sorted was the one where the garlic grew - near the top right of the plan. The soil wasn't so bad there and I put some of the parsley thinned out from another bed in there and sowed Crimson Clover in the rest of the bed, which is now coming through.

Having decided to go with the terraced approach to utilise the space better the 'beds' will now be approximately 3.5 x 4m, using one of the scaffolding boards to walk across the soil. The first bed has now been dug over and I've put the boards roughly where I want them, and I've planted Buckwheat in there. The soil on this side of the allotment is very fine and looks like it could do with some serious improvement, hence the first step with the green manures. Here is the first bed/terrace - apologies for the pictures looking like they were taken during the night, but it's starting to get dark early these days!

There's still a load of stuff that needs burning, and I did have a small bonfire on Tuesday that quickly went out as I wasn't really paying attention to it... A much larger, more successful fire followed on Wednesday! Very satisfying and warm, beginning to get colder at night too! I'm beginning to see the end of the stuff that is left to burn.

Despite the apparent lack of anything growing this week I've still managed to harvest 6 courgettes, a large bunch of flat leaf parsley, a large bunch of two different types of mint (both of which were free - one from the organic course I did earlier in the year, the other I 'inherited' on the allotment and will probably be cursing for many years to come as it attempts to take over the allotment!), a big bunch of sweet peas, about 6 raspberries and 1 (yes, that's one!) French bean. Having long since given up on the beans they've managed to find the stakes I put in half heartedly a couple of months back and are growing very well now!

The sweetcorn also appears to be attempting to form some cobs as well (despite me covering in ash every time I have a bonfire) and the pumpkin, whilst not much bigger is turning orange as well. The rhubarb looks like it may well try and take over the allotment next year, but the Jerusalem artichokes are giving it a good go already and are well over 8 foot tall.

I've also managed to acquire a supply of apples, plums and raspberries in a couple of weeks (from my grandad), bags full of runner beans and chillies from Mum and Dad - having grown the chilli plant for them originally, but they have a greenhouse whereas mine are doing well to still be alive outside. Chopped up one of the chillies and put on the pizzas the other night, and they are quite hot! I guess the name Ring of Fire should have given me a clue...

When we go to raid the orchard at my grandparents in September, we will be making spiced apple chutney with apples from the grandparents, chillies from the parents and onions from the allotment.

One Year Old
1 September will be one year since we took on the allotment - and started this blog. Looking back at the posts from last year it's clear much has been achieved, at least in terms of land clearance. Mrs D's knee problems have meant I've done the vast majority of the work myself and the kids haven't been able to get down there as much as we'd hoped. Of course the weather has been fairly awful this summer, so that hasn't helped either.

Looking at the successes in the past year garlic stands out as the one thing that grew really well, and we still have a kitchen full of the stuff. What we learnt from this? Not to plant so much this year! We've had crops of a number of different fruits and vegetables, and although they've been limited in some circumstances it's always seemed a bonus to harvest them.

The fruit has largely established itself very well and hoping this will pay dividends in next (and subsequent) years. Beans and carrots have been very disappointing, but hopefully a lot of this was due to the weather.

Looking forward to the next year!


welsh girls allotment said...

I am glad that I'm not the only one to caught out by midnight gardening - it seems to get dark very quickly the last few nights - one minute its ok and the next - poof - its night time !

Your crops are looking great all I'm doing is weeding weeding weeding, bought some winter onions today and I am also looking into the green manures to try and improve the soil over winter - this year has been very taxing for us newbies hopefully next year will treat us more kindly !

Lisa said...

I'm so jealous that you have a pumpkin !! I just manage to grow the male flowers. Your plot is coming on a treat our is still in a bit of a state but hopefully we can put the work in over the winter. You mentioned the fine soil ours is just full of clay need to get some manure on it.


Anonymous said...

Your website and plot look fab...i grow in the back garden, but am thinking more and more that i wouldn't mind an allotment to fiddle with too...

mc55 said...

Hi Rob, it's been a very strange season this year hasn't it. I bought my garlic and overwintering onions today and am hoping that next year will be better.

How are you getting on with your green manures ? My phacelia is in full bloom and the bees are going bananas over it :-)