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Progress on the Plot

The weather forecasters are promising a heatwave but looking out of my window as I write it’s hard to believe. We’ve got low cloud shrouding the hills and drizzle. It’s that cold I’ve put the central heating on to warm the place up. In June!!

Still, I’ve got a few things coming on despite the late start. The Hispi cabbage have germinated and I’ll be moving them on soon into 3″ pots. I’ll plant out from there since I’m not concerned about clubroot here. They’re a variety for close spacing and being quite small, ideal for a couple.

Carrots or is that Carrottes

In the carrot barrels I’ve sown Early Nantes, Tip Top, Tornado, Touchon and another variety that may be a version of Early Nantes. Apart from the Early Nantes, they’re all French varieties we’ve picked up. Seeds in France are cheap and for some reason have sow-by dates 5 years or more ahead. Perhaps the UK suppliers want us to use them faster!

As far as I can gather, being as my command of French is pretty poor, all the French varieties are fast growing early varieties. Touchon is available (use google) in this country as well. It’s a lovely carrot, great flavour and well shaped when grown.

Peas & Beans

My peas are starting to show a little as well, but no sign of the beans yet. Probably not so bad as I haven’t got the bed prepared for them yet. As I’ve mentioned in every other entry, it’s stony ground and preparing is taking 5 times longer than I thought.

Potatoes

A friend has sent me some surplus seed potatoes, which was nice. The varieties were Vales Emerald which is a first early salad potato and Blue Danube a maincrop. Now this is really late for planting potatoes and may well be a failure but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The first early stands, I think, a good chance of giving us a crop as they’ll be ready by early September but the maincrop may not beat the frost as they won’t come in until mid-November. Possibly some fleece may save the day.

All the Vales Emerald have gone into the last raised bed as have 4 tubers of Blue Danube. They’re at 15″ spacing each way.

Current Plans For the Veg Plot

  • Prepare bed for the broad beans, roughly 10′ x 4′, possibly to convert to raised bed in the future.
  • Prepare patch for comfrey, about 20′ x 12′
  • Prepare base for greenhouse. This will be a bit tricky as I need to have it level and the field slopes more than it looks.
  • Plough over a plot and sow green manure. The neighbours have offered me use of their tractor and plough.

Liming Demonstration / Experiment

I’ve often preached about the benefits of liming the soil but judging by the emails I get, it doesn’t sink in. So I’m planning to run a little demonstration come experiment. I’ll mark out a patch and run a comparison between liming, fertilising and doing nothing (the control).

The proper way to do this is to divide the patch into 9 squares to minimise the effects of sunlight, variations in underlying soil etc. and distribute as below. If I’m wrong (I’m no scientist) I’m sure someone will say!

Control Fertiliser Lime
Lime Control Fertiliser
Fertiliser Lime Control

 

However, I’m not using an easily quantifiable method of measuring the results, just judging by how the grass looks. So I’ll just use three patches.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Progress on the Plot
  1. Philip Saunders says:

    It would be useful if you didn’t know which patches were limed/fertilised/controlled until after the demonstration so as not to intoduce a bias.

    SS

  2. John says:

    That’s a bit tricky since I’m the one liming / fertilising!

  3. P Storry says:

    Doesn’t your soil’s ph reading indicate whether or not lime is needed?

  4. John says:

    Of course it does – the idea is to demonstrate the importance and effect of lime rather than see if it is required.

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