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Broad Beans, Onions, Potting On and Percy Pigeon

We have a bit of a pigeon problem on our site. The flying rats live in the surrounding trees and often sit on the electric wires discussing what we’re planting for their breakfast. Some time ago, I even caught one under the nets eating the brassicas and gave it a stiff talking to, before allowing it to go free.

Unfortunately our allotment rep is a bit old school and felt that the death penalty was more appropriate for a first offence of premeditated brassica theft and took the mickey out of me for some time after. Well today we had a visit from an upper class pigeon. Apart from his sleek, well groomed appearance he was obviously the king of pigeon bling wearing bands on both legs

I think the orange or red one was for equal rights for gay pigeons and the green one was for saving the planet for pigeon kind. Despite his good looks he was obviously very tired and strolled around the site as if it was all just too much.

A young lad on the site spotted him inspecting my shed and offered him some soaked bread so I improvised a bowl and gave him some water. The bread didn’t appeal and neither did our brassicas. Obviously a bird used to the finer things in life.

He seemed quite happy to take up residence in my shed but I couldn’t really have that. For a start he’d be locked in and probably he wants to be away at dawn. Being so tame, I actually had to shoo him out of there but he sat outside looking most offended. I hope he gets his bearings and gets safely home.

Potting On Tomatoes and Peppers

The tomatoes and peppers have moved from the back bedroom and their crowded pots into 3" pots in the greenhouse, I’ve ended up with eight habeneros, which is probably seven too many but I’m more than a little disappointed in the San Marzano plum tomatoes. Just three viable and the second sowing don’t look a lot better in terms of germination.  Still, we’ll see how many I end up with and how they perform when planted out as the season progresses.

Preparing Bed on Plot 5

About 20 barrow loads of compost were spread over a patch at the top of plot 5 and then rotovated into the soil with the Merry Tiller. It’s quite incredible the difference it makes. The mixture makes the soil so much more friable and finer tilth. I’m a bit amazed to realise I’ve used about a quarter of the delivery already.

Onions

I moved the onions out of the greenhouse at home on Saturday. Getting them to the plot involved filling the back seat as well as the boot of the car. They spent the night in the greenhouse and on Sunday were moved into the cloche.

The onions from sets started in modules in the greenhouse and moved to the cloche tent on Friday were planted out on plot 5, which made some room. The sets planted directly are starting to grow but the ones from the greenhouse are much better developed. It’s got them off to a flying start even though the weather has been more July than April.

On Sunday the seedling onions were moved from the greenhouse to the cloche tent. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think they can go out whenever I’m ready. I hope I have as much success with the Ailsa Craig as I did last year. They were good sized and stored well althoug they’re not supposed to store well, with a strong taste. I need better luck with the Red Baron which were decimated by some blight last year.

The onions John Carver (National Vegetable Society) gave me are doing well in 3" pots but I’ve left them in the greenhouse for now. I’ve still got a dozen of the bigger ones at home in 5" pots. Goodness knows what to do next, think I’ll give him a ring. Who knows, I might even get some worth entering into a local show.

Broad Beans Planted

I’m growing two types of broad bean this year. On plot 29 I planted the Witkiem Manita that I have not tried before. They are supposed to be fast to mature and have a good flavour so I’m looking forward to seeing how they live up to their press.

On plot 5 I popped my good old favourite Bunyards Exhibition which I’ve grown with good results before.

Onward Peas

I’ve got a length of guttering in the greenhouse with Early Onward peas sown in it and decided to direct sow a row on plot 29  by the broad beans. Drew out a shallow trench, scattered seeds and covered with compost. After watering, I cloched them to get them started well, bearing in mind we are predicted to have some more frosts next week.

I realised I had used an old packet for the ones in the gutter, only 2 years beyond the ‘use by’ date. so I sowed 75 into modules in the greenhouse to see what the germination rate is like. I suspect it will be OK. The direct sown came from an in-date packet.

Weather Warning

It’s been wonderful weather, more like summer than spring but it’s not going to last. The weathermen are predicting some frosts next week so if you have anything tender out, ensure they are protected. One chap on our site has runner beans and  sweetcorn out already so I warned him and he’s now got them well cloched. It’s so easy to forget that our good weather never lasts and one frost can destroy months of careful nurturing.

It doesn’t sound a lot,  reading the above but I think I spent about 12 hours on the plot and in the potting shed over the weekend. Of course a bit of time was spent just chatting and a little bit sharing a Grolsch with Gianni from plot 28. BBQs seem to be on the agenda when we next have a good spell of weather.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
6 comments on “Broad Beans, Onions, Potting On and Percy Pigeon
  1. ray says:

    Can you advise me on using pidgeon droppings on my allotment.
    The guys two allotments away have told me that I can take any ammount to use. Canwick allotmenteers. Lincoln.

  2. John says:

    Pigeon droppings I think are like poultry droppings – very strong – although I have read that pigeon manure is low in nitrogen and will not ‘burn’ plants, I wouldn’t trust that information without trialing on a crop I could afford to lose.
    I’ve heard they’re good for onion beds.
    My own feeling would be to mix them in with the compost as an activator and use the compost as usual.
    Sorry I’m no expert on pigeon poo! Try asking on the forums – bet there’s someone who will know on there

  3. Allison simpson says:

    Hi I hope you can help me as i am a novice veg grower. Last October I dug over some of my garden for a veg patch. The area had previously been covered with pebbles. the earth was clay which I dug over and added lots of top soil and compost bought from the garden center. I sowed some broad beans ( Sutton ) in pots under cover in November and planted them out as per instructions. They have grown really well but the flowers have drop off and no beans have grown. i have fed them with blood fish and bone and some pot ash. It has rained a lot so i have had no need to water them. i have garlic growing next to them. I decided to dig a plant up as i was worried about the flowers and no beans. There was funny white stuff on the roots that looked like a very small brain. It was solid and firm. so i dug up all the plants and binned them. Do you Know what the white stuff could be and is it safe to plant some broccoli and kale in a few weeks time. Thanks

  4. John says:

    Bit of a mystery to me – best thing to do would be to ask on the chat forum as somebody else may well have come across this before.

  5. Bob says:

    The stuff clinging to the roots you wrote about alison might be nitrogen. This is because the roots of legumes such as broad beans fix nitrogen which is good for the soil.

  6. karenO says:

    Hi Alison I’m here looking to see why my broad bean flowers are dropping off without fruit but it sounds from replies on another site as thought this is normal and if I’m patient the beans will follow.

    I too am novice but I know last year our runner beans had those little ‘brains’ on the roots when we dug them up to throw away. We were looking for the nitrogen fixing nodules that are on the roots of legumes and assumed this is what they were. The beans were great. Sorry it sounds as though you may have thrown away good broad bean plants!

    I’ve just read on and see Bob has already answered you.

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