Allotment Vegetable Growing in April 2007
Allotment Rodent Control Operative
The last few weeks this rather handsome if shy young chap has been patrolling the site hunting the rodent population. Thanks to the zoom lens on my camera I managed to catch him at work.
He's quite happy unless he thinks you're looking at him. That's when he trots away quickly, which is probably a sensible move since some people don't realise the good cats do,
I'm planting the first earlies on plot 5 here. After rotovating the patch I mixed in some compost into a trench and planted into that. See How to Grow Potatoes
You can see they've chitted well and my famous measuring stick - more on this in my allotment diary.
John Carver, chairman of of our local branch of the NVS, gave me these onions when I attended the open evening at his house. I think they were a bit shocked by the move from their temperature controlled, doubled glazed and grow-light lit home to my humble greenhouse.
They seem to be doing OK though
I like to start my sweetcorn by chitting them and planting very carefully into 3" pots as soon as the root strikes.
I pop them between damp kitchen roll in an airtight Tupperware style container in a warm dark place and check daily.
Ballet Dancing Scarecrows
The neighbouring plot now boasts a rather special scarecrow - unlike traditional male scarecrows, she's obviously female and an accomplished ballet dancer. Although the footwear isn't quite normal for a dancer, she's certainly very elegant.
Pictured with my neighbour's daughter, co-creator of dancing dolly, as I've christened he scarecrow.
Chitted Sweetcorn Seeds
I started chitting the sweetcorn a couple of days ago and already you can see they have sprouted. I put the seeds onto a brown envelope so you can see them better.
More about this in my new allotment diary.
Fitted Auto Vent in the Greenhouse
A greenhouse is wonderful but the temperature can easily shoot up and cook your plants. Sometimes this can happen before you even get out of bed so an automatic window opener is a great safeguard.
I purchased three of these - Bayliss XL Autovent - and they were really easy to fit, despite me being pretty hopeless at practical stuff! In fact the first five minute job I've tackled in ages that took five minutes.
Howard Dragon Rotovator in Action
I'm not being unfaithful to my Merry Tiller but I had to admire this beast of a machine. It's proud owner, Dave from the far corner plot, was about half way through his plot when I took this photo.
He told me it had got soaked over the winter due to a leaky roof and wouldn't start so he pressed his wife's hair dryer into action and away it went.
With driven wheels we're really into mini-tractor territory.
Tent Cloche Back Again
The tent cloche I bought last year is back in action hardening off onions and sheltering brassicas. It's really rather good in that you can peel back the plastic leaving fine mesh netting.
This keeps out flying pests from pigeons to cabbage whites but allows plenty of ventilation and also is enough to just maintain the temperature a few degrees above the outside level.
Peas and Beans on Plot 29
This is the centre bed on plot 29 where I have a row and a half of broad beans and a row of peas under the cloche. Although the days are warm, the nights are pretty cold and the additional warmth the cloche provides will bring on germination and growth as well as provide protection against birds.
Onions and Broad Beans, with Compost on plot5
I'm a great believer in spreading things around so if a disease hits one patch of onions, another may survive. These onions were started from sets in the greenhouse at the same time as I planted sets direct. I'd say they were a week ahead from their good start.
You can't really make out the broad beans, two rows to the right of the onions. They are to the south of the onions so they will not shade them.
You can see that half the compost pile behind the shed has gone already. When moving it, it seems a huge amount but it doesn't go as far as you might think.
Plot 5 After Spreading Compost
When I had the huge compost delivery I moved it into two piles, one at the top of the plot and one at the bottom. Well I moved the rest of the top pile onto the plot, about six inches thick, but it wasn't quite enough to cover all I wanted.
Still, another delivery of compost arrives tomorrow.
You can see the onions are doing OK in the foreground and the cloches are covering
When I looked at the half load of compost delivered in front of plot 5, half of me thought 'great' and the sensible half thought 'here comes more back aches'
Compost on Plot 29
The large bed on plot 29 got a few barrow loads of compost! I lost count but around 30 I think.
I'll be raking it level and then running the rotovator over to mis it into the top of the soil.
Reduced Pile - Half the Compost Gone Already
By the end of the day a fair chunk of the pile had been moved,
It may seem as if it's grown but the large heap to the rear was delivered in the afternoon for the chap on the next plot.
About half has gone onto the plots but the rest will have to wait until next week.
Potato Bed on Plot 5
The potato bed on plot 5 now finished, King Edwards in the three rows nearest the camera and the earlies behind, earthed up with the compost. You can see the compost spread behind ready to rotovate in.
Here we are in April and the hosepipe on the path has been in action already. Try not to notice the weeds at the base of picture.
Comfrey Growing Well
The comfrey seems to have jumped up in the last couple of weeks and is nearly ready for a cut.
On the left is the pile of compost waiting to be spread and behind the compost bins.
Large Onions and Peas in the Greehouse
Here are the dozen large onions in the small greenhouse. Their leaves supported by stakes and rings.
Not quite sure what to do next with them!
In front is the length of guttering with peas in it. Poor germination due to being old stock I think.
Normally he's quite tame but today he kept flying off whenever I got near. Well through the magic of the zoom lens, here's a picture.
You see some good things when the camera's in the shed and the best things when it's back at home.