Harvesting & Weeding

The last few days have actually been summery except there’s a definite chill in the air towards evening. After the weeks of rain we’ve had, it’s wonderful but next week the rain is due back.

Time on the plot has mainly been limited to weeding and harvesting. It’s as if you turn your back and the weeds grow a foot! Plot 29 is mainly in good shape now, there’s a small bed near the greenhouse that needs a hoe but otherwise it’s pretty tidy.

The large bed yielded the last of the potatoes, hardly a crop to be proud of this year. My fault, I’ve not given them the attention they required. Whatever the TV programmes might say, you don’t just plant, fade out and then cut to a bumper harvest.

I’ve dug the large bed over and will run the rotovator over it and sow some green manure. It’s too early to winter dig, the weeds will have time to grow before winter sets in, so a green manure will keep them down and help the soil when it is dug over.

There’s little point in my planting any winter brassicas etc, since we’re hoping to move. I just want to make sure that whoever gets my plots won’t have too much reason to moan about them.

The house move is not going smoothly. Our buyers are first timers and have their mortgage in place so that side is ready to go. The smallholding we’re buying is vacant so no chain on that side either. However our mortgage chap doesn’t seem to be the most efficient and even managed to give the wrong address to the building society. So it’s taken four weeks to actually get the survey arranged on the holding.

I’ve let Larry, the site rep, know I’ll be moving on and he appreciates I can’t give him a firm date until we know ourselves. Even now it could all fall through and we’d be back to the start. A tense and frustrating time for us.

Gianni will be having my large greenhouse, without his and Larry’s help I’d never have got it built. The small greenhouse will be a welcome gift for the new plotholder as will the shed on plot 5. We’ve a lot to move and I doubt I could get the glass safely across to the new place.

Back over on plot 5 we harvested the last of the sweetcorn. I didn’t do as well as usual with the sweetcorn this year thanks to the snails that managed to devour about half of my seedlings. We’re plagued with them in the garden and the home greenhouse despite liberal use of pet safe slug pellets. Still, we had about 20 decent cobs. They’ve been blanched, stripped and frozen.

The squashes seem to be doing OK, I’d have liked them to be a bit further on but fingers crossed we’ll have some at least to take with us when we go.

Further down the plot the Wonderwall had half a dozen lovely cauliflowers for us and some second growth calabrese. I’m convinced the reason I’ve had such success in the Wonderwall is that it stops wind rock, which breaks the root hairs so preventing the plant from taking up nutrients. Keeping the caterpillars out is almost secondary.. almost.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
2 comments on “Harvesting & Weeding
  1. Steve in Salford says:

    It has been a year for the slugs and snails, they seem to have had more of the vegetables than we ourselves have had. But that it is the problem with an overgrown site which is what I inherited.

    It had not been worked on for growing for about 5 years, the previous plot holder but one was an elderly man and he used to only grow on a part of the plot, the rest was left. The next owners before me, dug off the grass and top soil and dumped it for compost elsewhere on site or in mounds across the plot.

    Which now means the soil level is lower than the paths and tends to get waterlogged, not helped by the fact that the soil is compacted and full of weeds, couch grass, vetch, dock seem to be the biggest culprits and teasels.

    I was lucky in getting two sheds with the plot, a small sycamore tree (not that small) is next to the sheds, at the front of the plot is a compost bin and a large water butt (formerly ballast container on a ship).

    Just waiting to see if I get a 6′ x 6′ greenhouse on freecycle, they are in no hurry to get rid and I am off on a training course this week.

    The plan is to keep the bits and bobs I have inherited but to combat the slug and snail problem, there will be a small 6′ x 3′ or so pond area where the sheds are, along with some crazy paving slabs, a bench and BBQ. This will be my wildflower area, the greenhouse will go at the other end with more compost bins.

    The remaining plot will be divided up into 4′ wide strips across the plot. This will give me an easily accessible area with defined paths, yeah I know I loose space to paths but easier than having to dig the whole thing every year.

    There is a desire to put in permanent planting as well, such as asparagus and fruit trees/bushes grown as a cordons or fans. So permanent strip beds works for me, easy to rotate crops as well.

    A long way to go yet, just off to plant my spring cabbage plants and the late harvest potatoes, going to do something different with those and try planting onions in between the cabbages to try to deter the slugs and snails.

    And finally John what is to happen to the Blog that you have crafted here once the move is completed. Will there be further tales from the Welsh hills?

  2. John says:

    I’ll definitely be keeping my blog diary going – although it may be a little sparse whilst we get sorted! The plan is to create a vegetable ‘allotment’ from scratch and restore a small walled orchard where the poultry is going.

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