Sunshine, Peppers & Outdoor Tomatoes

Well a glorious end to May, when the weather is like this I really think we’ve got the best country in the world. After the last couple of years where warm winters seamlessly slipped into grey, cool and wet summers missing out spring, it’s nice to have a normal year.

Peppers & Cucumbers

I got my sweet peppers transplanted into the greenhouses, stakes in ready to support the huge crop they’ll give me. That’s famous last words! I’ve also got an Egyptian cucumber in one house and a Romanian in the other. Many thanks to Haz for sending me the seeds.

The best thing about growing in the greenhouse borders rather than pots is that you don’t have to worry about watering every day. In effect, you’ve got a huge reservoir so every other day in sunny weather is fine or even longer in dull weather.

I’m looking after Therese’s greenhouse on plot 1 whilst she’s on holiday and she’s looking after mine when we go away in June. That’s a benefit of allotments as against growing at home, you can always get holiday cover.

Best laid plans…

Back at the ranch things aren’t going quite to plan though. None of the chilli peppers or sweet peppers I sowed have germinated. Can’t quite understand it but that’s growing for you. Sometimes you do exactly the same thing you’ve done before and it just doesn’t work.

Some of the brassica plants I bought have just curled up and died as well. That’s really frustrating, I paid for them! Once again I’m not sure why, but it’s not the end of the earth. The beans are all popping up though, so something is going right.

Outdoor Tomatoes

Saturday was a scorcher, so I didn’t head down until the late afternoon. The large raised bed at the top of plot 29 was brought into action for the outdoor tomatoes. The soil has really compacted, despite not having been walked on, so it was Mantis time.

It only took about half an hour to get the soil beautifully light and fluffy again.

The beauty of the Mantis is that it’s light enough to use in the raised beds but it’s a powerful little beast. After I’d done, Gianni borrowed it for one of his beds and he reckoned it had saved him an hour’s work in 10 minutes!

Added some fish, blood & bone and then laid some eco-matting over the bed. This will help keep the tomatoes clean off the soil and save on weeding. 4 plum Roma went in with a bit of tomato fertiliser in the bottom of the holes along with the courgette and the lettuce along one side.

Old Seeds Discovered in Shed!

I found an old un-opened packet of radish (sow by 2007) under some junk in the shed so I sowed some of those about twice as thickly as usual between the lettuce. I bet they all come up! The use-by date on seeds doesn’t mean they all die on the date, it just means that the germination rate declines. The best was when I planted an entire pack of courgettes that were 5 years past the date. The packet was under the seat in the car (shows how often I clean that out!). Every one came up. You never know.

Skip Filling & Diving

The skip is on site so I took up some old sheets of plastic that are falling apart, old compost bags and plastic milk containers that have split. I use those as bricks to hold down fleece etc.

Someone had put a slice of blue barrel on, so that came back off. Filled with a mixture of compost and sand and sowed some more carrots. This year I’m only growing carrots and parsnips like this.  The yield is really high and the quality excellent. Last year we didn’t get through half the parsnips and we’ve still got diced carrots in the freezer so trying to be restrained.

Must remember to take the camera up with me next time I go to the plot. I love comparing year on year.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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