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Thinning, Weeding, Comfrey Compost and Friends

Saturday started by my mowing the lawn as Val trimmed the  Russian vine that was making a bid to take over the cherry tree at the bottom of the garden .  Two large bags of useless flowery things transformed into useful compost materials.

Lawn done, so I loaded the bags into the car along with  the runner and French beans in pots, pumpkins, squashes and courgettes.  It was pretty quiet on the site, which was surprising since it was a lovely  afternoon., so straight to work.  Most of the beans have yet to show although the climbing borlotti beans in the root trainers have all popped up. These went into the cold frame. Just hope they will be OK for 10 days while we’re away.

The pumpkins, squashes and courgettes are up but not ready to plant out so they all got  moved into 6″ square pots to hold them until our return. It’s amazing how you only see an inch of plant or less above the surface but the roots are already starting to push the base of the pot.  They should hold until our return as well. I mixed the sieved bulk compost with bagged compost 50/50 being a cheapskate, as usual.

Moved a couple of aubergines into their final large pots and then out to the plot itself. The beds on plot 29 needed attention  quite badly. Those weeds  don’t half grow when you blink. The Japanese onions are not looking good. Some of them hardly had any roots so they came home and were used in a Chinese.

Thinned out the parsnips and planted the last two San Marzano tomatoes along with the swedes started in modules. Then I thinned out the beetroot and turnips. I was quite amazed to find that the White Globe turnips had usable ones in the thinnings. They’re doing far better than the Golden Ball.  Sometimes new varieties do have an advantage over heritage varieties.

I think the compost added has improved the soil but as the chap said, it is low in available nitrogen, so I watered with a liquid feed just to boost things and settle everything back down after thinning out. I did notice some of the turnips had been eaten by woodlice. I’m sure they’re not supposed to be a problem but maybe the slugs are having a day off.

I’ve had another compost bin, medium sized black one, which I put where the small green one was and all the trimmings and weeds plus the stuff from home nearly filled it in one go. Don’t quite know what to do with the small green bin now. Oh the complications of the allotment!

Took Larry on a quick tour when he turned up – he’s watering for me while we are away. What would we do without friends? It’s like the forums, the moderators keep everything under control and quite frankly I don’t think I could manage them without .

Sunday  I arrived about 1.30pm to an empty site but people did show up as the day went on. It ‘s been a pretty warm day although cloudy and close threatening thunder and rain.  Did spit a bit about 7.30pm just as I was heading home but  otherwise the rain held off.

First job was to give everything in the greenhouses and cold frames a good drink and reassure them that I would be back.  That didn’t take too long and so it was time for a bit of sowing.

I’ve got half a barrel full of a compost /  soil mixture and I sowed carrots in there. Half with Medwyn’s Osiris, which were a free gift from the NVS and the other half with Healthmaster.  Healthmaster is a purple carrot with a high level of beta-carotene. Last year they failed but this second try may be more successful. I also put  a row of Senior by the parsnips.

Next was to sow some more spring onions where the radish had been on the salad bed and finally to sow some radishes in front of the onions

Back home for a cup of tea and to pick up a bottle of water and then back to the battle.

I’d got about a third of a large barrel of comfrey tea left so that went onto the second early potatoes and then I filled both the large and small barrels with cut comfrey and water. The new batch of comfrey tea should be well under way when we get back. I cut the rest of the comfrey which was really overdue for it and piled it into the compost bins.

The comfrey is in flower and that was attracting bumble bees so I felt a little guilty at cutting it. After I started I felt even worse. The pollen was giving me a really sever hayfever attack.  I used to get really bad hayfever from late childhood to my mid-twenties but I rarely suffer now. I’d forgotten how rotten it is.

It doesn’t sound much, took a cut off the comfrey, but  it took an hour and I felt quite tired by the end.

Did some more weeding and started digging over the patch where the beans are going but I really didn’t feel like it so when it started spitting with rain and went cold around 7.30pm I headed back home.

That’s it for 10 days – subject to Ryanair performing as advertised we’ll be in central France tomorrow.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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