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Dry, Spuds, Beans, Currants & Strawberries

I do try to be positive even when things go wrong, as they often do, but to be truthful I’m feeling a bit down. Whilst much of the country is locked down and unable to work, we’ve been busier than ever as people decide to take up growing their own. I need a holiday! Might go camping in the polytunnel..

Fresh Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries – straight from the plant.

Anyway, what can’t be cured must be endured and it’s not all gloom by a long chalk. The weather has been incredible. Normally I look out of the window at grey skies and watch the rain but for weeks now it’s been lovely. The sun shining down from blue skies is enough to cheer me back up.

Rain, Please!

A bit concerned though, after a very wet winter we’ve hardly had a drop of rain since March. I’m wondering whether we should investigate the well that we’ve never used. Mains water is very cheap and convenient but well or collected water needs treatment to be safe for people to drink. For watering plants though, well water should be fine. The other option to consider is creating a pond. Still, this will have to wait for things to get back to normal.

Potatoes

Potatoes

Potatoes bed to the front, bed for sweetcorn behind

Very soon, maybe next week, we’ll be eating new potatoes from the polytunnel. I could have had them last month if I’d planted earlier as originally planned. We’re still eating our own maincrop potatoes from store although quite a few have sprouted. Val did get a kilo of new potatoes with the grocery order.. much to my shame! Such is life!

Outside the second early Estima potatoes are showing and the Sarpo maincrop are thinking about it. I’m more than a little concerned about food security over the next year with this pandemic so I’ve put more potatoes in than we need. Potatoes are one of the only crops you can easily grow and store without processing that provide carbohydrates and vitamins.

Broad Beans

Broad Beans – very nearly ready to start harvesting as the beans swell in the pods

The first bed of Aquadulce broad beans planted last year has a load of pods on. I reckon we’re a week away from starting to pick those too. I opened a pod yesterday and they’re still immature but very sweet. I’ve more Aquadulce in the raised beds in the other plot – they grew of their own accord! Must be ones that I thought had just failed last year. They’re doing very well, nature is wonderful!

I’ll follow the Aquadulce harvesting with the Karmazyn broad beans harvest from the other plot. They’re not too far behind, the flowers are starting to turn into pods. A lovely flavoured red bean. The peas are forming pods in a raised bed as well. Hoping for a decent crop from them.

Reorganising the Walled Plot

Weed Control

Keeping Weeds Down – cover with muck and landscape fabric

Taking advantage of the weather to reorganise the walled vegetable plot and utilise the mountain of sheep manure. The compost bins made from pallets are going as they’re not really needed anymore but the path that splits the the plot is remaining, In part it runs over a boulder anyway, so wouldn’t be much use for growing.

Some of the plot has been double dug with a good layer of manure added at the base of the trench. The soil is getting quite good in this plot but the manure will lift it to the next level. As it breaks down it will feed the worms who help so much with soil structure and it’s ability to handle weather extremes of rain and drought.

The organic matter, and you don’t get more organic than dung, also acts a sponge storing water whilst a host of microorganisms and fungi work symbiotically with plants to provide nutrients. The sweetcorn should love it in this section being a very fast growing, greedy crop.

Due to my back problem, this plot had got out of control and the weeds were taking over. With all that’s going on and being concerned about my back going again it’s handling what I can rather than what I want.

So a section has just been covered in a layer of sheep manure and then covered with landscape fabric, pinned and weighted down with old pallets. This will, I hope, be in full production next year. It’s really down to doing what I can for now.

Redcurrants

Redcurrant Bushes

Redcurrant Bushes – Loaded!

Walking down from the plot to the house I noticed the currant bushes are looking brilliant, really loaded down. I must get them netted before the currants colour up and the birds descend for a feast. They’re so easy to grow, all I need to do is prune once a year, protect the crop from birds and keep weed free. I keep the weeds down by mulching which is improving the soil and naturally feeding the crop at the same time!

Strawberries

Strawberries Whitefly

Strawberries with Whitefly

From the Eden greenhouse we’ve had our first strawberries of the year. The Hozelock growbag waterer is giving fantastic results. Only problem is whitefly on the strawberries. I’m spraying often with SB Invigorator but they’re persistent little bees and keep coming back. I wish we still had Derris, that would have sorted them!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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May 2020
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