Wheelbarrow Tyre and Garlic Defeat Allotment Holder!

Well I managed a bit of weeding on Wednesday, the one thing I didn’t realise when I added all that compost to the soil was how much easier it would be to look after it.

Clearing around the onions by hand was a doddle, just reach in an pull them out. The biggest problem being avoiding damaging the onions as I lent over.

Thursday was a different kettle of fish. The day wasn’t too bad and after getting those boring jobs done that merely pay the bills it was time to get on with the important stuff.

Wheelbarrow Tyre Defeats Me!

First task was to put the new inner tube into the wheelbarrow wheel. Not a big job is it? Much levering to get the tyre off followed by much levering to get the tyre with new tube back on and ready to go. Except there was a hissing noise.

Remove the tyre to discover three holes in the new inner tube. I know they weren’t there before I fitted it so obviously my fault. I’d pinched the tube with the screwdrivers I was using as a lever.

Only one patch left and on checking the old inner tube, the leak was from one of the previous patches. Unlike the old days of my biking to school, nowadays you can get tyre patches you just unpeel from the backing paper and press on. Pressed hard on the patch, tested in the sink and all was well.

More fiddling and cursing and the tyre was back on. Start pumping but the tube won’t inflate. Take it all apart and there’s a large hole appeared. Either I caught it or the material has had it.

We’re now over an hour into the game and the score is: inner tubes 2 me 0

OK, get in the car to get more tyre patches and it starts to rain. This reminds me that the rear windscreen wiper is making an awful noise on the car so buy another one of those and see that Halfords will fit it for £1.99.

Now, in case you haven’t guessed, I am a total disaster with anything mechanical and have visions of the new windscreen wiper sitting around for a month before I spend an hour fiddling around to fit it so pay the £1.99. It took the lad all of 15 seconds to unclip the old and clip the new on. They’re easier than they were on the old car is all I can mutter before driving home with more tyre patches.

When I got back I patched the tyre tube, looked at the wheel and thought it best left for another day when the stars might be in the correct alignment for re-fitting wheelbarrow wheels.

Blanching & Freezing

So here we are, still no wheelbarrow and it’s raining anyway. We decided to freeze the carrots. Although carrots will keep for some considerable time, freezing holds them near the peak of freshness. They only needed a bit of scrubbing to clean them, no need to peel and the larger ones cut into strips before blanching and freezing.

There’s an article on freezing including a blanching chart on the site by the way: Freezing Vegetables and Blanching Chart

Garlic Disaster & Larry’s Revenge

Friday started with some rain but the afternoon really improved so to the plot. Watering and feeding in the greenhouses only took half an hour. Everything’s looking good in there and tomatoes are forming well on the plants. We’ll be eating them in July by the look of things. Some heavy clouds passed over without donating the threatened downpour so decided to do a few more jobs.

I harvested a couple of my remarkable miniature cauliflowers and planted a few more in the same bed. The first ones were just stuck in pots too long and cauliflowers react to lack of nutrients by forming a head. Still, between the two heads, one purple, one white, we just about have a meal as well as some amusement for the other plotholders.

Grabbed a few more broad beans as well which will be part of tonight’s tea. Plot to plate in under 4 hours.

Weeded the onions on the large bed of plot 29 and then a couple of the deep beds. The strawberry bed is a right mess. Couch grass and horsetail on there. There’s a fair bit of horsetail on the paths as well. When the weather improves I’ll be spraying with ammonium sulphamate on the paths. The strawberry bed will probably be best being stripped and sprayed. Need to ponder a bit more on that.

The large deep bed at the top of the plot was next and this was where Larry had his revenge for my sweetcorn. I had Japanese onions on there that were a bit of a failure as well as shallots, red onions and garlic in the bed.

The red onions are small but worth harvesting and some of the shallots aren’t too bad but the garlic is a disaster. About four bulbs actually worth it, the rest are a joke. I don’t know what’s gone wrong but the best garlic bulb was about half the size of Larry’s bulbs. This caused him to cackle like a cross between a mad hen and a schoolgirl. He only stopped when I asked him how the decorating was going at home.

Obviously the bed was more exhausted than I had realised and despite some fertiliser, manure and compost there just wasn’t enough goodness in the soil to grow a decent crop.

Emptied the bed and forked it over followed by a about four ounces per square yard of fish, blood and bone fertiliser to try and put some heart back in. Depending on the weather, I’ll run the Mantis over the bed and then sow some dwarf French beans. The ones I had sown in pots have gone too far without being planted but there is still time for a second go. Being a legume they add to fertility so the best follow on crop.

Actually plot 29 is doing pretty well. If I could get another day on it I’ll have the weeds all gone and the leeks planted out but that depends on the weather.

The bean patch at the bottom of plot five is still unworkable. The relief trench is full of water as are the footprints where I sank in when putting up the runner bean teepees.

I must admit to feeling a bit guilty moaning about the rain and the state of the plot when I look on the forums and see what others are putting up with. Being waterlogged is bad but being under three feet of water really puts my problems into perspective.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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