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Rain at last!

The week has been really hot although, thank goodness, it broke on Friday night and rained through most of Saturday. The really dry soil has soaked it up though. Watering is one thing but you can’t beat a good long downpour to build back the water reserves in the soil.

Comfrey Compost

I got down to the plot a couple of times in the week and concentrated on plot 5.The last of the weeds went onto the compost heap, layered with the first cut of comfrey. The comfrey will act as an activator and add valuable nutrients to the compost. The comfrey patch is at the bottom of plot 5 where it tends to be shaded a bit and prone to waterlogging. Normally there’s not much difference in growth between plot 5 and the small patch on plot 29 but this year I’d say plot 5’s comfrey was half the size of that on 29, which gets more sun and warmth.

I should have dug over plot 5 at the end of last season but didn’t get around to it. So it was out with the Merry Tiller, which had mixed success. Some parts are pretty solid and with it being so dry almost rock like. So I’d go from nicely rotovating to bouncing all over the place and running away from me.

Ended up with aching arms and a couple of nasty blisters, but at worst the top 6″ of soil are well broken up. I might moan, but I got more done with the tiller in a few hours than I would have with a spade in a couple of days.

I’m glad I got it finally done when I did for on Saturday the rain went straight in to the broken surface rather than running off as it would have. It’s not all good news, the weeds are shooting up already on parts of plot 29. They’re only annual weeds so I’ll probably just run the rotovator over and turn them in.

Potting on the Brassicas

Despite the rain on Saturday, I was determined to get some plot time in. It’s nice and dry in the greenhouse and anyway it stopped around 4pm. I wanted to get the brassicas moved on from modules into 3″ square pots.

I’m using a mix of 50:50 John Innes No 3 and ordinary multi-purpose compost with an added dusting of lime. The JI adds real body and the multi-purpose helps with water retention and keeping the growing medium light to encourage the roots. Brassica love lime, a pH of 8 isn’t too much, hence the dusting of lime in the mix.

I like to bring the brassicas along a fair degree in pots before I plant out. Having put some growth on, they’re better able to cope with slug attacks for a start. Now they’re in pots, I’ve got them in a cold frame. It’s not for warmth, it’s protecting against the pigeons. We call them seedlings, pigeons call them tasty snack.

I had some cabbage seedlings over, so gave them to another plotholder. Always start with more than you need and plant on the best. I know some allotment sites have a swaps table which I think is a great idea.

I’ll re-run the rotovator over plot 5 next week when the soil is softened by the rain before planting out. There’s a lot ready to go!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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