So far this week, it’s mainly been watering and weeding. The weeds on plot 29 are just incredible, if only I could grow crops half as well! One day you think “Ahh, some weeds popping up, I need to hoe there” and the next you think “Wow! They’ve grown, I must hoe them tomorrow” and the next you say “What’s happened? I can’t find the crop under the weeds!”
Still weeds = compost material, so everything has a use. We had the rubbish trailer the other week and I was amazed how many people were putting green waste in. I added a couple of broken bits of glass and empty compost bags that I’m pretty sure I won’t need.
Since aminopyralid weedkiller arrived, using horse or cow manure to add organic matter to the soil has become a risky business. Are you adding to the soil fertility or polluting for the next two years? So compost and green manures become more valuable than ever.
Watering has been a problem. It seems every tap is in use at times and even when you can get to a tap, the pressure is low with all the other taps in use. I did find a partial solution though – get on the plot whilst England are playing.
I’ve got a couple of sprinklers so managed to give the potatoes on both plots a good soaking. The sprinklers are the type where you can adjust the spray arc to target the water where you want. Even though water on the allotment is effectively free, that’s no reason to waste it.
Here in the North West they’re talking about a hosepipe ban. Now I could rant on for pages about privatised water companies, water leaks and the crazy situation where you can fill your swimming pool but not water your vegetables. I suspect it might get boring!
So I’ve written an article with some tips on how to cope if we do have a hosepipe ban – Growing Vegetables when there is a Hosepipe Ban which might help with a few ideas.
I prepared a couple of the raised beds on plot 5 for planting. Now in theory, as you don’t ever walk on the beds, the soil shouldn’t compact. However, my heavy clay soil hasn’t heard of the theory and despite loads of compost does compact. So to loosen it up I ran the Mantis tiller over the beds. It only took half an hour to get them nicely broken up.
Added some fish blood & bone to both beds and raked level. On one I’ve planted out the last 4 of my bush-type, plum tomatoes and a squash through weed-suppressant fabric. I don’t like seeing allotments covered in plastic but the matting will help keep the fruits clean, make it easier to manage slugs and I hope retain moisture.
Half of the other bed is now covered in a butterfly net and ready to plant the remaining brassicas that wouldn’t fit in the Wonderwall.
Nearly forgot to mention – I’m on Radio Manchester’s Heather Stott show on Friday at around 11.30 am all being well. Exciting stuff!