Harvest time on the allotment at last!

After a visit to my allotment last Friday, I was on the verge of giving up for the year! Not content with eating my runner bean plants, rabbits had also destroyed a row of peas, trimmed my seedling leek plants and scraped up a row of carrot seedlings! In exasperation and in wet and windy weather, I decided to put my French bean plants in, along with the courgette plants and hope for the best! Armed with my organic slug pellets, I went to check for more damage a couple of days later and came back with a smile on my face! This really has been a roller coaster year for vegetable growing!

Peas almost ready to pickThe courgette plants are still in the ground, despite another windy weekend and the French beans are growing away not having been touched by rabbits or slugs. I rounded up the damaged runner bean plants that still had shoots on them and have planted them in a ‘wig wam’ to see if I can salvage at least some of them – they appear to be starting to grow again and I will visit my local garden centre for yet another packet of seed to try a late crop. As soon as the damaged plants show signs of real growth, I will start to liquid feed them once a week until they get their roots down into the lovely garden compost that I put under them!

The weed seedlings are growing at a great rate, so I will be out with my swoe to remove those between the rows as well as hand weeding in the rows. This is a full time job at the moment and very important as crops like beetroot and onions begin to swell up. They need all the room they can get and hate competition from weeds! My onions are slow to swell this year but I have fed them with pelleted chicken manure to give them a boost through the summer.

My peas (apart from the row that the rabbits have eaten!) are doing extremely well and the first pods will be ready to harvest at the weekend, when they have swollen up and look like they are about to pop! They are full of flower, so there will be plenty for the freezer as well. My potatoes have been a mixed bag I’m afraid with the ‘earlies’ Arran Pilot and Maris Peer doing very little. Much of these two rows are bare earth and I can only put it down to the cold, wet weather that we had in April after I had planted them. I think they must have rotted before they could start to grow away properly. The International Kidney (grown in Jersey as ‘Jersey Royals’) are a second early or main crop and have healthy, deep green leaves and white flowers. Becoming impatient, I lifted a plant a couple of weeks ago, which was too early, but there were a few new potatoes, the size of golf balls, to give us a taste of things to come. I will start to harvest them now that the tubers have been swollen by yet more rain!


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