Allotment Jobs

Peas almost ready to pick!The allotment is producing a good range of crops including potatoes, peas, broad beans, carrots, courgettes, mange tout (great in a stir fry!) herbs, lettuce, spring onions, radish and my favourite – beetroot! Even after years of growing my own, I still get great satisfaction when all the vegetables on a plate are home produced. The other evening we made a Spanish tortilla with home grown potatoes, peas and our own bantam’s eggs. Accompanied by a fresh, crisp salad it was a memorable meal indeed!

I have had problems with pigeons eating the leaves of a row of swede and they began to attack my winter brassica plants so I strung up some old cd’s and black cotton across the rows to stop them landing. This seems to have done the trick but they still coo defiantly in the nearby trees when they see me on the allotment! I had thought that the plants were being eaten by slugs and snails, so put down organic pellets. However, when I saw two fat pigeons take off from the swede row the game was up! Since I have strung the cotton across the rows, the pigeons have left the plants alone and they have started to grow away strongly again!

Next will be the caterpillar watch once the Large and Small White butterflies lay their yellow eggs on the underside of the leaves. These hatch at an alarming rate, so I stand by with my scissors to kill the offending caterpillars or rub off the eggs with my thumb, rather than spraying the plants with insecticide.

My leek plants are still quite small and need to be planted out in their final positions once the first early potatoes have been used, so I am watering them well along with the rest of the plot two or three times each week in the evening once the heat of the sun has gone. We still have a row of ‘Arron Pilot’ potatoes to use and will then be onto the second early ‘Estima’ which will store in boxes through the winter if I need to dig them early for fear of Late Blight or slug attacks.

This week I have fed my onions with Miracle Gro to give them a growth spurt before they begin to dry off next month for harvesting in September. The year really is going by fast!

Watering is my main concern at the moment. My summer containers are looking beautiful and I check them twice each day for water along with the tumbling tomatoes that are growing in a large container and the peas and broad beans that I planted in big pots earlier in the year. It takes me about an hour to water the allotment, carrying the water from an old bath with two watering cans. I water thoroughly two or three times a week rather than every evening. Now that they are flowering and beginning to crop, the peas, runner and broad beans are a priority along with any newly germinated seedlings. Although it is hard work, the tasty vegetables that we are eating each day are well worth the effort!

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