Another busy week. The weather has been beautifully sunny all week which is great for working on the plot but not great for watering it. As the weather has been so lovely we’ve been able to visit quite a lot – 5 out of 7 days.
On Monday, Louis and I went to the allotment after I’d collected him from college. After Julie helped me weed the bed next to the shed last week I started to dig the next area along. This is now the plan (and I use ‘plan’ in the loosest sense of the word) – to work my way along the plot from the shed making rectangular beds with paths in between. I was going to weed just the beds but Gino pointed out weeds don’t really care about where my beds are, if there are weeds under the path they can grow sideways, so I should weed the whole plot not just the beds. So this is what I’m doing. Much more work but, hopefully worth it.
On Tuesday we went to the allotment as soon as Louis arrived home from college – we were there by about 3.45pm and we stayed for a couple of hours. Last week, Julie and I moved the waterbutt in order to dig the bed and we put it back resting on some bricks. Turns out the bricks weren’t stable enough for a full water butt and it fell over – gave the bed a good watering but an upturned water butt is not a great thing to have on an allotment. So I had to do something to rectify the situation. Clearly it couldn’t stay on the bed, so I moved it to the area in front of the shed which is much more stable. However, this meant the guttering which feeds the water butt wasn’t long enough. I had a root around at the back of the shed which is, apparently where we keep a really useful supply of spare pieces of guttering and shower doors (yes! I actually have a set of broken shower doors on the plot – if anyone has any sensible suggestions as to how I can make use of them please let me know!) I managed to extend the guttering so it, once again feeds into the water butt. I realise, to some this is just a very simple bit of D.I.Y. but I was immensely proud of myself for this feat of mechanical engineering. Louis helped me test it – well, he recorded me pouring a bottle of water in at one end and it came out the other end and landed in the water butt! This is, of course exactly what was supposed to happen but I was still pretty pleased with myself.
On Thursday we popped in to weed and water. After the water butt catastrophe it was great to see the water butt still standing and the guttering still in place (I may be a gibbering wreck the next time we have heavy rain though). However, there was one casualty – one of the sunflowers got squashed. To be fair, the poor little thing didn’t stand much chance when the water butt landed directly on top of it! I’d brought home the sunflower I’d taken into school last week so I planted that to replace the squished one. Here’s hoping for no more water butt disasters.
On Saturday morning I was on the plot before 8am and stayed until about 11am. I was on my own for the first hour which meant I got quite a lot done but I was starting to get a bit concerned that I wouldn’t see anyone so I was very pleased to see Michelle arrive just after 9. She was heading off to the local canal festival but had popped in to water her plot. We had a chat and she gave me some Gladioli! Allotment people are so generous – ok, I realise that’s a very general statement and there may be great swathes of people who have allotments who never share anything but the people on my plot have, so far been really kind, helpful and generous. I’ve planted 8 different plants on my plot so far and 4 of them have been given to me by other plot holders. I planted the Gladioli in the bed next to the shed, in between the butternut squashes and the sunflowers. Gladioli are definitely not what I was expecting to grow on my allotment but I love the idea of growing a wide variety of flowers and veg.
Today I was on the allotment by about 9am (bit of a late night last night so I allowed myself a little lie in) I watered everything and continued to dig the new bed. Today’s finds included various bits of broken pottery, some plastic toys and a watch. I couldn’t stay too long as I’d arranged to take mum to the garden centre for lunch and a little look around. Not much shopping for me today – just a new watering can and, what looks like a really interesting book about starting an allotment from scratch.
The potatoes are doing really well. I’ve earthed them up (when the leaves break through the surface you cover them with compost) 3 or 4 times already. The sweet potato doesn’t seem to be doing much – not sure whether to leave it in there or remove it. I was told from the beginning sweet potatoes are not easy to grow.
The courgettes, despite being in the worst position on the plot are growing amazingly well. I may try to make a cake with them!
I’ve pretty much given up on the parsnips. Absolutely nothing is happening and I’m seriously considering digging them up and planting carrots.
No photo I’m afraid – I can’t make a bare plot look interesting!
The rhubarb is doing ok – yay! There even seems to be a second stalk making a tentative appearance. Based on past experience I’m desperately trying not to get too excited but, of course I’m totally excited about my little rhubarb growing. The rollercoaster of emotions this little plant has put me (us?) through so far, means I am so invested in her I can’t imagine the plot without her and I may even have to give her a name!
The onions, despite the ridiculous amount of bindweed I keep removing from their bed are simply getting on with it. Unlike the rhubarb, they create no drama, they just quietly go about their business without making a fuss.
The forecast for this coming week is more sun and absolutely no rain. The more beds I dig the more I realise having no running water on the allotment could be a problem. I’m using a lot of water with just the 4 beds I currently have, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage when the whole plot is covered in plants. I may need to do some clever set up with the spare guttering (still not sure I’ll be able to find a use for the shower doors though!)