Down at the plot: June

P1080731June seemed like another really busy month at the allotment, yet looking back I’m not sure what I did! There was still plenty of planting to do – we got in about 3 varieties of squash and some cauliflower. We also did quite a lot of weeding. There are a few strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries coming in, but not much else in the way of harvesting. Our new allotment partner grows cut flowers, though, so we had loads of Sweet Williams!

P1080732P1080835P1080831At home my tomatoes started growing dramatically (and the first fruits appeared), but the rest of the garden is still looking terrible. I’ve got big hopes for next year, though…

P1080828I’m hoping July will be the month for harvest. Everything was looking close to being ready, but wasn’t quite there. I can’t wait for these plums to ripen! I’m also guessing it’ll be a slightly quieter month, apart from watering. P1080725

Down at the plot – May

P1080734There’s big news on the allotment front for May – I moved plots! I won’t bore you with the details of why. Suffice it to say, it was a complicated and stressful (VERY stressful) decision that I’m still not quite thrilled about. At least, I’m less than happy with the timing; overall it’s a positive move. The upsides are that I’ll now be sharing with two people rather than one, which means there’s less worry if one of us can’t go for a few weeks in a row; the new plot still has raspberries but also has an apple tree; it’s a bit quieter and wilder where the new plot is, so it’ll feel more like a retreat; and it has a fully functioning shed. The downside is that we still have responsibility for our plot this year, we haven’t had time to go and cover it over so it doesn’t get even more overgrown, and I’ve got to go tend to the potatoes that are planted there as well as looking after the new plot. It’s going to be a complicated summer, especially because the tons of stuff I need to do at work mean I won’t be able to take any lazy annual leave days to spend down at the allotment.

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You can also imagine that this means I haven’t actually gotten much done in May, and you’d mostly be right. I hilled up the potatoes a few times, and at the plot itself that’s about it.

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More got done behind the scenes at home. I sowed a few trays – beans and cauliflower – which got blown over and ruined not once, but twice. About 5 beans and no cauliflower have survived. 😦 Devastating! I’m going to try sowing some more cauliflower now and hope I can still catch up. I also planted some patty pan squash, which is coming up beautifully. I’m hoping to get them in the allotment before my rubbish greenhouse ruins them, too.

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Finally, I’ve planted some tomatoes in grow bags. I am growing Tumbling Toms, Golden Currants, and Green Zebra (I think) this year. Hopefully they’ll all do well and I can make some beautiful tomato salad in the next couple of months.

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I’d love to hear what your garden’s up to this month!

Down at the plot: April

April’s always a busy month for gardeners. I had so much to do this month, but unfortunately I’ve fallen behind and only managed to plant 4 rows of potatoes. I haven’t even cleared an entire bed yet! It’s definitely coming along, though. There’s only this much left to go.

Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about how much I’ve done this month. I’m not sure it’s been that much, but it certainly feels like it.

I have a couple more rows of potatoes to get in as soon as possible, and planting peas is also on the immediate horizon. The trouble is that it’s been so dry digging is an absolute nightmare/nearly impossible! I suspect we will have at least one late potato harvest as a result. It’s lucky potatoes are so resilient.

Beans and cauliflower have also been sowed in a mini greenhouse I bought to keep in our backyard. Unfortunately the wind blew it over the other week, and the flats got demolished. 😦 I did manage to scrape up a few, but I will definitely need to replant some of the beans at the very least. Also, the labels fell out and I was growing two kinds of beans. I’m going to have a surprise at harvest finding out which were purple and which were yellow! Not what I planned at all, but actually I think it may be kind of fun.

 

Down at the plot February/March

I haven’t been feeling particularly well, so I’ve not been at the plot as much as I would like this year. I’ve tried to go for a few hours a weekend, but unfortunately that doesn’t equate to the weeding that needs to be done.

Happily, the plum tree needs no attention & is budding all on its own. This is definitely the best part of fruit trees.

The same is true of this jostaberry.

Alas, there is still a lot to do. This is where the beans will be planted this year.

I did manage to get one part of it dug over. I’ve planted 2 rows of early Rocket potatoes. The plan is to add a few rows each of Desiree (a red-skinned variety) and Kestrel potatoes. It’s nice that at least one part looks tidy!

I will soon be planting out beets & carrots, and I’ve got a mini greenhouse in my yard where I’ll be sowing beans, peas, leeks, and onions. I feel like I’ve left something off that list, but I can’t remember what. I’d love to know what you’ve already planted.

 

Down at the plot: Starting over

Last year I didn’t blog about my allotment at all. To be honest, it’s because the poor plot was completely neglected. With me going on holiday for 2 weeks in April, and my friend going on holiday for a week in June, the allotment was effectively abandoned at crucial times in the planting calendar. And then the weeds got on top of us, and the couch grass spread, and it all just got kind of overwhelming. We still got leeks, potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes, raspberries, and a very few beans, but it really didn’t feel like we got much out of the allotment this year. I guess it’s true when they say you get out what you put in.

So in the interest of motivating myself, I’m going to try to share a bit more about what I’m doing on here. I want to be able to share pretty pictures! At the moment, though, this is what it looks like. Someone please tell me theirs looks the same so I don’t feel so bad…

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I have plans to buy a mini greenhouse from Wilkos so I can sow things at home and plant them out this year, something I didn’t get around doing last year. I think I may also invest in more exciting seeds this year as an added motivation. I bought some purple french bean seeds at the market in Stroud yesterday, and I have added dates to my diary for sowing red cabbage and cauliflower so I can harvest them in time for Thanksgiving. I also roped my mom into pruning our plum tree while she was visiting, ha. 🙂 Here’s hoping I stay motivated  this year! Are you growing anything this year, or have you had success in the past? Any tips?

Down at the plot: winter=damp

P1040205.JPGIt’s hard for me to think about the allotment in the winter, though judging by the tidy state of our neighbors’ plots, not everyone has the same problem. It has been a particularly awful winter for the allotment. Our shed blew over just before the beginning of the year, and was beyond repair. We’re still sourcing a new one. Luckily it’s not a huge problem now that we both live nearby, but it is annoying enough that persuading myself to go, drag tools, etc, isn’t easy.P1040199.JPG

Today I finally managed to do some allotment-related work. I walked to a nearby garden center & bought some Kestrel potatoes (we grew them last year & they were very tasty) and Golden Sunrise tomatoes (because yellow tomatoes are delicious). I then headed down to the allotment to prune our raspberries and grapevine. I wish I could just get rid of the grapevine, but I think it’s too well-established by now.P1040212.JPG

We really need to dig over the final third of our allotment if we have any hope of planting in it this year, but the soil is far too wet right now. It has been for weeks. I am not surprised; it was the same last year, but its still a huge disappointment. Maybe we’ll finally have some luck next week. At least it looks like things are still alive & growing.P1040211.JPGP1040218.JPG

Thanksgiving prep

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This sums it up well, though my laptop should probably be in it as well. Here’s the menu so far:

Turkey

Leek & white bean galette

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Parsnips coated in Gran Padano

Mashed potatoes

Red cabbage

Sweet potato fries

Roasted butternut squash

Succotash soup

Cornbread

Cranberry, maple syrup and pecan almond cake

Excessive, maybe. The right choices, yes. 🙂

Here are some of the contributions from the allotment:

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Isn’t that red cabbage gorgeous?! Some things in this photo are going to be decorations.

How do you get inspiration for your Thanksgiving menu? Or is it traditional all the way for you?