Down at the plot: July/August/September

This is likely to be my last allotment post of the year; there’s still more to be done, but frankly I’m not capable of any of it. Every now & then I might go down to see how it’s looking, and I do have plans to meet up with the friends I’m sharing with so we can talk about what will happen next year. But I have to say that I’m really disappointed with myself for not contributing more this year. I keep trying to tell myself it’s not my fault; my body’s busy making a baby, and digging, etc are probably not the most important things to be using my energy on. Nonetheless, I have a non-stop guilt complex and feel bad for making my friends do so much.

Anyway, that’s enough moaning. What have I seen when I’ve visited?P1090209P1090503

Our courgettes and patty pan squash did really well; we’ve had so many! My cauliflower, alas, got demolished. My friend has since cleared this properly and planted some broccoli.

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The Victoria plum tree was incredibly productive this year. This is from our old plot; I am going to miss this tree so much next summer!

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We finally got around to harvesting our potatoes. The Kestrels did really well as always, but unfortunately the Rockets didn’t turn out so well. There were lots of worms and quite a few rotted. To be fair, this may be because we left them in about 6 weeks longer than we really should have.

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I spotted this mint in our new plot; I think it might be apple mint. It’s definitely not peppermint or spearmint, but it smells amazing whatever it is!

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Finally, at home, the tomatoes finally came around. I had quite a few yellow tomatoes, but the others weren’t great. I think I might give up on growing red tomatoes after this year; they never seem to do as well.

5 happy things: an update

It’s been an eventful few weeks, hence my lack of consistent blogging. Last week was particularly stressful, with a cancelled holiday due to R’s dad unexpectedly going into hospital. Thankfully, he is fine! I have now come down with a summer cold or flu & have spent the day trying to nap, with mixed results, and trying to stop my eyes from weeping, with no success at all.

I realized the other day that I’ve not done a 5 happy things post for quite a while. I have a few other drafts waiting to be finished, but this seems a good time to do something nice & easy.

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  • Flowers

I bought some sunflowers the other day, just to cheer up the house. Seeing them as I come home has been lovely.

  • Plums

The plums on our allotment have come in! There are so many this year, and there seem to be fewer worms than usual, too. Yesterday I picked 2.2 kilos. Time to make some Pflaumenkuchen again, I think.

  • Curtains

I have, at long last, finished the first panel of our bedroom curtains. I planned to finish the second one today, but alas that is definitely not happening. It shouldn’t take too long now; it’s just a matter of attaching the lining and header tape. Once I find a curtain rod, I’ll be able to share them on here. I am so excited about getting them up. On a side note, if anyone can recommend a place to buy very sturdy curtain poles, I’d love to hear it. These are so heavy!

  • Baby movement

After starting to worry about whether what I was feeling was really the baby, I am relieved & thrilled that I know I definitely have. And R has now felt it as well, which is extra lovely. Yesterday I played some Fleet Foxes and could feel it wriggling like mad! I’m very excited about feeling it for the next few months.

  • Time with friends

I got to meet my friend’s new baby for the first time yesterday. She didn’t like me & cried every time I tried to hold her, but I’m hoping she’ll eventually grow out of that! It was nice to spent time with her toddler as well, going to the park & the allotment, where he helped me pick some of those plums. P1090521

What have you been up to recently?

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?