We spent three hours on the allotment this morning. I planted 6 iceberg lettuces in the greenhouse, cleared a fence and weeded a new patch to get two more rows of potatoes in and also some more onions that were ready into the raised beds. Cheryl did some more work in the strawberry patch clearing more weeds.
Here are some pictures of the progress
Shallots in the greenhouse waiting to go into the raised beds
Parsnips and brocoli waiting to go into the raised beds Cucumber, not looking all that healthy but the same thing happened last year so we will see what happens…
Tomatos looking very strong and healthy
I planted 6 iceburg lettuce plants in the greenhouse, hopefully they will come and be harvested before the tomatos get too big
I had an impulse buy at Homebase this week, I got some Celery, I have never grown it so will be doing some research. Raspberries starting to bud Leaves are coming out on the apple tree Gooseberries starting to develop Blackberry we planted last weekend is growing well and will need tying to the wires agian very soon Blackcurrents developing Pear blossom has now gone, blown away by the wind, but hopefully we might see some pears starting to develop The two fruit trees, apple and pear Two new rows of potatoes Onions and Shallots in the raised bed, I put some more onions in today. Carrots are starting to come through, not sure which are weekds and which are carrots yet so will elt them develop a little before weeding, Onions in the raised beds, the ones I planted first some 4 weeks ago are looking very strong. Potatoes coming through so will be earthing up more in the next few daysThe Onion Bed
I went down to the allotment this evening to water up the greenhouse and under the cloches. I must have been there for 10-15 minutes before I wandered down to the bottom of the plot to check on the fruit trees and bushes and found Fantastic Mr Fox!
Can’t wait to show Eva this video. She has been reading Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox with her Mummy!
The leeks that I planted last year stayed in the ground over winter, I was given a tray full, far too many to plant, and of those I did plant far to many to eat!
I need to re-claim the area for this years crops, I assumed that the leeks would be no-good, however, they are actually very tender so I took the decision to freeze as many as we have space for in the freezer.
This is a simple process of washing, peeling and then dicing the leeks.
I then freeze them on trays before putting them into bags.
This means that we will have plenty of leeks for leek and potato soup!!!
Until this weekend we still had some leeks in the ground from last year, they had over wintered well and I have been working through them gradually freezing them. I will post about that at some point when I have some time.
Yesterday we decided to have a chicken and leek pie and I thought i would share the results. Although I consider myself a good cook, I have never baked a pie before.
Cheryl made the pastry
I made the filling.
Fairly simple to do, brown off 4 rashes of streaky bacon in butter, add 2-3 leeks (sliced), then brown off the Chichen. Add a tablespoon of chopped tarragon and 200 ml of chicken stock and then cook until the stock has reduced by a third.
Then into the backing pot and put the pastry over it.
And finally… Eat
I must say I went back for seconds!!! We will be cooking that again!!!
After ballet class (Evas class not mine!!!) we all went down to the allotment, we took a picnic with the hope that the sun would be shining and we would be able to sit out on the deck chairs we have down there. However, it soon turned to drizzle which put pay to that plan. We did manage to get a picnic sheltering in the Greenhouse!
We made some good progress, Cheryl spent time working hard on the Strawberry plot and cleared at least two thirds which will allow the Strawberries to breath and hopefully provide some fruit this year. We still plan to move them, the ground is rock hard and the weeds are deeply set, but at least it will give them a fighting chance to provide some fruit this year.
Eva and I planted the Blackberry, you will see a post that talks about doing that. I then planted a row of King Edward main crop potatoes, got the peppers and chilies in the greenhouse and got the rest of the onions that are ready into the raised bed.
Here is a video about the progress on the allotment
We have spent some time at the allotment this morning, I will post an update about that once the video is ready. The main job today was to plant the blackberry. You will have seen a recent post about buying it from Swanland Nurseries. It is a Thornfree variety and was about 3-4 foot tall with three main runners.
I decided to plant it at the top of the allotment in the space behind the gooseberry bushes and in front of where I will be building the compost bins.
I am using a wire between two posts method and will train the runners down the wires. I first hammered scaffolding poles (that had been left on the allotment by the previous owner) into the ground at each edge of the allotment, about 12 foot apart.
I then ran galvanized steel wire between the posts, fortunately one of the posts had hols through it so that side was easy. Really I could have done with some wire tensioners to get the wire more taut, but I think what I have achieved will do.
We then dug a large hole, again, as with the Apple and Pear trees we recently planted we made the hole much larger than needed and mixed in some well rotted manure and compost into the hole along with some bone meal to promote root growth.
The Blackberry runners were then tied to the wire to start to train them along. It will be a case of keeping on top of it, making sure that it runs the wires and is trimmed before it gets out of control.
We will see if we get any fruit this season, it is a late fruiting variety so there is plenty of time for it to get established and set down some good roots and we have given it the best start possible.
I have bought a Thornless Blackberry from Swanland Nursery, I saw this when we bought the fruit trees a couple of weeks ago and decided to go for it.
It is the variety called Blackberry Thornfree and has large fruits. It seems to be well on for a pot grown plant, I assume it has been transplanted into the pot.
I plan to train this along wires, hopefully across the full width of the allotment. The RHS recommend a structure 2 meters high with wires every 45cm with the lowest being 23cm from the ground. I probably will not do mine quite that high, the previous owner left some scaffolding poles on the allotment, I will use those as my support and wires between.
The Blackberry will go behind the row of Gooseberry bushes to utilize the space between them and the compost bins.
I am very excited to get it planted, not sure it if will bear fruit this season, however, if it is anything like the wild varieties it will soon take off and the job will be to control it and train it where I want it to go rather than leaving it to its own devices. I will post another post about planting the blackberry when I have done it.
This is a video update from the allotment after planting another row of Charlotte Salad potatoes and sorting out the Greenhouse with the Tomatoes and Cucumber.
The next things on my list of jobs for the allotment are to get some more carrots sown in plugs, dig over the patch nearest the raised beds and sort that for some crops to go into such as onions and leeks and I urgently need to clear the weed growth from round the rhubarb before they get too strangled, really I should have mulched the rhubarb over winter, but last year did not end all that well for the allotment, hence being behind now!!!
I spent half an hour sorting out the greenhouse this afternoon. To my shame I had left it at the end of last season and not cleared it out. This was nothing that could not be easily sorted. Within half an hour I had cleared it, dug it over, put in some compost and had the Tomatoes and Cucumbers planted.
I should have posted this last week but forgot about it! We as you will know if you have been reading the blog we are building raised beds. Eva helped get them setup, here is a video of her hammering them into the ground.
I have not done a video update from the allotment so far this year so I thought it was about time that I did. I am really behind where I wanted to be, I did not get the pre-season preparation done so I feel that I am playing catch up.
You obviously have to take care when children are using them, Eva is quite sensible (mostly…!!!) but I am trying to teach her the correct and safe way to use them especially the fork which as we all know can be dangerous.
Today she has been digging, mostly a big hole, trying to dig to her Nanna and Gramps House about a mile away… but she has also helped dig the furrows for the potatoes.