and I finally feel like all the work at the allotment is starting to pay off. I've been to the allotment a lot more in the past month as my enthusiasm is high and I got a letter from the council about the upcoming allotment awards, which is definitely inspiring and encouraging, and i'm determined to win something! The awards are a little different at the moment, i've been informed that pre-covid you submitted your entries and then the comittee members came round and inspected your plots, however due to lockdowns and social distancing along with all the other rules and regulations in place, they decided to make it a photo competition, which thanks to this blog I have over 100 pictures that I need to sift through and find suitable contenders for the 3 out of 4 categories i'm eligible for.
I'm far from eligible for the Best Young Gardener and I have a feeling that Best CTC Allotment Plot may be out reach too, this year although I will still enter, but I reckon if I put some extra effort in between now and the deadline, i've got every chance at Best New Plot and possibly Best Allotment Photo, if I can find the right thing to photograph.
The best thing about this time of year is seeing seedlings come to life, especially for an amatuer like myself, theres something very gratifying about seeing seeds I've sown starting to grow. The onion sets, potatoes and apple trees are all starting to show growth, the lettuces(little gems) that I sowed last month have sprouted and will eventually be moved to the middle of my potato bed once they're ready to be transplanted, I also looked up leek germination as my they didn't appear to be doing much of anything, and after a bit of research I decided that they must've failed(I got the seeds from a fellow allotmenteer, and have no idea how old they were, etc) and chose to buy a fresh pack of Autumn King Leeks and direct sow them next to the onion sets. A few days after I had done this, as sods law would have it, my leeks at home began to show, so now I have a third of a bed dedicated to leeks and approx. 40-50 more in a seed tray at home. May have to see if any fellow plot holders, family or friends want a few as I highly doubt i'll be able to eat ~100 leeks, although i'm open to recipe suggestions if you want leave them in the comment section below. Another tray of seeds I planted are my marigolds, however I also have my doubts about these, they've finally started to sprout but compared to the pictures of seedlings I can find on the internet they look nothing alike, and to my novice eyes look more like grass. I'll keep tending to them and keep my fingers crossed that I'm just being impatient and soon i'll be surrounded by french marigolds.
I've also been busy planting some pumpkins, sunflowers, peas and preparing a place for my carrots and parsnips, again the sunflowers and pumpkins have taken a long time to start showing but they're finally showing signs of life, however it appears 50% of the pumpkin seeds have failed and I think it may be that I have over watered the seeds when sowing them, but we live and learn and I have at least 2 successful shoots, plus i'm still holding my breath on the others. I decided to make use of the polytunnel for the time being and found an old piece of guttering I had at home, which has been repurposed into a hanging pea tray, I figured it would be the safest place for them until they get to a decent size and it will encourage me to start the dreaded third bed, where I plan to plant them and my runner beans. The parsnips and carrots are going to be sown this weekend(May Bank holiday) now that i've got the bed built out of some pallet collars that I managed to acquire from work and located it next to my compost bins. Unfortunately I once again had to buy the compost for this bed as I don't have enough available on the site just yet.
Once the pallet collar bed was in place and filled, it got me to thinking about my original layout of the compost bins, and I think that at the end of the growing season and before the next, i'm going to move the bins to the top of the plot, where the condemned shed is at the moment, this would free up the entire right hand side of the plot for more pallet collar beds. I'm just not looking forward to clearing the top part of the plot as its incredibly overgrown with brambles and the only real way to permanently get rid of them is digging the roots up. On the subject of compost bins, I got a surprise delivery of horse manure, which I've covered and left to rot down a bit and finally got around to building the removable fronts for the bins as well as putting a roof on the manure bin, and they look so much better for it, plus it will stop my dog trying to eat it all. I've also started turning over one of the existing bottom beds where I plan to plant my pumpkins, sweetcorn(once i've sown them) and possibly melons if I decide to try growing them, which I think can go in the same bed as the pumpkins, although I will have to look in to it before start just planting things together again.
I've had the allotment for roughly 6 months now and looking through some of the pictures, I think it's safe to say it's coming together nicely, although it's a long way from where I want it to be. The before and after below really show how far its come and whilst I may be blowing my own trumpet, I'm damn proud of the work i've done so far.
Well thats all for now, as things are starting to pick up and i've been placed back on furlough, i'm going to be spending even more time at the plot when I can, trying to get it looking as nice as possible for the photo competition, and who knows I may even increase the number of posts i'm putting out if things start changing rapidly. Make sure you're signed up for the new post email alerts, or drop me a follow on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for taking the time to read this and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, opinions and suggestions.