I'll be honest I haven't spent nearly as much time as I would have liked at the allotment recently, a combination of going back to work, home life and general life things getting in the way and to be honest at the moment, there isn't an awful lot for me to do except weed, weed and yep you guessed it.... weed. Bed 2(the brassicas and onions) is continually sprouting couch grass and mare's tail,which I find unusual as I filled this bed with shop bought compost and soil "improver", Bed 1 keeps throwing up couch grass shoots which I 'm fairly sure has come from the horse manure I got from the plot stables but didn't allow to rot down properly(beginner mistake which I hopefully won't make again) and Bed 3 is doing the same, not because of manure but I foolishly turned any turf I took off the top over thinking it would kill it, turns out its somewhat more determined to survive than I anticipated. All of this will be rectified at the end of the growing season when I cover all my beds with cardboard for winter which will hopefully prevent any more growth next year although I'm aware of how impossible a task it is to actually eradicate mare's tail without pesticides, etc. Now I know what it looks however, I'm seeing EVERYWHERE on the allotment site which is both a good thing(means I didn't accidentally introduce it) and a bad thing because well mare's tail.
On the plus side, it seems everything I've planted is growing and seemingly growing well, with the exception of my carrots which have failed to germinate apart from 1 lonely carrot. The second early potatoes are starting to flower and should be ready to harvest soon, worringly some of the main crop I planted have started to flower too, not sure if their ready early or what but I guess i'll find out when I dig them up. The onions are finally starting to swell and I really need to look up how long onions take and what the signs are that they are ready for collection, the purple sprouting broccoli is doing well although one plant seems to have become the sacrificial lamb as it were and has been decimated, presumably by slugs/ snails, the cauliflower or calabrese that I sowed last month is starting to show and I finally planted out my brussel sprouts, which will hopefully be ready for christmas dinner along with the parsnips which are showing as decent amount of top growth, fingers crossed they're doing the same below the surface too. Pumpkins are doing great although one of the plants died fairly soon after planting out, similar thing happened with the sweetcorn but they're showing signs of good growth. The runner beans are starting to climb there bamboo teepee and the peas have gone nuts and are approximately 5ft high already, and 2 out of 3 apple trees have apples growing which makes me incredibly happy for some reason.
Like I said other than watch things grow and weed there's not a lot I can do at the moment although i'm constantly thinking about the allotment and planning what I want where in the future, I think I said in a previous post I was going to look into building my own shed and moving the polytunnel to the top of the allotment, a few reasons for this:
Building my own shed allows me to make it how I want and save money doing so
The top doesn't get anywhere near as boggy compared to the bottom of the plot (obviously)
I'll have a better view of the allotment from the top looking down
This will give me a large-ish area in which to potentially create a raised seating area with somewhere for my children to play when I want to work on the plot.
Another thing I plan/need to do in the near future is clear the left side(looking up the plot) of weeds and eventually replace the fencing as it's all rotten and in a dreadful state, to the point where i'm pretty sure most of it is being held up by the weeds around it. Again I want to do this to a) make it more aesthetically pleasing and b) save a few pennies by doing it as cheap as possible. Any suggestions for fencing would be greatly appreciated, I need something that's going to look nice but also be dog proof.
This last weekend in June is also my last chance to get the allotment ready for the Photo Competition, as the closing date for entries is the 4th of July. As I mentioned in my last blog post I'm planning on entering 3 of the 4 categories, Best Allotment Plot, Best New Plot and Best Allotment Photo, although if i'm being honest and realistic I think my best chance is the Best New Plot category simply because my plot was a jungle and a dumping ground when I took it on, complained about regularly by other plot holders and without being too arrogant, i feel i've improved the plot significantly in the 8-9 months I've had it.
Me and my eldest went up on saturday(26th) armed with newly purchased Qualcast Battery Strimmer and I set about taking care of some of the weed growth around the paving slabs and edges of the plot in order to try and tart the place up a bit before i take my final competiton photos, I also set my eldest teh task of taking some photos of tyhe place whilst I was busy,unfortunately my strimmer battery died before I could get everything done and it was a little bit to warm to be doing much of anything really, so after an hour or so we called it quits and headed home.
On sunday my wife and I decided all 4 of us should visit the plot, giving me a chance to finish what i'd started and the kids a place to burn off some energy, and honestly it was a really pleasant time for all, its only the second or third time we've all been there together as it's not been particularly safe for the children but i made certain parts much safer fro them and they quite happily played and sat watching me do all the work, I did manage to convince them both to do a small amount of weeding which was helpful.
Thats about it for this post, other than to say that i've decide to put all the images for this post, a lot of which were taken by my son, in a gallery at the bottom to see if it makes for a more flowing read,etc. Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave some comments, critique or criticism either here or on my socials linked below.