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Thread: Penellype's Allotment

  1. #657
    Penellype's Avatar
    Penellype is offline Mature Fruiter
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    One day I will learn not to believe the forecast when it says its going to be dry! It rained in the morning and drizzled for much of the afternoon, and I decided that housework was a better option than gardening. I did get to the plot to collect the buckets of horsetail roots which I took to the tip, and I harvested a lettuce and some beetroot while I was there.

    Hopefully the weather will be more inviting tomorrow.
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  2. #658
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    Much better day today, sunny and not too cold out of the wind.

    I wanted to get the white currant bush pruned at home while the lawn wasn't too soggy to walk on, so I did that first. I then went down to the plot and walked round picking up all the plastic that had blown into the hedges in the wind.

    A job that has been niggling at me is sorting out the buckets of compost. This was originally in the black dalek at the plot and is quite rough and full of bits of plastic and tea bags, stones etc. It grew potatoes last year and needed removing from the buckets which will be needed for more potatoes fairly soon. I didn't want it freezing solid in the buckets. I've been mulling over what to do with it and I'd had an idea.

    First there were some strawberry runners in small pots which have now rooted, and I potted 4 of them up into a MFB. That makes 6 MFBs of 4 plants each of the variety that was in the soil at the allotment. Being new runners, these should now be horsetail-free. I was left with 5 buckets of compost, half a bucket of soil/subsoil that came out when I was putting the edging board along the raspberry bed, and 2 empty buckets.

    At home I have several black troughs, 2ft x 1ft and about 9 inches deep. These seem ideal for growing strawberries and after lunch I took 2 of them to the plot along with 16 potted runners from my favourite strawberry variety, Marshmello. I filled the troughs to within a couple of inches of the top with some of the compost from the buckets, but decided not to put any more in as it contains a lot of soil and is quite heavy (I want to be able to lift the troughs onto shelves) and also contains a lot of weed seeds. The idea is therefore to top the troughs up with a spare grow bag that I have at home, which should be lighter than the soil based compost and should act as a mulch. I plan to finish this job tomorrow.

    There were still 3 buckets of compost left, and my plan for the rest of this was to add it to the parsnip bed, which should help dilute the filling (which is mostly rotted horse muck). I decided to sieve it first to remove any large chunks in the hope this will stop the parsnips forking. I therefore spent the rest of the afternoon sieving the compost and spreading it on the parsnip bed, where it formed a layer just under an inch thick. I mixed this in with the remains of the hotbed that I'd put in earlier. I'm now left with 6 empty buckets, one bucket half full of poor soil (which I need to decide what to do with) and 1/2 a bucket of chunky bits from the compost, which needs sorting into plastic rubbish, compostable bits, stones, lumps of soil and the odd small potato.

    I feel like I have made some good progress today and got a really useful job done. That compost has been bothering me for a while and it was only last night that I thought of sieving it and adding it to the parsnip bed.
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  3. #659
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    Yesterday was showery and cold. I made 2 trips to the plot, the first in the morning in the car, to deliver a growbag and 3 buckets of compost which went onto the cauliflower bed. I then went back in the afternoon to plant up the strawberries in their troughs. By the time I'd done this I was frozen, so I harvested a head of PSB (which was thankfully aphid-free) and went home.

    No gardening time today.
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  4. #660
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    Not a great deal of time yesterday due to appointments and work, but I managed a trip to the plot over lunchtime. I dug over the pea bed again (still some fairly large pieces of horsetail root), then repotted the blackcurrant bush using some of the leftover grow bag from the strawberries. The original plan was to plant this in the ground, but I haven't any horsetail-free space for it and I also want to see what the new fence looks like when the council get round to cutting the hedge down. Realistically its going to be a year at least before I plant the bush, so I thought it would appreciate some fresh compost.

    That done, I tidied up the brassicas in the tunnel, which were again shedding dead leaves. The brokali has been disappointing here - the central heads of all 3 plants have gone black and slimy. I cut them off and threw them away, and hopefully the sideshoots will be ok, but I am starting to think that the calabrese and brokali do better in buckets at home, although this year aphids have been a big issue in both locations.
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  5. #661
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    The main job this weekend was to get the hotbed started. This is a little early, but the forecasters have been warning of the potential for a cold spell at the end of January into February, possibly lasting some time. This is by no means a certainty and may never happen, but I really, really didn't fancy the prospect of doing this job in the snow, and I only really get the chance at a weekend, so I went for it.

    On Saturday morning I ferried 18 trug loads of muck from the stables to the allotment and put it into the hotbed in layers, treading each layer down as I did so. By the time I'd done this (and mucked out my horses in the process) I was exhausted and had run out of time. I covered the bed with a piece of weed suppressant to keep the smell and any heat in and went home. I'd half a plan to finish the job in the afternoon, but in typical York fashion, despite an all-dry forecast it rained quite hard most of the afternoon.

    On Sunday I continued the job with another 8 trugs of horse muck and topped it up with 4 40 litre bags of fresh compost from the garden centre. It was blowing a gale and I didn't fancy wrestling with the plastic cover, so the weed matting went back on top.

    This morning I went down and put up the frame and plastic tunnel to complete the setup. The cover had a few small holes in it which I patched with greenhouse repair tape. I don't think these covers will last very long (this one is only a year old), which is a shame as they are exactly the right size for the beds. Hopefully it will do this year at least.

    Having got things to my liking and weighed down the edges of the cover with bricks and chunks of stone, I found my compost thermometer and stuck it in. The air temperature was reading about 8C, but the needle shot up as I pushed it into the hotbed and it settled at around 30C. I need to wait until it drops a bit before I sow any seeds I think!
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  6. #662
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    I went back yesterday afternoon and dug over the tunnel end of the road end bed, which will be growing peas this year. Encouragingly little horsetail came up this time, although there was an unpleasant quantity of cat poo. I found some pieces of metal and plastic mesh and put these over the bits that the weed matting didn't cover in the hope of deterring the cat(s). I then spent a good half hour clearing up bits of plastic and dead leaves that had blown in over the weekend and removed a few weed seedlings along the way. Harvested one of the leeks for tea - as with the last one, when I cut this open it was starting to bolt, so I think the rest of these need eating soon.

    Today I dug the rest of the road end bed (apart from where the rhubarb is). There was a bit more horsetail in this part as it hasn't been dug as many times. I then took the stakes out from under the parsnip net so that it drops back down over the hoops - the parsnip foliage has died down and there is no longer any need for the taller net and I could see it sagging badly and pulling the seam apart if we get a lot of wet snow. It will be much better with a rounded top than how it was before. (I took the net off the carrot cage at home this morning for the same reason). While I was doing this I harvested a couple of the smaller parsnips. I also harvested another of the leeks for tea.

    The temperature in the hotbed is now between 35 and 40C. Definitely far too hot for spinach and lettuce at the moment.
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    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

  7. #663
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    ^Shame the air temperature is so low, as you'd be getting a good head start on some early toms otherwise.

    Hope you have a good 2019.
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    Note to self: Getting too old not to have a life.

  8. #664
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    Thanks Snoop Puss - yes the heat is really only at the surface, so if it gets frosty the upper part will soon get cold. The bed will soon cool down - last year it settled at around 15C. Once it falls below 20C I will be sowing spinach, beetroot and lettuce in there.
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    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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