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Thread: Penellype's Allotment

  1. #769
    Penellype's Avatar
    Penellype is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Today's main job was to get the bedding plants out (or at least some of them) at home, and this required a trip to the garden centre for a few more plants and some strulch to mulch the bed with. Preparing the soil and planting out took much of the rest of the time available, but I did manage a trip to the plot at lunchtime, when I deadheaded the bluebells along the roadside hedge and removed horsetail, nettles and grass that were growing behind them.

    The lettuces and spinach in the hotbed are now getting a bit tall for the net, which means I will soon have to remove it. I'm not sure if this will allow carrot fly in, so I decided to investigate the state of the carrots, and harvested 2. They were a reasonable size considering they were only sown in February - about 3/4 inch across and 4 inches long. I also harvested the usual lettuce and spinach.

    The rain was again a tease. A huge shower approached from the west, clipped the north of the village then once it was clear of me moved south so that looking at the radar you would have sworn it rained here. It rained hard at the stables 2 miles away, but not a drop at the allotment.
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  2. #770
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    No time at all at the plot on Tuesday, but I intended to make up for that yesterday.

    I went down in the morning and sowed some parsnips from a new packet, as the ones I put to chit from the previous (also new) packet were showing no signs of life. With hindsight it was stupid of me to buy them from where I did - the garden centre concerned is basically a huge greenhouse, and it gets very hot at times. I suspect the seeds (which did not have a foil inner packet) have not liked the storage conditions. The new packet is from somewhere else.

    Having done that I went round the tunnel and dug up all the bits of horsetail that were starting to appear. Almost all of these were shoots from tiny pieces of root and the whole thing came out, but I am under no illusions that I have got it all!

    The next job was to clear the horsetail from the road side of the hawthorn hedge. The council have been along with weedkiller and everything else is dead, giving the horsetail free run to take over, which it is doing very rapidly. I spent about half an hour pulling out everything I could reach, and there are only a few shoots that are entangled in nettles in the middle of the hedge left. While I was doing this an old lady came to wait for the bus and told me she had been friends with the person who used to have my allotment, who has now died. She said she was glad to see that I was keeping it so well, which was nice.

    Once I had finished I had had enough of bending down, so I harvested a lettuce and a beetroot and went home.

    I'd intended to do more in the afternoon, but events rather took charge and I ended up waiting in for phone calls and only had time to water in the evening.
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  3. #771
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    Snadger is online now Dundiggin
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    Just wondered Penellype, is the amount of horsetail you seem to be pulling out on a daily basis really helping or are you not just root pruning and making it flourish? Luckily I have never had to deal with this pernicious weed so wil plead ignorance on the subject.
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  4. #772
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    I think it is really helping. When I first got the plot there was a network of horsetail roots about 8 inches below the surface throughout the whole area. Left to itself, as the next door plot holder did with half his plot last spring, this results in something that looks like a meadow, except that the "grass" is 100% horsetail. I think you would struggle to grow much at all in this without attacking it somehow.

    My approach is a 2-pronged attack. Where I can dig, I have dug out all the root I can, digging it over several times with a fork rather than a spade, to avoid chopping it up as much as possible. If I find a long root I try to tease it out if possible, although sometimes it breaks off. I then watch for any regrowth, and dig out individual pieces as they grow, again trying to get the whole thing out. This continues until I plant something, and then I can't dig so I pull out whatever comes up, which often breaks off. Many of the shoots coming up now (but not all) are smaller and thinner, coming from small pieces of root that I am gradually completely removing.

    Where I can't dig I pull out or break off anything that appears above the surface as soon as I can after I see it. I have less evidence that this is working in the hedges and grass paths, but in my mind it must be better than leaving it to grow. It is interesting that on the next door plot, where he hasn't pulled it, there were loads of fruiting bodies, but the only ones I found on my plot were along the boundary with his, whereas there were several in and around the tunnel last year. This implies to me that the plant has been weakened so that it hasn't the energy to produce spores.

    I won't ever completely get rid of it as the whole area is infested, but I'm determined to keep it well under control.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

  5. #773
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    No time for gardening on Thursday and yesterday was rather busy too, but I was determined to get plenty done as the weather looks likely to deteriorate.

    I went down early, taking with me my 5l can of water, which will go with me every time I visit the plot until further notice, as my dustbins are rapidly emptying. Despite the forecast for a showery week we haven't had a drop of rain. I spent a while digging out emerging horsetail shoots in the tunnel and pulling out weed seedlings. I then deadheaded the bluebells at the end of the tunnel as they had finished flowering. I then took the horsetail to the tip as my trugs were full.

    After a break, as I had things to see to at home, I was back and went round the grass pulling all the horsetail I could see, before mowing it. I then went home to mow the lawns while everything is dry.

    I was back later in the afternoon and went round the raised beds pulling out horsetail. I took the net off the hotbed as the spinach is now too tall and the net was damaging the leaves. I harvested some spinach and 3 carrots for tea. As last year, the spinach leaves are huge - this is one of them, which was 15 inches long!

    Penellype's Allotment-001.jpg
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

  6. #774
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    Yesterday was busy and it was a case of squeezing in time at the plot as best I could. I went down early to pick up the jar of slugs for the chickens and also took down 2 cucumbers and a melon as they were getting too big for the lights.

    The first job was to get the peas and courgettes planted out as they were getting a bit big and hopefully they will get rained in nicely. The peas filled up the bed next to the rhubarb - there was quite a bit of horsetail poking up under the weed matting that I had covered the bed with, so I dug this out first. The Meteor peas nearer the road are flowering nicely.

    The courgettes were going to follow the cauliflowers, but as these are showing no sign of producing heads yet (they are supposed to be eaten in May), I decided to use the empty bed next to the potatoes, which I have been digging horsetail out of. I dug the bed over and removed quite a few pieces of horsetail, then planted the 2 courgettes, sprinkling slug gone around them. They should give me all I need, so the 3 smaller plants at home can go to my friend's.

    The melon plant was about 6 inches tall so I decided the best thing to do with it was to plant it in the hotbed straight away, as if it gets much bigger I will be in danger of breaking it. It will also (possibly) be a bit warmer near the surface of the bed if we get a cold night. The plant got a copper ring (the courgettes should have had one but were too big to fit it over them) and slug gone, and hopefully won't get eaten. Watering in all of these new plantings used a frightening amount of water, and my bins are emptying fast.

    I picked a beetroot and some lettuce and rhubarb and went home for lunch.

    From the radar picture I could see that rain was approaching and I probably only had about another hour after lunch before it got here. I wanted to trim the long bits of grass, as there were quite a few thick flower stems which my little mower won't cope with. I went round doing this and picked out any horsetail I saw. By the time I'd finished the rain was clearly approaching and I put out some more trays I'd brought down with me to collect water, gave the potatoes a drink and picked some spinach for tea.

    It has rained on and off since about half way through yesterday afternoon, and I went down first thing to see how much water I'd collected. My bin lids, trays and wheelbarrow probably accumulated about a watering can full between them, but its better than nothing and its raining slightly again now. The main thing though is that the ground is no longer completely bone dry on top, although how far in the rain has got is anyone's guess. There should be more water to collect later.
    Last edited by Penellype; 26-05-2019 at 07:44 AM.
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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. #775
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    It rained on and off for much of yesterday morning and I stopped on the way home from the stables to collect the water - surprisingly little (about 1/2 a bucketful) probably because it was also warm and quite windy. I was already late for lunch so I didn't hang about.

    The sun came out in the afternoon and it was really quite warm. I spent about an hour pulling out raspberry suckers, putting back the mulch that the birds had pulled off the raspberries and pulling out some weeds. I also put some butterfly netting over the courgettes that I planted on Saturday as the birds had already half dug one of them up. Hopefully the holes in the net will be big enough to let the bees in, if not, by the time they flower they will at least have had some chance to get established.

    Finally I harvested the inevitable spinach, a couple of carrots and a small turnip (the first of the year), watered the newly planted peas and courgettes and the plants in the growhouse, and went home to do a few jobs in my garden.
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    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

  8. #776
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    A good session at the plot yesterday morning, weeding the tunnel and digging out bits of horsetail that were already appearing again, plus the bits that were growing where the leeks had been (I forgot to mention that I harvested the last of these on Sunday). The carrots I sowed in there about 10 days ago are already germinating (fast for carrots) - hopefully the slugs will leave some for me this time!

    I also tied some string across the bigger peas to hold them back against the netting - this will hopefully allow me to get between the rows to pick them (they always take up more space than you think) and stop them getting blown over as it is windy.

    The forecast was for showers in the afternoon and by lunchtime it was already looking threatening, so I harvested a beetroot and some lettuce and went home.

    The showers managed to work their way around the village again, so I went back in the afternoon and dug a bit more horsetail out of the paths near the tunnel and between the hotbeds. By the time I'd done this it was starting to rain so I harvested spinach for tea and went home. I was glad I did as there was a brief but heavy shower with some hail in the mix.

    I was back when the rain stopped and collected about 1/2 a bucketful of water. The radar showed a much bigger showers heading this way, and as often happens, it began throwing it down when I was out seeing to the horses. This time there was about 1/2 an hour of really quite heavy rain and I collected a useful amount of water from my bin lids etc on the way home. There were further showers in the evening and this morning another decent amount means that one of the previously empty dustbins is now nearly full. I'm still carrying my 5l can of water down every time I go though - I'm well aware how quickly a bin full of water will disappear when it is warm and dry again.
    Jungle Jane and geepee like this.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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