I have so much to write about today, as I have been working so hard at my allotment this week. I wanted to finish planting all my crops before the long school holidays begin, in exactly one weeks time. The schools here in Leicestershire break up earlier than the rest of the country.
I started by planted some more perpetual spinach:
….And some more spring onions. I sow my spring onions in modules as I always had a very bad germination rate when I sowed them straight into the ground (though I don’t know why as they are supposed to be an easy plant to grow). By sowing a few seeds in each module, I find it almost guarantees a high germination rate. I don’t thin the spring onions either, I just plant them as they are when they are ready:
In the right hand photograph above, you can just see the newly planted spring onions and you can see the ones I planted out three or four weeks ago growing nicely behind.
I also planted out my spring broccoli, curly kale and some more khol rabi. All of the brassicas were planted in firm soil which I had dug and manured last autumn. I also walked over the area before planting.
As the ground was dry when I planted the brassicas out, I dug a hole for each plant and filled it with water. When the water had drained away, I then planted them. This allows the water to go deep into the ground to encourage the roots to also grow deep to find the water. It also helps to stop the water from evaporating quickly after planting.
I also planted some quick growing turnips too, but you may have to enlarge the photograph below to see them:
All my brassicas have nets over, to stop the dreaded pigeons eating them.
While I was working in my brassica patch, I removed any yellowing leaves from my remaining spring cabbages. This will help to stop the build up of any pests or diseases lurking in them. These cabbages were planted a month after my first spring cabbages and they are now starting to heart up nicely, so I will start to use these now.
I have now officially ran out of room in my brassica beds and so I can finally say I have finished my summer brassica planting:
This week I cut my comfrey down. I prefer to cut my comfrey down before it flowers, but I just wasn’t quick enough this month. If you have been reading regularly, you will know that I have already made comfrey tea this year (which incidentally is a wonderful high potash fertiliser used for all fruit and flowers e.g. it is a great tomato feed). You can read how to make comfrey tea here.
I have also added a vast amount of comfrey to my compost bins already this year. So when I cut it down at this time of the year, I lay it down between my main crop potatoes instead. This acts as a mulch to help to stop water evapourating from the ground and also helps to stop annual weeds from germinating. When the comfrey breaks down, I just dig it into the ground to add nutrients to the soil.
I think comfrey is a wonderful plant!
This week I also cleared my old perpetual spinach that had ran to seed and planted my french beans in it’s place:
I cleared my broad beans in my polytunnel that had finished producing beans:
And I cleared my poached egg plants that had finally finished flowering either side of my path. I transplanted some self seeded calendula plants in it’s place, though it looks quite bare at the moment it will soon grow and look pretty and be a bonus for the bees:
Another thing I have started to do is to ‘nip’ the tops of my runnerbeans off as they reach the top of their supports. This helps the plants to ‘bush out’ further down and produce more beans:
This week’s harvest:
Plants have been growing slowly due to the cold spring we have had. However, the plants are finally now producing and I seem to be having a bumper harvest.
I’ve started to pick my outdoor broadbeans this week and I have needed to pick them every other day:
I have found my peas are just great, even though they a month behind. My back has ached just picking them:
So too is the mangetout (even though some are a little larger than I would have liked, as I didn’t notice they were ready):
My potatoes taste delicious (especially with a knob of butter) and we are eating lots of lettuces, watercress and spring onions….I love summer so much.
And my strawberries…well what can I say other than it really is a bumper crop and I’m picking carrier bags full every two days:
Of course the down side is that I had to defrost my freezer ready for all the fruit and vegetables that I have been bringing home….
.,….but it will be worth it when we are still tasting ‘summer’ in the long cold winter months.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.
I will be back on Monday with some Jam making tips.
Hope you have a good weekend.