Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Final prep & sneaky sowings!

We’ve finally had some cold weather & frosts this week, & there has been some snow in the south, but this morning was sunny & warmer (about 6 degrees) & off I went to the Hill with a spring in my step.

Before I went, I checked on the CAULIFLOWER sown in peat pots & was thrilled to see 2 or 3 little seedlings just poking their heads up.

To further our seed bed aspirations, I wanted to rig up a cold frame of sorts. I selected a patch of land near the line of RHUBARB plants (which was going to be our ‘fruit garden’, but that’ll have to wait it’s turn), & whizzed over it with the fork ‘to form a fine tilth’ as all the books say.

Using a dozen bricks & a 6’ by 3’ polycarb sheet – which had started life with the intention of becoming part of a conservatory roof – I settled the bricks down in a row, laid the polycarb on to form a slope, secured the other end with a couple of bricks & a heavy plank & voilà! Cold frame!

It did strike me that there is only the height of one brick (i.e. about 4 inches) so seedlings will soon hit their heads – & that’s at the tall end – but for the time being the row of LETTUCE (little gem) seeds that I couldn't wait to sow can appreciate the luxury of modern conservatory living.

There’s no sign of the BROAD BEANS that I put in last weekend (‘didn’t you soak them overnight before you sowed them?’ said Reg with surprise) but undeterred, I’ve sown half a row of CARROTS (adelaide) & covered them with fleece in plot C, this year’s Root Bed.

I asked Reg when to put the onion sets in (‘when the ground’s at the right temperature’ – not helpful!), & about potato spacings (‘15 per row, rows are 2’3” apart for earlies & 2’6” for main crop’) & realise that with 60 earlies alone, I’ve more or less used up all the potato plot just with these.

Reg suggested that you can buy potatoes pick-and-mix at Hirons so you get exactly what you want. So I went over there this afternoon & have bought a row (i.e. 15) second earlies ‘Nadine’ with seem to be resistant to just about everything nasty & are supposed to taste lovely & waxy.

The Plan was to have 2 rows of earlies (Rocket), 1 row of second earlies (Nadine) & 3 rows of maincrop (as yet unspecified), but with 60 of Rocket upstairs, I may have to palm half of them off somewhere (I seem to recall that cousin Wendy has an allotment & I’m seeing her in a couple of weeks – a slightly odd present for my hostess, but it’s a thought). Serves me right for buying potatoes by the bag from Wilko - as Reg's expression clearly said.

That just about wraps up January – it’s been very mild in the main, & not as wet as December. The plot is looking ready, & so am I – raring to go for February!

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