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...........

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weather for Ducks/Slugs/Weeds

For the last couple of weeks the weather has stopped being 'changeable' and settled on 'constant rain'.  Of course, the one day that it has not rained recently was last Sunday, when I was busy doing other stuff.

But the two batches of dwarf beans and the squash/courgette/cucumbers can't live in pots in the courtyard garden forever, getting waterlogged, eaten by snails and going yellow with lack of feed in their compost, so I dodged today's heavy showers and set off to the Hill.

I was extremely pleased to see the peas zooming up their wigwams, and I had to spend a few minutes with ties making sure they stayed where they were supposed to be.

Not so good (in fact terrible) were the French beans that I planted out a couple of weeks ago - the slugs/snails have had an absolute field day with one batch of beans totally disappeared, and only the runners just about holding their own.

It started raining, and I was very gloomy about the slug damage to the beans, carrots and - now I came to have a look - the row of decimated lettuce, so once I had planted out the last couple of batches of beans, I resorted to a sprinkling of slug pellets.  Not loads - in fact a slaloming slug could pick its way through, if sufficiently determined, but if I want any beans at all, I can see no way round it.

I still don't know if it is the slugs eating the carrot seedlings as they emerge, or if I have a dicey packet of carrot seed - I sowed a row of a different variety to see if it makes any difference.  I am half hearted about carrots - by the time the slugs have had a go along with the inevitable carrot fly, there is very rarely anything looking like a carrot left for me to eat in any case.

I got my head down and weeded the onions, the beds for this years miscellaneous crops and the nursery bed whilst weathering another shower, then planted out the concurbits, and a dozen calabrese plants that I bought at the garden centre a couple of weeks ago.

As always, I could have spend days just weeding, but it all looks better - and despite the best endeavours of weeds/slugs/weather, I will very shortly be eating broad beans and new potatoes, something I wouldn't swap for the world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Changeable Weather

We have had an extraordinary contrast in the weather over the last couple of weeks - we had a week towards the end of May when it was so hot you couldn't move, and this week the temperatures have dipped and - boy - has it rained.

The first chance I had this long bank holiday weekend to get out and not get thoroughly soaked was yesterday, when I packed the car high with bean seedlings and headed to the Hill.  Because the bean frame was prepped already, I just needed to tickle the soil with a fork and get planting.  Instant allotment - I love it!

One of the climbing bean varieties has not done well - I've sown further seed - so I have a gap there, and I still need to put two lots of dwarf beans out, but otherwise, that bed can look after itself.

I was distracted by some weeding - a never ending job - then sowed a couple of rows of parsnip and carrot.  I  sowed the carrot thickly as I have become suspicious of this seed packet's viability.  Despite squinting closely at the two previous rows I have put in, I cannot see any seedlings at all.  The parsnips are all coming up which were sown at the same time, but not a sniff of carrot.  It's either the slugs hoovering up the seedlings as they come up, or seed which is past its best - something I am quite prepared to believe.

The weather seems to have suited the peas and broad beans - flowers now on the first broadies I planted out, and the peas all clinging to their wigwams.  The potatoes are all looking quite chipper, too, so I earthed them up, and now they can get on with it as well.

I nodded in satisfaction of a job well done then walked up the plot to put the spade and fork away.  I passed the asparagus bed and admired the plants - all twelve crowns looking good - when I spotted an IMPOSTER in the midst. Yes, the first of the asparagus beetles - AAAGH! I had a quick beetle-squashing session - if I can't eat the asparagus till next year, I'm damned if I'm going to let them scoff it!

Then home to plant out the peppers into their final pots in the mini green house (late, I know) and to plant out the tomatoes into their buckets.

And now it is raining again.
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