So it has been a bank holiday weekend here in Essex, which normally means; you plan to do things, the weather has other ideas.
Saturday morning started off bright and warm and descended into lightning, rain and hail.
Allotment10ans10a Steve popped over for a few hours to help dig the hole for the pond Mrs Allotment10and10a had been planning. He hit clay and 4 barrows later we were ready to fill the pond.
Mrs Allitment10and10a then continued to make it welcoming for the wildlife with stones.
And then finished it off with some logs in piles.
In other news, we thinned the chard seedlings, planted out the two leek varieties we’d been hardening off for a few weeks and weeded the rest of the root bed.
Mrs Allotment10and10a planted out her celery.
We earthed up the pink for apples but I forgot to get a picture of that and we managed to mow the grass and harvest some broad beans and globe artichokes.
It doesn’t look or sound like much but we are shattered and have done three for three days in the rain, hail, cloud and sun. Drank our way through 12 bottles of water, bruised knees, scratched legs and dirty, dirty shower water, but we’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved.
So the weather inEssex has improved and Sunday was warm, so Mrs Allotment10and10a and I decided to plot.
The maincrop potatoes were earthed up.
And Mrs Allotment10and10a moved her sweet peas to the fence surrounding the potatoes.
After weeding around the brassica cage we planted out some of the giant sunflowers and stock we’d been growing.
Planted out some onion seedlings we picked up cheap at the garden centre.
And then on to the next structure building. Mrs Allotment10and10a has wanted to put in a wildlife pond since we took on the plot. She’s hoping the frogs and toads will control the slug population. So a fellow plotter offered up a 50 gallon container and I had the make a start of trying to sink it into the ground. All I can say is it was warm and 50 gallons is big.
I retired the spade after going down about 12 inches.
A little more work for the bank holiday weekend, I think.
Cat for scale.
We also managed our first globe artichoke harvest, but forgot to take a picture, sorry.
Until next time, when hopefully we’ll have the first broad beans of the year.
We’d been hardening off the running beans and French beans for a while and wanted to get them in the ground.
We decided Thursday evening would be when we did it, but weather wasn’t on our side, but that didn’t stop us. We are hardy northern / midlands people living in the south.
The courgettes went in too.
We’re now hardening off the celery and the leeks.
We popped up the plot on Wednesday evening to give the polytunnel a water, and what greeted me was most disappointing, blackfly on the broad beans.
A quick spray and let’s hope they disappear.
So we’d planned where the runner beans were going back in January, when Mrs Allotment10and10a worked out the rotation, for this year.
We’ll as we had a day off and it was sunny we made a packed lunch and thought we’d get weeding and building the beans support.
I soon lost interest in the weeding but we persevered.
Now structure building on the plot usually starts, ends and in the middle has some form of argument.
No that’s not what I meant!
Are you doing this on purpose?
Why aren’t you listening to me?
And so on.
So when this one went relatively well and we added cross braces because of the wind, we were both quite impressed with the quality of this one.
We also mulched the trees and blueberries, and it’s the first year we have flowers on the blueberries, so fingers crossed for some fruit this year.
We also picked up a reduced Broom plant in Homebase, and planted that in what will become the flower bed.
Now just weeding the salad and courgette beds now…
So weeds had conquered the raspberry bed. It had only been a few weeks since we’d finished off the raspberry bed, and it was clear the amount of bark we’d put down to suppress the weeds wasn’t enough.
So after 2 hours weeding and 3 buckets for cooch grass, bind weed and all sorts of other things, we laid 400 litres of bark and, I have to say, it looks good, in my opinion.
The autumn canes don’t seem to be doing much but there is growth on a couple.
So we are back from our holiday, and it was amazing to see just how much had grown.
Our first trip up to the plot was to just water, as it had been dry whilst we were away and weren’t impressed with the Thomson flight times and 2 road closures and diversions on the way home.
The broad beans had really come on, and we have pods now on the over winter ones.
The trees have come on too
Artichokes have artichokes…
The weeds have conquered the raspberries, watch the space…
And the courgettes are ready to be hardened off.
Plans were afoot to have a couple of days up the plot with our remaining holiday, watch this space.
So, it’s currently 25 degrees and I’m sat next to a swimming pool, wondering, no hoping that it’s rained a bit at home, sorry.
Last Sunday we planted out our brassicas and netted them off. 2 varieties of sprouts, PSB and kale.
We mowed the paths because we knew if we didn’t it would be awful when we came back from holiday. Everything got a good water and we tidied the shed, again. Even more hanging space now:
And hooks for the watering can roses, so they can be deployed at a moments notice, and hopefully won’t fill with mud again:
And Mrs Allotment10and10a wasn’t impressed with my lack of artistic vision for the numbers:
We’ll be back on Wednesday and the polytunnel will need a soak but I’m hoping for some broad beans and artichokes to be ready. I’ll keep you posted.
Today marks the end of an era, it is a sad day in the Mr and Mrs Allotment10and10a house.
I went to the freezer, and found that we only had one bag of broad beans from last year’s harvest but we must remember to look on the bright side… broad beans will be fresh soon and the freezer will fill again.
I think broad beans are possibly my favourite vegetable, after asparagus, of course.
Any way we boiled up the last of the broad beans with pasta, chucked in some tomatoes and feta and coated in pesto.
The chicken was pan fried and basted with garlic and herb butter. More on the herbs another time but we have made a herb hanging basket and they are loving it.
This meal was really tasty, easy and fairly quick but what got me most excited was, in a couple of months we will, hopefully, have most of the ingredients on our plot and make this fresh.
So Sunday morning comes around, and it’s allotment time.
The sun was out but there was a cold breeze, but Sunday morning allotment time means I can put the radio on and listen to BBC Essex Quest. I’m getting far too old, too quickly, and my Essex geography is terrible.
Anyway, we are trying to stick to a rotation, and after broad beans comes brassicas.
We dug over the bed, finding raspberry suckers and small potato plants (it’s been 2 years since we had Red Duke of Yorks in there).
We had assistance from a little red helper.
Then the structure for the netting went over.
We’re hardening off the brassicas to plant in a couple of weeks. So more on this soon.
And it’s been awhile since we took in the whole plot, so here goes…
Without the big shed it has really changed the plot.