So for a few months Mrs Allotment10and10a and I had been debating whether we replace the polytunnel cover or get a greenhouse. Last weekend after weeks of trawling Facebook, eBay, Gumtree, Preloved and the internet in general, we were offered a second hand greenhouse. So went to the next village to dismantle it and take it to the allotment.
And so started the 3 day weekend to put it up before I head off for a week away with work. In those 3 days: rain, snow, hail, strong wind and finally some sunshine. 3 trips to B&Q, 2 trips to 2 different garden centres, and not having enough bits to finish.
We decided to move to patio the old shed sat on.
Patio up and weeded.
We bought a frame which I struggled to put together right
Then on to the fun of fitting the greenhouse to the frame
And then the glass was cleaned and put in.
And finally it’s finished
If you want some advice I am probably the wrong person to ask. Glad we did it but my god I’m shattered.
So the rain finally came in Essex, it was about 2 days late and lasted for about half as long as they’d forecast be the ground got a soaking, the water butts got a filling and the vegetables got swelling.
We popped up the allotment on Wednesday night and came home with courgettes, runner beans, French beans and what I am sad to say, maybe, the last of this years broad beans. So long friends, we’ve been through so much and you have served me well.
Sorry I thought I had a picture but don’t.
And the rain bought out this rather stunning poppy.
And the sunflowers didn’t seem to mind it.
And hiding amongst the cucamelon leaves, a first for Allotment10and10a…
But all that joy is wiped out preparing runner beans for the freezer
So it’s still warm in Essex and the promised rain hasn’t come so we gave the plot a good soaking, and whilst we waited for the tap and then the water butts to fill we weeding. And then weeded again.
The salad potatoes had blight so we pulled them today.
A bit disappointed with the harvest, so maybe next year it’ll be blight resistant varieties everywhere, still got the Caras in the ground.
The courgettes have powdery mildew so got a spray with bicarbonate and a good soak.
The polytunnel is looking good and cucumbers, chilliest and tomatoes are coming on.
Roots are doing well.
We’ve managed a few meals with our harvests:
BBQ tonight (courgette, Potatoes and broad beans from the plot)
Onion, chard and sausage sourdough pizza
It was hot digging up the potatoes today and trying not to spread any blight but tasting the potatoes today made it all worthwhile.
The warmth continues in Essex, so the plot needed a soaking.
Courgettes, French beans and runner beans are constantly growing.
The cucumbers are growing and taking over the polytunnel.
So it’s been quite warm in Essex recently and we both agreed, Mrs Allotment10and10a and I, that we should probably go and give the plot a soak but the weather was too good and we had a BBQ instead.
The next morning it was rather mild, so I took the opportunity to get up, fill the water butts and soak the plot. It was so peaceful at 5:30 in the morning. No queue for the tap. And I had an hour weeding the roots and pulling some overgrown grass around the black currants.
The Swiss Chard is really coming on, it’s such a happy vegetable. The rest of the roots and coming on well too but we seem to have lost a few celeriacs we planted out.
We are really pleased with the plot at the moment. Grass paths are short, keeping on top of weeds but there looks like imminent bind weed invasion from the neighbours which we need to sort out.
And finally the sunflowers are nice and welcoming, a happy flower.
It wasn’t until lunchtime and I was sat at my desk, at work and the heavens opened I realised my early morning exploits weren’t needed but set me up for a positive day and I thought of a sign I see on a neighbouring plot. A good day is on I spend on my allotment. I just need to win the lottery and I can spend more days up there.
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.