It’s official, I love this time of year! Is it spring? Could it possibly be the start of summer? Sometimes it feels like winter, but, what ever the season it is, I think it’s fantastic.
Over the last week I’ve been weeding like crazy, trying to keep the vegetable plots in tip-top condition ready for the seedlings to be planted out. Even though I’ve been, what I consider, to be very thorough in my weeding, I can’t believe the amount of bindweed still coming out. It’s fortunate that it’s been raining over the last few days, the ground is really soft making weeding all that much easier, still, the bindweed root was much chunkier than before, fingers crossed I’ve got most of it out now.
This month I’ve got my onion seedlings to plant out. Well they’re not really seedlings any more, they’re more like an onion jungle in their seed trays, but I’ve been gradually hardening them off along with my first batch of summer cauliflowers ready for planting either this weekend or at some point next week. The Brassica collars arrived this morning so they’ll go straight on to the cauliflowers when I plant them out. I’ve saved an old hose to try to construct a sort of arched tunnel covered in netting to protect the veg from bird attacks, haven’t quite figured out how to make it yet but that’s a challenge for another day!
While on the plot this morning I was absolutely delighted to see that the broad beans have started to produce flowers. I’m growing a crimson flowered variety and the lovely deep pink colour is just gorgeous. I’m hoping that the bean plants themselves will continue to grow taller as they still seem quite small, but as I’ve never grown broad beans before I’ll look forward to seeing how they come on.
Elsewhere on the plot the first leaves on the potatoes have started to poke through the soil. In first place we have the Lady Crystl variety which seems about right as they are the earliest cropping of the potatoes I’ve planted. In about a week I’ll start earthing them up, and I’ll need to keep an eye on the weather forecast just in case we get a sneaky frost.
The flowers in nature corner are coming along a treat and more tulips are starting to bloom. I think it’s really important for the allotment to have a little section which is slightly wild to encourage bees and other pollinators to the plot. There are still a few more tulips to come through and in a month or so I should have some alliums for the bees to feast on too.
Both apple trees are blossoming now which is just lovely to see. I was a bit worried when the male tree started to flower a week or so ago and the fruit bearing trees only had buds on them, but just yesterday the blossom on the female trees opened up, hooray! Apples will be had in the autumn!
Getting a move on with seed sowing, I’ve planted my sweetcorn today. I’m growing a super sweet variety called Swift and following the success of sowing my broad beans in cardboard tubes I’m doing the same with the sweetcorn. I’m planting about 20 seeds in total so I when they go into the ground they’ll make a decent sized block. I’m told that the corn tastes best if it’s cooked within 20 minutes of it being picked, before the sugars turn to starch, now that’s something I can’t wait to try!
The last job on the plot today was to tend to the greenhouse crops. The rocket and spinach I’ve been growing for micro salads are ready to be picked. I’ll pick them tomorrow so they can be enjoyed fresh for tea. I’ve got some radish seeds I was going to plant outside but I might try a few in the guttering once the rocket and spinach have been picked. The purple basil seedlings are taking ages to grow, they’ve been at the 2 leaf stage for weeks now, I’m hoping once the greenhouse warms up more they’ll have a growth spurt.
Finally the tomatoes. While I was watering them earlier this week I noticed that suckers had started to grow from the main stem. As I had a little time before I needed to leave the allotment, I got to work pinching them off. It’s important to remove these extra leafy growths because the plant can put more energy into producing fruit rather than into growing more leaves.
Tomorrow, the plan is to harvest more rhubarb, plant up the strawberries, check the onions and cauliflowers have survived their first all nighter outside, and to dig over the last 2 vegetable beds (again). I’m so happy to see the allotment really coming into bloom after months of waiting for signs of life. It’s definitely been worth the wait.