Martins Diary 10/3/17

It’s a few weeks since I wrote the last entry, I will have to get better.

The weather has been quite mild for this time of year so plants are growing well, including the weeds. I have made a start on weeding a few areas of the plot, first off was the garlic planted last October. After a slow start it is growing well and needed weeding and feeding to keep the growth going.

The next area to be weeded was the small flower bed behind the strawberries, this now needs cultivating and is ready for the season.

I have finished digging where the green tunnel was, what a job that was. The soil was well compacted form several years of walking in it and it was full of perennial roots of mares tail, bindweed and nettle.

I have been clearing out the remains of last years root beds in the tunnels and outside and digging them over for this year. I have emptied one of the leek beds and that is now dug.

The Brassicas, onions and leeks that I sowed in January are transplanted into modules and are growing well. The beetroot and carrots that I sowed in the tunnel three weeks ago are just starting to show through the soil. The new growing year is going well!

I am still harvesting leeks, parsnips, sprouts from last years sowing, and have cut the first broccoli that was planted in the tunnel last September.

The Apricot I planted this year in the big tunnel has started flowering (they need pollinating with a paint brush) and the Nectarine I planted last year is full of flower, more paint brush work!

That’s all for now, hopefully more next week.

 

Martin’s Diary

Here we are at the start of a new gardening year with a lot to think about and even more to do.
This is the time to make plans for the year and work out what we want to do.
As always I have a lot of ideas for the allotment, some will get done and some may not, only time will tell.

PLANS FOR THE YEAR
1 To dig out the plant bed between the two tunnels
2 Make a pond in the new bed
3 Rebuild the chicken run, to enable me to stand up in it!

WORK TO EXISTING AREAS
1 Tidy up the strawberry bed near the road.
2 Plant up the fruit cage.
3 Move the two small green tunnels onto the strip of land next to the tunnel

Now back to the present, what have I done this week.
My seed potatoes have arrived and most have been put into seed trays on the bedroom window sill to sprout. The other bag of earlies are in 5 rows in the big tunnel.
I have planted the apricot that arrived just after new Year in the tunnel and the cherry is now planted against the shed.

The carrot beds in both tunnels have been cleared of the odds and sods left in ready to be dug in preparation for the next crops

I have finished the leeks in the tunnel and will have to start on the outside ones soon. I am still picking sprouts from inside and digging parsnips for the beds outside.

Annual show and BBQ

The annual show and BBQ takes place on Sunday 4th September, this is an enjoyable event which is for all to take part in.
The show is only for plot holders to see what produce other plotholders are growing and to enjoy comparing our produce with others. Entries are to be placed on display between 11.00am and 1.30pm to enable the hall to be readied for judging by 2.00pm. donations are asked for entries and prizes will be awarded for 1st 2nd and 3rd places.
After the judging we hold a BBQ starting at 3.00pm when the prizes form the show are presented together with the prizes for the best plot, best half plot and the best newcomers plot.
The BBQ is to help us get to know each other and have a good time, the society provides the rolls and salad plus some sauces and relish’s. It also enables us to talk about growing and all or any problems that we are having
Details of the timings are on the poster outside the shed and the classes for the show are listed below and I will leave some on the notice board.
Categories
1 Best children’s painting, drawing or decorated garden
NB All entries will win a prize
2 Heaviest potato
3 Heaviest tomato
4 Heaviest truss of tomatoes
5 Heaviest marrow
6 Heaviest onion
7 Longest runner bean
8 Funniest vegetable
9 Best selection of veg. in an area of 18 by 10 inches.
Up to six varieties
10 Best selection of salad veg. in an area of 18 by 10 inches.
Up to six varieties
11 Best plate of fruit
12 Best selection of herbs
13 Best container of flowers
14 Best jam
15 Best pickle or chutney
16 Best cake
17 Best bottle of wine or beer

All entries must be grown on the site

There will also be honey from the hives in the apiary on sale

Please make every attempt to attend the show and support the society.

Martins meanderings

Watering

Now the warmer weather has arrive and plants have started to put on growth we all start thinking about watering.

Lets not just jump in and water everything all the time as this is not necessary. Plants do need water to grow and produce, flowers or crops, but there are key times when water is needed.

Water is needed when the seed is sown or when a seedling is transplanted out into the ground. The seed needs water to germinate and start growing, so water thee seed drills before sowing and then after backing the drill. if the weather is hot and dry then water the drill every few days until germination takes place. Once the plant is growing it will send it’s roots down to find water, which will make it stronger and more robust against the weather.

When planting out seedlings from pots or trays, dig a hole for the plant and fill it with water, put the seedling in fill the hole and firm the seedling in, then give it another water. In hot weather water it every couple of days until it is established.

Once plants are established they only need occasional watering until it is nearly time to produce the crop, when more water is required.

Watering is best carried out using a watering can so that the water can be directed to the base of the stem around the roots and not spread out all round the plant. Enough water should be applied to enable it to soak down into the ground to draw the roots further down seeking water.

Sprinkling water around the surface with a hose pipe does not soak the ground in the same way and soon evaporates and is therefore no use to the plant. The council has a ban on hosepipes being used to water on allotments, they can only be used to fill water buts.

 

Sowing seeds.

When sowing seeds consider how many Lettuce, Cabbage, etc. you want or can eat in a short time when they are ready. Sow small quantities every few weeks to give you a succession of crops.

I have seen many case of Lettuce seeds sown in rows a metre long and when they all germinate there are enough plants to feed the site for weeks!

ten or twelve seeds sown in a short drill, or seed tray are sufficient for most people, do this every three weeks and you won’t be short of lettuce.

When to sow seeds

seedsAll seed packets have a sowing time printed in the instructions on the packet, what you must remember is that the packets are printed for the whole of the country and sowing times vary as to where you live.

The sowing times are mainly for the southeast and the weather is more advanced than here. February in the S.E. is the approximate equivalent of March here, late February equates to third week in March here. March equates to the beginning of April and by the time the sowing date on the packet is May then we have just about caught up.

I have found that sowing two or three weeks later than the earliest times quoted seedling have caught up with the earlier sown seeds within a month, and sometimes produce better crops.

Water seeds when sowing and transplanting then leave them to grow, unless it is very dry, and then again when the crop is coming. It is better with a watering can as the water round the roots goes where it is needed and not all over the soil.