Allotment Journal: Weekly update….. updates

After a dry, hot June we finally got some much needed rain at the beginning of July. Being a fair weather gardener I only ventured to the allotment a couple of times during that week. Last week the weather became more settled and I returned to find everything had flourished.

The corn looked amazing, both tassels and silks have formed, and the plants are close to three foot tall.

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However, there was something I didn’t expect to see…. yes, yet more aphids.. who knew they liked corn tassels?! I need to research what impact this may have….. thinking it may lead to pollination issues and a potentially reduced crop if I don’t intervene… I’ll have to manually fertilise the silks with the unaffected tassels to ensure successful pollination…. if it’s not one thing it’s another! Thankfully my right hand predator, the lady bird, is already on the case!

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The borlotti beans have grown really well, the wigwams are covered in foliage and there are plenty of flowers. The daily aphid culling certainly seems to have paid off. Lady birds and spiders are now all over the plants helping to keep the number of aphids at bay.

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The plants look incredibly healthy and are beginning to form baby beans. With all legumes, it’s important to make sure the plants are kept well watered at this stage to help pod development.

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The experimental beetroots plants have grown sufficiently to check up on their developed.

The three beetroots on the left are experimental beetroots, all started at home in modules. They were transplanted to the allotment when the seedlings were about three weeks old and about a couple of inches tall. The beetroot on the right is a beetroot grown from seed in situ. They are all Boltardy.

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The experiment wasn’t a complete success. Yes, we have something that resembles a beetroot, but they are misshapen and the tap root failed to form properly. You can clearly see this if you compare them. The beetroot on the right has uniform bulbous tap root with a long tail. Rather than producing a long tail, the module plants developed masses of thin fibrous roots, rather like an onion. Also, the bulbous part of the tap root on all three experimental plants are more elongated than round. Obviously the root systems were damaged during transplantation and this has impacted proper root formation.

On the plus side, we have loads! The plants were sufficiently large enough to sustain slug and snail attack. We are yet to cook the beetroots and taste them. I will keep you posted.

The onion and shallot sets that we planted in mid April were showing signs of being ready. The foliage had started to yellow and flop.

Talking to a fellow allotmenteer he said that this year has been his best ever year for growing onions and he was wondering when to dig them up… he was concerned about white rot.. yikes… I hadn’t even considered that. So I decided to harvest the Longer shallot, a pink banana shaped shallot.

This year I have regularly watered both the shallots and onions to help swell the bulbs.

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And it seems to have worked. We have a fabulous crop of good sized, firm, great tasting shallots.

Here they are drying out on my outside table at home.

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After a very slow and unpromising start (they’ve survived strong coastal winds, snail and slug attacks, not to mention those pesky aphids, they deserve to survive!), the runner bean plants have finally shown a bit of a growth spurt.

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And we harvested our first ever runner bean! There are more on the way… hopefully.

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We also harvested all the first early potatoes, the Vales Emerald and The Premier.

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The Vales Emerald produced a good crop of potatoes, 7 to 9 potatoes on each plant. The Premier didn’t live up to its name, only 3 to 5 potatoes per plant. Both varieties proved to be fairly floury, they exploded and broke up when boiled. I started off boiling 6 potatoes and ended up with 5! One had completely gone to mush during the cooking process….. Scratched head! They are both supposed to be waxy, firm potatoes.  This could be due to increased levels of dry matter due to the weather conditions or early planting, I need to investigate. Anyway, a slight change of supper plan, they made the perfect roasting potato! They both have a great flavour.

The Mikado oriental spinach plants that I grew at home have transplanted well. Given the poor success rate of sowing seeds in situ, we have one plant from about 60 seeds sown, we will definitely repeat this process next year.

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After the rain, I was horrified to discover that all the poppy seedlings on plot 2 had been eaten by slugs and snails..

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Left with just a skeleton!

Fortunately the poppy seedlings on the other two plots were untouched and still growing…. these are the poppy plants on the orchard plot… I promptly surrounded them with more organic pet friendly slug bait pellets.

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Failing to regularly pick the sweet peas has allowed them to go to seed. New flowers are forming but now on rather short stems so sadly our sweet pea season may be nearing an end.

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We plan to save these seeds and sow them in situ in the autumn and then again in the spring. This seems to produce strong plants early in the season and then throughout the summer. Sweet peas don’t transfer well as they don’t like root disturbance.

This is Cosmos Purity grown from seed by Sal. It’s growing in the orchard plot flower border and looks beautiful.

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And finally, our Guinee rose is flowering again….

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And smells heavenly…

 

Posted in Allotment Journal
2 comments on “Allotment Journal: Weekly update….. updates
  1. Ann Taylor says:

    Wow it is all looking so good, (apart from the picked clean poppy seeds!) and an abundance of produce. I does make all that hard work worthwhile!!??

    Well done.

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