Allotment Journal: Weekly update

The past week or so has been spent getting the plots ready for the winter. There’s been a lot of weeding, strimming, clearing and compost turning. It’s all a bit messy but it’s been rather rewarding. I’ve also been gathering seeds, runner beans, french beans, garlic chives at the allotment and cinnamon basil at home, thrilled about the basil seeds.

The phacelia, green manure, that I sowed at the beginning of October has germinated and is starting to get frondy. It’s about two weeks old here. It should form an excellent ground cover within the next few of weeks.

 

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Whilst we’ve endured some rather heavy rainfall, the air temperature has started to rise again.  The temperatures  in October have so far been around 4 degrees celsius higher than average for this time of year. It’s confusing some of the plants…

The rose is blooming and bees are busily collecting pollen..

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And even the sickly pear tree has tried to blossom again

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And the grass and the weeds just continue to grow and spring up at quite a pace. This has created quite a lot of composting material, so I decided to take a look at out composts heaps, which I have sadly neglected. They were all a little dry and non active. So I decided to reconstruct them, layering green matter (nitrogen) and brown matter (carbon) in an attempt to create some amazing compost. I’m going to write an in depth piece about composting shortly. I find it a fascinating science and have become slightly obsessed with it.

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Whilst weeding the orchard plot I noticed something rather disturbing on the Victoria rhubarb. I found large blobs of a jelly like substance on a stalk and also on the ground beside the plant. My immediate thought, is this some form new pest of disease? It usually is! ever the optimist!

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I did a little research and apparently these jellified blobs occur when sap seeps from the stalks. In order for sap to seep from the plant, the plant must have sustained some form of damage, either from the wind or maybe a pest…. I’m hoping it’s not the latter! I will have to investigate further. Looking at this photo, the top left hand side of the stalk looks as if it’s been nibbled!

We dug up the first Bulgarian Giant leek.

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These leeks are long and thin, this one isn’t fully grown but I was longing to try them. This one measured around 90cm, but after cutting away the top leaves we were still left with whopping 70cm of edible leek. This is the equivalent of at least two standard variety leeks, or three smaller ones. They also taste great, they are fairly mild, but good and leekie! This has been a rare experimental success and we will definitely grow this variety again next year… in much larger numbers, we’re only growing about 10 plants this year.

And finally… lemongrass

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Peter and his wife, on plot 6,  have been growing some rather exotic vegetables and herbs on their plot, one of which is lemongrass. Each time I walk to the orchard plot I pass plot 6 and admire the lemongrass. Lemongrass enjoys warm temperatures so now that autumn has arrived Peter has been digging it up to protect it from the colder weather.

I was passing by the other day and Peter called me over. He handed me a clump of his lemongrass,  I was over the moon.  I popped it into a carrier bag to transport it home. He said that it needs to grow, it’s still quite young, so once home, I potted it up and have placed it in a sheltered spot on my balcony.

A gardener friend of mine, Tony says it grows big… so I looked it up. Yikes it does, it grows 6 foot tall. I suspect I will need to repot it in the not too distant future! It’s a nitrogen hungry plant so it should be fed every two weeks with a nitrogen rich feed. I will bring the plant inside the house during the winter, although this will slow growth rates down.

Peter said that home grown lemongrass tastes much superior to the shop bought lemongrass. I can’t wait to try it… I wish I was more patient!

 

Posted in Allotment Journal, Green manure, Leeks, Rhubarb

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