Tuesday, May 15

Our allotment just now


Things are starting to move on our allotment plot. Fruit is setting. As well as the honeyberries, pears, apples and jostaberries shown in the photos below, plums, greengages, and the various currant bushes have set fruit.

Whilst some fruit has already set other trees and bushes are flowering. Shown below are later flowering apples, blueberries and quince. All have lots of flower which I hope will convert to lots of fruit.
The raspberries, tayberries and blackberries  have produced lots of flower buds which have yet to open. This succession is good news for the bees and other pollen and nectar loving insects
It's not only the bushes and trees that are sporting flowers. The first lot of broad beans are flowering and the earliest varieties of strawberries also have lots of flowers. With potential frosty nights forecasts I only hope the flowers are not spoiled. You may notice that the bean leaves have the tell tale notches that show bean weevils have been lunching. The pea shoots are also their favoured food but hopefully the plants are growing quickly enough to shrug off the damage that occurs every year. It is only a problem when the weevils munch faster than the plant grow.
There are plenty of ornamental flowers putting on a display too. The forget-me-nots have been strutting their stuff for weeks but others are just coming into their own.
Under the plum trees are a couple of large clumps of bluebells. Unfortunately they are Spanish and so lack the gorgeous scent but they provide a pretty display and as there are no nearby English bluebells to cross pollinate we are happy to have them.
 Martyn managed to till more beds. It was hard going but he persevered so that we had some areas ready to plant up.
I sowed a half a bed of hardy annuals. The other half will be sown a little later for succession. The area at the far end of this bed is where I planted the overwintered hardy annuals. You may remember that I had to sow these in modules last year rather than direct. The conditions meant that they were very late to be planted out and were consequently weedy looking plantlets. I'm afraid little has improved. Actually considering the weather we had I'm not sure a direct sowing would have fared any better.
 We were really pleased to have managed to plant the last of our seed potatoes.

The earliest planted potatoes are well through which is a happy and a worrying event in equal measures. As I mentioned before frosts are forecasts for some nights later in the week.

The first lot of peas are also growing well and will soon need staking with hazel twigs. It's probably time to get a second lot in. The recent sunny, dry weather has meant that lots and lots of watering is required.
The onion and shallots are growing really well. I am convinced that had we started the sets in modules they would have done no better at this stage and it certainly freed up greenhouse space.

Some beds have required some adaptation. The bed below has been divided into two. We needed to walk on the beds to harvest and tended to always trudge along the same route creating a hard pan so a path will now be created down the centre. The bed below will have climbing beans at either side of the path.
We have 'ancient' lavender hedges around some of our fruit beds. These have become infiltrated with grass and are also very straggly looking. My plan was to dig them up and replant them deep in the soil. This has proved to be impossible - the plants just will not come out of the ground without damaging the closely planted quince and blackcurrant bushes  so plan B has been put into action. This is to remove as much grass as possible and prune the bushes back as hard as I dare. Any spaces left between the remaining plants will be filled by what I hope will be plants grown from rooted cuttings.
Before and After
Despite the dry weather the grass is growing quickly and so some time each week is spent strimming to keep it and the many dandelions that try to colonise the grass in check.
Dandelions have a fascinating habit. The closer the grass is cut the shorter the flower stems grow until the flowers are virtually stemless.
Of course we are still pulling rhubarb, although rhubarb isn't a fan of the type of weather we have been experiencing. If the clumps start to flag we may need to think of pulling some to stew and freeze. 
At the moment the sticks are things of beauty, unlike the flaccid anaemic looking specimens being sold at the greengrocers.


18 comments:

  1. I don't know how you keep up with everything Sue. Fingers crossed no harmful frosts this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We just keep going, Julieanne.

      Delete
  2. You are so fortunate to be able to grow rhubarb. Those "flaccid anaemic looking specimens" showed up at the market for the first time in years. I bought it, chunked it, sugared it and baked it. So delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad that you enjoyed it, Jane. Our area is famous for rhubarb growing and we see large fields of it close by. Most allotment plots have at least one clump.

      Delete
  3. Frosts in May that's a terrible thought. Your potatoes and onions look very happy and it's amazing how well your fruit trees are setting. There's just so much to do this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frosts up to the end of May are fairly common on our area, Phuong.

      Delete
  4. It's all looking good, but frost so late in May is frightening, isn't it? I know a few who had it, but only mild and no major damage done. Heavy fog here.
    Love your two chairs and table for your tea breaks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don’t expect to be safe from frost until the beginning of June, Deborah. Coffee time under the plum tree to shade us from the sun that day. It could just as easily have been in the shed sheltering from rain.

      Delete
  5. Frost in May? No problems with bean weevils here, but the rodents and birds like to snack on my fava/broad beans and peas. I don't know which is worse. It's a bad year for rodents here, again. They are attacking things that I've never seen them attack before or perhaps just didn't notice before. It's almost biblical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am afraid frost in May os not uncommon, Michelle.The weevils aren’t as problematic as your rodents but today we had a wood pigeon trying to strip leaves off the cherry tree in our garden. It is now shrouded in fleece.

      Delete
  6. We had a frost too! Just wonderful seeing all the fruit on the trees and bushes setting, I've just been out with the dogs and a vigorous wind is blowing so keeping my fingers crossed for my fruitlets. Just loving your blooms....xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We haven’t had a frost yet - Wednesday, Dina but it is forecast for tonight.

      Delete
  7. Lovely update Sue thank you for sharing and blessings to you and Martyn

    ReplyDelete
  8. This post really emphasises how much work goes into keeping an allotment (or several, in your case) looking tidy and being productive! It's a never-ending job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is new allotmenteers often don’t appreciate that, Mark. They think that the plots stay tidy once the weeds have been cleared initially or that they can create a productive plot quickly, It is the main reason many give up fairly quickly or never really get themselves sorted.

      Delete
  9. It never ceases to surprise me just how quickly fruit forms from flowers. Your strawberry plants look most healthy Sue. How old are they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the third year that the strawberries have been planted, Anna. Some varieties look healthier than others at this stage.

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It is not published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.