Friday, 25 April 2008

Growing Pains

One week ago I started the growing cycle again. Here's what has been planted so far.

20 potatoes "Ulstre Sceptre" - I planted these really deep, at least 12" or more, 3 rows of 7

10 rows of onions "Sturon" which had already been rooted, 19 onions in each row. I planted these 5" apart with 12" between each row.

Today I did some more planting:-

18 potatoes "Charlotte" - also planted really deep, 6 potatoes in each row

1 row of onions "Sturon" which had been rooted, 19 onions in the row.

I still have another 200 or so onions to plant (some red and some white), so I am going to have to plant rows of onions in the gaps between the rows or else I am going to run out of space in that bed. It will be a bit more difficult to weed in between the rows and I shall have to do it by hand instead of hoeing, but so long as the onions have space to grow, that's the main thing.

While I was planting the onions the man on the plot above me started to cultivate his plot this year. His method of growing veg and managing his plot is the complete opposite to me as he leaves his plot for the winter months and then rotivates the whole lot. There I was digging with my fork and planting carefully by hand, and when I looked up (having planted 10 rows) his earth was all but turned over and looked lovely and crumbly. I thought to myself that maybe I should explore this rotivator method, but after watching Joe Swift on Gardeners World and seeing how all the weeds (especially bindweed) were broken into many parts and all having the potential to grow and further multiply, I will be sticking to the old-fashioned method of digging and laboriously removing all the weeds that I can see.

Either way, both he and I have good crops, we just go about it in different ways. Each to his own I say.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Spreading it Around

Over the past 3 weeks, progress on the allotment has been steady. It's been a case of digging over what has been previously dug - and I have to say that each time the earth is dug it does get easier, and I have visions in a few years time that my earth will be like a fine tilth such as seen on Gardeners's World. By adding plenty of manure and home-made compost, home-made leaf mould and digging, the earth can only get better. Talking of manure....

Two weeks ago just before going away for a week's holiday I thought I would nip down for an hour or so to do a few jobs, and as I arrived the gates were already open (always very handy) and there was a delivery of a huge pile of manure being unloaded. One of the chaps from the allotment is friendly with the local stables and every so often there is a delivery. This is the first time that I have been at the allotment when this has happened, and I had heard stories from other allotmenteers about manure disappearing before your very eyes. Well, I witnessed it for myself. In the space of about an hour, it was all gone! People were coming out of the woodwork and literally running up and down the hill with barrowloads of manure piled high and then a sack full of manure on top of that. During this time I was able to get 3 wheelbarrows full which was enough for what I needed. I then lent my barrow to a friend just across the path and she only managed one barrowload. The thing was that the chap who organised the manure to be delivered hardly got any for himself!

It was hot and hard work shovelling all this muck, but was all worth it. I covered it up and will leave it to rot down a bit before I spread it around.

I can't wait to get planting, but that is a week or so away as the plants aren't quite ready to put in just yet.