Notes from the Allotments

May 30, 2017

At last, an appreciable amount of rain, although I’m not sure how far down it went as I haven’t been digging since it happened, but the soil has really hardened up since my last report. It is very heavy work carrying full watering cans from the tanks at the allotment, and to do everything takes about 20 cans….

The potatoes did catch a bit of frost, despite being earthed up, and the tops look a bit poorly but they will recover. The good thing is that the fruit had set on the gooseberries and the little pear tree, so there should be a reasonable harvest, although I did notice quite a few miniature gooseberries on the ground under the bushes….

Because of the drought (can we officially call it that?), everything is being really slow growing, and even germinating; still nothing from the climbing peas so I might cut my losses and plant the runner beans there as it has already been dug over and fertilised; they are doing well in their root trainers in the greenhouse and will just need hardening off before planting out at the end of the month.

One very evident sign of the lack of water has been an abrupt stop in the rhubarb harvest; everybody’s seem to be suffering, with the long stems falling over in seeming exhaustion, what a shame! Still, a good drink should revive them as there is about another month to go before we are advised to stop picking. One crop that does not seem to be affected is the raspberries, all growing vigorously and with flowers about to open, hurrah!

I am chronically short of time this year so have taken advantage of plug plants for the brassicas, which arrived yesterday; I’ve temporarily put them in small pots with some compost to let them recover from their journey before planting out. I’m growing cabbage, red cabbage (a first for me), sprouts and cauliflower. I’ve also bought some leek seedlings which are already about 10 inches tall, but they need to thicken up a bit before exposing them to the allotment, so in a large nursery pot for a little while.

In the raised bed, a magnificent crop of radishes has come up – but nothing else! Where are the carrots and parsnips? We shall wait and see!   Angela Hoy (angela.hoy@sky.com)