Monday, April 23

A short glimpse of summer.

This week's glimpse of summer really kicked things off! We were away for a couple of days at the end of the week and so, when we visited the plot on Saturday, the transformation was amazing. The blossom had literally burst onto the scene as my new header shows. One bee looked overwhelmed and couldn't decide where to go first. More photos will follow on Wednesday.

The lovely warm weather means that the bed allocated for potato planting was dry enough to till and we managed to plant five rows of our main potatoes.
We planted a row each of Cara, Nadine, Rooster, Kestrel and Osprey. We have seed potatoes left of each variety and a bag of Vivaldi still to plant once another bed is ready for them. Meanwhile the potatoes planted in the bags in the garden greenhouse are growing well.
The brassicas and broad beans are also growing well and the leeks are now doing their best to catch up.

On the plot the onions and shallots are shooting. We didn't plant any in modules this year as last year we found no difference in yield between the sets started  early in the greenhouse and those planted straight into the ground.
The row of chives are also growing well. 
In the garden greenhouse the apricot seems to have set lots of fruit but no doubt many fruitlets will be discarded.
The peach and nectarine are not showing any signs of having set fruit yet.

As well as planting we have continued to tidy some beds which meant removing any remaining crops. We still had some leeks left and so I dug all these.
They were basically growing in mud and so I laid them out for the clumps caked around the roots to dry off a little. They were then trimmed ready to be taken home.

I also found a couple of parsnips that had been missed when their bed was cleared.
The leeks and parsnip were frozen for use later.
Of course at this time of year we couldn't have a week when we didn't harvest some of our early rhubarb now could we?
I even found a few spring onions in one of the beds that I tidied.

I nearly forgot I also cut some coriander growing in a pot in the greenhouse to sprinkle on our vegetable biryani. I'll probably cut more and freeze it as it doesn't take long before it runs to seed.



This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 
Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Sunday, April 22

Day out at Pensthorpe

We had a couple of days break to Norfolk this week and spent one day at Pensthorpe. - These were some of the characters that we met.
Bearded Tit

Oystercatcher

Mandarin duck

Goldeneye

I think this a a ruff trying to impress an uninterested female

Crane


Wednesday, April 18

Camellias







Monday, April 16

Just a bit of rhubarb

We spent some time tidying the garden this week and also had a day out in North Yorkshire. As most other days were wet and miserable, we only managed one afternoon at the allotment. Even then that afternoon was cut short as it started to rain.

Our main aim was a bit more tidying and edging of beds ready for them to be tilled when - if ever - they dry a little. Martyn worked on this whilst I trimmed back the lavender beds and a couple of helianthemums which share the bed with the blueberries.
I ran the shears over the plants trimming off the spent flower stems and straggly bits. I didn't have time to gather up the pieces, which as you can see are left on top of the plants, before the rain started.

With rain threatening my first 'job' though was to have a wander round the plot taking some photos. The warmer weather last week seems to have spurred some plants into action. I was surprised to see that the tulips planted in the pear tree bed were flowering.
Self sown primroses are flowering in the grass paths - they don't seem to mind the fact that the grass is regularly strimmed.
At last the plum trees seem to be preparing to flower. Up until this week the trees were showing little sign of life.
The autumn raspberries are also now producing plenty of shoots.
The early rhubarb is growing quickly. Later varieties can be seen alongside the large clump in the photo on the left.
One other thing that we managed before the rain chased us away was to pull a few sticks of rhubarb which are destined to be used in a sponge pudding,

I hope that this little bit of rhubarb qualifies the post for additions to  link to harvest Monday hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Wednesday, April 11

Pieris





Monday, April 9

Not a promising start but ...

Last week wasn't off to a promising start when on Easter Monday we woke up to this:
Thankfully, the snow that fell disappeared quickly. 

We weren't the only ones to be happy about this.
On Friday we managed a visit to the plot, primarily to tidy up the greenhouse and harvest the remaining parsnips. 

Martyn did a good job of the plot greenhouse.
Whilst he was sorting things out in there, I did a bit more tidying up. Some of the beds have untidy areas at the end that have been neglected. I planned to sort these out over winter but the weather had other plans for me. The area below is only partially sorted out but for such a small patch I seemed to remove lots of grass.
 Tidying the planting bags was a far gentler activity.
So far the annuals that I planted out, although not actively growing, are surviving.
The daffodils, primroses and forget-me-nots are starting to cheer things up.
The honeyberries are also flowering but if they follow the same pattern as previous years they are unlikely to set fruit. I've since read that two different varieties are required for successful pollination, but when we bought ours there was only one variety available.

Hopefully the other fruit bushes will make up for the lack of honeyberries. The jostaberry and blueberry buds are breaking.
On Friday we gathered the best harvest of the year so far.
All the remaining parsnips were lifted. They have started to regrow so would have soon become woody and inedible. With this in mind and being loathe to waste them, I decided to freeze the ones that were left.

We managed a small helping of purple sprouting broccoli which for some reason does do well for us so this was a treat.

I found a few spring onions that had overwintered in the growing bags.

We managed another afternoon at the allotment on Sunday when we managed to plant some of our potatoes.

We planted up a bed of Casablanca - an early variety that we really like and have grown for quite a few years. We had four small tubers left so these were planted up in an air pot and left in the plot greenhouse.

In another bed we planted this year's six trial varieties - four tubers each of Jazzy,  Mayan Gold,  Elfie, Carlingford, Apache and Carolus.
The trial potatoes were planted through weed control fabric but the early potatoes were planted and earthed up. We lift the early potatoes as we need them and it easier to harvest individual roots without the fabric.

Finally just to cheer things up, I picked a few daffodils. I picked ones that were just beginning to open. The opening sped up considerably once they were in the cosier conditions indoors.

This week I am linking to harvest Monday 
hosted on Dave's blog Our Happy Acres