Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The April allotment


April is the month when those first delicious tastes of spring are ready.  A little asparagus, a few sticks of rhubarb, fresh new salad leaves and maybe even a radish.

After a week that felt like summer, and that lured me into planting out the tomatoes, it's turned wintry.  Some of the tomatoes are looking distinctly sad.   I went too soon.  I always do, I get fed up with watering all of the little pots every day.  Usually I get away with it.  This year, maybe not.

I've also had a few no-shows amongst the older seeds.  Packets that have been in the box for a couple of years or so have failed to germinate.  So no sweet peas, not many climbing French beans, no lettuces.  I shall re-sow, or maybe pick up a few sweet pea plants if I see some.

This morning I spent some time digging out bindweed and horsetail.  Nasty persistent weeds.  They'll be back before too long I know, but for now I'm in control.  I've got cucumbers, squashes and courgettes planted out as well (I know, I know).  They're hanging in there at the moment, but I'm really hoping it doesn't get any colder.

The new apple trees at the plot are in flower.  I only planted them a few months ago, it's their first season so I'm not expecting much, but they're clearly nice healthy plants.  The strawberries are in flower too, although they seem to be struggling a bit for some reason.  I don't know why.  Possibly something's eating the leaves.  They just don't seem to be taking off.

I've sown beetroot, turnips and swedes at the plot this month, and I've got sunflowers, borlotti beans, leeks and celeriac growing in pots that will be moved there eventually.

There's been a bit of watering done this month after a distinct lack of April showers.  I think it's all set to change soon though, so I'll be putting the watering can away.  So long as it gets a bit warmer I don't mind.

42 comments:

  1. Wow! Your allotment is looking lovely. I've been down on our allotment today mainly digging out the compost heap but I did have some help from mr d. Lots of blossom on our apple tree too so I have my fingers crossed. Let's hope the warm weather continues x

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  2. My gardening hero! You've got a great start, I bet this will be a banner year for your garden. We're still at the beach, sunny yesterday, rainy today. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  3. I love reading about your allotment, we are having a seerious go at veg planting this year-before we moved a year ago we didnt have any proper outdoor sace but i have grown tomatoes and courgettes in pots. So this year we are trying a mixture-some things in pots and some in some small beds. We have got some peas, beans, cauli and brocolli, courgettes, toms and sweetcorn so far. Also lots of sweetpeas-I want to use them for decorating the tables at our wedding reception also a tray of about 25-3 sunflowers. I've been feeling optimisitc about getting things planted out until last night when we had snow, hail thunder and lightning....got a way to go yet...fingers crossed for us both!

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  4. We don't have any horsetail but the bindweed lives up to it's name.

    I wonder whether our strawberry flowers will have been blackened as it was down to a minus last night. even when we have had warm days the night time temperature has dripped do no wonder plants aren't taking off.

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  5. I haven't even sown my cucumber seeds at home yet, and won't be planting out tomatoes until early June. We could certainly do with some rain, and for it to be a bit warmer.
    I have bindweed on the plot but thankfully no horsetail. Flighty xx

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  6. Your allotment looks very pretty indeed - I like the rustic shed too! It really has turned cold over the last couple of days, and I have finally sown some flower seeds in little pots in my mini-greenhouse. It does seem to be rather a cold start for them, though. i hope your plants survive this cold snap and that before long you'll be harvesting all kinds of lovely things from your patch :)
    Cathy x

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  7. I believe you can make a nail bath out of horse tail to give you stronger nails. Not that I want any growing in my garden! I spent two years digging out bindweed from my big border in the front, it's the only way to get rid of the stuff. Fingers crossed (my whole body is crossed over as I type) I have finally got on top of it. I do so love the look of your allotment, gosh you are brave with planting your crops. I suspect it is still a lot warmer there than by me in chilly Wales x

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  8. It sounds as though you have a lot going on in the allotment! I hope that the things that you have planted out already do well, the weather will hopefully pick up with the coming of May. Radishes, rhubarb and asparagus all sound jolly good!! xx

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  9. I love that you are honest about the failures, but it still looks wonderful. Hope you have a fantastic year from your allotment x

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  10. The weather has turned rather blah and cold in my area too. Lots of produce going on there, fantastic. You have reminded me to sew some seeds so that is what I will do at some point this week xxx

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  11. A few no shows here too.. hoping I can still buy some fresh seed and try again. When I looked at the packet of mange tout they should have been planted by 2010... hmmm. They came up last year..

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  12. Wow! Harvesting already. You lucky girl. We haven't even planted things yet. Well, potatoes and lettuce but we don't dare to put anything else in yet. Frost always sneaks up in mid May...
    Xxx
    Annette

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  13. It's all looking lovely! My squash and courgette went in a few weeks ago, they are not looking very happy at all, way too early I think. I'm really impressed with your asparagus.

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  14. What a great start you have already. I love seeing your allotment, I think I tell that you every time you blog about it but it's true, it really is amazing. I wish we did that here. (I think I tell you that every time too). :)

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  15. Don't throw away any of your sowings just yet; I've found sweet peas to be very slow in germinating this year and my third sowing (made at the same time as my second tray of broad beans which are now transplanted and growing down at the plot) have not yet made an appearance. I always sow in waves, or little and often, then if something gets eaten or is checked by or even killed by frost I have more in the wings. Definitely buy new seed for salad leaves, but the French bean seed should be ok, I suspect that it has just been too cold for them, try again in May is my advice. For myself in the balmy South east I never sow any of the tender stuff like beans, courgettes, sweet corn or squashes until after the 17 May. This dates back to the days when we always went on holiday during the half term break and I'd come home to pots and trays germinating happily on the draining board. They would then be ready to plant out sometime during the first week in June and I would always, always catch up with the early birds. Fingers crossed we have a good growing season this year. And thanks for sharing such lovely photos of your plot, it looks fantastic.

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  16. it really has turned cold hasn't it. we had snow last night. it didn't last but my garden didn't like it....

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  17. Can I spot your artichoke plants? They are much bigger than ours but I was surprised to see them poke out earlier this month. I wish I had as much dedication in me for gardening as you do. It is all supermarket vegetables here, apart from a few purple sprouting broccoli florets. Have a lovely week. xx

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  18. Ooo good things are coming in! I am always worried about helping people weed in the early days, that I might pull out the wrong growing thing. love the radish photo!

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  19. It's looking good already and supposed to be a bumper year for asparagus apparently. xx

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  20. Pictures of your garden allotment always make me smile. I'll bet your kids are really learning to eat lots of fresh veggies and good-for-you stuff! :-)

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  21. You are rocking it my friend! I am always so inspired by all that you do and all that you tackle in the garden season! There are so many things that I plant that flop but like you I keep putting things in and they pull through. I can't wait to see all of your yums!! And your photos are stunning! A bit cold here as well....though the say (fingers crossed) that this weekend we are getting a warm up. Here is to the joys of the garden!!! Wishing you all good things! Nicole xo

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  22. Oh, such a beautiful allotment! I want one, I want one!!

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  23. You've certainly been busy. I haven't planted anything out yet, I'm glad as we had a frost the other day which would have seen them off but it's a tricky time of year with everything growing so quickly and needing to be out of their pots. It's that timing issue, put them out too early and risk losing them or let them languish in their pots at the risk of curtailing their vigour never to recover.

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  24. Wow, just look at all your lovely produce. You even have radishes - mine haven't even germinated yet! I think I made the same mistake - I didn't buy any new seeds this year and optimistically sowed some that were a few years old; some are OK but others not so much! I do love your little green shed and well done for getting on top of all the weeds; I should definitely take a leaf out of your book. Have a great week. x

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  25. You're well ahead and organised! I still have packets of seeds sitting on a shelf. Not brave enough to plant out tomatoes and cucumbers yet, but they're in their pots waiting. That lovely weather lulled us into a false sense of security but it is all about trial and error, isn't it. Hopefully it'll warm up again pronto and your plants will pull through. Sam

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  26. It is interesting reading gardening posts from other countries and seeing the different names for the same veggies. We call courgettes zucchinis, beetroot just plain beets, and I've never heard anyone talk about swedes over here. (Other than someone from Sweden.)

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  27. we're just coming out from under another cold spell too -- it would've been soooo easy to be tempted to plant things out beforehand, but of course, we are wise to the fickle nature of Spring around here. happily, and miraculously, most of my seeds are sprouting on the windowsill so that's keeping me going.

    your allotment is moste abundant already.....such a lovely thing to see. xo

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  28. I do love that shed!
    It's cold here too; after all that lovely sunshine and warmth we're back to high winds, heavy rain and the heating going on of an evening.
    We used to have horsetail in our garden in Cheshire. I only lived there for four years and had never had to deal with it before (interestingly, it doesn't seem to like it much in these parts. Maybe it's something to do with the soil). Anyway, I used to get so annoyed at the way the stems would just break off and keep on popping up everywhere, even through weed-proof membrane. Hope you have better luck eradicating the stuff than I did!
    S x

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  29. Hey CJ,
    Your allotment looks so inviting. I am off to mine tomorrow to plant out lots of different kinds of beans. I am also sowing a flower bed once they have established themselves (they are in the greenhouse at the moment), so I can pick a few blooms in summer. I'd love an apple tree or two, but I have already spent my annual gardening budget. I'd love to have no financial restrictions when it cam to gardening. I think I would hire some strong man with a barrow to dig over the rest of the plot. I know it's cheating, but if I didn't tell anyone, no-one would know ;))
    Leanne xx

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  30. Your allotment looks wonderful! Sarah x

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  31. Lovely, it's great to get on with things in the garden or allotment, it's all stop here due to cold, rain, sleet, snow and hail :( Bring back the nice warm weather we had.

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  32. Wow you are on the ball with your veggies! So many great veggies! It is sure hard not to get going and plant everything asap. My husband has a collection of old seeds that are not working, looks like I need to relocate them to the compost- where they will probably grow! Enjoy your gardening!

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  33. I'm glad I'm not the only one optimistic enough to put out the tender plants too soon. Fingers crossed!

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  34. I'm really hoping for warmer weather too. Some of our tomato plants were wiped out by the frosts we've had.

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  35. The allotment is looking wonderful. I have a few tomatoes ripening on my pathetic plant, I am so excited!
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  36. The apple trees sound lovely. I'm always impressed with your gardening skills. And I agree, I've recently taken on quite a few pots that need to be watered daily, and it does get a bit old after a while. I do appreciate watching things grow and caring for them, but I told Scott this morning I wouldn't mind a drip system :)

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  37. the weather is bonkers. two days ago when I took the little one to school the temperature was lower than it had been on Christmas day... and it's May!! Sigh.

    Me not like it.... :(

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  38. When I said in my last comment to get your tomatoes in, I meant indoors! At this time of year, indoor grown plants need to be hardened off during the day outdoors over a couple of weeks of mild weather or they'll suffer. It's not winter though, so they'll be okay and should perk up in no time. (You could always pop a cloche over the tomatoes or other tender plants at night.) I've had germination problems with some new seed as well as old which I'm a bit miffed about. Last year when my dwarf beans didn't germinate in the ground, I germinated them on kitchen paper so I could see which ones had sprouted. In the second round they all did so I had lots of spares for when the slugs helped themselves - I may have to do the same with my broad beans. Gosh I'm late with sowing this year!! Have a good weekend, CJ xx

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  39. "I've sown beetroot, turnips and swedes at the plot this month, and I've got sunflowers, borlotti beans, leeks and celeriac growing in pots that will be moved there eventually."

    Wow you have been busy ...

    Have a great bank holiday weekend

    All the best Jan

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  40. Wow, you've got all your digging done! It all looks so fresh and ready-to-grow. Dwarf beans are a no-go area for me - our snails and slugs love them to bits.

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  41. I was just looking at a packet of purple basil seeds that says plant by 09.14 and wondering if I'll get away with it. Some to eat some to dye with ... 'tis always the way here. If I lived nearer I'd come over and pull up that horsetail for you ... you can get a nice green from horsetail ;)

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  42. Arghh blogger ate my comment! Your patch looks lovely... and I know what you mean about getting excited and planting too early... I do it too and find myself at night covering things from the frost... I've had some trouble with my seeds sprouting this year as well and I think it's time for me to empty out my seed box and start fresh... p.s I'd send you some of our rain if I could!!

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