Thursday May 1st
Got hold of a piece of carpet that was being thrown out at work, so took it up to the allotment with P and he cut it into strips for me. (Not trusting me to not injure myself with Stanley knife.) Laid them along the beds so shouldn't get muddy feet from now on, and hopefully a lot of weeds will now die or not grow.
Saturday May 3rd
Nice day. Allotment was looking good – carrots are indeed coming up as are lots of pickling onions. Just had a look round and pulled some rhubarb.
Sunday May 4th
Even nicer day. Hot. Up to allotment after lunch, and discovered that I now have nearly all the potatoes through. No more earth to build them up, so I guess I'm now down to dashing up with fleece if it's frosty. Lots of weeds coming through on the carrot and onion bed, more's the pity. Mostly grass. Spent an hour with my nose about 6" away from the soil trying to selectively weed the grass. Gave up. The nantes carrots are definitely up and off, though the later sown flyaways aren't yet. I think I've got a few of the pelleted ones too, but can't be sure as they are very well spaced. Pickling onions are doing best. I'd taken up a bottle of made-up glyphosate so sprayed the now racing bindweeds both pink and white, mostly those in the orchard. Hopefully that will put paid to them. I can't be done with trying to lose those beggars organically! Life's definitely too short! Planted one of the pots of tulips and the three pots of narcissus canaliculatis around various trees, and found that the soil there is more clay than the rest! No wonder there's an orchard there. Hoed everywhere that looked like it had weeds in it, so hopefully they don't now. Flea beetles have arrived, and so hello, derris. The spring cabbages are finally growing! Went home and sowed 15 climbing French bean Cobra. Hope this year I get them going a lot faster!
Monday May 5th
Yet another nice day, though cooler. Went up to allotment as it grew sunnier and spent time with the onion hoe going over the whole of the allium bed. Planted another two sets of module onions in the leek bed. Ho hum. Might put fleece over the spuds for the weekend. Watered them and the winter onions with maxicrop so we shall see. Onions doing well – even Keith remarked on them, as his aren't doing terribly well. They ought to be ready in the next month, so will keep them well watered and fed. Then won't need to buy any for the summer. Pegged down the carpet strips with the galvanised wire so they don't go flying any more. Hopefully they will last the season. Must get the other large piece from work when they take it out! Filled up the water butts and drowned a few fruit bushes while I was at it. The gooseberries are doing stunningly well, including the red ones (which aren't hairy!). Must start to construct fruitcages for the currants. Pulled more rhubarb. The sage is flowering!
Tuesday May 6th
Bought some rootrainers on the way home as there weren't any of the modular 3" pots left, and had fun persuading them to stay shut. Filled up 32 of them and planted 20 runner beans (I need 12 to grow) and 12 sweetcorn (full sized) and bunged them in the propagator. Split up the cucurbits so I now have all the needed ones in separate pots, and discovered I do indeed have all the ones I need, including three long green trailings, apparently (hoping the labels didn't get mixed). The gold rush were again the biggest seedlings. This is incredible, really. I can only assume that this success is entirely due to the heated propagator. Let's hope it improves the germination of the sweetcorn from last year's dire levels of 20/36 (62%).
Wednesday May 7th
Hot day. Acquired second piece of old carpet from work so bang went the tidy car. Hoiked it up to the allotment and had fun cutting it into strips until I realised the Stanley knife blade was blunt. Replaced it. Then it was easy. Found I had more carpet strips than paths so donated the two remaining strips to Chris. Had a good chat and decided to swap globular courgettes – she has de Nice à Fruit Rond and I have Eight Ball, one is light green the other dark, so we are going to have fun. Discovered that the flyaway carrots are up! Excellent. Seems the compost method works very well. Will sow the next row like that, too. Need to get beetroot in as well. Spent a while crawling about on hands and knees doing some more grass weeding from the carrot bed. I see it's going to become an obsession, as no way can I get it out any other way. Cabbage minicole getting perceptibly bigger, Savoys looking a bit nibbled. The ones still in the tray at home are now doing much better… think I may have to transplant them soon! Watered and derrised them all.
Still to plant: 16 more sweetcorn Ovation, 16 sweetcorn minipop. Beetroot. More lettuce. Yellow French beans.
Sunday May 11th
Discovered I had got 100% germination on the Ovation sweetcorn and a lot of runners up too.
Thursday May 15th
Nice relaxing evening pottering about, in which I got rather more done that I'd expected. Moved the runners out of the heated propagator, which is definitely worth every penny, and planted some more beans into it, this time French, together with more sweetcorn (ovation and minipop). Have enough runners for my supports now. Just need a few more French climbing to have all poles filled. Planted some saved seed Berggold too, saving the Marshalls experimental dwarf bean for reserve (ie the inevitable loss of half the first plantings). Sowed 24 beetroot. I think that's the lot! Tied up the now-massive butternut squash so it's going vertically, and realised it's got tiny little females on. Hope there's enough males to get them to take… Should get a cucumber any day now. There are three huge ones on it already. In May. I still have two weeks before I dare put stuff out, and there was a frost in large sections of the country last night (though not here). Gherkins are getting a bit big for their boots too.
Tuesday May 20th
Picked cucumber #1 and added it to sandwiches. Nice.