Today we were given six roots of rhubarb Victoria by a chap called Bryan who is vacating the plot at the back of ours. He also gave us some wire cages we can use to keep the pigeons off the plants, a few planks for laying between the beds, as well as a few bean poles and bricks, which will all come in useful. I put the twelve lettuce plants in the side bed in the lean to, planted the parsnips, that I had started in toilet roll tubes and the peas, started off at home. Rob dug over the new brassica bed and gave it a feed of bonemeal. The plants should be ready to go in in a couple of weeks.
This evening I planted the remaining rhubarb in the prepared bed but am not sure whether its the Timperley Early or the Champagne that has survived. We also bought another root from Wilkos for £1.50. It was called Red Canadian. Ken Muir refused to refund the cost of the one we lost and asked for £6.95 delivery charges to send a replacement. Another lesson learned. I have planted three potatoes Charlotte in the white pot where the rhubarb had been. They are in the lean to at present but I shall move them outside when the weather warms up a little.
Rob planted fifteen potatoes British Queen on plot 17 while I just pottered about doing a bit of hoeing and weeding. British Queen is described as a superb flavoured mashing potato originating in Scotland. In Ireland it is known as “Queens”. It is fairly susceptible to blight but matures quite early. The flowers are white with yellow centres, and the haulms are fairly light. The texture is light and floury. Said to be the best mashing potato, fluffy and white with very good flavour. Also steams well, roasts well, bakes well. Bred by Archibald Findlay. 1894.
The brothers gave us six cauliflower plants and eight summer cabbages and we gave them six eggs each in return. We gave Mick Market’s wife Audrey six eggs and she gave us six primula plants.
Another fine day so we went and finished the sowing in the new seed bed. 36 Parsnip Hollow Crown and a row of Carrot Autumn King. Next we sowed 25 Cauliflower All Year Round and 10 Cauliflower Graffiti, all that was left from a packet of 30 because the rest fell through the bottom of the packet on to the path and were impossible to see. They are in the nursery bed and covered with a cloche to keep the cold off. We scattered a little bone meal on all the beds in use to give everything a spring booster shot.
Today was fine and the allotments were busy. We had a list of jobs to get through and the sun broke through the clouds early on to help us along. The first job was to dig over and lime the bean trench, the new brassica bed, the sweetcorn bed and the salad bed. Then we dug over a new bed next to the overwintering onions to sow some seeds. We managed to get sixty five red onion seeds in. The rest of the bed is intended for parsnips and perhaps some carrots. We planted the cranberry plants, £2.49 from Woollies, in the same bin with the blueberries, there are now six blueberry plants and four cranberry plants in there. We have secured them under a wire netting frame to keep off the birds.
We planted a new red currant bush in the fruit cage, as our original two don’t seem to be showing any signs of life. It was a £2 bargain from Wilkos, covered in fresh new green leaves. Whilst checking on everything in the lean to I discovered that one of the rhubarb roots had rotted away and was just feeling sorry for myself when Gordon popped his head in and gave me a tray of small lettuce plants. You win some, you lose some as the saying goes. I have spotted some rhubarb roots in Wilkos for £2 so I can pick one up next time. The root I lost was from Ken Muir and cost about £5.50. C’est la vie.
The Quince at the side of the house looks lovely at this time of year. It is a very old plant and just one survivor from a hedge that used to run up between the houses at the front. The original plants came from the ex Mother-in-laws house about thirty years ago.
Sowed two more cucumber Lemon, tomato Totem and tomato Dombito to replace seedlings lost. I shall need to buy more cucumber seeds as the Sunsweet and Burpless have keeled over and they were the last ones from last year. Next year I shall sow the cucumber seeds later in the year.
The weather has turned really cold again. There was a very strong, cold wind this morning and snow has been forcast for later today.
At home we have slabbed over the chicken run so no more mud to wade through next Winter. We have also moved the ducks in to a hutch on legs that they can get in and out of much better as the broody pen was turning out to be not so good for ducks as it has been for the chickens.
Pictures show a view accross our plot 8 looking towards Jim’s green tunnel, our shed on plot 8, and a virtual blank canvas on plot 18 before we planted the potatoes.
Rob has gone down to the allotment to plant the Winston seed potatoes we bought from Mick Market as we realised that they were first earlies. Winston are large tubers with moist, creamy flesh of excellent flavour. Unusually for an early variety this one is ideal for baking. Its shape and appearance make this a natural first choice with many exhibitors.
It is a chilly morning but bright and dry. I have stayed at home to do a few jobs here and to make myself respectable to go over Adam and Kirstie’s this afternoon for Libbie’s birthday tea. Glenn was supposed to be going to Manchester today but it has been cancelled so he will be able to come with us.
At last it looks as though Jemima has decided to sit on her eggs. She has four eggs in there and the other five are still under Frosty who is now installed in a separate hutch round the side of the house.
Filled an 8″ black plastic pot with compost and sowed spring onion white Lisbon seeds. They should be ready to eat in six to eight weeks. May do the same every few weeks throughout the season. The tomatoes sown four day ago are almost all through this morning. We spent a very productive three and a half hours at the plot today. All the first early potatoes are now in the ground. Lady Christl, International Kidney and Aaran Pilot, 35 in all. They should be ready to harvest in ten weeks time.