Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: allotment

Ready for Season 2011 – Sean 40 Today

We have started to think about the new season. I know it is too early yet to sow seeds and I am determined to be patient. First thing on the agenda is to get the seed potatoes and start them chitting in egg boxes on the window ledge. I am sticking to earlies only again this year and planting them all in bags. My favourites from last season were Vivaldi, grown from potatoes bought from Sainsburys and Sharps Express, bought as seed potatoes from Focus. I am just growing those again this season. The second task is to get the parsnip seeds in in February if we have a fine dry day.

I intend to have another go at onions from seed as I have good seed left. Last years were not too good and got neck rot and went soggy before we could harvest them. I am not sure what I did wrong but will have another go.  I have Onion Ishikura, Ailsa Craig and a Sweet Spanish Onion. My instructions say sow very thinly in February under cloches or March to April out in the open. Ishikuri are salad onions and are meant to be harvested as spring onions, when they are about six inches high and pencil thick.  Ailsa Craig and the Spanish Onion are mild cooking onions which stay in the ground longer and are harvested when they have formed a large bulb. I have just read that the Ailsa Craig are known as Winter Onions and so should have been sown in the winter ready to grow on and harvest the following Autumn.Because of Christmas, very bad weather and flu I haven’t been to the allotments for a few weeks so I am looking forward to my first visit of the year. I am sure there will be lots of tidying up to do but hopefully a few nice surprises too.

Happy Birthday Sean. 40 today!!!!!!!!!

Officially Ours – Plots 8 and 18

On Friday Rob paid the rent on the two plots so now we feel that they are officially ours. He also re-built the runner bean trellis, dug new beds and generally made the plots ready for the new season. He even organised the shed. He’s really getting into this allotment business.

romanesco

Today I sowed broccoli Packman and Romanesco in the nursery bed alongside the cauliflower seeds. The seedlings in the carrot bin are coming along nicely as are the leeks and peas. We can’t wait for the weather to warm up.

charlotteRob planted the Charlotte potatoes on plot 18. Charlotte potatoes are a second early and are oval with light yellow skin and yellow flesh, the skin texture is smooth with shallow eyes. I prefer to cook Charlotte in their skins. They boil quickly and steam well. They produce a few purple flowers with white tips. This variety is excellent for boiling, steaming and salad use.

Cut our first spring cabbage today and cooked it for dinner.

Plotting and Planning Ahead

shed.jpg

We spent a good three hours this morning at the plot. The sun was shining and it was very busy. We dug up the two minarettes to plant back at home as Trevor and Jim weren’t too happy with them being on the allotment. I hoed the nursery bed to a finer tilth and Rob weeded the fruit cage. Everything in the lean to is coming on nicely so all we needed to do there was a little gentle watering.

We popped up to Wickes and picked up some bark chippings, then went back and finished off the sitting area and the path along the bean trench. We ordered some shallots from Mick Market and he will deliver them to us next Sunday morning. We gave in to temptation and ordered a bag of Winston and a bag of Rocket seed potatoes as well. Good job we have taken on plot 18 too.

path along bean trench We have filled the blue metal bin with the wood chip from the top of the chicken run as it was made up of pine tree bark and the girls had given it a good going over. We are hoping to plant two Blueberry bushes in there soon. Rob picked them up from a cheap shop in Dudley for £1.49 each. They need ericaceous soil and peat, a little more acidic than the soil on the plot, so what we put on should suit. Finally I did a little weeding around the beetroot and we came home tired and hungry. After a drink and a bit of dinner we went out and planted the minarettes in the garden. Tipped yet another bag of sharp sand on the waterlogged lawn and took another four bags off the top of the run. We shall put this into the blue bin and fetch more wood chip from the wood yard soon so the chickens will be more comfortable again. We may have to think about covering the run before next Winter.

Not Long Now – 2007

Although it is still cold with the threat of lower temperatures to come the garden is showing signs of Spring. Brave spring bulbs are defying the calendar and pushing spears of green up through the frosty soil. Spring fever of a different sort is showing its face down at the allotments. Plot holders are busy planning, mending and building. There is much discussion about what to grow where on our very windy site. The dregs of last years plants are being dug up to make room for the new. There is an atmoshphere of excitement and anticipation that is hard to explain to anyone not involved in the strange world of the allotment.

chitBack at home the seed potatoes, sitting in egg boxes in the garage, are starting to show signs of what is to come.