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Jun 18 2009

Posted By: 26/06/2009 10:01:00

What a busy week it's been, at last some rain has arrived to give me a break from the watering, and thankfully we only had some light drizzle compared to the rest of the country which was suffering with torrential rain.

 Twice a day I have been checking on the sheep, who seem quite content to stay alive thankfully. On Saturday I had some good news, the new allotments had been allocated to everyone in the queue and there where some left over, so I could finally take possession of my second plot. As you can see from the photo I didn't waste any time clearing the plot and planting some left over plants from the greenhouse. By the end of Sunday two thirds of the plot was planted with Fennel, Globe Artichokes, Courgette's and Woad. The latter of which will be used in a dyeing experiment with the sheep's wool next year. During the week I have since sown Chicory, Rainbow Chard, and Radicchio. I have left an area for a double compost bin and water butt, and a section for cold frames and hot beds.

You can't really see from the picture but the new plots are very stony and if there was enough time I would have sieved the top 30cm of soil to remove them all, but there wasn't, so I didn't. Instead, as the crops are harvested I shall sieve the soil and then cover it with a 20cm layer of manure. Then leave it until February when it can be dug over. The positioning of the allotment is next to a tall hedgerow on the western side of the plot, I have chosen this spot rather than a more open plot so I can benefit from the small micro-climate made by the hedge, there is a downside in that turbulence from the wind may cause damage to some of the plants, but I think the risk will be worth it.

On my other allotment there is also lots of activity, the potatoes are just coming into flower, the Broad Beans are still producing a nice harvest, the Onions are almost ready for lifting, Baby Turnips are being produced by the hundreds, Cauliflowers and Cabbages are forming nice heads, and the 'Three Sisters' are settling in quite nicely. Carrots and Beetroot are also doing well.

Back home in the raised bed, Spinach and Rocket are at full production with signs of the Rocket Going to seed. The Spinach leaves are now being picked , cooked and frozen into portion sized bags ready for the lean time. The first crops of Kohl Rabi have been picked and cooked and the second 'flush' is about two weeks away from picking. The Spring Onions and beetroot are being thinned and eaten as they mature.

In the Greenhouse for the first time in several years I have some spare space thanks to the new allotment. I always sow too many seeds and then can't bear to throw any away. So now the Tomatoes have a free reign to take over, and I'm hopeful for a good crop.

On the animal front, one of the chickens has gone broody and is sitting on about 20 eggs. The cockerel hasn't noticed this and is still trying to impregnate anything that moves. The sheep are doing sheep things and thinking sheep thoughts, and even Stan has eased off with the 'Hell and Damnation' look in his eyes and turned out to be quite friendly. Although I'm keeping him at arms length just in case he's trying to eat my soul.

Jobs for this week will be watering and weeding, and building a new compost bin on the new allotment. While I'm on the subject of composting I came across this bin the other day. I've seen similar ideas before with bins which can be rotated to speed up the breakdown of the matter, but this is by far the simplest idea. I also like the idea of not having to keep the bin in one place. You can also roll it to the place you need the compost to be placed and then simple tip it out. I might have to treat myself to one.

Happy Gardening!

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