Frost damage! โ„๏ธ


I was hoping to update you on my thriving courgette plants, but well… they aren’t any longer. I foolishly forgot that the polytunnel air vent was left open after the hot spell we had. Jack Frost had his wicked way and has taken not just the courgettes, but also my tomatoes and chilli plants too! ๐Ÿ˜ข

I’ve learnt the hard way. Don’t trust the weather forecast when is suggests lows of 3ยฐ. The thermometer read -2.2ยฐ for last night! If only I brought them home for the night. *sigh*

I know the courgette plants can be re-sown but what about my unusual chilli and tomato seeds? It’s far too late to be sowing chillies now, so I might have to resort to buying plug plants instead. Maybe it isn’t too late to re-sow some tomatoes at home, as I was really looking forward to trying my new varieties, black cherry and honey bee. 

Happy Earth Day ๐ŸŒ

It’s Earth Day today and I spent it getting my hands dirty in the soil of my very own piece of earth. I managed to completely dig over the main bed, where I grew far too many potatoes last year. The plan this year is to have a path running through the middle, with two beds on each side.

In between pulling up the weeds and rouge potatoes from the ground, I took time to appreciate all the beautiful colours and shapes around me.  The bright tulips and dainty apple blossom, the unfurling leaving of the ferns by the pond. I also took pleasure in the buzz of wildlife on my patch, like (my now friend) blackbird who continues to hunt for worms as I dig the soil right next to him. Then there’s the tadpoles wiggling away in the pond and the vole I spotted scuffeling about the undergrowth of ivy. โ€‹โ€‹

Even though the allotment is still a mess, it really is a habitat for all forms of life. I’m so grateful to call it my own even if it isn’t perfect, because the nature benefits from it and so do I. 

Happy Earth Day ๐ŸŒ 

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The spuds are in!

I took advantage of the Easter bank holiday to plant my four varieties of well-chitted potatoes in the ground. Strangely it was this exact date that I planted them last year! I’ve learnt from last years experience that I don’t need to grow quite as many, so this time I’m using only half the amount which means I have much more space for other crops.
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It isn’t frogspawn!

What I thought was frogspawn in my pond turns out to be newt spawn!  It was only when I played back my video and zoomed in, that I realised the tadpoles had tiny gills on the top of their heads and some had developed their front legs. This, in my opinion, is even more exciting than having frogspawn! They will be most welcome to stay on my plot and gobble up all the slugs and snails.

 

It makes sense when I think about it. Last year around June, I managed to capture footage of a newt’s mating ritual (see below, sorry for the shaky camera!). It’s something I learnt about in one of David Attenborough’s awesome documentaries. Check out how the male newt wiggles its tail at 0.17. So I knew that I had sexually productive newts in my area, but didn’t think they would be back to mate again and lay eggs in my pond! I think they are smooths newts, but I can’t be sure. What do you think?

 

 

Hello April!

April is here and with it comes one of the busiest months for seeds and franticly preparing the ground for crops and flowers! I have quite a few seedlings on the go already, but there are still plenty more to sow and an ever growing list of jobs to complete.

Allotment jobs for the week

  • Tidy the flower bed
  • Sow peas in guttering
  • Clear weeds and prepare the beds
  • Lay down woodchip on the new fruitbed footpath
  • Take down last year’s pea canes

Allotment jobs for April

  • Sow pumpkins and squashes undercover
  • Sow flowers
  • Plant gladioli bulbs
  • Divide and move snowdrops
  • Plant the seed potatoes
  • Sow peas successionally
  • Directly sow salad crops
  • Pot-up seedlings
  • Clear out the shed (!)
  • Watch out for baby frogs

Coming next

Flower update! ๐ŸŒผ ๐ŸŒท

Vermiculite Experimentย 

I hastily planted some courgette seeds a couple of weeks ago, not realised just how early it was and forgetting how rapidly they grow. In just a few days they germinated and shot up as very tall and leggy seedlings. 

There was a long and interesting discussion on my Instagram post on what to do with my leggy seedlings and also I’m the benefits of using vermiculite. I realised that like tomatoes, courgettes actually produce roots from the main stem. This means my seedlings (if I plant them deep enough) could put out enough re-growth to create a strong and healthy plants.

I had a few options on what I could do next. Either continue to grow them regardless of their weak appearance, sow some more a few weeks later, or use the opportunity to experiment.

I picked up Aldi’s vermiculite (10lr for ยฃ3.49) and potted up two seedlings in a compost and vermiculite mix and the other two just compost. I predict that the two with vermiculite will retain more water and hopefully produce a stronger root system! I’ve never used vermiculite before, so this will be a useful experiment to see how the seedlings will benefit.