Poundland blueberries

A few years ago I bought one of the blueberry sticks you see in Poundland. It’s in a pot out the front of my house and over the past three years had grown but never shown any sign of giving fruit.

I read that blueberries do better when grown next to another blueberry plant of a different type so a few months ago I ordered a Bluecrop from Amazon and potted it up next to the other bush. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but this year both blueberries are covered  in promising-looking buds and flowers which I’m hoping will result in lots of fruit later in the year. So it might take a few years but it looks like £1 fruit bushes are worth a go.

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First harvest!

Guess what our tea was tonight? Or our starter, at least. Asparagus! Grown on the plot!

I went down this afternoon just to water the garlic and the seeds I’ve planted recently and realised that the asparagus was growing at such an alarming rate that I needed to harvest some. I cut four spears which we’ve literally just eaten so I can tell you that they were delicious.

I didn’t harvest the giant, intimidating, biggest-asparagus-spear-I’ve-ever-seen as it isn’t quite long enough yet but it certainly has enough girth.

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PS – I noticed an influx of visitors this week which I think was due to a mention from Richard on Sharpen Your Spades – thanks Richard!

Making an allotment plan using Excel

I spent a while Googling to see how other people create their allotment plans. A lot of people had made really beautiful illustrations with drawings of each veg but these seem to serve more as an artwork than a practical plan which you can change as things change on the plot. I’d drawn a plan in my notebook (you can see it in this previous post) which didn’t look very inspiring and was also hard to amend as plans changed.

I decided to give Excel a try and here’s my current plan. It’s pretty satisfying making the different coloured sections for the different crops:

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This only shows half my plot – I’ve left out the side which is dominated by the corrugated metal container of rubbish and felled trees.

The raised bed on the far right (close up of it from my plan is below) is the one I’ve done the most planting in so far and it already has garlic, beetroot, radishes, rainbow chard and carrots sown in it.I’ve sown the nasturtiums too but there’s no sign of them popping up so far.

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My plan still seems to change every time I visit the plot though. Today I decided that the mange tout should move to the bottom end where I’ve currently planned parsnips so I’ll change that at some point.

 

 

First seed sowing of 2017

Of course, the start of March signals seed-sowing time. It’s still a bit chilly here so I’ve started a few seeds inside and plan to move them out into the zip-up greenhouse before transferring to the plot a bit later in the spring.

Planted so far are tumbling and vine tomatoes, mangetout and various chillis. The mangetout were by far the quickest to appear, poking through the soil within five days or so. I sowed both red and yellow tumbling tomatoes but only one of the yellow seeds germinated. You only get 15 in a pack and 1/15 seems like a bit of a rubbish result but never mind. I also have the chocolate tomatoes from the Real Seed Catalogue too so fingers crossed they’ll do better.

 

Asparagus excitement

This morning I spotted several exciting new developments on the allotment. First up, the asparagus which has started poking through the weeds. I knew there was an asparagus bed in one of the raised beds, but I didn’t know there was more on the left hand side of the plot. I did tread on one of the spears so I’m hoping it’ll recover.

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My first crocus has also appeared! I planted these way back in November so it seems like they’ve taken ages. Daffodils and anenomes yet to appear.

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We’re having sausage and mash tonight so I dug up loads of horseradish. It was a bit rainy and all the other plotholders had disappeared into their sheds so there was no one around to offer some to. It’s in danger of taking over the bottom end of the plot so I dug up more than we need just to try and get rid of some of it. Here’s the two pieces when I dig them up and then one of them in the kitchen sink so you can see what a monster it is.

Four months in

It’s four months since I took over plot 45 and here’s how it’s changed. The first photo was day 1, the second was two months in and the third was lunch time today.

There’s still endless black bags full of plastic, broken glass old tools and other weird finds, a ridiculous amount of weeds and tree branches to burn, plus the re-emergence of weeds as the weather warms up, but I think it looks like we’re making progress.

Today I put down some weed-supressing fabric to see if it has any effect keeping the mare’s tail and bindweed at bay. One useful find amongst the debris was a couple of metal tent pegs that I anchored it with, along with some bricks and bits of paving slab.

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Can you see in the pictures the gradual clearing of stuff from the giant metal boat-shaped pit of doom? I pulled about 50 canes out of it today along with a small stool and lots more dried wood and bindweed so fingers crossed for some dry weather and another bonfire at the weekend.