A window of no rain

It’s been so rainy here over the last couple of weeks. I tried allotmenteering in the rain mid-week but it was a terrible plan because I came back covered in mud, so I was glad to see that today was a window of opportunity for me to come and tackle the weeds, which had been gaining a tactical advantage. If there is a sudden downpour, I’ve now got a shelter in the form of the greenhouse, which is still standing thanks to the additional tent pegs I bought to secure it.

I casually bought a pumpkin, he’s called Peadar (I’m learning Irish at the moment so everything has to have an Irish name so I remember pronunciation). Decided the pumpkin needed friends, so they’ve been growing quite happily too. I’ll think about where to actually put them once they’re a bit bigger. Lack of space has never been an issue on the allotment, and I suspect that when I start taking the potatoes up, I’ll be glad to have something to keep the weeds at bay. I hadn’t planned on pumpkins, but all the cucumbers met their maker after the greenhouse fell one night, (prompting me to invest in the aforementioned tent pegs) and I needed something to take the pain away.


The Mayan Gold potatoes have grown some quite attractive purple flowers, even though it’s too early to even think about taking them up yet. I’m concerned about the sweet potatoes. The leaves of the original plants are turning black, which can never be a good sign, and while some of them are growing additional leaves to form the vine they’re supposed to, something’s been nibbling on them, quite possibly slugs. Not much I can do other than monitor then and try and keep the ground warm.

There are a couple of successes, although I think the beans are growing quite slowly. Not as slowly as the climbing beans, which I might just give up on, but I keep seeing pictures from other blogs with bean plants ready to harvest! And strawberries already harvestable! The ones on my allotment and on the terrace haven’t even formed properly yet, they’re just flowers at the moment. I suppose this far north in England, things work differently. I’m happy with the progress of the peas, to the right, as well. I’d wanted all eight obelisks to look like that, but the Homebase peas got eaten (main suspect is a rabbit) and the sweet peas look healthy, but just haven’t grown very much.

Finally, are you ready for some artwork? Are you sure?


It’s a wonder my artistic talents have laid undiscovered for so long, but there we go. I had a quiet day work-wise a couple of weeks ago, in the dim and distant past before I took on a lot of work and grumpily worked into the night for several days in a row, and used my spare time to update the plan to reflect more or less what’s in the allotment at the moment. I’m not sure why I’ve labelled one bit as ‘weeds’, when that could apply to a lot of bits. It helps me figure out how on earth I’m going to plan things for next year – issues include:

  • Where am I going to grow potatoes, having giving over a lot of the allotment to potatoes previously? Will I just have to grow fewer potatoes? But I love potatoes.
  • I want to grow asparagus, but it takes three years to get established and I can’t make that kind of commitment. What should I do, other than ‘not grow asparagus’?

And so on. But there’s plenty of time to figure this out, and at the moment, the real battle’s against the weeds.


Breaking glass on the allotment again


I’ve been working on this allotment for a year and a half and I’m STILL unearthing broken glass everywhere. I’ve heard that the allotment used to be the site of a pig farm which burned down, smashing the glass, accounting for the huge amount of glass I’ve found. But that’s just anecdotal, on the non-literal allotment grapevine.

Never mind, I’m trying to replace all the glass with delicious food that I can eat. I’ve been concentrating on seedlings during the week, enjoying multiple lunch breaks in which I’ve tried to persuade tiny carrots, parsnips and tomatoes to appear.

I’ve been successful with carrots and parsnips, but there’s no sign of the tomatoes. Surely tomatoes are meant to be one of the easiest things to grow? Why am I failing at tomatoes?  The year before last they at least had the good manners to grow, although they produced very few actual tomatoes. I’m planning on buying some plug plants as a ‘cheat’ in a few weeks.

I managed to complete my main goal for the weekend, though, and I’ve now got all the potatoes in the ground. This was something that needed to happen this weekend. Planted Mayan Gold and International Kidney today, adding to the Anya and small quantities of Belle de Fontenay (posh). I thought I was being quite restrained with just four kinds of potatoes this year after the five last year, but writing it now, I realise it might be a bit mad. I’m happy I’m keeping on top of it, despite it being admittedly early in the season. I was so happy that I decided to make another progress picture (using advanced image editing software named ‘Windows Paint’):


I should really get a picture of what things look like when actually growing, not freshly dug over, but I suppose at that point last year I was busy with trying to gain sovereignty over the weeds. I like this time of the year and the neatness of the dug over bits, which won’t last for very long. For the moment, though, I feel like I can look on and rest for a while.