Today the sun shone as we set to work at the plot, unfortunately for my husband my daughter needed a feed post school run and for me that meant I could sit and watch as he applied the first coat to the shed. My youngest has reached the age of demand, my attention usually when I have something planned. I have to say it is no chore I am happy to enjoy these moments, especially if it means I can get a little more done.
Once my daughter slept I could potter around, this involved weeding the potato bed and mulching with the help of my toddler. After distributing it around the space I followed and thinly spread it over the potato’s and self sown flowers, I watered the ground before mulching as this will be held under the straw.
Following the sowings of the last week I was pleased to see the cucurbits had survived the last week, a few of which had secondary leaves. I know I have a combination of, squashes, pumpkins and marrows so I look forward to the fruits that will follow, with around 15 plants growing I hope to extend the bed in summer to set a second sowing of sweetcorn.
I found once my newly blue shed (the front face, for now!) I moved the shed onto the recently laid slabs, positioned on the old strawberry bed a few plants are thriving in one corner but the rest I transferred to a newly filled bed and mulched on the last visit. After moving the bench onto the space I let my daughter paint a few old plant pots to fit next to it which I hope to plant a few herbs. Mint or lemon balm are my favourite so I look forward to sitting down, once the box bed behind is full of my favourite herbs.
Finally, I found the central compost bin full to the brim with amazing topsoil, this has been sat since our first week and will be the foundation of the cloche bed which I intend to box in using our reclaimed decking boards and fill with the ton of soil. This will save us a lot of compost and mixed with the last of the manure will make a further three beds raise and enabling me to set a few as no dig beds. These will be ideal for pest vulnerable plants such as Broccoli and cabbage, allowing us to set them as they grow on from my variety of successful sowings.
Finally after using my new IBC hose adapter I could slowly water the potato’s, seedlings and pumpkins without walking three miles with my watering can. The adapter cost three pounds from ebay and can be taken home to ensure the tank cannot be used when you are away, the lack of water pressure is ideal as you can trickle the water as needed. However 200 litres, with a little wasted by young hands has been used in the last few days so I am hoping we have some torrential rain this week to refill the tank.
I would normally rush to finish the rest of the shed but, plan to return in a few days and do a little more, for now the side were we work is bright, vibrant and has absorbed the paint. I will soon have a wonderful blue shack to sit, although my pallet bench will require a little work.
The water melon seeds we planted together at the beginning of the holidays I have now potted on, a few plant pots for cherry tomato seedlings will let them grow on. I have a few reasonable seedlings in the green house now, only a few inches tall but strong with their first leaves. I will have around fifty plants by the time I am finished plenty of time to grow them on for summer. I intend to plant an outdoor row to trial in our climate as the greenhouse heat was too much for last years crop, I will set a three varieties as my seedlings were three varieties in one to add variety if I decide to share, donate or sell my extra plants. I chose Ailsa Craig, Moneymaker and Marmande as they are three different styles of tomato, small, medium and large, which I feel for new or old growers and will all be great added in summer salads or sandwiches.
I have set around eighty squash seedlings, these seeds were taken from our butternut squash this week, the seeds were free so I planted them all. A great vegetable for creating harvest characters, adding to stews and apparently roasting, something I am yet to try! Yes a lot of seeds, but I have still around thirty spaces in my cucurbit bed that I can plant as and when the seedlings develop and I intend to grow using as much of our space as possible.
My next visit will be filling our first cloche bed with soil and setting the cauliflowers, broccoli, chard and Kale of whatever variety establishes first. The new seeds the children set of crown Prince, Jack o lantern and Atlantic giant are our potted varieties which the children will water and I plan to set in and area so they can compete for the largest pumpkin. A little fun along with our potato competition to add to our growing season.
Saving, sorting and sourcing is allowing us a little more than we would usually have and is made through applying energy into the moments we find, sharing our skills and knowledge to grow our spaces both at home and the allotment. I am always looking for a space to achieve both together but for now it allows us to increase the space, variety and amount of food we can grow.