Well, we’re back from our holidays and have started getting the allotment into shape for the new year.
Fortunately we dug over most of the empty beds before we left, did some weeding etc., etc.. So we could get straight into sowing and planting.
We put in the 1st Early potatoes. I normally would wait until Good Friday but as Easter is so late this year, I decided I would get them in a bit aead of time. The 2nd Earlies will go in either later this week or early next. I’m not growing maincrop potatoes this year basically because we’ve take a bed out with more Autumn Fruiting Raspberries and we decided that maincrop potatoes were the least useful of the vegetables that we grow. There are plenty of them (we’ve just finished the crop from last year) but, seeing as how we have to grow Sarpo maincrop potatoes because of the blight at the allotment, we decided to stop them altogether.
The peas we planted before we went have been ravaged by the pigeons so I’ll have to so some more to increase the crop to a sensible level, but the overwintered broadbeans are flowering and so hopefully we’ll have an early crop sometime in the next month or so.
I’ve also planted all the onions. Because we were going away, I didn’t want to plant the sets at the allotment before we went so I put them into pots of compost and they have grown on enough to plant them out.
The polytunnel is doing well, the lettuce I put in (a split up living salad) has produced about 30 plants so we won’t need to buy any more lettuces for a while (providing I remember to sow some more to create plants for the rest of the year). I’ve also sowed all my tomatoes and the peppers I sowed before we went away are looking reasonable (they’ve been a little stressed because the temperature in the polytunnel varied between 40c and -1c but there was nothing I could do about that. However, I don’t think I’ll have to sow any others. I’ve had the radishes out, we had a couple of pickings which meant that sowing them before we went away was worthwhile but they’ve run to seed so, more have been sown outdoors for the start of the year. We’ve also go lots of parsley which needs picking and freezing but the parsley in the greenhouse has had to be thrown out because its a source of greenfly and (despite moving ladybirds into the greenhouse), I don’t want to infect the seedlings.
The Physalis (Cape Gooseberry) has started flowering already. In 2012, I “accidentally” left it in the greenhouse over the winter (I say accidentally but basically I was too lazy to chuck it out) and it survived the winter and grew well through 2013. On the basis that I didn’t expect that, I again left it in the greenhouse over this winter just gone and, lo and behold, its survived again so put some additional fresh compost on it and hopefully we’ll get a load more fruit.
Much of the fruit (gooseberries, summer raspberries, redcurrants) are looking well and I noticed the first strawberry flower today so hopefully we’re going to get another good year (possibly a little earlier than last). We’ve had a couple of pickings of Rhubarb.
In terms of last years plants, we’re still picking purple sprouting broccoli and swiss chard; the sweetcorn in the freezer is beginning to come to an end but we’ve still got lots of tomatoes, and fruit. Last year is seeing us well.
So, all in all, everything is looking good.