Judith Proctor (watervole) wrote in allotments_anon,
Judith Proctor

Busy time of year

So, what are we doing at present?

Richard's just dug over and manured the area where we've harvested the last of the purple sprouting brocolli (wonderful stuff, resistant to club root and produces veg at a time of year when almost nothing else is cropping) and has put a pyramid of poles for the French beans.  Nicking an idea from one of the other plot-holders (whose beans grew very well last year), he's tied fleece around the base of the poles.  This should protect the young beans and help them get off to a good start.

I've been doing a lot of weeding.  My new onion hoe is very handing for working between things like onions that are set close together.  It has been explained to Richard, in no uncertain terms, that when planting crops of any kind, it is a good idea to stick to the recommended spacings.  Because we had so much to plant this year, he's been trying to fit more in by putting the rows too close.  This has had two side effects.  Firstly, I can't weed the onions without treading on some of them (I'm working barefoot on sunny days to try and improve the odds, but there's no room for me to turn round or find my balance).  Secondly, if you plant too close, you *reduce* the overall crop.  This is especially noticeable with the broad beans.  The two double rows are far too close to each other.   I can't get between the two pairs to weed easily, and there's far less flowers than we had for a similar number of plants last year.  It's quite noticeable that plants at the end of the row (where they have more light and space) are doing much better.  (And I'm just waiting to see if we get chocolate spot again - last year, it infected the mid-row plants far worse than the ones with more air around them)

The sweetcorn seem to be okay.  We hardened them off  before planting them out and I'm glad we did.  Looking at the plot next door, I see some terribly sad, yellow and shrivelled sweet corn.  I'm guessing that they were planted straight out from a greenhouse or windowsill without any hardening off.  We start ours in our planthouse (very very mini greenhouse) and then, when they're nearly ready to go out, take them out during the day and put them back at night to help them get used to the outside world.  (and they can stay out on nights when the weather is predicted to be mild)
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