Sunday, 22 April 2007

April update

Took my sweet potato slips to the lottie to pot up today. I potted up 7 in total, they look really good and I have high hopes for them. There are about another 10 slips still forming / growing on the potatoes back at home.

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My folks paid a surprise visit last week to help dig the sweet potato bed and I think they were stunned at just how weed ridden the ground is - especially when we'd managed to fill a wheelbarrow after just digging two half rows. I spent a few hours digging it again today - it has a carpet buried under 4 inches of earth and under that are the remains of several fires. Today I dug up two steel toe caps - perhaps the strangest thing I've dug up yet.

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My rocket potatoes have finally broken through the surface (will have to watch for frosty weather now). Not quite sure what's happened but my lovely straight lines look a little wonky now.

Jerusalem artichokes have also appeared - I'm excited to see what the flowers will be like, although a little intimidated by the height they are supposed to reach - currently they are at the back of the pea bed. I'm hoping the peas will have finished before the artichokes start to shade them. By coincidence I learnt today that they are called 'sunchokes' in the USA. My globe artichokes have set their first fruit / flower. They are a little crowded and I had thought to move one to the pond and leave it to flower, but it may be a little late now. I need to do it fast if I'm going to do it.

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One of last years globe artichokes, saved for the wildlife: 2007-04-21  Allotment  023 copy

Planted out my cauliflowers which were starting to look a little ill. I'm hoping they were pot bound and that they will spring back into life. Their leaves were yellowing slightly and looking a little limp. I've put them under netting to protect from pigeons and butterflies. OH looked at them and the cabbages distainfully and asked 'who's going to eat those' ... 'maybe me' I said (he doesn't think I should grow anything he doesn't like).

I have my fingers crossed for rain next week - the ground is so hard and dry and 3.5 of my waterbutts are now empty ... we were graced with 5 mins of very light rain this afternoon which didn't even manage to change the colour of the paths. I can't believe the difference between this year and last.

All eight courgettes have germinated (of course) and are growing very strongly. Note to self - start them later next year.

Butternuts have appeared, along with the Baby Bear, Sunshine, Winter Festival, Jack Be Little, Turks Turbans (home saved seed, so not sure what I'll get !) and Dill's Atlantic Giant.

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Carrots; 2007-04-21  Allotment  043 copy

Sowed my Crystal Lemon Cucumbers today. Have heard really good things about them and can't wait to try them. Unfortunately they are the only variety I'll have this year (the flippin mouse ate my Bella).

Here are my melons - will be preparing their bed next month: 2007-04-21  Allotment  034 copy

OH went to B&Q today and finally got some breeze blocks, which we'll use to raise the greenhouse and give more growing height. I'm hoping that he'll visit the lottie next weekend and get them laid, so that we can start to glaze it - at the rate everything is growing I think I'll be needing it soon.

The pond is teeming with life and the surface is now rippling non-stop as the tadpoles nibble anything in sight.
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I've also got snails, shrimp like thingys, damselfly lavae (I think), underwater woodlice type things, leeches and loads of pond skaters. The skaters are so comical, I could watch them for hours - when they get too close to each other they have a little scrappy fight, which seems to involve one biting the others leg before flipping it over - a bit like wrestling. The loser scuttles off - usually into someone elses territory and it starts again !

My most exciting and newest visitor is a boatman.

Today a tiny frog was hiding amongst the iris, but sadly he was camera shy.