Last year’s support for the tayberry was not an unqualified success. To be fair, it did mean that I was able to harvest a lot more berries than I think we’ve ever had, but ultimately the weight of the bush broke pretty much all the bamboo canes I’d used to construct it.
This is a bit of a common theme when I construct plant supports – they always seem over-engineered in the early spring, but then the plants start growing like crazy and before you know it, everything breaks.
This year, I’ve rebuilt the support with much more substantial timber, and hacked back a lot of last year’s growth so with any luck, we’ll get another easy-to-harvest bounty!
So 2016 was, once again, only intermittently logged here. Maybe 2017 will be better!
I managed to get some decent clearing done in the autumn, as well as another 20-or-so barrow loads of compost that occasionally gets delivered to our allotment site.
But I didn’t really get over since New Year. That’s partly down to being in Hong Kong during January but I can’t blame it all on foreign travel – the weather was wet and miserable, and the longer you’re away, the harder it is to force yourself back to work.
Happily, it seems that my hard work is starting to pay off; the dug beds are still fairly clear, only really needing a very light forking over to disrupt what little weeds have appeared. The grass hasn’t really woken up yet, all the trees seem to have survived the winter storms and there’s even signs of life starting to show on them all (the pear tree, above, seems the most advanced right now).
It’s been quite a while since my last update, thanks in part to the fact that we were in Japan for pretty much the whole of April!
Before we left, I managed to sow onions, garlic and potatoes – and as you can see from the picture, the potatoes (and everything else) is growing nicely.
Obviously by being away at this time of year, we did come back to some impressively high grass, and weeds everywhere, but I’m slowly getting back in control of things. Beans finally went in last week, and we bought some supplies from the allotment plant sale the weekend after our return – some cabbages (already planted out), tomatoes (in the greenhouse) and a variety of pumpkin and squash which are just hardening off before going onto the allotment.
Last year’s brassica have finally all been cleared out (not least to make room for this year’s squashes!) – the savoy cabbages were fairly successful but the romanesco cauliflower less so. Only a few of the plants really produced any cauliflowerness, and those that did weren’t very large. The picture here is by far the most successful of the crop.
Still, this year may well be more successful – I managed to get a decent amount of compost into most of the growing fields and with any luck that, plus the chicken pellet fertilizer, will help things grow a bit stronger. Certainly the potatoes are looking happier than they ever have before over there!
I love Poundland. Every allotment owner really needs a local pound shop.
Their incredibly cheap tent pegs hold down the weed control fabric. Their ‘bamboo edging’ quickly disassembled into a large supply of plant labels, and their secateurs may only last six months before they break or blunt, at least I can just leave them in the shed and not worry about them going walkies.
They also do plants, with varying success. We have a very nice gooseberry bush at home that came from there, and some sort of small blackberry-like thing too. It’s not always successful; I’ve tried a rose and raspberries from there too and they’ve just vanished without a trace, but for one pound I figure it’s worth a punt.
So on the allotment we now have three shiny new roses, which will bring some colour during the summer and (with any luck) hips come autumn – if any of them survive. You don’t get much in the way of choice (or information) at Poundland, so that’s two “yellow bush” and one “white bush” rose. Hopefully they’ll make it!