Monday, 5 June 2017

June - Allotment Growing and Planting

St Ives Cornwall Allotment - June Planting


Passed a lovely weekend on my allotment - with lots to do - mainly focussed now on planting out the seedlings that I've grown. Summer and the first crops are truly on the way.


The Broad Beans - sown back in March - are now fully in flower and should deliver a first crop in the next three or four weeks.


The peas are thriving and I spotted my first pea flower thus weekend.
Hope to be picking the pods by the end of June or early July.


My potatoes have a huge amount of leaf growth - and I've already earthed them up several times over the last few weeks. I'm delighted that - so far this year - they seem to be free of blight - which has been a curse for the last three years. Hoping for a good heavy crop - these are First Earlies - Pentland Javelin.



Finally - I've been working on my "Three Sisters" bed - growing Sweetcorn, Climbing Beans and Squash all together. I've got it planted out - with more to go in next week. More about that in a future blog post.

I am so looking forward to another Summer on my plot - more news soon.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Potato Problem - Opportunity

Allotment Growing - Rogue Potatoes
Allotment Growing - Rogue Potatoes


A common problem on allotments is "rogue" potatoes popping up in unwanted places.

I rotate crops around my plot on a four year cycle  - to prevent the build up of pests and to improve soil fertility. So my potatoes move to a different bed each year. I grow peas and beans in the space previously occupied.

But when harvesting it is just about impossible to dig out every single spud - a few are always left in the ground. These then continue to sprout underground and pop up shoots in their old bed the following Spring - and sometimes for a year or two after that.

In the past I've always treated these like weeds and dug them out - but this Spring I've tried a fresh and more productive approach.


I've continued to dig up the rogue spuds - but have then transplanted them to this year's potato bed. They may or may not grow on - but if they do they will add to this year's crop - and for free!

This year I only planted three rows instead of the usual six - I've had potato blight for the last three seasons and decided to focus solely on first earlies. These will - hopefully - be harvested before blight strikes again. The additional space in the bed is now in productive use with these "extras" - and any crop will be a bonus.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Spring - Allotment Growing and Planting

St Ives Cornwall Allotment
St Ives Cornwall Allotment


More planting on my plot over the last week or so - and more seeds developing into seedlings.


Allotment Growing - Courgettes

I've planted some courgette seedlings - kindly given to me be local friend and grower Marcus.
These are protected for now under old supermarket baskets - also donated - by local friends and growers Tim and Sharon. They make great little cloches.

Allotment Growing - Raspberries

I've planted some raspberries - something I've been wanting to do for ages.
Still looking a bit scrawny but most of them should grow on.

Allotment Growing - Peas

Peas are in their "cage" and growing on well.

Allotment Growing - Broad Beans

Broad Beans are coming on nicely.

Spring is most definitely here. One of the driest for years -
but I've been watering as much as I can and all is growing nicely.

Allotment With A Sea View - St Ives Cornwall

Finally - a view of the sea as I approach my plot from St Ives when I walk over the fields.
More posts soon.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Sunday On The Allotment - Sowing and Growing

St Ives Cornwall Allotment - Spring - Blue Skies


Lovely weather in Cornwall this weekend - warm with blue skies and sunshine.

I felt I'd done enough weeding and clearing for now - it never ends.

So I focussed on sowing some seeds - Spring is advancing quickly.

Allotment Growing - Carrots

I got two more rows of Amsterdam Forcing Carrots sown - mixed in with some Marigold seed. The flowers will make a pretty addition as well as attracting bees. They are also supposed to help keep carrot flies away - although I'm not sure that this works.

I also made a start on my long planned Wild Flower Patch - by sowing more Marigolds plus some Nasturtiums. This will also look nice in Summer - and attract more bees. I'll be adding some wild flower mix seed in due course. Plus some sunflowers that I've sown in pots to get started.

Allotment Growing - Broad Beans - Sprouting

Excited to see my Broad Beans - Bunyards Exhibition - finally coming through. They've been in the ground for three weeks and I was beginning to get worried. I do this every year - impatience! Hopefully the peas will come through next.

Allotment Growing - Living Willow Structure

More exciting news. My Living Willow Structure - which I planted back in November - is ..... living! Shoots are starting to appear all over so the willow is obviously rooting itself underground.
Can't wait to see how this develops through Spring and Summer.

Allotment Growing - Old Windows - Cold Frames

My friends and neighbours - Tim and Sharon - came out to the plot with some old windows that they've very kindly donated. These will be great for making cold frames. Re-using old materials is a big part of allotmenting for me - and the materials are free!

Spring On The Allotment - Blackthorn - Flowering

Finally - yet another lovely sign of Spring - the Blackthorn behind my plot is bursting into blossom. Can't wait to get out to the plot next week and see what develops.



Read more ......
Allotment Growing - Spring Sowings

Allotment Growing - Sweetcorn

Visit my website - Allotment Growing
- for lots more information, growing tips and photos:
Allotment Growing

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Allotment With A Sea View - Facebook


Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sunday On The Allotment - Spring In Cornwall

St Ives Cornwall Allotment - Spring - Blue Skies
St Ives Cornwall Allotment - Spring - Blue Skies


A beautiful warm sunny weekend in Cornwall - Spring really has arrived!
I'm loving it.

I had a enjoyable if fairly routine couple of days on the plot. Mainly - again - clearing and preparing growing beds for planting and sowing later.

Quote from my post last week:
"Peas - have sown some in cardboard tubes in a sheltered corner of the garden. But sowings on the allotment must wait until April! Or so I tell myself - wonder if I'll stick to that resolution?"
Nope - of course not - I couldn't resist sowing a few rows of peas!
But - actually - the soil really has warmed up over the last few days. I dug in some manure a couple of weeks ago so maybe that's adding to the warmth. Here is the new home for my peas. A "cage" - cobbled together - as is normal on my allotment - from bits and bobs scrounged here and there. Some wire fencing that I found dumped in the wild area behind my plot and a few bamboo canes.

Allotment Crops - Peas


I've cleared some more ground on the "roots" section of the plot, taking out the green manure grown over Winter and adding some compost and chicken manure pellets. This area will be home to my leeks, already germinating in pots in the garden at home. They will probably go into the plot at the end of May.

Allotment Growing - Leek Bed


Turnip seeds have already germinated, only a couple of weeks after sowing. Looking forward to eating some Baby Turnips in May.

Allotment Crops - Turnips


Finally my first crop of the Spring season - some Rhubarb. Personally I hate the stuff, but my lovely wife Jo loves it, so I'll keep it growing.

Allotment Crops - Rhubarb


More news next week as Spring in West Cornwall develops.



Read more ......
Allotment Growing - Spring Sowings

Allotment Growing - Sweetcorn

Visit my website - Allotment Growing
- for lots more information, growing tips and photos:
Allotment Growing

You might also enjoy:
Allotment With A Sea View - Facebook

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Spring On The Allotment - First Sowings - Turnips - Carrots

St Ives Cornwall Allotment - March Sunshine
St Ives Cornwall Allotment - March Sunshine


More Spring sowings on the allotment - while at the same time I try to reign in my impatience.

Peas - have sown some in cardboard tubes in a sheltered corner of the garden. But sowings on the allotment must wait until April! Or so I tell myself - wonder if I'll stick to that resolution?

Two crops that I feel can go in, with a reasonable chance of germination in 2 to 3 weeks, are Turnips and early Carrots.

Allotment Growing - Turnips - Veitches Red Globe

In line with my crop rotation plan, the Turnips have gone into the Brassica bed - this is where they belong. I'm trying a new variety this year, bought on eBay (reasonably priced and free postage) - from Just Seeds. Veitches Red Globe - which according to the seed packet - are "A small round variety with tender white flesh, ideal for sowing in Spring".

I've also sown one row of carrots in the Roots bed - where they will be followed later by Black Salsify and Leeks. A tried and trusted variety - Amsterdam Forcing.



Read more ......
Allotment Growing - Turnips

Allotment Growing - Sweetcorn

Visit my website - Allotment Growing
- for lots more information, growing tips and photos:
Allotment Growing

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Allotment With A Sea View - Facebook

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday On The Allotment - The Cusp Of Spring

St Ives Cornwall Allotment - March 2017
St Ives Cornwall Allotment - March 2017


Had an enjoyable but routine morning on the allotment- mainly clearing ground ready for Spring sowing and planting.

Slightly overcast weather, but fairly warm, with glimpses of blue sky.

As mentioned in my previous posts, I'm restraining my natural impatience to get seeds in the ground, still a bit too early for most of them.

St Ives Cornwall Allotment - March 2017

So I focussed on yet more preparation work. I continued clearing down some of the Winter Field Beans. Grown as green manure to cover the beds, retain nutrients and keep the weeds down a bit.

They are looking a bit bedraggled, after their sterling work over the Winter. Some are starting to flower, so I'm keeping some growing in the hope of collecting seed, to use next Autumn.

The bed that I cleared is earmarked for Black Salsify seeds in April, baby Leek plants in May and more Carrots. Plus maybe some new root crops, I try to sow something new and different each season. If you have any ideas, please post a comment.

I've also been thinking and planning ahead to next Autumn. My Strawberry bed is looking a bit tired and general advice is to move these every 3 or 4 years anyway. It is also quite weedy. I made a basic mistake when I first planted this bed up. I was in a hurry so didn't clear the weeds or apply mulch properly, so the weeds keep coming back.

New Strawberry Bed

So I've made a start on a new bed, next to the existing one on some ground that I've left fallow for the last couple of years. Or - maybe put more honestly - I didn't get round to / couldn't be bothered to clear and mulch! I'll post more on that as it develops. In particular, I've developed further interest in the "no dig" approach to creating new growing beds. I've found a few interesting blog posts and YouTube videos on this subject and different approaches. Watch this space.

Final note - on my favourite subject (maybe slight obsession!) of compost and composting. I'm clearing this area by cutting out the turf in small manageable slices, simply using my spade. I've found the best way to deal with these is to build a "turf pile" rather than add to the (already full) compost bin.

Turf Pile - Composting

So here is my growing pyramid of turf, next to the compost bins. This is full of thick grass roots, so I'll leave it for a couple of years to fully compost down, then add to the beds.

Final - final note - this is my latest little project - my "Living Willow Structure".

Living Willow Structure

I'm pretty excited about this - constructed and planted back in November - it is starting to grow! First leaves are appearing and so the willow must be rooting itself in. Again - more on progress in future blog posts.Keep coming back.



Read more ......
Growing Willow

Allotment Growing - Sweetcorn

Visit my website - Allotment Growing
- for lots more information, growing tips and photos:
Allotment Growing

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