March 2011


It’s all going on in the polyhouse. Everything is germinating now, this week has seen sunflowers, gherkins, aubergine, courgette, corriander, basil, more chillies, more tomatoes, peas and lettuce. Also planted some purple sprouting broccoli. Each morning I take everything out into the polyhouse and every evening bring them back in. It’s starting to turn into quite a job, and it’s going to get harder as the weeks go on. The first batch of tomatoes planted in Jan are almost ready to go into bigger pots, whilst the next batch from March need moving from germinating trays. I’ll have quite a few separate pots to move around and will have until it’s time to plant out. I’ll need to work out some sort of shelter for them so that I can plant them out a bit early, preferably by May.

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I’m feeling some urgency about getting the spuds in the ground as soon as possible now. As mentioned before I’ve been instructed they need 12 weeks and in Cornwall its a race before blight sets in around July time. Spurred on by the thought of a winter with no roast potatoes I set the alarm and got down the allotment for a quick session before work. Managed to get two rows in, 22 sprouting spuds. It was a beautiful day so also went down after work to get another two rows in, thus completing all our earlies. Planning to plant the rest during the weekend.

Following advice I dug trenches (my favorite job) about a spade depth. Put some fairly raw compost in the bottom (should be well rotted but I was told something is better than nothing), and filled the hole back in (after placing the potatoes in the hole of course). Also built up a bit of extra soil so that I have little rows of mounds protruding from the bed. This is to give a bit more protection from any frost.

 

Earlies in the trench ready to be covered.

This weekend we wanted to get our rabbit fence up and finished. I ordered the mesh (1050mm height & 50m length) from meshdirect for £50, thought that was pretty good after looking at the garden centre prices.

Needless to say the job was a little tougher that first anticipated. I wanted, following advice, to dig a trench about a foot down and a foot wide.  The first day we spent 4hrs in the afternoon digging. I soon discovered one end of the plot has a lot of slate, this one trench took 2hrs to dig, Hopefully the rabbits will find it as difficult as me to dig there.  It was really tempting to skimp on depth and width but I resisted and was reasonably happy with the finished hole, & we resigned ourselves to having to come back for more digging the next day. Hopefully the rabbits will find it as difficult as me to dig there.

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Early the next day I went down to finish the job with plans of putting the finishing touches in the afternoon and getting the potatoes planted. Again a bit ambitious, in the end after another  7hrs the trenches are finished and 3 of the 6 trenches have been fenced and filled. Aiming to finish next weekend.

As is my style the completed sections of the fence are somewhat ‘rustic’, a little saggy above ground, but I’ll fix these as we go. As far as I can see the business end of a rabbit fence is the underground bit, they don’t seem to be too into jumping.

We’ve had one day of rain for the last two weeks. Peas, broadbeans, and Garlic are doing well. The rocket that I planted under a clotch last week has just germinated.

Planted out carrots, beetroot, radish, and onion seeds. Also planted out spinach under the clotch. I made a new poly-greenhouse type thing last week and managed to get it up and running a couple of days ago. We’ve had some good sunshine which has helped the second batch of tomatoes to germinate and the first batch to get big enough for transferring to pots. I was advised to do this once they have two sets of leaves.

Suddenly have a lot going on, with the house and polyhouse filling up with pots. As the night temperature is still too cold for the tomatoes etc I’m transferring them out to the polyhouse when the weather’s nice, and getting them in the house before it gets too cold again. Lots of messing around but it’s worth the effort to have things developing early.

Planted some new pepper seeds into the trays the old batch of tomatoes were taken out of. Varieties = California wonder, Cherry bomb, Prairie fire, Scotch bonnet, & Costeno Amarillo. Also planted a couple of courgettes, one regular, one yellow.

Potatoes chitting well, getting ready to plant them out after last frost day. For us around 11th April.

The week following planting out the peas saw a week of light ground frosts, zero night temperatures and no rain. I was worried about the peas, but a trip up the allotment today revealed they are alive and well. The peas I sowed have not germinated yet though.

Also made another make shift clotch out of some polythene I acquired for free. I had to sacrifice the compost bin I made earlier, to use as a frame. Sowed some rocket and italian salad mix under it. Expecting another sub-zero night tonight, so not sure what will happen. All a bit of an experiment.

Also planted some more peas indoors and basil. Ordered another batch of seeds, will put off buying the rabbit fencing until next month. Have another polyframe type thing under construction, which I’ll need once the new seeds are sowed.

Also took a little trip fishing. Came back empty handed. My excuse is it’s still too early in the year? I’ll keep trying though.