Monday, June 01, 2015

Grow to Eat #1

This is my first Grow to Eat Link-up post. I decided to make this a Monday one because we often go to the allotment at the weekend and a Monday evening might be a good chance to sort through the weekend gardening.

Things are getting serious down at the allotment. About 10 days ago I popped over there on my own and I managed to plant most of my seedlings. There are still a few to go in, but the majority of them are in the ground. It was ideal, really. I went and planted everything and only watered them in a little bit because I didn't have time, but that night it started to rain and it rained pretty much all day the following day - not a hard rain but a gentle drizzle, ideal to water the seedlings in nicely without damaging them.

The structural stuff is also coming along - the shed is slowly taking shape. After blowing over a few times over the winter D quickly finished the front panel because that is the side that faces the wind the most and because it was partially open it acted like a sail and simply pushed the whole structure over.

D also managed to get a water-butt set up to collect rain water off the shed roof, so we won't have to bring water with us in containers this summer. This was really high on the list, because the site has no running water and we could just never transport enough to water the plants adequately. Since rain isn't exactly a rarity around here the water that get get off the shed roof should sort this problem and in fact, the rain we've had these past two weeks has been enough to almost fill the water butt up to the top!

For the past few months I've also been contemplating how to extend our existing beds without creating a massive headache for myself. When I started planning for this year I realised that in order to really plant everything that I want to I will have to have more beds than we currently have. D was not enthused - he is of the opinion that we should try to come to terms with what we have instead of adding more and I can kind of see where he is coming from. Then there is are the borders for the beds. I quite like the way the wooden borders give the beds a clear definition and without that it would be much more difficult to keep the beds tidy. Because this is an allotment I didn't really fancy buying more wood to frame the beds, though, so all this meant that I was pretty much stuck with my planning.

Then, just as I thought I'd just make do with what I had, one of the allotment old-timers came up with the obvious solution. 'Well, you are just going to combine a few of the beds, aren't you?' It solves all the problems. More planting room? Check. Clearly defined outline? Check. Wooden surround? Check, because I can now just take out two of the wooden planks between the two beds and re-position them between the beds to create a rectangular space. It is kind of obvious, isn't it? Hadn't ever crossed my mind. Not once.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon we went over there again to cut the grass and see how the plants were getting on. We've had a lot of rain recently, so we'd not been for almost two weeks and boy, things really go wild quickly this time of year. Especially weeds, they always seem to grow much more quickly than anything else.

When we arrived it all looked a bit unkempt. D got the mower out and started, while the boys settled in for a bit of mud play in their favourite patch. I was going to plant in there this week but I'm slowly coming round to the idea that I may have to leave this patch bare (even more need to combine and enlarge beds!) - they really enjoy digging in there and really, the allotment is supposed to be fun for all of us...

Successful as a sand box and as a water-play area but not quite so successful as a vegetable bed - note the almost invisible tiny seedlings to the left, now trampled into the mud by small feet. I think I'll give up on this bed...

Now, look at this patch:

Hard to believe it, but under that clump of weeds is parsnip. I accidentally pulled a few up before I remembered and I'm only managed to weed half of it before we started to get attacked by our neighbour's honey bees and had to leave. Does anyone know why this happened? They are normally really peaceful and have never bothered us before, but this time they actually pursued both D and myself around the whole patch. So strange.

Anyway, when we left the patch looked like this - not much progress, but it was quite tricky to extract the parsnip seedlings from the weeds!

And what is going on elsewhere? 

The potatoes are doing well and I have to make sure to fill the tubs up with soil in the next few days.

I've planted these in tubs this year because 
a) they took an awful lot of room in the plot last year and 
b) we hardly got to eat any of them because they were so riddled with potato worms. I am hoping that growing them in plastic bags / tubs will deter them a bit...

I have also planted up some of my poor neglected tomato seedlings in the greenhouse at home, but they looked too sorry for themselves for a decent photo, and the salad bowl on the patio table is looking amazing! It's actually a mix of some salad bowl seed mix, rocket seeds, and some replanted plants from one of those supermarket 'living salad' packets. They looked pretty sorry for themselves because I had forgotten to water them, so I thought I'd give them a chance and replanted them around the edge of the pot. I didn't think they'd all make it but well, apparently they are tougher than they look!

So there you go, the season is well under way!! 

This is the first post in my new 'Grow to Eat' series. Since I am posting a lot about allotmenting and vegetable / fruit growing (and cut-flower growing too, so it's a flexible term, lol) I thought I'd start a link-up. I don't anticipate any large response initially, but since I'm posting anyway I might as well make it a thing and invite others to share if they are growing to eat as well. If you do I'd love it if you could link up so  I can find your posts - it's always more fun if you can share, and I'd love to see (and possibly learn from) what others are doing! 

(A better button will come, but I'm not that great at making them so don't get too excited! ;) )


    An InLinkz Link-up


  1. you all have been SERIOUSLY busy!!! Everything is looking great. My veggie gardens at the moment are full of lettuce....a pot spilling out a HUGE zucchini, and a fig tree that I almost gave up on is thriving---we'll see if figs actually appear this year. A few tomatoes self-seeded and I can't bear to pull them other words----my garden is a mish-mash, but we love it!!!

  2. You have been busy, with more plans to expand well done. I will have a potter in the garden tomorrow to see if there is anything worth writing about. Good luck with your link up.

  3. Awesome. How terrific the person provided the light bulb moment and now you are set and content with how your garden is growing.