Last week, the temperatures rose a little. Not enough to entirely thaw all the soil, and certainly not enough to dry it significantly, but enough to make going to the allotment a little more pleasant. So, I did a bit of tidying.
I’ve moved a fair bit of the ‘weed mound’ (I hesitate to call it a compost heap) to a more suitable location (that bit behind the now thoroughly pruned rose bush in the corner of the garden, to the right of the water butts). Actually, a fair amount of what got piled onto that mound *did* rot down and become soil. I’m rueing my decision to bung a load of sticks on there now, however.
Yesterday saw the shallots and onion sets go in, Red Sun and Sturon respectively. They’re in the bed just in the foreground there, starting where the garlic finishes. And I sowed a row of salsify, though it may prove to be a little early for it. There’s quite a lot of seed in the packet though, and it doesn’t keep well, so I thought I might as well go for it.
I’ve got my plans for the rest of the garden pretty much sorted now – on the other side of the garlic/onions, towards the weed mound, I’m going to plant out courgettes and pumpkins. Now, this is a break from my usual method of sticking potatoes in where nothing’s been cultivated previously, in freshly cleared ground, and is partly due to a point made by Bob Flowerdew on Radio 4’s GQT. I had quite a lot of wireworm in the last lot of potatoes, and in response to a question from someone who (I think) was starting a ‘new’ allotment, he pointed out that while people used to plant spuds first into newly dug ground to ‘clear the soil’, what it means is that your first crop of potatoes suffers more than it needs to from wireworm. The reason the wireworm are there, he says, is because they live in grassy areas – once the ground has been clear of grass for a year, they’re not there. Or at least, not in any significant number. Better to plant something sturdy (with the addition of a good amount of muck/compost), like squashes.
So, the potatoes will go into the ground I cleared in the first year, with a bag of FYM. Hopefully it’ll make a difference.
Speaking of pesky wormy things, I’ve been finding some quite vile grubs inside some of my parsnips. I’ll have to investigate further… they’re fat, slowmoving things, and they pretty much wreck an otherwise perfectly good snip.
Tomorrow I need to remember to sow some lettuce, and other things. Day length/light has increased now to the point where I think it must be worth doing, and I reckon if I leave it any longer, I’ll regret it in a month or two.