April has been quite a kind month for us at the allotment. While we've been there the weather has been good. Thankfully we weren't around when the snow came this week! We've enjoyed preparing the plot and getting lots of seedlings ready. I think the kids have liked the 'allotment lunches' I have been taking up to keep us fuelled. A big tin of sandwiches, some homemade cake and flasks of tea and hot chocolate seems to spur us on.
Whilst we have enjoyed the warmth of the greenhouse while eating our lunch it seems the nursery section is happy at the moment as well. Currently we have the first batch of purple sprouting broccoli...
the unknown variety of tomatoes. We've called it 'rain forest' as they were part of the Weekend Box Club we received. It seems the water reservoir growing method definitely works.
The last item is the sweetcorn. We've cleared a special patch on the allotment to plant it in as sweetcorn needs to be planted out in a block. At the moment about nine have germinated so this should be a good quantity for wind pollination.
I was afraid some of the hard rain would damage some of the crops we had planted out but the broad beans have survived. Our main concern as they keep growing is the dreaded blackfly but all we can do is keep an eye on them.
Next to the broad beans are the onions and garlic. They have all seemed to have sprouted. We've planted brown, red and white onions for a good mix later in the year.
The last thing we have planted out is the salad bed. It may not look much at the moment but along the rows you can start to see the little gem seedlings sprouting. The only problem is I'm not sure at the moment what is seed and what is weed! Talking of weeds...
The wilderness is gradually decreasing. See that kneeler pad? Yes, I have cleared the whole lot by hand. Since this site was once a farm we've come across various bits of house brick and pottery. Sometimes it's been more like Time Team than Gardeners' World. So far we have enough room to plant out what we need to so my labour intensive, organic method will continue. On the other side of the bean strings is the first batch of potatoes and the pink fir apple potatoes will be going on this side.
The soft fruit section which we have gratefully inherited is coming along nicely. New growth and flowers is coming through. We still don't know what variety of raspberries we have or if the currants are red or black! The gooseberries are looking good and I'm looking forward to hopefully have a big crop as the gooseberry plant in the garden has never been very productive.
It was while I was rooting about in the soft fruit section that I noticed the blossom pictured above. I can't believe I hadn't noticed this tree before. Maybe I presumed it was actually on the other side of the plot boundary but no it is definitely ours. I had a look for any identifying tags but found no clues. Any guesses would be appreciated!
Another find in the garden has been a patch of rhubarb. We had transferred our dormant rhubarb crowns from our old plot and were resigned to the fact we would be waiting a year before we could pick any for consumption. The other week on one of my many trips to the compost heap we had created at the back of the plot I noticed a rhubarb leaf poking out of the side. After a quick clearance of the weed pile we found a big crop of rhubarb coming up. I showed it to Master JibberJabber and asked him what it was and he replied, “rhubarb crumble”. I think its fate has been decided!
As April draws to a cold close with its icy showers I hope that May does indeed make way for sweet flowers.
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