|~ Rosemary flowering at the allotment ~|
I couldn't resist a quick visit to the allotment this morning. The sun was shining, the air was warm and having cleared the veg patch yesterday afternoon, I couldn't wait to see what was happening up at the plots. Having not been up for a while, I half expected to see a fair bit of chickweed and couch grass.
I needn't have worried. The hoeing and weed clearing that I did in late November had paid off and there were very few weeds to be seen - although I'm sure continued vigilance is needed. And I still have to tackle a few tenacious brambles. By the way, when does bindweed show itself? Does it hibernate over winter? I dug out tons of the stuff - and as many roots as I could find - last year but I read on other blogs what a persistent nuisance it is. Today there were no visible signs of any; I suspect my optimism is getting the better of me.
It was great to wander slowly past other plots and see what everyone else is up to. There's nothing like having keen plot neighbours to keep you on your toes! There were lots of beds that had been cleared and were waiting to be mulched, judging by the stacks of commercially bagged horse manure. A few plots had already got onion sets with 6 inch leaves and healthy looking broad beans. I was intrigued with this idea...
Several plotters had done this, growing broad beans in bottomless tubs - wind protection or slug deterrent, I wonder. Any thoughts? For small overwintering plants, it would be easy to throw fleece over the top without damaging the leaves, definitely one to remember. Better start keeping a lookout for pots in the recycling. Despite the random placing, these pots are definitely placed over plants, rather than used for growing the plants in before transplanting; I saw them when the plants were tiny at soil level. Personally, I grow my beans in a tight grid having got straight edged raised beds. My plot neighbour has a circular bed in the middle of his plot and is growing beans in amphitheatre pattern which looks rather wonderful, actually. What do others do?
|Another of nature's quirky combinations - rhubarb and primroses|
Back on my shared plot, I was delighted to see native primroses sprinkled across the plot - in the grass, nestling up to the rhubarb, peeking out from the paths. How do they spread themselves so far? They looked so pretty on this lovely spring day. On the walk over to the plot, the hedgerows were studded with clumps of crocus, yellow as well as purple, and snowdrops. I hope this means an early spring; technically, we're still in the last month of winter for another couple of weeks but temperatures (in London, at least) are forecast to be in the mid to high fifties fahrenheit this week. With rain, apparently.
So, what's growing at the moment? A couple of the beds on my shared plot are still (in theory) tended by the last helpers. There's no evidence of them having visited recently (loads of weeds and dried beanstalks still to be taken down from last year) but, under nets, they've grown some nicely hearted cabbage, Russian kale, cavalo nero and a very promising looking broccoli - a sort of homage to winter veg. It would be a pity to waste it. That's all I'm saying... *smacks lips*
The rhubarb is looking imminent with 3 inch stems which I'm tempted to force and the jostaberry bushes are covered in buds. In my cut flower bed, the anemones are all showing (leaves only) but, interestingly, none of the tulips that I planted at the same time. Interesting because, by comparison, all the tulips planted in the veg patch gardens in previous years are showing leaves - yes, even before the daffs have opened, although that's only a matter of days. This will be the fourth year for the tulips, if they flower - and, probably, the last. It's kinda exciting and I would be waiting with bated breath except I'm trying not to hurry my life along since my niece asked if time went more quickly when you get older. (I told her only if you're a gardener. Although I'm not sure that's true.)