Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Sowing

The lack of posts on this blog in the last couple of weeks has largely been due to me forgetting my camera every time I go to the allotment.  But that excuse is a bit thin, so here's a post without photos.

It has been a weird growing year in Ireland this year, a warm summery spell in March, then no Spring to speak of, and a cool wet summer - today excepted, today was a smasher.

Some things have loved this weather - the peas, lettuce, pumpkins and courgettes (with a little nursing at the start), and the fruit bushes and rhubarb.  On the other side the onions bolted, the spuds all got blight, the first three sowings of carrots and parsnips never germinated, and the outdoor tomatoes have struggled.  The pests have been different too - dreadful slug attacks but hardly any cabbage caterpillar damage.  Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.

Anyway, this last couple of weeks have seen a lot of changes at the plot.  I'd been a bit distracted with holidays and moving house, so I had to tackle a lot of weeds (another feature of this wet year).  I've also been pulling out the 'finished' crops and sowing new ones to take us into autumn and winter.  The peas and snap peas have been cleared to give the dwarf french beans some light, and fresh peas, borlotti beans and climbing french beans sown in their place.  I pulled barrow loads of bolted lettuce and spinach and resowed, and planted out the first swiss chard.  I've dug the early spuds and pulled up the finished broccoli and cauliflowers, and resowed the beds with swedes and turnips and baby cauliflowers, kale and kohl rabi.  The onions were replaced by leeks and spare tomato plants.

I still have the maincrop spuds to dig up (although I reckon that will be a small crop) and one of the roots beds to weed, thin and resow.  The other project is the fruit bed - I'm going to take out the raspberries, hollyhocks and gooseberries (which were shredded by sawfly) altogether.  Once the blackcurrants are dormant in the winter, I'm going to move them to the back, and plant some more blueberry bushes and maybe some goji berry bushes in their place.  It's good to have a plan....

Meanwhile in the polytunnel, everything is doing really well.  A bit of a whitefly problem, but the tomatoes are producing bags of lovely cherry tomatoes regardless.  The two surviving cucumbers are giving a couple of medium cucumbers a week, and all the peppers and chillies are laden with fruit - now I just need them all to ripen up!

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