Archive for the ‘Strawberries’ Category

Getting our house (well, plot) in order

Well, it’s thanks to this hot weather and the change in the clocks that we’ve been able to spend more time on the allotment catching up with all those jobs that somehow never seem to get done. So, armed with power tools and hammer I have finally finished the lovely gate – marvellous! No rabbit will dare to burrow through this. Himself has been collecting horse poo like it’s going out of fashion (a strange hobby – not sure if it comes under the same category as trainspotting or stamp collecting, but hey ho), so trenches have been dug ready for all the planting to be done.

The lovely rabbit-proof gate

I have also completed the back-breaking task of putting weed control sheeting under the two strawberry beds. This involved spending the whole of Saturday afternoon on my hands and knees, backside in the air, cutting out holes to feed the strawberries through – not a joyous sight for other allotment holders to witness but a job well done I feel.

Strawberry beds with fresh sheets

The cloches have all been put together and onions and broad beans have been rehomed whilst I’m waiting for Mr Tiller to finish getting the soil ready so that things can be planted out. The parsnips have finally found their way out of the loo rolls so they can soon be planted in their final resting place – hopefully we’ll get straight ones this time.

Parsnips peeking out of the loo rolls

The greenhouse is filling up nicely and I’m trying to keep one step ahead of everything so that we don’t run out of space. All the plants have been purchased for the hanging baskets so it will be a challenge in the next couple of weeks when they all need potting on. It’s a real Jubilee collection – well, sometimes you just have to join in with the rest of them – so everything is red, white and blue…allegedly.

The cut flower beds are coming along and some of the perennials have been repositioned. The herb section has also had a bit of a make-over so will be ready for some new additions at some point.

The good news is that with all this walking uphill everyday to check on everything, we are getting fitter by the minute. The muffin tops are slowly shrinking – we’ll be positively size zeros by the summer!!

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Beans, berries and bloomin’ snow

Not to be deterred by a little bit of snow (well, quite a lot of snow actually), we pulled on those wellies, filled the flask with coffee and wobbled our way up the hill with the wheelbarrow to the plot. The snow was not going to deter us – especially after having spent £45 in Wilko (oh, how we love Wilko) the day before – we had stuff to do!

Snowy views from the strawberry bed

The snowy allotments

White earth

Some of us were a little optimistic (as always) in thinking they would be able to dig up parsnips for the Sunday roast dinner. Not sure what part of frozen earth and four inches of white stuff on top he was not comprehending, but that’s men for you! (Let’s face it, it was only last Sunday when, after 4 hours of trying to drill drainage holes in a barrel and getting nowhere, he realised that the drill was in reverse!! Sometimes he can be quite…challenging.) So, once realisation had filtered through to those little grey cells he finally saw the sense of shutting the door of the greenhouse from the inside, pouring a hot coffee and setting to with planting the broad beans. All quite simple you would think until reality hit again and we remembered that the bags of compost we needed to plant the beans were outside – and yes, they were frozen solid! With many cups of coffee and a lot of positive thinking (even from me), we managed to thaw enough of the compost to plant them – 96 Aquadulce are now shivering in seed trays. Which seems to be what the onions are still doing as, 4 weeks later, there’s still no sign of anything happening. They need heat.

Not letting the snow stop planting

There is, however, good news. I have now transplanted 18 chillies which are looking strong and healthy, and I’ve also planted some sweet red peppers. These are all happily sitting on a nice warm windowsill. The other good news is that, thanks to My Tiny Plot, I now have four white strawberry plants (courtesy of Wilko, £2.28 for 2 – we love Wilko – have I mentioned that already?). When I first saw these in Wilko I wasn’t that impressed – they just looked like anaemic strawberries to me. It wasn’t until I read My Tiny Plot‘s post that I realised that they had a pineapple taste. Suddenly they became more attractive and an absolute must-have. So, now they are nicely potted up waiting for the weather to improve before going into the strawberry beds.

White strawberries

All we need now is a big thaw so that the compost might actually be ready for the next planting session and those blasted onions might actually start to sprout!