Gardening Magazine

At Last Some Allotment Activity!

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

At last some allotment activity!Flea Beatle damage on rocket plantsAt last some allotment activity!

I have made a start by clearing the last of the leeks and digging over some of the ground. The leeks did not grow to a great size last year but they make lovely soup and anything that I harvest from my own plot always tastes better than shop brought produce! We have also used the last of our onions from store this week, so it really is time to get cracking and replenish the supplies as well as use the digging, raking and hoeing as useful exercise!

As I have said before, I love to be on the allotment. As well as the physical exercise, I used the time to focus my mind on ‘things in general’. I find the repetitive work very therapeutic and get a huge kick out of producing and eating our own food!

One of the most rewarding vegetables to grow are salad leaves and I don’t need the allotment for this! An old, plastic window box does the job brilliantly! I fill it with John Innes compost mixed with some multipurpose and sow a mixture of leaves, coriander, rocket, mustard, loose leaved lettuce and even a few peas to use as tasty shoots. The seeds are lightly covered and watered in. I then leave the window box in the utility room on the draining board to get as much light as possible. Once the seedlings start to appear, the box goes out during the day and comes in at night until the temperature warms up enough to leave it out on the patio. When we have started to use the leaves by picking them individually, I sow another box which will hopefully be ready as the first one finishes cropping. The plants get leggy and start to run to seed; Rocket in particular, runs to seed very quickly and I like to make regular sowings about two weeks apart through the spring and summer. With some grated parmesan, balsamic vinegar and olive oil the strong tasting leaves make a great salad!

By growing salad leaves in containers, they are close to the house for immediate use and I do not get a problem with Flea Beatle, which leaves unsightly silver marks on the leaves of many brassicas, although this does not affect the taste! Mustard leaves, rocket and radish seem to be affected by this annoying little pest but not lettuce, so I will be sowing some of these in old bedding plant packs to grow on and plant out down the road when they are large enough.

My cloches also need a clean so that I can warm up the soil and sow my broad beans as soon as the ground is ready. My bamboo canes got left out all winter and were three years old anyway, so I don’t think they are capable of supporting another crop of runner beans! I must visit the garden center again soon to replace them before they sell out of the larger sizes!

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