Gardening Magazine

On the Allotment

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

I walked down to the allotment yesterday evening, having not visited it for a week and was delighted to see that my first row of early peas are suddenly full of white flowers and growing vigorously at last! The broad beans too are full of their striking black and white flowers and there were plenty of bees working on them to ensure good pollination and ultimately the delicious beans that are one of our favorite summer vegetables. I will pinch the tops out of the beans, once they are in full flower, even though they are the dwarf variety ‘The Sutton’, as this helps to prevent the horrid black aphid that likes to attack them. Although they can be sprayed with Provado, I prefer to remove any aphids that do appear by hand; we have a lot of Ladybird larvae to help us out by eating many times their own weight in aphids and I certainly don’t want to harm them!

My onions are growing well and are a good dark green colour, probably due to the fish, blood and bone that I raked into the soil before planting the sets at the end of March. I need to hand weed the rows once we have had some more rain to take out the seedlings before they start to compete with my crop – onions hate competition from weeds!

My Mange Tout germinated really well this year. Last year almost the whole row failed and I put it down to hungry mice but this year there will be plenty for us and to give away to friends. Mange Tout really are prolific croppers but do not freeze like peas, so they need to be picked and used within a few days. I will keep an eye on the weather and if we do not get rain as the pods begin to form, I will water well a couple of times each week to keep the crop growing fast and hopefully prevent the early onset of mildew, which can ruin peas.

I am very worried about my French and Runner beans. They have been sown in small pots for two weeks now and none have germinated although they have been in the utility room on the draining board. I will give it a few more days and if there is still no sign of life, visit my local garden center to purchase some plants instead. Mrs McGregor must have Runner beans for her chutney in the autumn!

The courgette plants that I purchased from my local garden center have grown on and will be planted out on mounds of soil that has had plenty of rotted manure put into it, so that they can get the moisture that this crop needs to do well. All I need to do then is make sure that I can keep the snails and slugs off them with the organic pellets that seem to work so well and not harm any other wildlife or pets.

What are you busy doing in the garden?

Mr McGregor

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