We’re still in lockdown in the UK. It’s been a year of it , one lockdown after another, hopefully after May 15th I think, we should be coming out of it. Fingers crossed. The seed planting and potting on has been going happening at a pace on the allotment. The flower seedlings, beans and salad seeds are growing strong. There’s been a problem with the brassica though. They just don’t seem to be thriving, and that’s all of them – broccoli, cabbage,red & green, kale. We’ve even changed the compost we’ve been using and tried feeding some of them with a weak seaweed solution, but they are slowly failing. Maybe they will be better once we get (some of) them in the ground? A few of the other allotmenteers have complained of a similar reaction, and we’ve used different seed compost and seed packets, but the brassica are definitely not strong this season. We may have to buy plug plants, something we’re not keen on doing. Oh, and as for cucumbers, well lets just say we won’t be munching on cucumber sandwiches this summer. Three times I’ve tried to start them off and nothing, even with different seeds and compost. Nada.
The flowers seeds have been great, especially with the varieties we’ve not grown before – zinnias, cosmos, flax, honesty etc have all flown up. We can’t wait to get them in the ground. There is going to be a ton of tomato plants as well this season. We’ve been more selective about the varieties, and not just tried to grow everything that came our way. We have, ‘Green Envy’ (always, a favourite.) ‘Garden Pearl’ ‘ Black Opal’ ‘Tigerella’ ‘Golden Sunrise’ and a mystery tomato – we took the seed from a plum variety that was given to us last year – so we’re calling it ‘Plum Surprise’!
The sweetcorn has taken really well. The kernels from a saved cob from last years crop have also germinated as well as those bought from Unwins Seeds, so we should have a lot of sweetcorn later in the season. I’ve also got some ‘Minipop’ small corn to plant out. Don’t know where we’ll find the space!
It’s great to start getting stuff into the ground – or trough. The mange -tout have gone into their usual place, the trough alongside of the polytunnel. They grow really well there and it easy to stick in some supports when they get bigger. This year we’re growing only a green variety – just called’Mangetout’ – from Thompson&Morgan. The yellow and purple which we usually grow just seemed to be harder and stringy last year. Less crisp than the green.
The peas, a variety called ‘Alderman’ have been great. All of the tray we planted up germinated quickly. They’ve gone into the soil with the garlic and have had to be netted – they’re already growing through that- from the squirrel and pigeons, who will do anything to get at our crops!!!! As you can see from the photo of the salad bed, we cover it with sicks and twigs to try and deter them, which it does some of the time! In the salad bed at the moment are some baby beetroot seedlings, radish, calendula- to try and keep away any aphids- chives, lettuce, spring onion and other seedling will be added soon no doubt.
We really hope you’re doing well, staying safe, washing your hands, wearing masks and socially distancing!!! The longer days are here at last – well in the UK anyway. Please keep positive, even though it’s difficult sometimes. The growing community HAS to stay positive in a way. We’re always planting seeds, seedlings etc in the hope that whatever it is, will GROW. We fight aphids, slugs, snails etc etc etc, fight winds, frost and ice just to get our stuff to thrive. We’re fighters!! Let’s not forget that. End of pep talk. Happy Plotting!