The Whys of Why…

Once more we’ve arrived on the summer equinox; midsummer’s day, the longest day of the year, and where on this day last year we were experiencing just the beginning of what would turn out to be one of the best summer seasons on record, this year’s late spring/early summer weather has been a considerable challenge for every gardener especially across these isles of Ireland and the UK.

It has been wet; very wet on occasion, and it has also been extremely dull, and with the low light level and constant rain we’ve had to make late sowings of many of the monster’s staples as the original sowings and plantings were either washed completely away or withered through chill and lack of full bright light, and even though today began with such promise with clear skies and sunshine from before 5.00am, it has since become cloudy and brooding with a mid-afternoon temperature of only 14 degrees Celsius, and a forecast for heavy thundery downpours.

But! It is what it is, and it most definitely is mid-summers in Ireland.
We’ve not much to tell that would be any different from a retelling of earlier posts and the whys of why we’ve had to redo a lot of things we’ve had to redo on the plot, because, as just intimated it has been all weather related, and it has been little more than a copy and paste scenario with late April into early May, and now into early June…So, we’ll just update with a few images for now.

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The Monster’s new bed…
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Rosa Port Sunlight, a David Austin beauty cared for by Mrs. Dirtdigger
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A bed full of beets…
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Alliums & blackcurrant: photo by janpaulkelly@instagram

 

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Tah Dah!!!! This Year’s Sowing Diary

Although the Monster has its own sowing diary page accessible through page link up above, now that we’ve completed most (if not all) of this year’s plan we thought we’d copy and paste and place  a copy of this year’s diary as a posting in its own right,

We literally began from scratch at our new plot in January, and since then we’ve been doing this

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Basil; this year’s basil filled Barrow Bug

February 1st 2017     Bedfordshire Champion onion seed

March 1st 2017   Bunyard’s Exhibition broad Beans

March 5th 2017  sowed Cosmos ‘Cosmonaut’

March 5th planted 4 of Lidl’s best bare root Redcurrant 

March 4th 2017 Planted Plum tree ‘Opal’, and Peach tree ‘Red Haven’ both from Lidl

March 10th 2017 Ailsa Craig onion seed

March 12th planted replacement rose bush: David Austin Rose, Young Lycidas

March 18th 2017 sowed Basil, Misto Mix and Classic Italian

March 19th 2017 broadcast green-manure mix; phacelia, red clover,

March 28th 2017 sowed dwarf sunflowers ‘Topoline’

April 8th broadcast poppy seeds and cornflower seeds  Greenfingers Day

April 21st 2017 sowed Giant Yellow sunflower seeds

April 22nd sowed Moss Curled parsley, and dill seed

April 23rd sowed Bright lights Chard, Fire-bird Spinach, Tuscan black Kale, Italian Giant leaf parsley and Tom Thumb mix nasturtiums

April 26th sowed Wild Rocket seed

April 29th sowed Celeriac ‘Monarch’ and ‘Akito’ ridge cucumbers. Mrs dirt-Digger planted out all of the cosmos, dwarf sunflowers and autumn beauties, plus some marigolds gifted from one of our new allotment neighbours…

April 30th sowed Parsnips ‘Tender and True’, Radish ‘mixed jewels’, Italian giant-leaf basil and mixed lettuce varieties. Also planted up and potted on some fennel seedlings and pepper seedlings gifted from an allotment neighbour.

May 1st sowed Pumpkins ‘Big Max’ & ‘Jack o’Lanterns’ purchased in Toronto in August last year; Beetroot ‘Solo’; planted up Shirley & Moneymaker tomato plants, pepper seedlings and sowed ‘Gold Rush’ courgettes. 

May 2nd sowed Grandpa Otts (ipomea; morning glories)

May 13th sowed Northern Blood Reds and White Lisbon spring onions (scallions)

June 1st  Longhorn Wax dwarf french beans plus successional sowings of lettuces and radishes

June 3rd Kale, Scotch Green dwarf

July 2nd Spring Cabbage, Durham early

July 5th  Swede,Tweed

et voilá.   All sowings for this year complete

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

(Having arrived very late this year, winter has finally (if only temporarily) put paid to progress on our new plot adventure.
After many months on the fence of procrastination we finally took a leaf from the Pontius Pilate’s diaries and in mid December, having had our fill of the petty personalities and the petty activities at our former allotment site, we dug up our fruit bushes, lifted our rhubarb, emptied our tool lock-up, dismantled our wooden beds and finally washed our hands of the whole sorry saga that unfortunately seems to be part and parcel of life on a lot of council allotment sites.

In December we relocated to a new site 6 miles away, and whilst the very depths of winter may not be the ideal time for such an undertaking, we did, at least, manage to get all out bushes replanted and quite a large area of our new plot dug before the winter’s weather finally curtailed activity.

To date we have 3 blackcurrant, 3 gooseberry, 2 dwarf heritage apple trees, 1 plum (Opal), 1 peach (Red Haven), Timperley early and Victoria rhubarb stools and also 3 red currant bushes which will go in this weekend. We’ve also relocated 5 of our rose bushes and to fill out the compliment to a rounded 6 we also purchased and planted a new David Austin rose, Young Lycidas.
We’ve also relocated some Bay and Rosemary bushes, and last weekend my partner in grime planted over 80 gladioli bulbs, Lupin seedlings and hardy geraniums which hopefully, will all add to the summer interest in about 5 or 6 months.
Although today, March 1st, is the first day (meteorologically speaking) of spring, the weather is decidedly wintry yet, and the forecast for the rest of this week is more of the same. But, at least we content ourselves with the knowledge that we are on track with our time-frame, and actually managed to dig all of the area in which we plan to sow and grow; it may not be cultivated as yet, but at least it has had a winter turning.
So, while awaiting an improvement in the weather we shall concentrate on pathways, borders and divisions; firming up the perimeter-barrier and set about ordering a shed.
As Father Dougal may have said…

         “Wow Ted! A Shed Ted! You mean an actual allotment shed? Woowwwww Ted”!

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Still looking a bit bare, but dug!
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Timperley Early Rhubarb
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Doris out one door ,Ewan in another, and these casualties for the vase

Happy St David’s Day…