Monday, 4 June 2012
End Of Month View ~ May 2012
May was a month of mercurial weather, much squidging of lily beetles and my favourite gardening show. It was also the month when I came to the conclusion that somebody else can grow my tomato plants next year. Please remind me come January.
Progress at the allotment leaves a lot to be desired - I think that I might have said that last month. The cold and wet first half of the month meant that I did not spend enough time there and then before we knew it it was too hot to work. So the weeds have had an absolute field day. Garlic and shallots have survived the rabbit's initial attempts to thwart them and are making good progress especially the garlic. Note to self - do not plant any home harvested shallots next year - they have not done well. All the soft fruit have been enjoying the wet stuff and I think they will do well this year. The apples sadly though were early into flower and have been hit by the cool nights - two of the three trees are showing less fruit than they did last year which is most disappointing. They fruited for the first time last year so I was expecting a better yield this year but it's not to be. Beetroot, onions, lettuces and chard are slowly bulking up. Looking most tatty though are my broad beans and peas, which have been not only knocked back by the weather but also nibbled by the weevil.
RED LETTER DAY for the allotment association! Our bid for lottery funding to purchase and install a composting toilet was successful. We found out at the end of April but had to keep quiet until after the local elections. Once up and running this facility should make a big difference, especially when we want to open our gates to members of the local community. We have a year to complete the project although hopefully it will be done before the end of the summer.
Most of my activity in the garden seemed to be centred round the greenhouse, where the challenge of keeping less hardy seedlings ticking over was a challenge. I will either buy tomato plants next year or sow them much latter. I was staggering in at night with crates of tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumbers and then staggering out again come morning to return them to the outer world. I was also reluctant to pot them on as the number of crates was increasing. If they had been smaller I could have fleeced them effectively and left them out at night. Then came the heat and the challenge became a different beast. From not knowing one end of a watering can from another it seemed that I was permanently welded to one. Much apprehension towards the end of the month, when I briefly left himself in charge the greenhouse and cold frame, whilst I visited my mother but I am pleased to report that he did a good job. Other noteworthy features of the month were the sheer volume of lily beetles that have landed on my three pots of lilies. I have never come across as many in previous years and wonder whether the early spell of warmth back in March followed by all the rain is responsible. Has anybody else observed a rise in numbers of these little red beasties?
A new word entered my vocabulary in May - the word is gabion and all will be revealed next month. Himself is revelling in getting down and dirty with a major garden project. The above photo may give you a clue.
Finally there was some serious plant buying at the show as well as a couple of others that just slipped in before month's end at my gardening club meeting. I have just remembered that I have not posted about my show purchases yet so will have to do so whilst they are still fresh in my memory. Watch this space.
With thanks as always to Helen over at The Patient Gardener's Weblog who came up with the excellent idea of sharing our end of month views.