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.

14 comments:

  1. I see a large retaining wall in your future.

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    1. Diana, your crystal ball is absolutely spot on :)

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  2. Filling wire crates with rocks, hard work. Pain in the arse those lilly beatles, who knows why they pop up with so much success in some years.

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    1. Hard work indeed Rob or so I'm told - I'm just making sure that there is a ready supply of cool beer on tap.

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  3. Every day we have to be on red lily patrol, don't know where they are all coming from! Lovely Meconopsis photo, such a beautiful blue, mine are all over now for another year.

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    1. I'm patrolling regularly too Pauline - usually spot the odd 'un but this year they have descended like a plague of locusts. There were meconopsis on at least a couple of the stands in the floral marquee at Malvern and they were stunning. Have never tried to grow them but sorely tempted.

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  4. A good month despite the weather then. I am watching your compost loo progress with interest as we want one at our site. Your major project looks very interesting and big, awaiting further updates!!

    Thanks for joining in this month

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    1. Will be posting about the composting toilet in detail at some stage in the future Helen - hopefully later this summer when it is up and running. The major project is going to give me more planting space :)

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  5. The lily beetles must like the damp... we had a long dry period and I haven't seen/heard of one in the whole region(yet!).
    Nice post Anna!

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    1. Glad to hear that the little red beasties are giving your garden a wide berth Cathy and hope that such a satisfactory state of affairs continues.

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  6. It has certainly been a difficult year for growiing things so far hasnt it. I don't think I've had as many lily beetles this year as I have in previous ones, maybe they've decided it's nicer where you live!

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  7. This year has been a challenge to say the least Su - mind you I think that we say those words every year. So it's you who has directed those lily beetles up north then? :)

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  8. I spotted a lily beetle in our garden for the first time this weekend, though we don't have any lilies at all!
    Our apples seem to have some fruit remaining so far, but we can't find any trace of fruit on our pear trees despite copious blossom, they must have caught the brunt of the storms. Amazingly the peach tree, which is at least 12 feet tall with no wind protection in the middle of the garden, is still covered in swelling fruit. Odd.

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  9. I gave up with tomatoes after losing them 3 years in a row to blight. With no greenhouse it just isn't worth all the effort for no results. The weather is very frustrating cold and wet, hot and dry and now cool and wet again. Great news about the composting loo. We have no facilities at our site which is annoying but it's such a small site I can't see them going for the loo idea. Ooooo, I'm very intrigued by the gabion plans, looking forward to updates.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.