The jobs on the allotment this time of the year seem endless, mainly weeding! Weeds have just exploded with this sunshine we have had for the last week or so.
We weeded the second early potatoes, and now their top growth is flopping around, missing the support they were getting from the competing weeds.
A few more days of water and sunshine and they should have sorted themselves out again.
The extent of the weeds in the potato beds was quite amazing, as normally we get away with only a superficial weeding of the larger ones, but this season seems to have encouraged dense weed growth.
We transplanted the latest batch of beetroot, the books say that it should always be sown in situ but we have never had a problem with sowing in seed trays and transplanting when large enough into well fertilized soil. For a few days they always look sorry for themselves, but with daily watering they soon perk up and grow away.
We grew a batch of B. 'Cylindra' earlier this spring in the polytunnel, but that did not have the exquisite taste of B. 'Boltardy', so we have planted several seed trays with that variety to provide us with enough for pickling to eat over the winter. We may be tempted to squeeze in planting another batch near the end of the month and plant in the poly-tunnel for a late season crop of this wonderful vegetable.
We also completed planting out the new asparagus bed. The seedlings that had been growing in seed tray in a poly-tunnel were planted into prepared soil. The soil had several sacks of sharp sand mixed with it, and trenches were dug about 20 cm (8 inches) deep. Some blood, fish and bone fertilizer was mixed in the bottom of the trenches and dug-in before the seedlings were introduces. Soil was put back into the trench half-way up the growing seedlings and it will be pushed back weekly until the asparagus bed is flat again.
For the last 3 weeks we have been harvesting courgettes and we have now settled down to a daily harvest of 4 courgettes, which is greatly appreciated by us, as we can a place for them in many of our favourite recipes.
We have planted seed in pots for the last batches of bean and planted out the latest batch that was just about ready to face the elements. Varieties planted include Yard-long beans, Lima beans, Soya beans, Pinto beans, Mexican black beans, some Kenyan bush beans and a few Yin-Yang beans. They should be ready to plant out near the end of the month. The tender beans will go into a poly-tunnel, while the rest will replace the first and second early potato beds as they empty. We do like our beans!
We have started to tie-in the cucumbers up the climbing frame that has now become a feature of our allotment, and we have decided that next year we will double the size of the climbing frame and grow squash up it as well.
Finally, we have to reconcile ourselves to several more extreme weeding sessions, as the July weather is particularly conducive to weed growth.