Allotment Jobs for May 2019

We’ve had a soggy old start to the month, but never mind. The ground could do with a soaking, and there’s drier weather ahead, according to the forecast.

Here’s our general action plan for May, once the weather sorts itself out a bit.

Jobs On Plot #59 (main plot)

April was a very good month, if typically schizophrenic on the weather front, with a cold snap to start, a heatwave in the middle and a more rounded average to finish.

Down on Plot #59 our asparagus started coming up – it’s year three, so we’re finally harvesting at will – and our late variety rhubarb likewise. This year’s spuds are in the ground, and we’ve direct-sown a couple of rows of beetroot, more parsnips and carrots.

We got a lot of infrastructure work done in April, mainly emptying out and re-locating our four (scavenged and/or recycled) black plastic compost bins, spreading the usable contents on the bean and squash beds, and generally making the place look a bit more organised. I even got round to spraying down the greenhouse with Citrox, at long last.

Next up:

  • Direct sowing: The last two carrot bins and more beetroot for successional cropping (with any luck).
  • Compost management: The black bins have been set up properly, and now the main bays need to be emptied into the black bins and/or turned one into the other. I might also fill one bin with what’s left of the very green wood-chip pile at the other end of the site, let that rot down for a year or two.
  • Harvesting: We should be able to continue cutting asparagus and pulling rhubarb all month long, and into June. If we’re lucky we might get a small crop of broad beans, although an attack of bean weevil seems set to scupper that one.
  • Planting Out: We have several strong courgette plantlets coming along nicely in the heated propagator at the moment. After a bit of hardening off, they should be fine to go into the ground in a few weeks. Sweetcorn and maybe a batch of onions to follow at the end of the month, all being well.
  • Planning: for a pond. (Still thinking about buying a plastic liner and putting in a small pond at the plot, just big enough to host a few frogs and their spawn.)

Jobs On Plot #79 (orchard)

The assorted trees in our developing orchard have been smothered in blossom at various points in the month. If similar volumes of fruit-set follow we’re going to have to do some fruitlet thinning this year, to avoid over-stressing the young trees.

Still to-do:

  • Additional stakes and ties – one or two of the young trees are growing away at odd angles. A fresh stake and a re-tie should help encourage them into a better growth pattern.
  • Path repair – the flag path between plot #79 and the next-door neighbour is in a pretty poor state of repair. It needs lifting, digging out, re-sanding and re-laying.

Jobs at Home

Back home in the main greenhouse we’ve been sowing, pricking out, potting on and watering on a regular basis. The chillis that were sown back in January are growing strongly, our tomatoes have recovered from the shock some idiot (>waves&;lt;) gave them when he forgot to harden them off whilst potting them up, and we have trays and trays of onion seedlings after a bout of overly-cautious over-sowing due to the seed being a couple of years old.

Next on the list:

  • Pricking out – still a tray and a half of leek seedlings to do.
  • Sowing – beans (many beans!), possibly more squash and brassicas, definitely more salads. If you’re interested in what we’ve sown and grown so far this year, please see our 2019 Growing List (links to a Google spreadsheet…)
  • Shed sort-out – still (most likely pretty much always) ongoing.

How about you? Is May shaping up to be your busiest month of the year already, or is it the quiet before the June and July storm? Let us know, via the comments…

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