Journal: February 2019

This section of the site is intended as a personal record of jobs undertaken and work completed on the allotment, either on plot #59, our main growing plot; or plot #79, our orchard plot. Please feel free to visit the front page of Allotment Notes for more blog-style content.

2019: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | June | July


03 Feb 19

Home – Sowing: Parsley ‘Triple Curled’, Parsley ‘Plain Leaved 2’, Chervil ‘Simple’, Garlic Chives.

Using windowsill propagator trays, will germinate in heated propagator then switch to windowsill tray for slower onward growth.

Re-sown: Capsicum annuum ‘Trifetti’ x6.

05 Feb 19 a.m. session 2 hrs, DT. Weather chilly, light overcast, 4-6o

First session after a week-long freeze. Surface still frosted, but ground beneath workable if required.

Finished pruning gooseberries in soft fruit section. Removed last year’s cabbage stalks. Dumped last three giant courgettes (frost-bitten, starting to rot) in compost.

Harvested: two plants’ worth of Chinese Artichoke. Had forgotten to lift at end of last year. Many tubers starting to re-sprout already. Will pot some up at home for re-growing in 2019.

07 Feb 19 a.m. session 3 hrs, DT. Weather chilly but dry, 6-8o.

Initial set up of the Hugelkultur bed (see blog post for method).

10 Feb 19 p.m. session 2.5 hrs, DT, JT. Weather chilly but dry, some drizzle later, 6-8o.

First phase of laying out new raspberry enclosure. Measured and put in vertical canes, cut old strawberry weed membrane to re-use for raspberry planting areas.

12 Feb 19 a.m. session 3 hrs, DT. Weather mild, some drizzle 8-10o.

Continued with raspberry enclosure, adding in diagonal bracing canes. Cut weed membrane for walkway in middle. Just waiting on the plants now, due at the end of the week / early next. Once planted, can add string lines to the canes.

Also began lifting weedy grass patches to add to Hugelkultur bed.

13 Feb 19 p.m. session 2.5 hrs, DT. Weather light overcast, 9-10o.

Dug out & divided 4 rhubarb crowns. Re-planted 3 strongest-looking sections on near side of raspberry area. These will (hopefully) grow on for 1-2 years before harvest, whilst we harvest from the remaining older crowns. Will add 1x Timperley Early section from work as well.

14 Feb 19 a.m. / p.m. session 4.5 hrs, DT. Weather sunny, warm, dry, clear skies, 11-13o.

Helped with tree felling, mostly feeding woodchipper in return for woodchip for raspberry beds.

16 Feb 19 p.m. session 2 hrs, DT & JT. Weather sunny, warm, breezy overcast later, 10-12o.

Transplanted two large blackcurrant bushes to old rhubarb section. Added in two rooted cuttings. Put 8x new cuttings in to root.

JT attacked bindweed patch at back of plot by willow.

17 Feb 19 a.m. / p.m. session 2 hrs, DT. Weather light overcast, breezy, 8-10o.

Gave talk on pruning to 20+ fellow plot holders in the #Plot79 orchard. Next hour or so touring the site, talking to various people about restorative pruning ideas for their overgrown trees.

Sawed off half the willow stump, leaving the section with the most apparent potential for upright growth this year. (Hopefully the core of the tree won’t rot as a result…)

19 Feb 19 flying visit, DT. Weather overcast, drizzly, 8-10o.

Planted Rhubarb ‘Timperley Early’ crown section, from work.

Home: pricked out Potato Onion ‘Red Dakota’ seedlings to a module tray in the greenhouse.

21 Feb 19 a.m. / p.m. session 3 hrs, DT & Ian P. Weather sunny, 12-15o.

Pruned Plot #79 orchard with fellow orchardist Ian P. Assessed each tree, made appropriate cuts, discussed further staking / re-positioning requirements for some of the trees.

Decided on location for cordon fence.

23 Feb 19 p.m. session 2 hrs, DT & JT. Weather sunny, light overcast later, breezy, 12-15o.

Planted out raspberry canes: 3x Glen Coe, 5x ‘All Gold’ (towards front of section), 5x ‘Joan J’ (towards back of section). Dug in with handful of FBB.

Potted up 3x Lingonberries, med. size tubs w. plenty of ericaceous compost mixed into sandy loam / compost soil previously used for Dahlias. Mulched with slate chips and watered well to attempt to recreate native growing conditions (“on rocks, on the edge of peat bogs” – Jo Green).

Potted up 1x blueberry ‘Spartan’ in large grey tub, brought home to add to 2 existing blueberry bushes.

JT lifted 3x overgrown wild Aster (?) clumps, chased down runners & dug up seedlings. Potted up a couple of smaller sections to grow on in pots.

Sowing: 4x Allium cepa (‘Ailsa Craig’, ‘Red Baron’, ‘Lilia’, ‘Bedfordshire Champion’) and 2x Allium porrum (‘Musselburgh’, ‘Lyon 2 (Prizetaker)’). Half-size seed trays, seed compost over sieved multipurpose. Intending to prick out to modules / deeper trays when large enough.

26 Feb 19 p.m. session 2.5 hrs, DT. Weather ludicrously sunny, cloudless, 17-18o.

Pegged down membrane and woodchip-mulched raspberry section. Put a composted bark mulch around the base of each plant to lessen risk of nitrogen robbery from woodchip. Will seaweed-feed when in growth as well.

Put down cardboard sub-mulch and woodchip-mulch around 3 of the 4 re-planted rhubarb crowns.

Mixed 12x hand-forkfuls of well-rotted manure into first carrot bin. Will top up with sieved soil / seed compost before sowing. 1 new bin to fill at some point and two more to manure.

Weeded asparagus patch. Weeded under gooseberries.

Pruned red & white-currants (better a bit late than never). Left yellow currant and Aronia (melanocarpa?) alone.

Potted up remaining 4 tip-layered Japanese Wineberry stems. Trimmed back any remaining lateral stems. Removed one awkward vertical, tied remaining three vertical stems in to a triple-cane support.

27 Feb 19 p.m. session 2.0 hrs, DT. Weather sunny but slightly cooler, cloudless, 15-17o.

Plot #79: Weeded tree circles.

Plot #59: Planted Malus domestica ‘Howgate Wonder’ at front-left of plot. Set up cane support (temporary, may replace with something more permanent in due course) for stepover training, tied in lateral branches.

Harvesting: A kilo or two of Chinese Artichoke from front-left of plot. All sprouted, not sure if this will affect flavour, one way to find out…

28 Feb 19

At Home: cleared plastic pots, etc. from greenhouse to shed, preparing for cleaning session at the weekend (hopefully…)

Pricked out and potted up 6x Capsicum annuum ‘Bolivian Rainbow’ plants, returned to propagator to grow on for eventual transfer to small air-pots.

To-Do:

  • Prep carrot bins w. w/r manure, re-sieved soil. 1x early sowing under fleece.
  • Prep location for step-over tree supports, posts for cordons.
  • Help Mike w. apple pruning on his new plot.
  • Continue lifting grass for Hugelkultur bed.
  • Spring-clean greenhouse.
  • Sort and tidy shed.

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