A Morning at the Allotment

This morning we went down to our allotment to plant some onions and sow some carrots. The weather could have been warmer but at least it was dry. We have had the allotment for 3 years now and after a lot of digging and weeding we now have a decent plot, although the bindweed refuses to give up the fight and we battle it every season! We planted our garlic about a month ago so it could catch a frost or two to help it split into cloves. Last season we planted our garlic and onions in the October and because of the dreadful winter 2009 it ruined the crop leaving us with small onions and garlic and a fair few rotten ones, so this season we decided to leave it a bit later. The garlic we planted was from our own crop, normally we buy it, and also a few giant cloves that our allotment neighbour Tony had given us. I really hope they grow as big as the ones he gave us!

Ian built 2 carrot beds when we first started as, when he was researching carrots he found that the main pest for carrots was carrot fly but that they only fly about 18 inches off of the ground. So he built the raised beds so that they are high off the ground and also they can be covered with fleece to protect them.

          

This carrot bed was used for carrots last year and so this year we are using it for the Stuttgarter onions as you shouldn’t  put carrots in the same ground each year, which is why we have 2 so we can alternate. I have chives in each corner because, as well as not being able to fly very high and being thwarted by fleece, the carrot fly uses smell to find the carrots so using smelly plants like chives, spring onions, garlic etc masks the smell.

Ian still needs to put the tubing on the other carrot bed for the fleece but as we only sowed them today there is no rush, as long as we do it before they start appearing. I planted our other variety of onion Sturon all round the edge and Ian sowed several rows of the carrot varieties Early Nantes and Rainbow F1. We tried both of these last year and they were brilliant (if I say so myself 🙂 )

             

Ian planting out the carrots                            Mandy planting out the onions.

  

Although the carrots dont need the fleece yet, the onions need a bit of netting over them. This is because the birds see the tops and think they are worms so pull them up. They don’t damage them or eat them but it saves having to keep replanting them.

    

Because it was quite chilly and my hands had ‘gone’ ( I have raynauds phenomenon which basically means several fingers on each hand go completely white and numb when they get cold because of narrow blood vessels! A right pain literally hence wearing several pairs of gloves all the time 🙂 ) we decided to leave it at that for the day. Ian dug up a few parsnips  that we still have in the ground so we came home with a bagfull ready for the roasting tin!

Next time down there we need to prepare the plot for early potatoes, weeding and de-stoning it, and another small plot for yet more carrots ( we have some round ones to try this year) and one for the left over onions. This is a great time of the gardening season as its all about preparing, sowing and getting ready for the season. Ive already sown a lot of our veg for the allotment but they are at home in the warm to get started.

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