I realise we’re at the end of January, but I thought I would take the time and reflect back at 2022, and look at our successes and failures.
After moving plots in autumn 2021, 2022 was the first year growing on the new plot. We managed to clear a large bed in time for spring (in fact it covered almost half the plot) and gave enough growing space for what we needed. We kept to our core veg; potatoes, beans, onions, sweetcorn, pumpkins and courgettes.
The potatoes started off well and we managed to harvest all our first and most of our second early potatoes. However, we left the main crop in the ground for too long, and when it come to digging them up in the middle of winter, they had rotted away.
The beans done extremely well, but started to suffer a little during the heatwave. They soon bounced back in late summer.
Our onions were fantastic, in fact probably the best crop we’ve ever had and we’ve still got some left in the cupboard.
Sweetcorn started really well, but we had a few succumb to smut, a fungal disease which affects sweetcorn. Smut thrives on hot dry summers, so it’s no surprise we had it considering the temperatures we had.
There’s one major issue that cropped up in late autumn and that’s rats. Rats have moved in underneath the chicken coop and while we are keeping them at bay with traps, they are still a problem. Fortunately, they seem to be leaving the chickens alone and more interested in digging holes everywhere.
As I type this, it’s the first week in September and it feels like summer has come and gone. Summer as been a weird one for me. Everything started so well but then come June, everything just stopped, and took ages to get going again 🙁
Last weekend was our annual show at the allotment. It was a good day, although a long one. Has Chairman, I arrived early to get everything setup and was the last one to leave. We had a good turn out and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
I’ll leave you some photos from this summer, including from last weekend. Most of these have been posted on my Instagram, go check it out and give me a follow.
June has come and gone, and I have to say it’s been a weird one. Everything was growing so well in May and all of a sudden everything just stopped. For instance, my garlic was doing really well at the beginning of June, and I went down one day, to find they had gone yellow. I pulled them up the following day and left them to dry in the greenhouse
Last weekend marked the start of my potato harvest. I started to dig up my first early potatoes, just to see if they were ready yet. I was quite surprised by them actually, no slug damage and also a reasonable size. I dug a couple of more plants up this morning.
I’ve also started to harvest all my soft fruit. My raspberries and gooseberries have done extremely well this year. Most of them will be used to make a summer fruit jam. Yum.
So at the beginning of May, I made a list of jobs that needed doing. I’m glad to say that I’ve got them all done and the plot is ready for summer.
The frame for my grapevine was strengthened using some metal poles that were kindly donated to me by another plot holder. My squash has been planted out with my sweetcorn to follow within the next couple of weeks, and finally the greenhouse was completely gutted and tidied.
In regards to my strawberry bed, I’ve decided to use water bottles with holes drilled into the bottom. I’ll simply fill the water bottles, place them on the soil and the water will trickle out through the day. Well thats the plan.
The only thing I’m struggling with at the moment is room for my sprouts, I simply haven’t got a spare bed for them. I think I’ll have to wait until my garlic has been lifted (only a couple of weeks away by the looks of them) and plant the sprouts in that bed.
I’ll leave you with a couple of photos I took yesterday.
I thought I had everything under control this year. The plot was tidy, I had my seeds ready and I completed all my winter projects. However, we are now in May and I’m wondering where the hell the year is going. April flew by for me, I was busy with various projects at work, and so I didn’t have a chance to spend much time down the plot.
I come to sow some seeds during the week but couldn’t find them anywhere on the plot. I’ve either thrown them out when cleaning the sheds or left them out and someone has pinched them. So instead of worrying and having to order seeds in, I’ve decided to buy most of my veg plants this year.
I suppose not having to look after tiny seedlings, allows me to get a few more jobs done before the task of daily watering and weeding starts in summer.
Sort out my grapevine – The frame I grow my grapevine up was badly damaged last autumn due to the strong winds. Although it’s no longer falling down, I still need to strengthen it before it’s too late.
Prepare the sweetcorn and squash bed – I’ve kinda forgotten about this bed. It needs weeding and a good tidy as it became a dumping ground over winter.
Tidy the greenhouse ready for my tomatoes
Needs doing – within the next couple of weeks
Sort out the strawberry bed – I grow my strawberries in a raised bed/vegtrug. I struggled to keep them watered last summer, so I want to sort out a proper irrigation system for them (even if I just use water bottles with holes in them to allow water to be slowly released throughout the day to help keep the soil damp)