Monday, 11 May 2015

From bluebells to asparagus...

Just daft dog and me this weekend on a sneaky afternoon up to the allotment, thanks Chris for taking small boy to the library;) The woods were beautiful on the walk there. I tried to take an 'arty' photo of daft dog, a blue Beddlington in a sea of bluebells...he being a very fast, typical terrier with a complete lack of understanding for my poetic nonsense had a different idea...not a chance, hence the blurry Beddlington shot! (nothing at all to do with having a terrible camera phone and no photography talent)

When we got to the plot, I finally had to admit to myself that the sticks I'd been lovingly watering were going to stay sticks and not miraculously spring into life, willing them to live just wasn't going to be enough. So, sadly but without any great surprise I pulled up over half of the raspberry canes that I had planted in autumn. I had planted them with snow on the ground, small boy had built a snowman next to me as I had scrapped the snow back with frozen fingers to put them in. I had made the fatal mistake of thinking just because there wasn't any snow in my garden at home that a 5 minute drive to the allotment up a hill it would be the same, it wasn't. I'd had them planted temporarily at home in a container with a straw mulch and made the decision that it would be worst to take them home to have to dig them up a second time, so I scrapped the snow away and risked it. There is a reason why you never see Monty Don planting raspberries in kills them! I suppose the actual miracle is the 2 plants that have survived, both Joan J's. Obviously tough little plants, I like to think that it's because they share a name with my aunt, she wouldn't let a bit of snow stop her...talking at least;) (pretty sure she'll never read this!)They even have the beginnings of little flower buds on them.

I've also lost my borlotti beans to frost and my inexperience. I was lulled by the beautiful spring weather into a false sense of security completely forgetting I live in the north! The sun beat down as I happily built them a twiggy wigwam, the birds sang...lambs were definitely skipping about somewhere, there was a scent of BBQs in the air. That night the temperature plunged, the BBQs were quickly put away and my poor borlottis keeled over immediately. A bit like that great Peter Kay sketch when he's impersonating a rich tea biscuit dipped into tea, 'it's too hot, it's too hot' borlottis were crying, 'it's too cold, it's too cold!' (please try an watch that sketch it's a classic!)

So I've learnt a few lessons the hard not plant raspberries in the snow and last frost dates must be learnt and abided by even if the lambs are dancing the Tango!

But there were things that made me smile too. The broad beans I planted last year are looking very happy the flowers are just so pretty and I've noticed that they are scented as well, so hopefully we'll get some beans from them. I had to take a photo of the snails I found near my compost bin too, I know they are a gardeners nemesis but these are particularly well dressed snails...snail fashionistas who'd have thought? they match the broad bean flowers perfectly;) but as much as I could admire the atheistic of that I wouldn't be too impressed if I found them there!

The peas I planted, Early Onward and Douce Provence, at the same time as the borlottis thankfully didn't go all Mediterranean on me and just brushed the frost off. I noticed they are getting flowers on them already...woo hoo!

My most exciting moment though was seeing the first spears of my asparagus coming through. My excitement was tempered a bit when I looked up and saw  that the plot directly behind me (that has just been taken over) is slowly turning yellow, which I'm guessing means they've just put weed killer on the whole lot. Oh please, please, please let my asparagus be ok, its right next to the tide of yellow that is descending. I have no idea what they've used, they weren't about to ask. Bit cross if I'm honest, I have a sea of weeds to battle but I fight with them fair and square with a fork and the occasional bad back...using chemicals just seems like cheating, not to mention using chemicals so close to someone who just wants her asparagus to survive seems a bit cruel! I guess that's one of the drawbacks of an allotment, you really have no control over what people right next to you can do.

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Comments are always welcome, nice kind ones at least! Any advice for a complete novice would also be gratefully received:) Thanks.