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Parched

Some rainwater at long last pouring from the clouds, at least I think that's what it is, with weeks without any its difficult to remember what a good downpour of rainfall looks like. Although over the past couple of months we have experienced a couple of thunder storms and a little drizzly, muggy weather the allotments have been parched, up until last night when the rain started. My recent visits to the plots have been intermittent for a while now, mainly due to the fact that my house sale is still progressing and the priority has been, jumping through the various hoops associated with organizing completion of the sale. Watering the plots has been a pain lately with some varieties of veggies not liking the hot dry weather conditions at all. To compound problems it looks like the water fittings around our allotments will have to be updated, special underground tanks fitted and hose pipes and water meters banned in future. So far this year I have managed to use water from the drainage ditch at the southern end of my plots to water my plants. That source dried up about a fortnight ago. In fact over the past 2 years the only "mains water" I have used has been approximately 30, 2 liter watering cans full. If these long dry Springs and Summers continue, which I think they will, in this part of the country, I am seriously thinking of dispensing with growing certain crops. The main ones adversely affected by the dry conditions so far being, turnips, swedes, some oriental greens and certain brassicas. Germination of some seeds has also been hit and miss with temperatures being above their germination limits.

Water Supply Getting Low
The Last of The Water (and mulch) Duckweed from the Drainage Ditch (17/July/15)
 Despite the dry conditions most of my crops have fared well with few problems along the way. Weeding has not been a problem, with many of the usual annual weeds not making an appearance, or the ground being too dry for them to fully develop this year. My sweetcorn has done exceptionally well so far, with up to 5 cobs per plant, (usually 2 max). I expect some of them to be fully ripened within the next week or so. Tomatoes, both inside my poly tunnel and growing outside are also excellent this year but slow to ripen. The fruit crops have done well, apart from cherries which I thought had been taken by birds last month, but on closer inspection, many were lost due to the June drop. Strawberries were rather disappointing this year, despite being well watered, both during and after cropping. Alpine strawberries on the other hand, have done well and are still fruiting vigorously after each picking. You win some and lose some!!  My apple crop in particular is very good this year. My 4 fruit trees, cherry, apple, pear and plum, were originally planted on the bank of the drainage ditch which is more or less the southern boundary of N1 Plot. Being close to a large hedgerow this area is home to hundreds of different weeds and wild plants as well as the insects and other wildlife they attract. In previous years I have kept the ground under and around the trees cultivated. This year I left it to grow wild. The result seems to be a lack of disease on the foliage etc of my fruit trees, which had been apparent in previous years. Bio-diversity at work no less. Runner beans again have been slow growing with the dry conditions this year and are only just producing a few beans. Looking around other plots on our allotments, very few seem to have lush growth on the plants. Climbing french beans (cobra) have again come up with the goods and several harvests have been done lately along with dwarf beans (purple teepee). 6 rows of peas have been harvested from No 3 bed, both (Hurst greenshaft) and 2 rows of  mangetout peas were prolific and good quality.  Marrows, courgettes and pumpkins currently growing away on N2 Plots' 5 bed don't seem to mind the dry conditions and seem to be producing fruit almost as fast as it can be harvested. Cucumbers within the poly tunnel are both prolific and gigantic. The specimens planted outside, (from potted seeds), have been slower to grow and are only just flowering. Onions again this year have been excellent with the majority of them already harvested. My sprout plants are in good condition in No 4 bed, which is more than can be said for the cavolo nero and the romanesco, with most of the romanesco quickly running to seed. Cabbages have remained in good condition, although a couple of seeded drills in No4 bed failed to germinate. Lettuce (mixed and crispheads) have done well again, even with little watering along with the reliable bolt hardy beetroot. My potato crop taking up the whole of No 2 bed seems in reasonable condition. The plants are not as tall or lush as last seasons specimens and the rain today will certainly freshen them up somewhat. 3 "trial" plants were lifted last week. One plant contained 10 rather large tubers with the other 2 plants containing a dozen tubers each, which I would class as medium sized. As these are main crop desiree spuds, planted early, another fortnights' time should see them being lifted. The quality of the carrots in No1 bed remains to be seen, again the top growth is not as lush as in previous years. My asparagus bed has come on leaps and bounds this year with plenty of strong growth, on the downside, picking off the ever increasing hoards of asparagus beetles has been a full time occupation. What looks like 2 good rows of parsnips are also doing well in bed No1, which I attribute to the mud and silt taken from the drainage ditch, which was spread over this bed last year, in lieu of manure.    

Tomatoes
Tomatoes Poly Tunnel (Mid July 15)
Fruit Picking Late June
Fruit Picking (Late June 2015)
No 4 Bed
No 4 Bed (7/7/ 2015)
Cucumbers Poly Tunnel (7/7/15)

There's Always Tomorrow!!

Comments

  1. Seems as if you have been getting some decent crops, despite the dodgy weather. We have steady heavy rain today too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Everyone seems to be having some good rain but us although it is forecast for tomorrow - our climbing beans are desperate for some.

    ReplyDelete

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There's Always Tomorrow!!