Friday, 11 May 2007

Allotment Diary April 2007

The weather was so beautiful at the beginning of the month, but the ground became very hard to dig, probably because my soil is quite heavy and tends towards clay! However, although slugs have eaten my spinach, and my carrot seeds have not yet appeared, (or have appeared and disappeared overnight)…things are not looking too bad on the plot.

The broad beans and peas are growing well, and another row of peas has been planted out. The gooseberries and blackcurrants are setting fruit, as is the plum tree. That looks like it will be a bumper crop. Strawberries are flowering too, and doing very well in the hot april weather.

I have finished cropping the purple sprouting broccoli and have also had some rhubarb, which I had forced, under a bucket. It made a very good crumble. Encouraged by the hot weather I planted some courgettes and cucumbers under the plastic cloche, and put tomatoes in grow bags surrounded by a plastic windshield. I have to put the tomatoes in grow bags as I have tomato blight in the soil.

Of course the weeds are doing well and weeding is a constant job to do. I am trying to mulch out the sticky weed that is taking over!

As for nature we have released frogs near to the pond from tadpoles that we had in a tank at home. On the evening that we did this we also saw larger frogs in the pond. Pond skaters have been seen as well.

A pair of blue tits is using my nest box, inspite of the fact that the clematis covering it died this year. Once they have finished nesting I will be able to dig out and replace the clematis.

It is good to see so many people on the plots at this time of year. It is a very social place to garden, and there is always someone around to ask for advice or help. Allotments certainly seem to be growing in popularity now, and we have a waiting list for our plots.

People experience so many benefits in having an allotment that are much more than the more obvious exercise, social contact, fresh air and good food. They are a fantastic stress buster. Redundancy, bereavement, illness, depression, all have been helped by a few hours down on the plot, as plotters will testify.

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