Plot 250: July Update

Suddenly there has been a surplus of produce from the plot, but there have also been some failures / learning experiences. The photos are in the order of my blog, failures first.

I grew some garlic bulbs in the early spring but, after a promising start, the foliage turned brown and the plants died back. I put this down to infected bulbs which were planted late. The adjacent four foot bed, as shown in an earlier blog, had onion sets growing well but they have also succumbed to what I now recognise as white rot. It affects all alliums but, so far, the shallots and leeks grown from seed are looking ok ... so far. Apparently you have to wait 18 years before replanting, so roll on my 85th birthday!

I grew three varieties of tomatoes from seed and those at the end of the greenhouse, in freshly turned soil, have done well enough but those in the pre-existing side border have hardly moved. This was the same area as a very productive crop of early carrots so I don't know what has gone wrong. The outdoor tomatoes, from the same sowings, look much stronger, but blight outside is a possibility, some say a probability.

Most of the soft fruit has done well and we have enjoyed gooseberries, strawberries and now loganberries but only thirteen of the twenty the raspberry canes have taken. Fortunately the nursery has offered to replace the failures.

The rhubarb plants are beginning to resemble gunnera and the Jerusalem artichokes are matching them for vigour. The salad bed has been a great success and we have been enjoying a mix of lettuce, other leaves and edible flowers for months. I have tried hard to plant regularly to maintain a succession of leaves. Mitsuna, mustard greens and rocket provided many leaves but over a short period before going to seed. Later sowings went to seed almost immediately. I understand that Spring is their natural flowering period so it is better to sow in late summer or early autumn for over-wintering.

We have been enjoying broad beans, sugar snap peas, the first courgettes and french beans. I made repeat sowings of beans and peas for a succession but they seem to know their due time and soon catch up with sowings from a month or two earlier.

I had not grown celery, celeriac or bulb fennel before and these are all doing well. I would consider success with fennel more than a fair exchange for the failure of the onion crop.

The Charlotte potatoes produced early and well, although I did need to protect them against some late frosts, and the bed has been cleared for the leeks which are so far ok; let's hope the white rot is confined to a small area but I am not over hopeful. The allotment site has suffered from potato blight in most years but, even if it arrives soon, I think I will get a good crop from my main crop Maris Piper potatoes.

I bought ten tiny Bocking 14 comfrey root cuttings from eBay in the winter and didn't think they would do anything but I have already cut them once and they have leafed up again. I might leave them to build up for next season. Comfrey tea has a smell which would defeat an army!

The greenhouse carrots were probably too early for carrot root fly but I have put a few short outside rows under mesh. The brassicas are also under netting.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the allotment adventure has been the mass of cut flowers we bring home every other day with lots more to come. The vibrant blue of the cornflowers and the perfume of the sweet peas have been very special.

We have our names on the waiting list for another plot. I think Kath envisages a plot full of flowers for cutting but we shall see.