The Joy of Fleece and other Allotment News

A few weeks ago I visited Charles Dowding's smallholding in Somerset. He uses fleece to cover greenhouse raised modules without any hardening off, as well as covering direct sowings. I have done the same and took the fleece off today as we are in an unseasonal heatwave! I must admit that the plot looks much more attractive with the plants visible, rather than viewing areas of white fleece.

The photos will serve as a visual reminder when I look back later in the year.

The first few photos are of the front of the plot which has two new compost heaps and a third bay for muck, allowing an extra year for rotting down; an area for parking covered in wood chippings; a new comfrey bed which will be extended once we have cropped the very old rhubarb.

The next set of photos shows the sitting area where I spend more time than I should eating my 'allotment cake' (thanks to Kate for a great Christmas present) with my tea. This area will be the cut flower garden, although we have enjoyed in situ the pot with tulips, a lovely Christmas present from Darrell and Val. Kath has discovered cut flower catalogues and Sarah Raven is her new best friend; we may need a second plot! The long bed in the foreground is for salad crops, including direct sown salad leaves and other salad leaves raised as modules.

There are six beds for vegetables; the photos show that the onion sets, broad beans and peas, and first early potatoes are doing well.

The new greenhouse staging has been well used for sowing and potting on into modules before planting out. I have experimented with a small tub of early potatoes and some early carrots.

The final set of photos shows progress with gooseberries and strawberries, autumn raspberries which have new shoots, summer raspberries with no shoots as yet, a couple of areas of newly planted rhubarb and a well established gooseberry which we inherited.