Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Neeps and tatties, anyone? Maybe some chopped coriander sprinkled over that? Beetroot chips?

Wood pigeons have done far more damage to the peas than the dogs. I don't recall them being a nuisance in previous allotments. I should have known, of course, having seen how fastidious my neighbours were about netting their crops. Heigh ho. Another example of how one can fail to acknowledge a potential hazard until punched in the face by it. The damage is so severe I got the idea this morning to turn over the whole of the Fabaceae bed, the SW bed, and sow it with clover for this year.

I think today is the 1st anniversary of starting work on the plot. It feels like a significant decision: dig over and green manure the pea bed. I then went down to the other end of the plot, and thinned out the neeps, (aka swedes). They've had some attention from the wood pigeons, but have weathered it reasonably well. I've (at last) gotten around to rigging up a pigeon net:

pigeon net over neeps. marigolds on path edge to the right, row of coriander to the left, currants and berries on boundary at the back

A row of oregano next to them was so weed infested, I gave up on it. Baby oregano looks just like several kinds of weeds, and I found it impossible to tell them apart without nipping off a leaf and nibbling it, which, after tasting numerous nasty weed leaves, I gave up doing. Heigh bloody ho. Or hoe, I should say.

A row of cauliflowers were destroyed by wood pigeons and excessively weed infested. They got hoed with the oregano.

Coriander is a tough wee plant. You can just see a row of it on the left of the picture above. It's easily recognisable. I weeded & thinned the row, and there are plenty of plants.

Mustard spinach is a joke, two or three plants from the 50 seeds in the packet. It will get hoed out.

At the roots end of the bed, the Midwest bed by the site of the new shed, there are less weeds, and less new sowings - perhaps because of the shade from the ash tree in the late afternoons. Coriander there, too, is doing well. And beetroots: which is ironic, no one in our house is big on beetroots. I'm thinking of maybe slicing them and baking them in the oven as posh crisps.

The big middle section of these beds is now sown with phacelia. That was the right decision. The particular area was badly waterlogged all last winter, at least, maybe for many years hitherto. And it contains a lot of clay thrown onto it in winter, spoil from beneath the path and from the pond. It wants a green manure, in short.

So, bottom line, this year is more about green manures than crops. Tatties are fine, and I'll get at least one good row of neeps, plenty coriander, maybe beetroot. The bees will have another good year from my clover and phacelia. That's all good. The ambition to get it all cultivated this year was unrealistic. Direct sowing, especially without the benefit of easily pigeon-netted raised beds, is a hazardous business at best. An allotment must have a potting shed and poly tunnel to get things started, raised beds and netting for direct sowings. Khalas.