Sunday 21 December 2008

The season for planting soft fruits

Crop updates, planting soft fruis.

Yesterday was a great morning at the allotment!

I had been there last week but the weather was not too good, so I barely enjoyed planting the raspberries in thick heavy mud that made work ten times as hard as it should, with florid weeds coming out at every spadeful. As you will have noticed, I did not even feel like writing about it. If I have to look at the bright side, though, I must say that I found very rewarding to dig out all the abandoned berry plants on the left boundary path. Soft fruits are quite invasive, and these plants (which I should not complain too much about as they fed me through the summer) were definitely overgrowing, but my neighbours were not bothered as they do not use the path so I offered to do it myself. I divided up the uprooted plants between my neighbour and me, and I have to find a less obnoxious place for them to thrive next year.

Yesterday morning the weather was just fine and warm: it has been so mild of late that there were buttercups flowering (not that that makes me particularly happy, as creeping buttercups are one of the worst weeds in the allotment, so I welcomed their efforts by weeding out a wheelbarrow-full)!

A dozen of new strawberries (Florence, the ones the last year produced more) had arrived during the week, so I planted them and managed to find room for a couple of the raspberries I digged out last week.

One of the gooseberries cuttings I planted a couple of weeks ago has pushed out a tiny leaf, and salad is also sprouting in the greenhouse, although there is no sign whatsoever of mushroom. Phacelia is doing terribly well, next year I will plant more to keep the soil from being washed of nutrients over the winter. Parsley is doing well also, although in a less vigorous way. Rhubarb's fat buds are emerging, a rich pink in colour: I must remember to feed with manure later on. The blueberry I planted earlier this autumn has a lots of buds, despite the soil not being acidic at all in the allotment: this is something to be monitored.

Potatoes for the new year have arrived during the week as well: they are now stored in my shed, where they should chit (although for some reason they seem to chit better in my kitchen larder).

I was tempted to go back again in the afternoon, but I have my garden at home to fix as well, so I decided to to stay and take care of that: how could I dare say I am a keen gardener when my garden at home looks like a wasteland...

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