So what’s occurring this week in Durley Field. The main concern is that’s it’s showtime on Sunday and what will be ready to exhibit. I’ve already ruled potatoes out because of scab, and I’m not sure on a few other classes. My peas haven’t done well this year – my own fault because I didn’t put protective netting around immediately when I planted them & the pigeons were very appreciative of this. I put netting up the day after planting but the damage had been done. Protecting crops is a major issue, something I’ll write about in a future blog.
The Runners are doing well, but will I get six similar ones to show – similarly, will the french beans be advanced enough to get nine of the same. All very stressful – totally self induced for a long retired old man – but stressful just the same. I had a tour of the plot yesterday and I may have enough ready by Sunday to exhibit in twenty plus classes. I had to pick the cucumber I was nurturing as it looked as if it would burst if left any longer – so that has to spend six days in the fridge, fingers crossed.
The garlic (very pitiful this year), shallots, and onions have all been stripped and are drying in the polytunnel awaiting being bound with raffia for the show. This year I grew the onions, variety Canto, in airpots, which seem to have been successful, so I’ll try more of growing in airpots in future.
The sweet pea plants have all reached the top of their canes and I’ve had to start untying some and laying them along the ground. This isn’t as satisfactory as I would have liked as the stems have started getting much shorter, but hopefully I’ll be able to pick twelve to exhibit.
Away from nurturing crops for the show, I’m harvesting a bucket full of crops each day – enough for ourselves, friends, and relatives. I’m also proud of my melons – don’t go there. I’ve already netted three and there at least another four coming. Fingers crossed they will all mature.
Another dilemma is what to feed with. I use Maxicrop generally, plus Tomorite for tomatoes, and this year I’m trying Compost Tea for the first time. I must admit I’m easily led when it comes to trying new things on the plot – every time I read an article or watch a you tube gardening video I think I’ll try that. So this year it was Compost Tea (along with a few others) which I saw recommended by the “Allotment Diary” you tuber. I know you can make your own but it does seem a bit, no, a lot, of faff – involving a fish pump and various ingredients. Maybe next year. Another problem with trying new things is that you don’t really know if they work or not, unless of course you test different products alongside each other, again too much faff. I think I’ll just trust blind faith. Talking of Blind Faith, if I remember they were the supergroup of Clapton, Stevie Winwood and Ginger Baker, late sixties. I remember all the publicity when they formed – bimey, nearly fifty years ago, where did that time go. Anyway, they never came to much.
Now to end with a winner. Last week I was judging Best Kept Allotment with Gillian at Tutts barn when we saw Ed Sutton watering with a piece of piping attached to a hose. The advantage of this is that the water can be easily directed to the roots of a plant. This has numerous advantages over how we mostly water by spraying over the foliage of a plant –which the RHS experts in their recent visit said was largely a waste of time. Anyway, I thought, what a good idea, and off I went and made one as best I could. Everyone's a winner