When I attended the allotment AGM last month I found out that I had received an award from Manchester City Council for my allotment in 2011!!! I received a “Highly Commended” award, which was the lowest level to receive a certificate, but I am still very pleased. It is currently residing in pride of place on the fridge.
I really did not expect to receive an award at all. It has been a real boost and has spurred me on to improve our allotment even more this year. Although I am definitely not counting on receiving an award next year due to an overgrown fruit patch at the back of the plot that needs serious attention. It is going to be attended to in the next month or so, so watch this space!!!
Today I have been finishing planting my potatoes.
Almost 2 beds are full, with 2 rows of potatoes in each. We used to dig trenches which was back-breaking work, but last year I purchased a long handled bulb planter which worked really well and makes light work of the potato planting task.
I buy my seed potatoes through the allotment society which means I get a great selection at a great price and place the order in October / November time. They are ready for collection from the Allotment Shop in February / March.
Potato varieties I am growing this year are:
Charlotte – Salad Potatoes BBC Charlotte Potato Recipies
Aaron Pilot – First Earlies
Kestrel – Second Earlies – a firm favourite which lasts exceptionally well in storage or if left in the ground
Markies – Main Crop Markies Potato Information
King Edwards – Main Crop
For a great resource that tells you all about the many varieties of potatoes try the potato council website www.lovepotatoes.co.uk.
After winter the growing season begins again. Of course there are things that can be grown over winter, but from March/April onwards seeds need to be sown in earnest and the hard work begins. I have recently cleaned out the greenhouse and for the first time bought some tomato plants to put in the grow bags.
Why? You might ask. Well, every other year I have grown my own, but I never seem to get fruit until September which means many of them don’t ripen. Unfortunately I have limited space in the house for starting them off early and my greenhouse is not heated. I noticed last week that the local garden centre had some excellent specimens for reasonable prices so this week I decided to spend a total of £7.50 on a selection of 8 plants.
They are far more developed than my seedlings have ever been at this point of the year, some are even starting to develop flower trusses!
Another new method I am trying this year is only planting 2 tomatoes in each grow bag instead of 3. Also I am ‘extending’ the grow bags (so-to-speak) by placing in pots that we have cut the bottoms out of to allow the roots to grow freely and which allows me to add more compost. Finally, for watering I have sunk a smaller pot in the middle of the two plants. I shall see how successful this method turns out to be over the coming months…
Ladybirds are great for your allotment and should be encouraged. I have had loads on my allotment this year. Ladybirds eat aphids which makes them exceptionally useful.
If you are interested in finding out which types of ladybird you have on your plot try the UK Ladybird Survey website. This website has a wide variety of information included on it and aims to help the recording of ladybirds within the UK.
The Harlequin ladybird is not native to the UK and is causing problems for our own native species due to it being the worlds most invasive species. To find out more, including how to identify and record sightings of the Harlequin ladybird, go to the Harlequin Ladybird Survey website.
This is something that has amazed me since the first time I saw it! Potato plants produce flowers and fruit. The fruit looks just like small green tomatoes! They are not edible though.
The reason for this is that potatoes are related to tomato plants! They are both from the “Solanaceae” family which also includes aubergines and chilli pepper plants.