Friday, 15 April 2011

Allotment update

I'm on holiday today but I got up nice and early (thanks to the cat) and headed over to the allotment for a catch-up.

I'm really behind this year - I've hardly sown or planted anything - but thanks to my recent strategy of concentrating on permanent/perennial/self-seeding crops there's still quite a lot going on!

My fruit bushes are beginning to flower; I have blackcurrants, gooseberries and some raspberries which spontaneously appeared in one of my large pots. My plum tree has bloomed and is already bearing lots of tiny green fruits. I bought a little "patio" apple tree a few months ago - lots of leaves on that and it looks quite healthy, but I won't get apples this year. I've also got a small crabapple with red foliage which I grew from a tiny seed, and two more babies from a juicy apple I ate at some point during the winter. One day I will have apples galore but for now I just have a selection of pretty trees.

The little fig tree I bought last year has (mostly) survived. One of the branches seems to be dead, but the rest of the plant looks quite healthy. There is even a tiny round fruit (or flower bud?) on it...

The jerusalem artichokes are already up (a very reliable perennial crop) but my globe artichokes don't seem to have made it. I should have protected them with straw over winter. The rhubarb made a good start but is looking quite slug-eaten and still too feeble to harvest. I really have no luck with rhubarb! My mint bed is looking brilliant already, but the wild water mint seems to be bullying the garden mint a bit! I also have lemon balm in there, which is looking good. Lavender, rosemary and thyme are all doing well in their respective giant pots and tryes. Happy self-seeded things include rocket, cornsalad, parsley and chives. And there are LOTS of wild edibles too including nettles, sorrel, ox-eye daisy, ground elder, hops and this morning I even found what I think is a morel mushroom (I left it alone though).

So far this year I've sown carrots, beetroot, runner beans (under cloches), a few herbs and a few weeds. I did actually sow weeds - I have a whole bed devoted to burdock. I'd really like to try it (you can eat the roots) but digging up wild plants is illegal. Let's hope they all survive the slugs!