Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A week off work to catch up with it all!

I had the week off work last week in order to try and get lots of jobs done.   I planted out the chillies, cucumbers, melons and sweet peppers into the top greenhouse.  I've tried some chillies in bottomless pots due to having so many bottomless pots.  Last year they seemed to grow too big and unmanageable in the border soil, so I wondered if the bottomless pots might control their growth.

Len suggested I spray the tomatoes in the bottom greenhouse with diluted epsom salts to try and correct the magnesium deficiency, which is making the bottom leaves go yellow.  I tried it and it seemed to help, and I also diluted the epsom salts in warm water and then watered the tomatoes with the solution.  I think the leaves have recovered and don't seem to be as yellow.

The greenhouse at home is completely sorted now.  All the plants have been shipped out and hardened off.  All that remains are the chillies, melon, cucumbers and peppers in pots.  Plus the lonely watermelon (only one seed successfully germinated and grew).

The greenhouse tomatoes in the grow bags at home are doing very well.  There are no yellow leaves and they're a very dark green colour, with thick robust stems and curled up new leaves (apparently a healthy sign).  The first few baby tomatoes have appeared, but no red ones yet.

I earthed up the potatoes on 31st May, this was hard work, I weeded between the rows first then pulled up the earth.  I'd let the haulm grow too high (about 9 inch), I think it would have been easier to earth up potatoes with a shorter haulm.

Into the rough patch at the top of the allotment I planted out the squashes - courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.  I also planted out the cavolo de nero kale and spinach.  And I gave Jim the Builder some kale to try, and Len some razamataz chillies - one for him and one for his sister

I planted out the beans - they'd outgrown their pots and didn't look too healthy.  For future reference, they only take 2-3 weeks to get to about 6 inch high, so it's not worth sowing them too early as they can't be planted out until the end of May.  I also sowed some more peas and beans underneath the ones already planted out.

The gooseberries are getting bigger - I tried one but it tasted very tart.

I planted up all of the hanging baskets and containers with the bedding plants from the greenhouse - this took some time as I tried to work out which plants would look best together.

I made a start on planting out some of the bedding plants in the flower borders at home.

I fed and watered all the cacti.

My beautiful greenhouse lettuce bolted and became infested by whitefly!  The hot weather last weekend finished it off - gutted!  I should have eaten it earlier.  We've been eating the outdoor lettuce though, and these have been delicious, along with the very peppery outdoor radish.  We've also been eating the alpine strawberries.

It would have been my Dad's 71st birthday on 30th May, so Chris built a memorial garden out of bricks at the back of the allotment.  Into this he built a container for my Dad's ashes.  We filled the garden with compost and I planted out my Dad's favourite flowers into it - 3 types of chrysanthemums, sweet peas, carnivale de venice morning glorys, chives, a dwarf sunflower and livingstone daisies.  We had at service at the allotment at 12 noon on his birthday, lots of other plot holders came and Len (who's also a plot holder as well as an orthodox monk and did the service at my Dad's funeral) conducted the memorial service and placing of the ashes in the garden.  He spoke about the Celts' relationship with nature.  It was a good service and I'm glad the garden looks nice.  My Dad's with me now at the allotment, and I hope he's going to keep an eye on all the veg when I'm not there.

On Saturday night I went to my friend Caroline's 31st birthday party at my friend Lynne's house.  We had a curry and a fire in the back yard.  For her present I gave Caroline the Cute Book, a blackeyed susan plant, a My Melody purse, a cute nail file and some mint choc chip (pale green) nail polish

I dropped off some chillies, peppers and cucumbers at my friend Leah's - her dad and Chris have moved and cleaned her greenhouse so she wanted stuff to plant in it.

I watched Night at the Museum by accident, but enjoyed it!

So at the end of my week off work, I felt slightly more up to date with everything, but still with a long list of stuff to get through.  I guess it's just that time of year.  You might even catch me romanticising about winter knitting sessions, casseroles, snow and long nights in!

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