Dropping off the rhubarb gin

I’ll take a couple of photos inside the allotment garden on my trip tonight, because it’s usually nice this time in the evening on a sunny day. Although it’s only been sunny for the last part of the day it has rained quite well since this morning.

Entering the allotment garden

That means there has been time enough to “harvest” the gin in the garage today. A rainy Saturday morning is probably the best time to do this sort of thing. That was the plan!

Although today, this morning has been quite a busy few hours and more abnormal than normal. It comprised of two parts: (1) second vaccine appointment for the older one; (2) 10-day self-isolation notification for the younger one (what glee that was: no school for 2 weeks). That’s just for the first two people in the household.

For me it was quite a lot easier. I had to collect some lateral flow tests from the chemist, just to keep us going for the next few weeks. Then it was time to do the rhubarb gin.

The bottling process was really easy, it just meant sieving it through a muslin cloth and then bottling it up and labelling each bottle individually. I’d say that took about 30 minutes in total. Hardly effort at all.

Later on that evening I decided to make a special trip to drop some off at the allotment. I’d sample some of it earlier and it was pretty good. It’s a nice evening and it’s 8:15 at night on Saturday, the 10th of July.

Quiet in the allotment garden

The allotment was empty, although that was expected because it’s been quite a wet day. There was a couple of people there but they were on the far side and so I didn’t really speak to them. Everything seems to be growing really well: the courgettes are going, lavender is okay. So I turned my attention to the tayberries again.

I placed a strategic bottle of gin on my neighbour’s plot, along with a small box full of tayberries is that I picked. That’s it for the evening. Quite an easy trip again.

Rhubarb gin recipe

Easy one. Take 1 kg of rhubarb chopped up into 2 cm pieces. Then, take a litre of gin and pour it in. Mixing 250 g of sugar and then put a slice of ginger in. Mix it up, then store in a dark place for a month to 6 weeks.

Bottles of rhubarb gin

That’s it! That’s all it took to make some of the nicest gin I’ve tasted in awhile.

Broad beans going in

It’s Sunday, the 9th of May and it’s 3 o’clock on the dot. The clouds are just starting together and the skies gone grey again it looks as though the rain which had been promised for Sunday afternoon is on its way.

The wind is starting to slightly pick up and it’s not quite as warm as it was when I arrived at around midday today.

Today I’ve decided to start putting the seedlings in. The risk of frost looks as though it has passed finally! The weather looks as though it is starting to change, warmer I mean. And with that nice the weather means I will not have to rush down to the allotment to cover and uncover the plants that I’d put in already.

Lines of spuds and the broad beans!

Today I put in three more lines of potatoes, In between the other three lines I already had. That means the central part of the far end of my plot is now fully stocked with spuds.

Your other job was to put in a line of broad bean seedlings which had been growing out of and in the pots at home in the back garden. They went in quite easily and hopefully they are large enough to be able to fend off the large fat pigeons and family of magpies that have been storming the allotment garden recently. I’m not sure if this will work! Just before I put them in I caught a blackbird packing at the seedlings in the trays! We will have to wait-and-see.

Rest of the time I spent taking up all the weeds which seem to have sprouted up everywhere across the whole of my plot. The nice weather and the rain had given the weeds the best of times. It didn’t take long to pull out the weeds however. It’s looking a lot better now!

Last thing to do was to pick some rhubarb. And handed over to my neighbour! I’ve got plenty

Day-off-work rhubarb crumble

It’s Monday, the 12th of April 2021, and it’s just a couple of minutes before 10 am in the morning.

I’ve just been to the allotments to uncover this seedlings again after last nights frost. The seedlings had been covered up for the whole of yesterday because of the weather extremes. Yesterday it snowed! Only brief flurries but still it’s April! And it’s snowing! Again. This really isn’t a surprise since the past few years have done exactly the same

The temperature last night dipped to -2° C, possibly even colder. The weather forecast said it was -5° C in some places in the local area. Everything was covered up and neatly tucked in bed, so there were no adverse affects on my seedlings.

This morning I uncovered them. We had a bit of rain overnight and this morning and I wanted to make sure they were getting a good soaking for today. As I was driving to the allotment a big dirty black cloud was hovering over the allotments I could see it in the distance. I want those clouds to drop the rain and keep my plants well watered.

Rhubarb and apple crumble

I picked up five stems of rhubarb and I will be taking those home to cook rhubarb crumble! I have today off work. Plenty of time to do things nonwork related!

Rhubarb giveaway at the lockdown allotment

Sunday, the 28th of March 2021. The time is now 1645 in the afternoon and I’ve been at the allotment since around about 2 pm.

Today’s job was supposed to be to plant the carrots! The ones I bought yesterday and this morning from the garden centre. However I forgot to put holes in the big tubs, and so I decided that I would just bring the carrots back home and plant them next weekend.

Rhubarb giveaway

Next weekend is Easter bank holiday, so there are two days plus the weekend. Let’s hope the weather holds!

Today I planted nothing apart from some daffodils. But I did a lot of work clearing up the portion of land that was the builders yard. That is now gone and the stones and gravel that I filtered out of the soil over the past year and a half have now been used to make small area for storing things. This area is just about 1m wide and not very big, but it is enough to keep things out of the way.

I put some black sheeting down on the soil, and then edged the part of the land with some of the larger stones. Then I dropped in all the gravel that I had filtered out into bags which had been sitting around on my plot waiting to get used or taken away. I decided not to take it away to the tip, since they were my stones from my plot.

So the majority of the time today was spent with me making a small patio area! Not something I expected today, but another job ticked off my list successfully!

The tub like plan for the carrots, something to do next weekend

Today was the day I also gave away my rhubarb which I had been trying to kill for the past two years, without success. So I gave it away to some of the new plot holders who had come in today to tend to the new areas.

So! All in all, today was a good day. Things have been tidied up, rhubarb is being given away, tubs have been made ready for next weekend, planting will begin just in time for the Easter bank holiday!

Last on the list before I leave the allotments is to pick up some of the plastic sheeting that has been dumped in the recycle area. The recycle area doesn’t look very neat, so I thought I would take some with me.

Sunny Saturday during the second lockdown

It’s Saturday, the 27th of February 2021, and it’s a beautiful sunny spring day. Sky is blue with little clouds floating around and the birds are out again flying around the allotment. I’ve seen at least three groups of people down at the plots today! Spring is definitely here, winter is over at last!

The rhubarb has started!

I spent the morning digging over the second half of my plot. Last week I removed the surface weeds, and this week I picked up all the detritus and gave the ground a good digging over. It looks fantastic! It also helps that the grass is beautifully green and the sky is bright blue and it is really the first sunny day I’ve seen since this year!

Clean digging

The time is coming up to lunchtime. Probably I will tidy up and go home, but before I do that I’m just going to have a sit down in the chair overlooking my plot, underneath the apple tree. I’ll sit here watch the birds flying around, and listen to the insects. In the distance over in the high trees outside the garden I can hear the rookery cawing.

Allotment Friday toad

Allotment visit Friday, the 11th of September 2020 between 5 and 6 o’clock in the evening.

After work this afternoon, I left the office travelled home put my gardening clothes on and headed off to the allotment for an hour or so. I’ve not been for at least two weeks, which means there could be some things to do … maybe … ?!

Apart from a little bit of weeding there really wasn’t much to do! Fantastic! Although the borders do need cutting again, there are a few weeds growing down the line of spuds that have now died back, and I had to tie up some of the tayberries because they were bolting across the allotment plot, but apart from that — very little.

Toady of the compost dump

One of my tasks was to dig a bit more out of the dumping ground next to the garden shed and move it onto the new compost heap I created a couple of weeks ago. As I was forking through I nearly skewered a toad! Luckily it was unharmed so I put him back where I found him.

Just after I had recovered from nearly puncturing a toad, Elvis surprised me as well. While I was weeding the main area over the plot I turned around to see Elvis sat right in the middle of my allotment waiting for me to notice her and give us some treats. Sorry Elvis! I didn’t bring anything again.

Some crumble tonight

At the end, after I had done all of my tasks: pickings free cucumbers, weeding and sorting out the new compost heap, I decided it would be a good idea to pick some of the apples which looked like they were about to fall off all of the apple trees around the allotment. I collected enough for apple crumble and then I picked a couple of storks of rhubarb from my main plot to go with it. I will collect some crumble mix on the way home and make something this evening.

Sunshine all day ☀️ at the allotment

Entries for Thursday 30th and Friday 31st July 2020.

Is been an amazing day at the allotment, (Thursday 30th July 2020). The temperature has been in the high 20s and I’ve been on holiday from work! I spent 5h15m at the plot today !! I’ve been taking one day a month off work for a while now, picking a last minute holiday to suit the weather.

It started as B&Q opened. I needed a couple of planks of wood to edge some of the plot. I’ve still not finished that but I’m getting there slowly. Also, with sifting the stones out of the soil recently, it’s left me with more than several bags of rocks. I need the edging to demarcate the rest of the plot from where I’m going to keep them.

Immediately from getting the wood I deliver it to the allotment gardens, before the public arrive: I can’t be carrying that sort of thing into the plot with people milling around.

The neighbour’s plot and butterflies 🦋

Inside the allotment garden everything is quiet away from the socially-distanced crowds of public and all is quiet. This time of year some parts of the allotment garden are looking spectacular! Plot number 12 which is two plots over from me is looking particularly good with the hundreds of bees 🐝 and butterflies dotting around the large lavender plants! Hundreds! The lavender looks particularly infested with bees!

The weather today is incredible. The sun is shining and the sky is blue above. It’s already started to warm up a lot and so I need to crack on with my job for today before it gets unbearable …

Panoramic across the sky

Then, looking across from my allotment onto some others I notice that even the weeds are shooting skywards, some of the neglected plots are showing weeds up to (and beyond) head-height! It will only get worse. Every single plot in the allotment garden was worked at the beginning of lockdown but now that the lockdown has eased, it seems that some plot holders have also eased their attendance. At this time of year the plants are getting a huge spurt of growth and that also includes the weeds!

With my cucumber plants beginning to show their first small mini cucumbers growing on their lower branches I’m taking care to ensure they are going to get the best treatment.

My lettuce patch is growing at an amazing rate and they should be picked quickly before the plants start to seed. My neighbour walks past and asks for another, I’ve already given many away, usually with a free slug. My rhubarb has taken over as it usually does this time of year, making the centre of my plot dominated with two plants, the other being horseradish … possibly it is time for the horseradish to get dug out next year.

Two main plants in the centre of my plot and the central boards across the middle

Butterflies and bees are markedly down on my plot which I am beginning to try and rectify this with my latest plan. Remove the horseradish and replace it with something that could be used to promote the bees and butterflies. I’m not certain what yet…

The planks of wood have gone in now, and it’s taken a second visit to finish it off. The central portion on the plot is now separated from the two ends. This area will be where I store the rocks I dig up, how exactly I’ve not quite figured out.

Over the past few days I’ve had company at the allotment for a change. The butterflies were the deciding factor and encouraged my little helper to bring her butterfly net and jar. With the superb weather, the picnic rug and the shared plot next to mine, that was the perfect location for a few hours in the sun away from crowds of people.

She spent about an hour chasing butterflies and then studying them in the jar. Then she went on to flowers 💐 and mushrooms 🍄 and insects 🦟 … Finally, after about an hour and a half of all that, she got bored 😐 and decided to start burning holes through a piece of wood using the magnifying glass instead …😗

Tayberry in fruit at the lockdown allotment

It’s Monday evening, 15th June 2020. The tayberry plant is fully fruiting down at the plot. I’ve not visited for a week and the tayberry has certainly bloomed and grown another 7 or 8 inches since I was last here.

Tayberries into the distance

My little helper came along tonight and then proceeded to scoff most of the ripened fruit 😋. In other helping ways, she also helped to feed Elvis the garden cat and to give her some well needed attention — plus some grass seeds, which probably weren’t needed.

I removed some canes that protected the path and covered the long plot again, put some slug gel on the wooden raised areas and then helped to pick some more tayberries for the little helper. Gave some more rhubarb away, examined the potatoes which seemed to be coming through okay, then it was time to go. Just another flying visit really.

Short turf watering trip at the lockdown allotment

So it’s Monday 18th and I have about 30 minutes free this evening … it has been a fantastically sunny day all day but I’ve been working. There just enough time to water the turf I put down yesterday.

Path nearly complete

As I walked around the allotment I could see all of the plots (except for about four) had been worked and were already growing something this year. As it turns out, one of the plots is my main plot. I’m not counting the rhubarb, tayberry and horseradish…

It shouldn’t be long now. I can finish the path give the long plot against the wall back to the allotment association (or hopefully a new person who wants a plot) and grow something in my main area. I have a bag of chitted spuds 🥔 in the garage at home just waiting to be thrown in the ground.

Monday watering the turf at the lockdown allotment

It’s quite late on in the evening and I finished work for the day. I thought I would take a quick trip to the plot to see how the turf was taking. And I really needed to give it a good soaking because it had been a very hot day today.

Tayberry starting

When I got there, there were only two other people on the far side of the walled allotment garden. I quickly on furled the hosepipe and gave the grass a good soaking. Then I started to soak the only three other plants I have growing on my allotment at the moment. The rhubarb, the Tayberry plant on the climber, and the horseradish.

Elvis arrived. Luckily I had some cat food with me and so I took a handful of that and dropped it into the middle of my plot. The garden cat was very pleased again.

Another allotment holder arrived just as I was leaving. That left just three of them as I went out of the gate. I was only there for 10 or 15 minutes just enough time to soak the turf I laid yesterday.

Lockdown allotment

It’s Saturday 4th April 2020 and we are two weeks into the covid-19 country-wide lockdown. The general manager at the Abbey has confirmed the Allotments can continue to operate as normal, with a specific proviso that we close the gates after using them.

According to the National Allotment Association, members should take the precautionary measures which include using hand sanitiser regularly before opening and after closing any gate locks; observing “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres; minimising the contact with each other and; not sharing any tools.

It’s about 8am and I didn’t see a soul as I travelled to the main gates. I use sterilised wipes to open them and then I walked down the front path towards the walled garden. It looked as though the land owners had been fixing up the gardens in the last two weeks. Some of the flower borders had been cleared up and a path had been repaired.

I’ve never seen the allotment looking so quiet and still, except there is definitely an increase in wildlife. There were plenty of bird flying around and roosting in the trees. The pheasant made a quick visit also, but I was the only person there.

Allotment lockdown

My main job for this visit was to check out the borders and figure out how much effort it will take to start work tomorrow. And also to collect some rhubarb. I picked up about 20 or so stalks of rhubarb from my main rhubarb plant and then dropped them into the centre of the plot while I started to turn over the long plot against the wall.

Rhubarb haul

The Association had locked up all communal facilities. The garden shed was closed and locked up. The key has been taken. So, instead of using the rotavator to quicken up the time it should take to turn over the long plot against the wall, I spent an hour doing it by hand.

As I left the allotment garden I took a quick look round. Some of the plots had been turned over completely and planted and the majority had been at least started. It looks like now, with time on their hands, people are using it to spend time at the allotment. It’s starting to look a lot better.

It’s going to be rhubarb crumble tonight for dessert

😁

Hardy rhubarb beginnings

Saturday, the 11th of January 2020. I spent another couple of hours down the allotment this morning, trying to clear up the weeds which had remained over winter. I cleared (and then covered) another quarter of the plot, which means that just one small area remains left.

The only thing growing on the allotment at the moment is the rhubarb. This rhubarb plant has continually thrived on my plot and it’s beginning to grow again already! Although that’s not unexpected because the weather has been so mild over winter and I’ve noticed some of the plants in the hedgerows have started to bud and some have even flowered already.

Watering visit

Today is Thursday the 27th. The time is 8:30 in the evening. I have just finished a long one hour session at the allotment where I took my time, dawdled around, watered the allotment, and generally wasted time. It was awesome!

Everything is doing fine without me. Even the weeds. But the plants are doing great.

The beetroot are really coming along and growing really well. The potatoes are doing fantastically. They are beginning to flower. The tayberry plant is beginning to bud. As usual, the rhubarb and the horseradish have taken over.

On the second half of the plot probably the best in class is the state of the sweetcorn. They are incredible.

Out of everything that is growing right now sweetcorn are doing the best. Over the past few weeks they have really shot-up and thickened out.

I expect them to do very well by the end of the year.

Finally, my new border containing my organic lettuce is working a treat. There are no slugs inside the border. And I have not used any slug pellets. The cucumber plants I’ve started as well. Everything is going swimmingly.

Another half board

Partly done another board on the edge of the plot again tonight. As you can see, the left half of the plot has boards asking the edge and trellis … and is filled with plants like beetroot. The centre is rhubarb and horseradish with the compost bin. The right is still not done.

But. I’m getting there slowly. Very slowly.

It’s taking time but it will be worth it.

Looking great! The best I ever remember

My neighbours are all working hard! Plots number 24 and 23 have been worked over. On the right of this picture you can see those plots are looking really clear. It’s incredible! The past few years I’ve been hemmed in on all but half of one side with weedy plots. But today, only the far side edge is still not done. The two main sides are being worked.

Somebody has taken on plot number 13A, the small square plot in the left of this photo. This has taken a lot of hard work! A significant effort to clear this plot was needed and they have done magnificently to get this far.

My plot is in the centre. The edges from this angle are looking nice and straight and neat. The plot areas are looking for for now. Maybe a little work this weekend would be needed to cut the grass and hoe the surface where the beetroot have been planted maybe.

The main job on my plot is out of sight in the distance in this photo. I will need to put the borders in on the far side and that is a significant job. Then I will need to remove and transplant the small rhubarb plant to the other plot. Plenty of jobs to do!

A dozen rhubarb stems

I’ve taken photographs of the rhubarb pickings before, but I have noticed that there is very little scale to the rhubarb. Usually I take the photo of the rhubarb from above looking down onto the grass, so there’s nothing to compare it to.

Today, I thought I had better give it something to measure against. So I’ve loaded it into the back seat of the car. Add you can see, there is hardly any room left, in fact it’s lucky I wasn’t carrying any passengers.

There are only 12 stems here.

Grass snake?

Tonight’s visit (Tuesday 30th April 2019) was possible because I left work early. It had been a really nice day again. Not super sunny, but quite warm. I had a couple of hours before I needed to leave and pick up the little one from cubs. So I started the work.

As I turned over the black sheeting, there it was underneath, warming itself in the last heat of the day — a small grass snake. Probably around 18 inches long and very much in good health.

I’m pretty certain it’s a grass snake. The first picture on Google is almost identical to the photo I took.

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/reptiles/grass-snake

I managed to call over my neighbour on the adjacent plot and to snap one or two photos before the little snake slithered away under the rhubarb plant. No doubt I disturbed it. Although I am thinking it was lucky I didn’t squash it as I stomped around on the sheeting getting ready to do some digging.

I will need to be careful in future. No stomping about and definitely no netting (the last snake on the plot got caught in some nylon nets that one of the plot holders was using to keep the birds off their plants).

Film crew, Robin, rhubarb and Elvis

As I parked the car outside the grounds tonight, Elvis the cat was waiting. This is exceptionally strange! Elvis has never ever gone this far away from her usual place inside the grounds. There can only be one reason, she is starving and had gone looking for food.

She followed me in through the main gates, past the main house, through the garden and into the allotment, then all the way to the other side of the walled garden, where I gave her some cat food. She really was starving. So, I gave her the contents of one cat food sachet in thirds, and she didn’t manage to finish the last bit, because she was too full. But, when I left she was looking a lot happier and a lot more sprightly. I will have to visit more often.

While the garden cat ate the food, a robin sat on a branch nearby and began to sing. I sat on the wooden bench while the cat had some food and listened to the birds singing and the rooks cawing in the high trees.

After that I went to pick some more rhubarb, but only five stems tonight because they are so huge. That will make quite a few portions of rhubarb crumble for desert later on in the week.

The allotment hasn’t changed, the grass will probably need cutting in maybe three weeks from now. But for now there is nothing to do. My hard work clearing and covering has served me well. The seedlings at home are growing and as soon as the risk of frost has disappeared I will be planting!

When I left, Elvis the cat was looking a lot happier. Her tail was up.

As I walked out of the garden, the main house looked like they had finished filming. The equipment has nearly all been cleared away. The film crew has been here all week, and I have seen it from the car window as I have passed on the main road to work in the morning. Apparently Johnny Depp had been seen somewhere in the village. That usually only happens after they have finished filming. I’ve never seen anybody famous though.

Second half sachet for Elvis

It’s Friday, the 22nd of March 2019 and it’s just turned 6:30 in the evening. Elvis the garden cat in the walled garden allotment has just finished the second half of yesterday’s cat food sachet.

Once again, as I entered the allotment gates the cat appeared out of the small line of hedges running down the centre of the allotment. She then followed me to the other end of the walled garden, where I dispensed today’s catfood. It looks as though the cat is expecting me now. She has learned that I will arrive with food. That didn’t take long for her to learn that!

Once tonight’s cat duties have been finished, I headed back to the car. At this time of year it starts to go dark roughly around 6:30 pm so I made it, just in time to feed Elvis tonight.

Later on back at home, the rhubarb I had picked earlier in the week had been turned into crumble. A full bowl of rhubarb crumble with custard was waiting for me!

… very nice!

No Elvis but there is the 1st rhubarb of the year!

So it’s Monday, the 20th of March, and it’s about 6:45 in the evening. I’ve just visited the allotment with the primary aim of feeding the garden cat, Elvis! But, Elvis was nowhere to be found. Not near the rope swing, not near the crows in the tall trees, not near the rose garden or the orchard, and not in the walled allotment garden area or at the gate to the allotment. Not anywhere to be found.

Catfood has gone back into the car.

But, not all is lost because a visit to the allotment also meant a check for rhubarb, and seven of the largest stems are now mine. Last year I didn’t harvest much from this rhubarb plant, and I also removed both competitors, the two small rhubarb plants from either side of this big one. So I feel justified in picking some rhubarb at this very early stage. The stems are as long as my arm already, and I only picked seven, so it won’t do any harm.

Check out the picture!

Bright Sunday morning allotment checking

Allotment checked, okay. The first proper look since the new year has started. The weather is unseasonably warm and the temperature is in double figures. The sun is out and bright, it is warm, there is just blue sky and no clouds, and it is quiet in the allotment. There is nobody around.

I have just popped in to check that the plot is all okay. Although it is just coming up to the end of February, and nothing will have changed since I left it back in December. It’s not a surprise.

The rhubarb plant is so growing ok. It has been covered over since December and I just uncovered it.

End of December allotment check

It’s been on my list of things to do for quite a while now. Spare five minutes, drive over to the allotment, make sure everything is in order, nothing knocked over, weed sheeting staying down, is the whole place in a fairly tidy state? Is there anything that needs doing? What should I start to plan for the New Year?

The problem has been late nights at work, the darkness rolling in very early on in the day, weekends are taken up by other things. But. Finally after about four weeks of trying to find some time, I’ve made it today. The place is fine.

As I walked into the allotment, the snowdrops were out already. Signs are up for the public, and people were taking pictures. January is not even here yet, it’s the end of December, but I don’t even need a coat on it’s that warm outside.

Allotment is fine, most of it is covered up and the part that isn’t covered up is clear of weeds. The only plant that is growing on my allotment at the moment is the rhubarb. Such a hardy plant, it has started to grow already, although that isn’t a surprise. I wonder if it did any hibernating this year? The autumn and winter has been so warm so far.

As I make my way back to the car I walk past the National Trust cafe. People are outside eating their lunch and, although some people are wearing woolly hats and big coats, that is just for show. The ice cream shop is open, and some of those people wearing full winter gear are waiting in the ice cream queue.

Nothing to report for the end of year. Everything looks okay.

Rhubarb transplant

A small job to do before winter really sets in. Before the ground goes hard. Before it rains so much my wellies become caked in mud and freeze my toes. I need to move the smaller rhubarb plant.

The biggest rhubarb plant on my plot has already killed off one of three rhubarb plants I had in. And the second largest is put under severe pressure so that it immediately tries to flower before getting overcome by its larger neighbour.

I know somebody who can give it a good home.

So, today’s job is to dig out the smaller of the two rhubarb plants that are remaining and transplant it from the allotment into a friend’s garden. It will have a better life there.

The smaller rhubarb plant is still much too large to carry on my own, so I am going to invest help in lifting it … from the allotment into my car boot. The plan is to use a large piece of tarpaulin to cradle it out of the allotment and down the main road. Then it will be transported all the way to its new home.

Just before going home. There was a small amount of time left over to make a start on the second half borders. Not much for done but at least it was a start. All in all I managed 4 hours at the plot today. I keep forgetting how much I enjoy going down there. For lunch I got a long sick and knocked down some high apples. There were very few people around today, I was mostly kept entertained by a robin in the nearest tree. But the sky was blue and I got a lot finished. It was a successful day.

Quick evening trip

Today is Tuesday, the 24th of April and tonight (and today) the rain has managed to just hold off enough for me to leave work roughly on time and to get to the allotment at around 5:50 PM. That is very very good going.

The job for this evening is to clear as much of the surface weeds as possible. I managed to do this for 1/2 of the plot and it took over an hour. The other job was to take the Desiree potatoes that have been chatting on the windowsill for around one month and to plant them in the newly cleared half of the plot. Directly in the middle and away from the borders so that at least I have something growing this year. The Desiree potatoes are the ones that are leftover from last year, the ones I dug up at the beginning of this year. So far I haven’t spent any money on potatoes.

The borders of the plot are the worst part this year, although that is expected because I had already decided this would be the main effort this year. That is saying something because by the end of the the night I had a full bag of weeds and couch grass taken from half of the plot without even touching any of the borders.

The last thing to do before packing up and heading off home at around 7:30 PM is to pull up some of the huge rhubarb. I collected eight stems tonight and they only just fit on the back seat of the car they are that big. That particular rhubarb plant is in fact so huge it seems to be stressing out it’s two neighbouring rhubarb plants and making them flower early, I suspect over the next year or two it will grow so large that the two smaller rhubarb plants will die. I will consider moving them to my second plot against the wall.

Rhubarb has really grown over the past three weeks

After a short trip to the allotment last night. A little scouting trip. I discovered that the main crop of rhubarb had really sprung up over the past three weeks.

This morning at 7:30 AM I’ve made a trip to the allotment so I can begin doing some work this year.

The first job is to cover the long allotment plot next to the wall with tarpaulin weed suppressant. This has done a fantastic job and has kept the weeds at bay. I spent around 30 minutes laying a tarpaulin over the remainder of the long plot next to the wall so I wouldn’t have to bother weeding that long area every time I visited the plot this year.

Another 30 minutes was spent mowing the borders surrounding my plots. The grass has grown around 6 inches in the past few weeks and it was really looking untidy. It is the borders that I will be concentrating on this year. The edging that I put in as an experiment last year is looking really good and so I need to get on and do the rest of the plot because the grass is starting to encroach seriously into my main plot.

It is only a short trip this morning I was finished by 9 AM. There might be another short trip to the allotment tonight just to pick some of the rhubarb and to get some help with measuring the edges of the plot so I can get enough wood to shutter the edges properly.

The rhubarb has started

A quick trip to the allotment this afternoon just to check exactly what jobs need to be done and in what order. On the way past the line of rhubarb plants, I noticed the early rhubarb had grown quite significantly since I last looked at it about two weeks ago.

I imagine at the current rate of growth, with some good weather, I will be able to harvest some stems within the next three or four weeks. The little one will be very pleased because she asked for a stick of rhubarb this afternoon. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite ready yet.

On the list of jobs: Straighten out the borders. That is pretty much it. So probably I will buy some tarpaulin tomorrow and then cover half of the plot. I will concentrate my efforts on the half of the plot that is not covered and get that sorted out first.