Allotment update week ending Sunday 27 July

July is such a wonderful month on the allotment with so many fruits ripening and fresh vegetables at their best for nibbling raw or into the pot.

Marrows grown for show

Marrows grown for show

The raspberries are cropping well, plenty of red currants and the Tayberries and Loganberries are well into fruiting too. The courgettes are doing their usual thing of making it difficult for us to keep up with them, the dwarf French beans now ready and plenty of peas, carrots, beetroot, onions, potatoes and more and the runner beans still to come. The chard is unfortunately going to seed but the seed heads are a sight to see so we shall leave these to enjoy.

Raspberries on allotment

Scrumptious raspberries grown at the allotment

But we always need to keep looking ahead to the next season and the winter veg are settling in nicely and growing well.

As ever the background maintenance needs done though: the grass gets cut and the edges trimmed, the paving round the raised bed needs cleared of the all the seedlings, and the general weeding of all the veg beds, and the watering of the tubs and plants like the courgettes which need done in dry weather to keep them fruiting.

The onions are now a good size and beginning to yellow at the tips so time to start the drying off process. This takes time and helps make sure the onions don’t rot in storage. The leaves are all bent over and the onions gently eased up from the soil to loosen the roots. As long as the weather stays dry, they can stay like that for as long as possible but if the weather turns wet, then take them indoors to a dry and sunny place to finish the drying process.

The strawberry season for us is now over so time to take the shears to the leaves and trim them all off to give the new leaves a chance to grow well for next season.  Give them a feed and good watering. If you wish new plants, put the runners into small pots with compost and remember to label if you are growing different varieties. Cut off the runners you don’t need so the energy of the plant goes into the new growth.

The Biochar trial continues to show the benefit of adding it to the soil.  This is the second year of use on this bed so that may also be adding to the differences in the cabbages.  See for yourself in the photographs.

Cabbages grown with biochar

Cabbages grown with biochar

Cabbages without biochar

Cabbages without biochar

Jobs for next week

Shear off the old leaves on the strawberry beds
Clear the area round the frame
Weed the comfrey bed
General weeding round
Watering of course
And enjoy the picking

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