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Emptying The Cold Frames.

Some plants may be slow growing this year, but the weeds are growing well. The Dandelions flowered everywhere, both in the allotments, with them making quite a show down some of the paths and on one or two neglected plots, and in the adjoining fields. One of the Committee members has been busy using a Strimmer around the site in an attempt to stop some of the weeds setting seed and compounding the problem for everyone. Some of my own paths are still a bit untidy, but I am gradually getting them under better control than last year and making good use of my new compost heap. It is not possible to dig out the Dandelions from paths though, so I do occasionally resort to weed-killer. As long as it is a systemic one that does not harm the soil itís use is allowed on the site, although, not encouraged.

My late Autumn sowing of Broad Beans are doing very well and starting to set now, even though they were bashed about a bit by the strong winds we have been having. I still havenít quite used up last years crop from the freezer! It wonít be long before this years can be harvested and then I will replant the patch with something else Ė possibly some Leeks that I have been holding back.

At the end of May I finally planted my young Runners Bean plants in my Allotment after hardening them off in my cold Frame at home for over a week. However, there was still a cold biting wind on some days that actually tore off some of the leaves and set them back quite a bit. Many plot holders had to replant altogether, because of the damage through the cold nights and wind. Some people said, ďItís OK as I have plenty of seed that I saved from last year.Ē Traditionally, gardeners have done this with many seeds from their favourite crops, but personally I am not a great fan of this practice as seeds collected like this donít always come true to type. Cross-pollination may well occur with other bean plants on an Allotment site resulting in hybrid plants. In gardens this is not so likely to happen as there wonít be so many different varieties of Bean plants growing nearby.

At the time of writing this in the middle of June we are still having cold nights, but I have taken a chance and planted out my Ferline Tomatoes that are supposed to be Blight resistant. There seems to be a lot of interest on the TV in Blight resistant varieties of tomatoes in recent weeks, but I havenít heard this variety mentioned, although I had great success with them last year. 

With my Cold Frame on the Allotment rapidly emptying as things have been planted out, I decided to take the remaining trays of seedlings home and plant my two melon plants in it. The trays of young plants were put behind the greenhouse at the bottom of the garden where they would get a bit of shade from the sun. The trays were good and full of seedlings that were doing quite nicely until a blackbird decided that there might be some worms in the trays. The little pest pulled almost every plant out in its efforts to find something edible. I suppose I should have seen that it might happen as the ground was so hard at the time and the birds were obviously struggling to find natural food. In my defence though, there was a bird table about 10 feet away that regularly has an assortment of food placed on it! With rain forecast at last and some warm days, I decided to re-sow the seeds directly into the soil on my Allotment, so perhaps they will still have time to develop and mature before the Winter comes. After the crazy weather that we have had so far this year with high daytime temperatures before Spring had really started and frosts into early Summer, I wonder just what sort of Autumn and Winter we are going to have?

 

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