Plot 24

Readers may already have seen plot 24 on an earlier blog post when I cleared it a few weeks ago.

Lovely fresh allotment

Plot 24, dug over, fed and ready to go

This is the update. The dwarf beans are coming through.

Dwarf beans

Dwarf beans

My daughter-in-law gave me some Royal Blue seed potatoes a few weeks ago. I had wondered about growing them in potato bags but in the end decided to plant them into the ground. They won’t be so easy to harvest (as you try to find every last one) but I think they will fare better in the ground during our hot months – I don’t get over to the allotment every day and they would be more inclined to dry out in bags.  When I went to the allotment yesterday I was thrilled to see them popping up their heads.  I love growing potatoes, always a bit of excitement when you dig them up as you wonder “Am I going to cover the bottom of the bucket?”

DSCN0759

Royal Blue potatoes

See below what happens when you don’t concentrate when you are planting lettuce seeds. I remember that day, I had a packet of lettuce seeds Annette McFarlane had given to me at one of her workshops and I was keen to get them into the ground. But. A couple of other gardeners had moseyed over to see what I was up to (as allotmenteers do) and not concentrating on the seeds I dropped the lot.  Not to worry, I used my little fork to spread them out a bit and they germinated just fine. But in a clump.

I’ll re-plant the seedlings now they are up. There will be plenty to share, I can only eat so many.

DSCN0764

“free range” lettuce

Tatsoi is coming up nicely. I like to pick this Asian green very young and use it in salads, picked a few leaves yesterday and it went well with my lunchtime salad. It goes well in stir fry too.  Tatsoi just grows like Topsy for me. As long as I plant it in decent soil I reckon I have 100% germination. This is one plant I have to be sparing with as I plant the seeds or I’d be over-run. I (try to) plant a few every few weeks but the seeds are so small sometimes that’s a bit of a challenge.

Tatsoi

Tatsoi

Below is my first attempt with clumping onions.  This little clump was another gift from one of Annette McFarlane’s workshops. What I love about Annette’s workshops, done through our local libraries, is that as well as the information she imparts you always come away with something to grow and if you have a soul at all you are not going to let it die.

What a great incentive to grow your own veggies especially for first-time gardeners. That’s what started me off three years ago.

And this is the specimen transplanted from a pot a few weeks ago, I am told that once I get this clump growing well I will never be without onions. As they grow I’ll be able to split them into other clumps. Sounds good to me.

DSCN0765

clumping onions

Last but not least I have a few Drunken Woman lettuces. My favourite, they are so pretty. They grow so large that I only need a few at one time to pick at. I just take a leaf or two when I need them. The original seeds came from my friend Wendy. I now have my own stash of seeds which I seed-saved from my last planting.  I have never seen these seeds in the shops so I think that is when seed-saving becomes really important.

DSCN0766

Drunken Woman lettuce

Happy gardening,

A post script. I have just read through this post prior to printing and I’ve realised that plot 24 is almost solely planted with gifts from others. So thanks to my daughter-in-law for the spuds, Annette for my clumping onions and “free range” lettuce and friend Wendy for the original Drunken Woman lettuce seeds.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cathyandchucky
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 09:59:54

    Wonderful post Jean. Love your descriptions of the gifted allotment veg! I like the idea of being able to just pick a few leaves from the lettuces etc when you want to make a salad as well 😀

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 12, 2013 @ 06:05:52

      Thank you Cathy. I find gardeners to be generous people and lots of seeds and seedlings over at the allotments are shared. I think we just can’t bare to throw a seedling away when we are thinning out.
      All the varieties of lettuce I grow tend to be the sort you can pick a leaf at a time. They last for ages in the ground through our cooler months if I just take a leaf or two from each plant. Mind you, in the summer when we really need our lettuces they tend to bolt quickly in the heat.

      Reply

  2. Barb
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 17:59:27

    Hi Jean, I can’t believe how things just jump out of the ground for you there. All that composting and mulching is paying off. Question: you seem to seed directly into the soil – is that right? I’m not confident my soil is ‘there’ enough yet and I’m seeding into trays and then potting on and then planting out. Seems a lot of work but at the moment it what I’m most comfortable doing. Thanks for the update!
    Barb

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 12, 2013 @ 06:28:36

      Hi Barb. It’s lovely to see my little seedlings ‘jump out of the ground’ as you say. I like that expression!
      I have a small 16 square metres of allotment and plant stuff very close together so if it’s going to keep producing I have to continue to feed the soil. I grab every bit of compost material I can to improve the soil, I add organic fertiliser if I can’t get my hands on manure and then give regular liquid feed with worm juice.
      In answer to your question. I plant seed directly into the soil because I seem to have more success that way. Some seeds won’t take to transplanting happily anyway, like beans, peas, carrots and other root vegetables. But the real reason is that I have had little success trying to start my seeds off in pots or trays. I know others at the allotments who have great success with this method and raise their seedlings in trays. You can tell those allotments as their veggies are in lovely straight and even rows as they plant their seedlings out.
      So that’s the answer Barb. I throw the seeds in the ground and they grow, I plant them in pots and they sulk! One thing I will mention though. Especially with carrot seeds. When the weather is hot (which is usually the case here in Brisbane) I do keep a piece of shade cloth which I lay over my newly planted seeds to shade the ground a bit while they germinate. Once they pop up their heads out of the ground I remove the shade cloth. When they are so tiny I get over to the allotment daily if I can to keep them watered.

      Reply

  3. gladys in the garden
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 20:30:56

    It all looks amazing and healthy. I hadn’t heard of the Drunken Women’s Lettuce before. I love the colour variation in the leaves.

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Aug 12, 2013 @ 06:35:29

      Dear Sarah from Gladys in the Garden, thank you for your kind words. I hadn’t heard of Drunken Woman lettuce before either until I received a few seeds from my friend Wendy. Now she is my favourite lettuce, such pretty leaves, and the outer leaves drape themselves a bit wontonly. I think the name fits the plant. 🙂

      Reply

  4. notjustgreenfingers
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 00:13:34

    Hi Jean, I love all your ‘gifted plants’, lucky you. I love the lettuce that you dropped and it’s all germinated…it just goes to show that it wants to grow lol

    Reply

  5. Jamie W. D.
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 18:43:32

    I love the stepping stones – I often make the mistake of leaving too much space for allotment paths when really I should have steps and pirouette between my veggies! I wonder if ‘clumping onions ‘are what we know as ‘potato onions’ – I grew them for the first time this year and they’re great

    Reply

  6. narf77
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 11:29:03

    Gardeners are wonderfully generous creatures aren’t they? 🙂

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Sep 03, 2013 @ 14:41:06

      That has been my experience Fran. When I look at my allotment I reckon half of my seeds and seedlings have been gifted to me. I make sure I spread it around a bit too. There’s always enough to share.

      Reply

      • narf77
        Sep 03, 2013 @ 17:38:59

        That’s the best bit, where someone gives you some you can pass the love on. That’s what makes gardening and gardeners a wonderful lot 🙂

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