Sad sweet corn and a beetroot crisis

You might be pleased to hear the carrot bed got a reprieve this weekend.  With still none of the Chantenay Red Cored showing, the bed was destined to be given over to beetroot.  But whoops … someone only ordered one packet of beetroot seeds!  Wonder who that was?  So, they’ll live to fight another week, giving me time for a spot of seed shopping.

The bean pole construction Mark IV

Bean poles

Bean poles under construction

David’s weekend mission was to put up the bean poles ready for the runners and French Beans, which are almost big enough to be planted.  We’ll have to hope we have no more frosts and Mother Nature behaves herself.  The bean poles are, of course, a true work of art.  David has refined his technique year on year.  I swear he spends the winter months planning the forthcoming year’s construction!

You might remember our upside down bean poles from last year.  They still provoke comment from the more ‘seasoned’ allotmenteers, who think their design is down to ignorance, rather than intention.  We were very flattered to see Max Akroyd, who lives on a smallholding in Finistère, has adopted our rather novel design.

As you will see from the pictures, the canes cross at the bottom rather than at the top.  This allows the plants to grow outwards, rather than forming a jungle at the top. The beans themselves hang down, making them easier to see and of course, pick.  The construction means the poles need more support than the traditional style, but it is a small price to pay for the convenience.

Sad and sorry sweet corn

Sweet corn plants

Sickly sweet corn plants

Our sweet corn plants, which were planted early back here at allotment central, were looking rather sorry for themselves and the leaves were yellowing.  We weren’t sure if they’d suffered in the plant house. The nights have been a bit chilly recently.  Perhaps they weren’t getting enough light or the compost wasn’t rich enough.  Who knows?  So we decided they needed to go in the ground to at least have a fighting chance of survival.  So sweet corn planting it was, but as a precaution, they are tucked up under the cloches for a week or so, just to be on the safe side.  I’ll keep you posted.

Off with their heads!

Swede plants for  thinning

They gave their all!

One of my top jobs this weekend was thinning out the swedes.  It is my least favourite task, but I know it has to be done.  There seems to be something very ungrateful about ripping out tender young plants which have given their all, and consigning them to the compost.  But with the ongoing lack of rain, thinning was essential and there is no room for sentimentality on the allotment.  After all … plants don’t have feelings … do they?  Mind you, I know someone who had to give away a basil plant because she was traumatised by the thought of hurting it when she cut off its leaves …

Thinned out swede plants

The favoured few!

Finally … I’m pleased to say things (so far) are looking better than they did last year on the plot.  The seeds are doing what seeds are meant to do (apart from those infernal carrots!) and everything is growing nicely with the promise of greater things to come.


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