Flowers and frog-lets

There was much excitement on the allotment this morning when we saw our baby taddies had grown into proper little frog-lets.  Although our ‘pond’ is nothing more than a small water tank recycled from the old central heating system, it’s playing its part in the allotment’s eco-system.

Honeysuckle in bloom

The first ever honeysuckle flowers

As well as frog frolics, our peas are in flower and the long-awaited honeysuckle is in full bloom.  It too is doing its job and it was a-buzz with bees … doing what bees do.  We are rather fond of honeysuckle and about three years ago had what could be called a honeysuckle ‘windfall’.  I had noticed a cluster of seedlings in one of our plant tubs in the garden.  Clearly something had seeded itself, so we decided to wait and see what they grew into.  Much to our surprise they were tiny honeysuckle seedlings!

Clearly honeysuckles can self-seed, but it was something I had never experienced.  So very carefully, I potted them up and eventually we had about 40 honeysuckle plants.  We’ve now got honeysuckle plants galore in the garden, the allotment, and the rest found new homes with friends, family and through freecycle.  Although the ones in the garden have flowered in previous years, this is the first time on the allotment.

Red raspberry

The first raspberry of 2011

Fortunately, I am rather fond of weeding.  There is something very satisfying about neat tidy weed-free beds.  Of course the darn things can grow faster than I can weed, but it’s good while it lasts.

Of course you can see so much more on your knees at ground level and that’s when I spotted our first almost red raspberry.  I thought rasps were meant to come later in the year, but these might be an early variety.  Apart from the Autumn Gold, the majority of our raspberries have come courtesy of Freecycle, where names and varieties don’t seem to matter.

Because our allotment is arranged in beds, they are planted quite

Beetroot catch crop

Not so much a catch crop as a crush crop

intensively.  This means hoeing is difficult, so hand-weeding is a must.  This year I wanted to grow more beetroot.  David loves it pickled and insists the bought stuff isn’t a patch on mine.  I’m told beetroot is a good catch crop, so I’ve planted them in every available space.  One of my less than clever ideas was to plant some between the rows of peas.  I thought we’d left plenty room and a row or two of beetroot would be ideal.  Hmmmm … now the peas have taken over and have had to be tied back, and the beetroot are struggling for light.  We either need a bigger allotment or less beetroot.

Next week is going to be a full-on allotment weekend. The paths will need strimming and it’s time … to move the compost!  Oh joy!


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