Friday, 27 May 2016

A year on the allotment: May 2016

I think May's weather could be described in one word, and that word would be 'changeable'. The end of April saw hail and snow in many parts of the country. We had to hold off planting lots of things down at the plot due to the cold weather.

yellow dandelion worn as a pretty buttonhole on a childs cardigan

Then, from out of nowhere came something of a heatwave. Suddenly we were able to eat our evening meals outside on our newly upcycled cable reel table. As soon as the supermarkets stocked up on charcoal and flip flops, the heavens opened and we had days of wet weather.

The one good thing about warm and wet weather is the plants love it. Alongside the plants we want to grow come the plants we don't particular like, aka, the weeds. I seem to have spent quite a few hours pulling out couch grass this year. I hate the stuff. You only have to leave a tiny bit of root in the ground and it sprouts back up all over the place.

We also have some stonking dandelions on the plot. Magoo loves their sunny yellow flowers and when she says 'I've picked a pretty flower for you Mummy', I almost start to like them. I put this one into the buttonhole of her cardigan and took a quick photo. I think even the humble dandelion can have its moment in the sun...

allotment grown rhubarb in a denby ware pot

We haven't got lots of things to harvest at this time of year, but we have had our first taste of allotment rhubarb. This particular batch came from a neighbour's plot because they couldn't eat it all. It was beautiful stuff, much bigger than ours, so I took an armful home with me. I had it baking in the oven with brown sugar and finely chopped fresh ginger within a hour of picking it.

In my post "Five ways an allotment makes family life better" I talked about the community aspect of owning an allotment. I love the way fellow allotmenteers are often happy to share their crops and knowledge with each other.

chopped up allotment grown rhubarb

Another plant that's growing away happily is mint. The smell of crushed mint leaves is right up there as one of my favourite scents. I've been grabbing handfuls each I visit the allotment. It's great for chopping up and adding to plain yogurt to make a zingy salad dressing. We also made Lamb Koftas at the weekend to cook on the barbecue. You could really taste the allotment mint coming through in the cooked Koftas, it certainly doesn't lack flavour. If you'd like to try this recipe, grab it quick before the BBC 'mothballs' 11,000 of their online recipes

As you can see I always try to find the classiest container to keep my mint in...

fresh mint picked from the allotment

We've been really busy with planting this month. All the spuds are in now. We also planted broad beans, peas and sunflowers from seed and they are all coming up. The peas look a bit moth eaten though. An allotment-neighbour says the pidgeons really love to nibble on the pea shoots. I need to get some bird scarers set up pronto. There lots of great ideas for upcycled plastic bottle wind spinners online, this one from Instructables is good.

I also had plans to make a scarecrow last year and put together a Pinterest board of my favourite ideas...some are very elaborate to say the least.

Another good thing we've discovered this month is a place to source used coffee grounds. My husband is a Support Worker and often visits the local branch of Coffee#1 with Service Users. He noticed a sign saying 'free coffee grounds for your garden' a little while ago and he's been bringing home a steady supply ever since. We used it to mulch the strawberries and they look incredibly perky this year - obviously keen on the caffeine hit. It's also great stuff to add to compost bins because of the high nitrogen content.

used coffeed grounds from coffee#1

I haven't got many photos of Magoo enjoying the plot this month as she had a nasty accident in the playground at school last week. She ended up having to go to A&E to have her nose glued and butterfly stitches applied. She has looked a sorry state for a few days, but is healing quickly now. It wont be long before she's back to climbing on top of the compost bins at the allotment and giving me heart failure everytime she slips off.

Plans for June include getting the courgettes and butternut squash in the ground. We also have runner beans and dwarf beans to go in. Hopefully I will have made some bird scarers and the peas will look a bit more healthy. We're also going to try growing Brussel Sprouts for the first time this year. Obviously we wont be eating them until the Winter, but allotments are all about planning ahead...

This week I'm linking up with...

"How Does Your Garden Grow" over on the beautiful fableandfolk.com

"Country Kids" over on www.coombemill.com

"Making Home" over on www.mrscraftyb.co.uk

"Happy Days Linky" over on www.quitefranklyshesaid.com and www.whatkatysaid.com

"Home Etc" over on www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk and mummyofboygirltwins.com

9 comments:

Gemma Garner said...

I think plants growing in tin cans look good! I've decided we need to eat more golden syrup in our house, just so I can grow herbs in the empty containers on the kitchen windowsill. Fresh rhubarb is the best — been enjoying stewing it with different flavours like cardamom and vanilla lately. Sorry to hear about Magoo :(

Me, You and Magoo said...

Oooh yes, I know what you mean. I've seen some beautiful olive oil tins with plants growing in them. Shame I don't get through industrial quantities of oil because I'd love to get my hands on some of those larger tins...

chickenruby said...

I hope Magoo is better now after her bump. We have mint growing in the garden, but the only thing I use it for is to put a few leaves in my drink

Coombe Mill said...

It must be such a lovely time on the allotment. So much to harvest and I love the community idea of sharing crops with fellow growers. What a sensible idea. I hope Magoo is feeling better after her nasty fall at school and that she will soon be out enjoying the allotment with you again. Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

Claudia Guerreiro said...

i always like the idea of planting in recycled cans. especially coffee ones

Katy F said...

I would love to have an allotment but I dont think I would have any success growing anything haha! Thank you for sharing in #HappyDaysLinky x

Sian QuiteFranklySheSaid said...

I actually love the mint in the bean tin! I put my courgettes out last week but the slugs have been at them arrrgh. Must find a solution! Thanks for linking up to #HappyDaysLinky x

The Twinkle Diaries said...

We've literally just come back from the allotment!! It's looking VERY untidy in comparison to some plots but our onions and potatoes are going great guns and the courgettes have just started taking well too! It's SUCH a lovely thing to do isn't it? It makes me so happy to see the littles, digging with their daddy! :) Thanks so much for linking up with us on #HomeEtc — Caro xx

Mrs Crafty B said...

Our strawberries are looking a bit sad this year so the coffee grounds is a great tip. Hubby B throws some away each day so I have just shouted to him now! #MakingHome

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