Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

The allotment in April

by Diane - April 12th, 2012.
Filed under: allotment.

With the burst of recent rain, comes an urge to start planting. Despite parts of the country being desperate for rain, I can assure the general public that the rain dances can stop on my allotment. The soil is saturated. There’s a thick layer of clay under the surface that means when it rains much of the rain stays on the surface.
It’s worse on my neighbours plot which is why he’s keep to dig some sort of drainage channel but it’ll come through my plot I think and that might mean me doing some seriously deep digging. The greenhouse is full of rhubarb mostly. I optimistically planted some rhubarb seeds a few weeks ago and have since potted 40 seedlings up. I’m impressed with the idea of 40 rhubarb plants, although I will say they’re not just for my plot.

My neighbour tells me of the acre of allotment he used to have that had a massive area of rhubarb. He was inundated with people wanting the crop and despite having offers to buy the lot he never sold it, just let people come and take what they wanted for their pudding.

On our allotment we’re hoping to have some communal space ready for the rhubarb later this year. It’ll be cropped in a year or two and passed on to the local community.

Don’t let the dates on seed packets force you into rushing into planting. Dates are flexible and you should pay more attention to the weather and soil than to the packets. If it says plant at the start of April but it’s soaking wet and chilly then you may as well not worry about it and just plant the seeds a bit later. Gardening should be a relaxing hobby and not something to get stressed about.

You should learn to trust your instincts and the weather forecast. You can always sow half a row of something and then come back a week later and plant the second half. Trial and error will show you sometimes that sitting back and waiting is most rewarding.

Delaying planting can sometimes allow the weeds to have a final flourish; especially true if you’ve hoed and raked the soil in readiness for your seeds going in. Agitating the soil brings fresh seeds to the surface and this can get them going. By being able to then hoe the whole bed or row you’re spared the hard job of having to carefully hand weed to save the seedlings from being pulled up in error.
This prepare and leave technique can be beneficial especially if you have a burst of warmer weather than encourages the weeds to grow like crazy.
Plant after you’ve weeded this second time though else you’ll find yourself waiting until the end of the season.

Pay attention when you’re weeding too. Learn to recognise the baby seedlings of all the horrors you’ll find on your allotment.
This is one reason you should always sow in straight lines too. This is an aid to helping you spot which ones aren’t seedlings.