Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Weeding, weeding, weeding!

With the warm sunny weather, combined with a couple of haevy rain showers in the last week we now have weeds germintaing all over the plot, normally not too much of a problem, as we hoe them regularly, but with the Trafford Allotment Judging starting tomorrow, it looks like we've got some work ahead of us to keep the plot weed free!

The allotment judging can result in a few awards, the most basic of which is a Commended certificate, which is supposed to mean that they acknowledge the hard work you have put in and that it is visible that you are fully working the plot. Next comes a Highly Commended, which means not only is the plot being fully worked, but also has some good crops growing on it and has impressed the judges. Above that is Very Highly Commended, which means they think you have an exceptional plot. Some of the plots on our site have had commended, highly commended and very highly commended, but we've never had anything!

We've had the plot fully cultivated for the past 3 years (well, apart perhaps one or two small messy areas at the back or sides, but they are now sorted), yet we havent even had so much as a Commended certificate! Its become a bit of a sore point now, we're not sure if its because the two plots are being judged separately, and as such there isnt the mix of produce in each individual one (we tend to do a full column of each veg type as it keeps crop rotation simple), whether they dont like the fact we have an apiary on the plot, or that they dont like our make do and mend attitude (and would prefer to see bright shiny new things that had been paid for with hard cash)

Whatever the reasons, we're determined this year to present the plots to their best, and if we still win nothing, then thats ok, as we dont grow for the judges, but for ourselves, but it would be nice to at least have our hard work acknowledged! Another plot holder who has a great looking plot and has also never even gotten a commended has also said that if they get nothing this year, then they are going to complain, as it always seems to be the same folks who win it! Anyhows, I dont suppose its all that important or meaningful what some petty minded buerocrat from Trafford Council thinks about our efforts, but it would be nice to be at least acknowledged for our hard work!

So, yesterday we spent a full day weeding, Lee sorted out inside the glass extension to the shed (that was full of some prize winning nettles, lol) then gave me a hand pulling the red onions that had gone to seed and then sorted the last small bed at the front of plot 1, ready for some more french beans to be planted!

This was the disappointing red onion harvest, 100 onions sized from marble size to tennis ball size, but as they had started to go to seed, then they wont store, so I'm going to be processing them, some will be frozen but the rest I think will become Red Onion Marmalade sometime this week! We also got a meal or two's worth of volunteer new spuds from this bed too!

I carefully transplanted the poppies from the onion bed, then planted more parsnips in there, with radish interplanted to mark the rows.

Next Lee started weeding from the front of Plot 1, whilst I weeded inside the polytunnel and the hot house, much tidier now!

The peppers, chillies and aubergines seem to be doing much better in here than in the greenhouses with the toms, possibly because they can get a lot more light as they arent being shaded by the toms!

Next Lee weeded the strawbs and the first bed of cabbages, these were planted through weed control fabric, and weeds havent been too much of a problem, just compare it with the next bed where the planting was done without weed control fabric!

This cabbage bed is one of my first jobs for today, we've got about 2/3 of the plot to weed today, plus an organised Site tidy up for a couple of hours, followed (weather permitting) by a BBQ, which is always fun!

Some of the beds on Plot 2 are ok, having recently been weeded, such as the salad bed behind the large greenhouse, but there's still a lot of weeding to do, so methinks its going to be a longish day today!

Mind you, the last 3 years we've been one of the last allotment sites to be judged, so although we will have the plots looking great by tonight, I have a feeling that as we are back at work on Friday, if they come at the end of the judging (in 2 1/2 weeks), then we could loose out if there's plenty of rain and the weeds germinate before we get a chance to clear them!

Hope your weeds are behaving and not becoming a nuisance! More updates to follow soon!


Steph said...

i wouldn't worry - your plot looks 1st class to me. you can really see all the hard work you've put in. sod them if they gloss over your again, as you say, you're really doing it for you and 'it' seems to be working just fine :)

not sure what your recipe for red onion marmalade is like but this is mine and it tastes AMAZING! feel free to give it a go:

Mrs Dobby said...

Thanks for both the encouragement and the great looking recipe! Methinks I'm gonna be giving that one a try!

Shayla said...

If I was you I would just do the plot for myself and if you win something so be it. I know for the sake of tradition these competitions are good but I really don't like competition in the garden because for me a garden should be about relieving stress and aiding relaxation and enjoyment and not back stabbing cut throat competition, there is more than enough of that outside the garden. Its obvious your plot is tidy and well used and presumably you get enjoyment from it so you know in your heart that you’re a winner and to be honest I think I would resent other people coming on to my plot and telling me I wasn’t doing it to their liking – who are they anyway? Well I wish you good luck, but don’t let these people upset you.

Mrs Dobby said...

Lol, very well said Shayla, and thanks for a dose of common sense! We do the allotment for ourselves, it is a place we can go and destress, get some exercise and grow some fabulous veg, but its also a place where we have made friends, and as with any community, there will always be those who have a competitive streak and want to be the best. Previously its not bothered us too much, but I'd love to wipe that smug git smile off some of their faces by getting a result this year! I know we have more produce than anyone else on the plot, and that it tastes fab, but it would be nice to be able to poke our tongues out and go 'Nyer, nyer nyer!'