Friday, July 20, 2012

Fifty Spades of Clay

Whilst a lot of women are spending these long and miserable rainy days musing about Christian and Anastasia in 50 Shades of Grey, I'm worrying about my plot... my soggy, saturated, waterlogged plot. I've barely been up to see it this year hence the scarcity of blog posts since spring. It just won't stop raining and it's the same story all across the UK so I can't blame the Welsh climate this time.

The 2012 plot plan has been rewritten as I cannot get the ground ready in time for potatoes and squashes. Everything is growing in the *raised beds this year including 4 varieties of squash.

I have pretty much given up on growing beans as well as they have been appalling this year and I'm normally a dab hand at growing anything podded. My broadbeans started well but then only grew to about 10cm tall, flowered slightly and created one measly bean before keeling over and rotting into the ground. Pathetic would be an understatement. Plus the slugs got to the one bean before I did so I couldn't do much with them except pull them all up and put them on the compost pile. No broadbeans this year sadly.

I think the only thing I can do this year is grow in the raised beds and spend the rest of the year clearing the other side of the plot in preparation for some new beds. The couch grass has gone bonkers so it needs to be strimmed, covered to rot and then turned over and weeded. It's going to be a long job that will take me into winter. I would start digging now but the ground is saturated. Even after a dry day, the top soil is solid but 6 inches down it's mushy and heavy and pretty much impossible to dig.

On a positive note, I'm growing tomatoes on the balcony at home and they're flourishing! I hope I don't get blight 30ft off the ground?! If the weather eases off I'll be able to grow some more delicate plants but whilst we're getting drowned in biblical rain I'll keep the seeds in their packets.

The rhubarb has been consistently wonderful and I've made about half a dozen crumbles this summer. When we get a bigger freezer I'll try and store them as I'd like to enjoy rhubarb in the autumn too. The rhubarb is sitting in a huge pile of couch grass however so Karl has offered to help me dig it out and replant in a few weeks in exchange for a couple of crowns (rhubarb, not 10 shillings!) and some nice ales down The Albany pub.

As you can see from the photos (taken in May), Spring had a good start with all the bees pollinating and spiders carrying eggs around. There was even blue sky! Since then we've had the wettest June on record and the first half of July has been riddled with flood and storm warnings. As I write this post, the sun is shining and the weekend is meant to be dry. Fingers crossed this is the UK's summer at long last?!

Bees Pollinating

Broad beans before they went soggy

Allotment essentials!

Raised beds full of plants

First rhubarb harvest of the year

Raised beds and overgrown patch opposite

Rhubarb looking plump!

Old rotten plants for the tip!

Spider with eggs

Strawberry plants flowering

Worzel might need a new hoodie!

*Special mention to Evergreen Wales for making my raised beds. Top gardeners and I doff my potting cap to them! You can find them at


Ami said...

Lol you have jinxed yourself to help blight now. We are trying for a chrismas pots on the balcony also. Also thinking "we are 2 levels up blight cant fly, we will be safe:P "

Also love your "dig for victory" mug.

Rooko said...

Some nice "sunny photos" in your post. I can't remember a wetter gardening year for over 20 in this part of the world.