Water, weeds and wintry weather on the allotment

We’re in a strange situation, as is much of the country – drought order in effect and floods everywhere. On the allotment our water butts are running over and our storage tanks are leaking onto the surrounding soil, and there’s no sign of an end to it.

There’s very little that can be done in this weather. Sowing seeds in open ground is a waste of time and even an unheated greenhouse is not a good environment for germination when it’s this humid, as seeds are prone to damp off and heavy rain creates the ideal conditions for rot and fungal spores. Planting out is difficult too, because the ground is chilly and waterlogged and will probably compact around roots, causing them to be constricted and there to be no air circulation in the soil which inhibits plant growth. Harvesting leaves is faffy when your hands are cold and the leaves are slippery and lifting roots is impossible – there’s no sensible way of digging up first early potatoes in a downpour without covering yourself in mud and making a horrible mess of the ground that you’re hoping to plant your brassicas into very soon.

What can be done is the removal of perennial weeds if they are not in the middle of planted areas. This bramble, for example, was growing at the side of our path and I tried tugging it out of the ground – when I felt the snap of the stem I decided I wasn’t letting the plant win and I got my narrow trowel and dug down until I found the entire plant and every filament of its roots – that’s one bramble that isn’t going to trouble us again!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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