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Spud Grubber's Blog

Guy Barter

  • Date Joined: 15 Jan 2007

Recent Comments

  • There is not day to lose.

    Guy Barter on 27 May 2009 at 12:24 PM

    Now that duties at Chelsea are over, the allotment can get some attention.  My favourite part of allotment gardening is raising new plants each year.  Every sunny place in the back garden near a tap or water butt is covered in young plants and tray by tray these are scooped up and conveyed to the plot and carefully planted one-by-one.

    Sowing seeds direct in the ground is a lot quicker, but they have to fight their way through the weeds that are so damaging on sandy soils.  Transplants on the other hand are put out later, giving a interval to eliminate weeds.  On bare ground weeds are lightly hoed or treated with contact weedkillers.  The occasional bindweed or creeping butter cup is spot treated with a glyphosate weedkiller in a handy ready-to-use pack.  After recent wet summers horsetails have staged a comeback.  Normally frequent hoeing and heavy smothering crops keep horsetail at negligible levels, so it is back to repeated hoeing to beat this weed back down


  • Dry, wet, dry, wet

    Guy Barter on 26 May 2009 at 12:51 PM

    The spring has been very kind so far. Two weeks ago we had a useful bit of rain that helped wash the newly planted Brussels sprouts plants into the ground.  Before that we had some dry weather that provided an opportunity to wipe out weeds and sow more seeds.  When the rains came, the seeds, especially peas and beans, burst through the soil.

    Last week it was warm and dry again, (just right for Chelsea Flower Show) and ideal for another go at the weeds with hoe and gloved hand.  More seeds were sown and the squashes, peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes were set out.  Now the rains have returned to wash them in too and ease the emergence of the seeds


  • Plant making

    Guy Barter on 07 May 2009 at 08:17 AM

    Recent dry, sunny weather allowed the slugs and the first wave of weeds to be tackled.  Subsequent rain restored soil moisture leading to ideal seed bed conditions.  The downside was that weeds germinated in hundreds, but just in time the weather turned dry and vigorous raking again polished then off.  The chickweed, annual meadow grass, shepherd’s purse and fat hen that predominated earlier have now been replaced by annual nettles and cleavers, with the dreaded galinsoga just beggining to show.  All die well when raked as seedlings. 

    My sheet of black plastic have been out on loan to new allotmenteers to keep their undug areas clean.  The sheets are coming back now and covering the bare areas that will be planted up with tender crops such as courgettes and sweet cown as soon as frosts no longer threaten


  • First and Last Crops

    Guy Barter on 05 May 2009 at 09:32 AM

    The first of the 2009 has arrived on the dinner plate – spinach ‘Napoli’ sown in March as a thick row was gathered by cutting off plants at ground level leaving  a plant every 20cm to grow larger for the next cutting.

    My sandy soil can make leaf crops very gritty, so at least 3 washes are needed to get spinach ready for the table but with the patio plants beginning to need frequent watering the washings were put to good use