The month of May on my allotment


by Richard Callaghan

Thank heavens for my allotment. In these topsy turvy times it is such a relief to have somewhere to go that is not home, especially now that we have got seven day weekends. Everyday I go to my plot and clock on as if I were at work I am further forward in most respects than I can remember being.

Every available piece of ground is prepared if not sown or planted.

In my poly tunnel I have prepared the soil and put in my canes ready to plant my tomatoes when I am sure there is not going to be another frost to knock them back.

Along side of the canes I have planted a two litre soft drink bottle upside down with the bottom cut off. When the tomatoes are planted I shall water them through the bottles getting up to two litres per day per plant with a feed twice a week.

I think that treating them like this the water goes straight to the roots where it is needed and by not watering the surface of the compost there is less weeding required.

In my conservatory are my runner beans, ready to go in to their growing positions in about two weeks although I will keep an eye on the weather reports.

I have already pinched out the growing tips as they have got four leaves and now the side shoots are starting to appear. This is where the flowers will come so you get beans a lot earlier. I have picked beans from the middle of June some years.

The bees and other pollinators have been busy round my broad beans and there are some nice little pods forming. I am growing a dwarf variety called Robin Hood which only grow to about eighteen inches tall and you only get about four beans to a pod.

I guess this means they do not crop as heavily as some of the taller varieties but I think the beans are a much better quality. They are not much bigger than peas and are a lovely sweet green bean.

Besides eight varieties of tomatoes I am growing three different cucumbers which I shall grow on trellis in the poly tunnel. Two are all female types and the other is my old favourite ‘Burpless’ which so far has never failed me.

We shall have to see.

I grow tomatoes to make Passata and have tried several varieties but the best so far has been one given to me by a neighbour. An open pollinated giant plum Italian that crops well and tastes terrific.