Welcome to Lesley Upton’s allotment blog, where she will look at life on her Berkshire allotment, from the veg she is growing to how people are living with the threat of coronavirus. Here she looks at sweetcorn, peas, broad beans and pumpkins.

Sweetcorn

The sweetcorn went in on Sunday because the plants were getting too big for their pots. This year I’m growing ‘Swift’ on the allotment, and I planted it in three rows of three, nine plants in all.

'Swift' sweetcorn planted out with a squash plant on the right.

‘Swift’ sweetcorn planted out with a squash plant on the right.

As sweetcorn is wind pollinated, planting in blocks rather than rows is better for pollination. I planted a butternut squash at the end of the row and will train it to grow between the sweetcorn plants. I have also placed a stick near the squash so I know where to water once it starts trailing over the ground.

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Peas

'Meteor' peas starting to flower.

‘Meteor’ peas starting to flower.

My ‘Meteor’ peas are growing well and some are even in flower. I had covered them with fleece to protect them from pigeons and any frosts, but now they’re flowering I’ll have to leave them uncovered so they can be pollinated.

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Broad beans

'Aquadulce Claudia' broad beans.

‘Aquadulce Claudia’ broad beans.

The ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ broad beans I planted out on the allotment last year have lots of flowers and the bees are visiting them. I hope to have some beans ready to pick in a few weeks’ time.

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Pumpkin

Pumpkin in a grow bag on top of a compost heap.

The pumpkin in the grow bag on top of the compost heap.

I like to grow a lot of courgettes, squashes and pumpkins, but they take up a lot of space. So, when I found a growbag that I hadn’t used from last year, I thought I’d try to make use of it. I put the growbag on top of my well-established compost heap, cut a big hole in the bottom, cut another hole in the top and placed the pumpkin inside.

The idea is that the pumpkin will use the nutrients in the growbag (assuming there are some as it’s last year’s bag) and then grow into the compost heap to find more nutrients. I’ll water it regularly and see what happens.

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Watch the weather
I have planted out sweet peas, squashes, courgettes and a pumpkin, and my potatoes are starting to poke through the top of the soil on the allotment. And now the weather forecasters are predicting a very cold spell next week!

I’m going to have to cover as many plants as I can to protect them. I knew I was taking a risk, planting out early, so it’s my own fault! I’m also hoping the peas will survive…

 

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