Allotment update: February was soggy : The Voice of the Allotment

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The greenhouse is an oasis amid the continuing deluge, says Barry Cuff – but the jobs, like the veg, just keep coming

Celeriac is still being harvested from the allotment in February
All images: Barry Cuff

It is raining again as I write this – February has been a wet month so far, with more than four inches of rain, bringing the total to nearly eight inches for the year.

On the allotment
There have been very few days this month when work could be carried out. Soil structure can be damaged by moving around on saturated ground, and most work was done from the paths.
All four plots were edged, a total of about 380 feet.
It has also been too wet and windy to burn the fruit bush prunings and the hazel trimmings; we can only have a fire on a still day as we are surrounded by houses and commercial buildings.

In the greenhouse
It’s always nice to work in the greenhouse when outside jobs are not possible. All the staging and glass was cleaned and the soil from last year’s pots emptied out. The pots were then all washed in soapy water and made ready for this year.
Most of our vegetables are sown in trays and plug trays, to be planted out when large enough. During the month we have sown Red Drumhead cabbage, a second lot of sweet peas and nine half-trays of broad beans – three varieties this year: Masterpiece Green Longpod, Witkiem Manita and Bunyards Exhibition.
Inside the house, the sweet peppers on our bedroom windowsill that were sown in January have been pricked out into individual small pots. They are at the cotyledon/first true leaf stage.
We have also had a bit of a mouse problem, so have set a few traps.

Salads
Our Oriental Leaves have finished, but we are still harvesting Red and Blue Moon radishes from the plot, together with celeriac and the odd spring onion.
We have this month sown a tray of agricultural peas in the greenhouse for a ‘cut and come again’ addition to our salads. We have also sown a tray of mixed spicy leaves for the same purpose.
The chicons are doing well – a fourth cut was made on the 20th.

The chicons make a reliable and tasty winter salad

Vegetables
Fresh from the plot, we have harvested carrots, parsnips, leeks, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, sprouts, romanesco and celeriac.
From our store we have eaten potatoes, onions, butternut squash and hazelnuts (shelled and stored in Kilner jars). From the freezer we’ve enjoyed our own peas, sweetcorn and broad beans.

Potatoes
Our new seed potatoes are chitting well in trays in the garage. We planted one Jazzy in a potato pot in the greenhouse on the 19th.
Hopefully March will be a drier month.

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