Monthly Archives: June 2011

Midsummer bounty

There’s such great pleasure in seeing the first crops emerge on the land that was covered in brambles last September.  These photos show the broad beans, onions and potatoes doing very well,

 

We’ve already lifted the first crop of garlic, and we’ve also enjoyed the first raspberries and strawberries off the plot.

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse the tomatoes are drinking water and liquid comfrey (donated by our kind neighbour) and thriving.  Comfrey is a valuable plant on the allotment, and we plan to start a bed this autumn. It can be used in these ways:

  • As a mulch and as a liquid feed for tomatoes, runner and dwarf beans.
  • As a compost activator – comfrey is so rich that it not only enriches your heaps but encourages them to heat up.
  • The first cut of the year, in spring, should go in to the furrow before the potatoes. The liquid feed will also be good for potatoes as will chopped wilted leaves as a mulch – before the foliage gets too dense to effectively spread it.
  • Mix with leafmould to make a base for potting compost.

Here’s some more information from the Allotment Vegetable Growing website:

Comfrey is a pretty tough plant that will grow from small pieces of root so do choose your location with care. It is easier to kill most weeds than comfrey. If you do need to move a comfrey bed the old bed will need to be killed off. Your best bet will be to use a weedkiller like ammonium sulphamate .

Comfrey will thrive in full sun or in partial to near full shade – there is usually a disused corner that will make a great site for your comfrey bed. It doesn’t like thin, chalky soils and the roots go down a fair way so dig deeply and break up the subsoil to get it off to a good start. Light sandy soils will benefit from organic matter. Being a fleshy plant it will need a lot of water and a soggy patch will be a plus.

Turn the soil over and remove any perennial weed roots. Comfrey grows very densely and will be difficult to weed. It does tend to shade out most weeds once established. If you have any manure – even poultry manure – fork this into the top 6 inches of the soil.