Wednesday, 30 May 2012

30 May 2012 - Nature's distractions

A chat with the neighbour got us searching for frogs - he's got about a dozen of them, there's 3 in this photo and then we found 2 in his tool box!

Then he saw a massive spider - and made me take a photo of that cos he was so proud of it.  I guess that means it deserves to be on here too (and if I had to suffer, so do you!) 


This butterfly kept coming back to the strawberries - would go for a wander round other plots, but apparently there's nothing better!

And then there was the drive home, the allotment is on a small lane of a road, and I was disappointed not to have my camera with me when a grouse was standing in the road, but I was lucky enough to stop when two peahens crossed the road in front of me and just carried on at no particular speed.  I jumped out of the car, grabbed the camera and just as I was starting to get my photo, a peacock just sauntered past, jumped onto the wall and into the garden!  I kept trying to sneak a photo and ended up at the driveway, with the owners in my way!  I just blatantly asked if I could get some photos, explained I had an allotment up the road and all of a sudden I'm getting a full history and invited in to take as many photos of Lord Fontelroy as I like!

Lord Fontelroy

30 May 2012 - seedling successes

Today was all about a big clear out of a patch of grass that was getting more and more out of control, or so I thought.  It ended up being much more exciting than that!

I planted out 5 spaghetti squash and gave them their own "greenhouse" as an experiment to see if this will work better than growing them on the windowsill and transplanting out, or if it doesn't make any difference either way.

I dug in some horse manure a few weeks ago and turned over a few times, when the seedlings get bigger, I'll put straw round to stop the squash from rotting.

Then I set about clearing the grass, it was harder than I thought it would be and found 5 tyres underneath it all!  I did get it finished, but got a little distracted by frogs, butterflies and weeding round seedlings when I got bored!

The seedlings were doing really well, we've got a variety of things showing up in all beds. 

photo 1
photo 1 - from far left:
Jerusalem artichokes
Purple haze carrots
photo 2

photo 2 - from far left
Brocolli (close up above)
Brussel sprouts

Then there were my distractions, chatting to the neighbour with the pond, seemed like a good idea to find frogs!  A butterfly exploriing the strawberries also took my fancy and the creme de la creme was the surprise on the way home, but I'm gunna have to put that on the next blog because I think there are enough photos on the one now!

25 May 2012 - Cape Gooseberries

The work for the day was to prepare the area for the Cape Gooseberries that have been growing nicely on the windowsill at home, since picking them up from the seed swap a few months ago.  They now have 6 leaves, so I think it's time for them to face the world!

Sounds simple, doesn't it.... dig over a bit of mud, put in 6 plants...

You can just see the Redcurrant bush opposite the compost bin - well, it's that area I was working on.
The area I chose was the end of one of the new beds, by what we were told was a gooseberry (smothered in grass).  The bed ended up being a lot bigger than it looked, because the whole end was smothered, so there was a lot of hard work digging and trying to get out as much of the roots as possible.  It took 3 hours, but I think it was worth it.
and she's found the self timer

30 May update - The seedlings are still doing well  ;-)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

20 May 2012 - Sunny slog

Yesterday it rained.  So we stayed inside - it wasn't just rain, it was RAIN!  So we're forgiven for not going to the allotment.

Today, the sun came out to play, so we went off to do a little bit - which ended up being 4 hours 10 mins.  Lucky we'd bought a flask of coffee and some lunch with us ;-)

Mike finished off weeding the potatoes which was harder than it looked, cos he was trying to leave the potatoes in (obviously!) but the roots of the weeds (those creeping ones) were so long, he said it was mentally tiring as well!

I pulled back the green tarp to see how the horse poo was doing - it's mulching in fine, incase you're interested!  Also dug over a bit more of that bed and weeded it, ready for the pumpkins, courgettes, melons etc later.  Covered it back up until we need it, and will dig in some more manure next weekend.

I dug in more of the mushroom compost into the new potato bed and then dug knee deep to put in the last row of potatoes.  Not sure what's going to go in the other half of the bed, might take the opportunity to split it into two beds now and maybe put the cape gooseberries in soon.  We got those seeds at the seed swap a while ago and 8 plants have come up on the windowsill!

Here's how some other stuff is doing, not sure we've got beans - I swear the people before us ate nothing but potatoes!  They're everywhere!
turnips, nasturtium & fartichokes
brussel sprouts - red & green

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

16 May 2012 - Seeds, seeds, seeds

I took today off work as an "allotment day", I'm guessing non-lotties won't understand how fab that is!

Well I ended up not feeling very well on Tuesday, not much better today, so packed myself off to the allotment with coffee and a packet of Tums and thought I'd do an hour of the easy stuff, go home for a bit and come back for another stint in the afternoon.  Yeah, like that's gunna happen!  Four hours later, I'm heading off home!

I forgot my camera, but here's what I got up to:

*  got 20 rows of seeds sown in trays, covered and put in the greenhouse (10 rows are pumpkin, courgette, marrow, melons.  10 rows are mini sweetcorn and late peas/beans)

* weeded the "fruit" bed and planted a lavender in a space there (a bee came along to investigate, but it was a dim one, it was at the wrong end of the bed!) - bed is just behind the blue tarped bed

* weeded round the "roots" bed, we've got lots of turnips and looks like some salsify is coming up too. - bed is just by the greenhouse

* in the "leaves" bed, dug over the rest of the bed, planted out the rest of the brussel sprouts, put in the leeks between those rows, sowed some UK bluebells, nasturtium, purple sprouting brocolli, cauliflower and celery parsley. - bed is under the green netting

* at the fenceline of the "leaves" bed I dug in a tyre, filled it and planted out some of the carnation sprays.

* watered the new seeds/seedlings in place and the ones in the greenhouse too.

I had my "ears" in and was singing away (using the term loosely) and decided at just the right time to stop and look around.  I'm sure the guy trying to mind his own business wasn't that worried about a bad rendition of Twisted Sister and failing to hit the high notes of The Proclaimers, but I'm really glad I decided not to sing along to The Bloodhound Gang!  I may never have lived that down!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

13 May 2012 - Shovelling shite

Just a quick visit today, not sure where the days have gone this weekend!

Everyone has to pull their weight around here - the cat makes sure that there are no mice at home and Mousey's found out that he's the "green" lawnmower!

Mike carried on weeding the potatoes, he's much more patient than me - I prefer the digging.  He very kindly dumped 2 piles of shite onto my freshly dug plot - lucky for me it's the one that I'd been preparing for the pumpkins, melons, courgettes etc!

Here's the promised view of our neighbour's plot.  There is no hope of keeping up with this!  He's thought to be keeping out the's not all that's being kept out - I reckon it'll take 6 strapping lads to move that thing!

We've inherited two new beds, so here's a pic of our whole plot now, you can see the neighbours "buildings" and Mike's head sticking up near the potatoes, which are at the front of the original plot (just by the hose stand).  It's now a dog-leg L shaped plot, with a public walkway between.  (I've very cunningly not got the new broken compost bin in the shot).

Sunday, 6 May 2012

6 May 2012 - new beds

We were lucky to be given the use of two more beds (well, I say beds, but really the size is about 1/2 the size of our whole plot!) so it was time to see what was under those tarps!  Found 2 rhubarbs and a globe artichoke plant in that bed too!
We also inherited a broken compost bin and in the other bed, we've got a gooseberry plant.

Triffod potatoes and mushroom compost
I decided that the shorter bed could be for potatoes, purely because there's a big lump in the green tarp, which I'm guessing is potatoes and we're trying to do crop rotations.  While pondering life, the universe and everything (it was harder work than I'd expected because of random tough roots, and the grass had spread into the bed more than I'd thought too), I decided that the other bed could be for the pumpkins, courgettes, marrows and melons that have always failed me (except for pattypan squash).  There is a pile of horse manure available for anyone to use, so since pumpkins etc appreciate rubbish'n'sh*t (always grew well on our old compost pile) we had time to dig in the manure and grow the seedlings on the windowsill.
Just incase you think it was just me, it wasn't Mike was busy clearing the earlies potatoes of their weeds and a bit of the weeding in the roots bed, but decided that the only rows to weed would be the nasturtium (for the bees) and the turnips, because they had recognisable leaves now.  He also watered some of the plants that look like they need it.

 The sprouts got some extra protection and that was about all we had time for (except to decide that we don't think it's raspberry canes by the compost bin as we were told, but some kind of currants, watch this space, I guess).  Also collected some rhubarb for dessert tonight, and will be investigating how to make rhubarb wine!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Ellie's Plot - we have lift-off!

Today was a perfect day to catch up with Ellie after our holiday, looks like a lot's been happening!  Here's some pics - she's dead excited!  She's got some coriander, kale and sunflower (not sure about the poppy, well, there's more seeds, so we can keep trying!) and now moved on from the spray bottle to the watering can - as she says "It's yellow, like the sun!"

the plot is growing!
watering the potatoes
watering the flowers, coriander & kale