Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Potato Plot

I decided to brave the elements today and visit the lotty. My intention was to have a snoop around as I like to do, and chat with some of the other and more experienced allotmenteers there, but I decided, probably against all medical advice (due to a recent operation) to have a "light" dig.
So off I went, with my RED trug (to match my wellies of course) which I filled with my newly bought double ended hoe/fork thingy, my wind up radio (blue) which you can just see to the left of the picture along with my cupflask of tick tock no caffeine tea (very thirst quenching) a rubbish bag and finally my GARDEN CLAW which I would not be without.

Around 3 hours, 1 flask of tick tock tea, a few chats with the "locals", one visit from Hubby / camera man & 1 blister & a slightly sore back later and this is the end result!

I am VERY proud of achieving that today, and with no further injury to myself too!

(For those of you that don't know, I had a cyst removed from my groin. Once the stitches came out it got infected and the wound opened up - 2 weeks of daily visits to the docs / nurses and it is finally "bonding" and healing nicely thank you)

A fellow allotment chappy kindly showed me the trick to opening the padlock, which up to now I have found VERY difficult to open, but I now know the trick to it. One of my chats today was with neighbour Mavis. She thinks it's too wet to put spuds in just yet, and as I was planning to put mine in tomorrow, I might just hold off - she has afterall had 3o years experience!


My courgettes have just started to show themselves - how very exciting !

How very exciting indeed. There are a few small mounds appearing over the seed tray now, so that could be more little baby courgette plants trying to force themselves free. I can't wait to see them grow bigger & bigger.
I feel like a little kid at christmas with 100,000 presents to open!

Keep tuned......

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The sun is SHINING today!

Wow - I can't believe that after all this awful / wet / cold weather, the sun is finally shining today!

Before I go on and on about the sunshine and what I have done, I just wanted to report that I went to the lotty last night. Susan's hubby had started to clear our bottom bit, where we originally started our digging last year, so he has lifted some of the ground cover sheet from that area. As the saying goes "Recycling - the possibilities are endless" so I took some of the small sheets and covered over my beds #2 & #3 as bed #1 was covered ages ago.

Now all 3 beds are tucked up and awaiting the warmer weather. I was speaking to our lotty neighbour Mavis, who gave me heaps of advice re planting out etc. I think its best to wait and wait e.g. end of April possibly, unless we get a really good spell, but she said that this is exactly what happened last year - good sunny days with plenty of heat early on and then BAM along came the rain for months on end and no end of diseases like blight etc. set in and ruined many a good gardeners prized veggies.

A lesson to be learned here me thinks

Anyway, now for the pictures.
I decided to open my coldframe up to the elements and not only that, but as the sun was so warming I took all my coldframe plants for a holiday on the decking.
As you can see, I have even taken my tomato plants out for a bit of a "tanning" session too.

OK so it doesn't look that sunny but it is, and the temperature has picked up - so much so that I my heating has turned off automatically!! I will keep my eye on the temperature and either put them back in the coldframe or in the case of Tomato Plants back in the utility room if it starts to feel fresher. I would really like to wander down to the lotty later today, but I have nothing but nothing to do there at the moment, apart from being nosey and have a mooch around and possibly a chat with some of the other lotty owners if they are around. I may just go anyway!

Oh - nearly forgot to mention that Woodcote our local garden centre phoned - to tell me that the book I had ordered "The Vegetable & Herb Expert by Dr D G Hessayon" was now in, so I went to collect it. I was REALLY good and I didn't take a trolley OR a basket with me, to resist temptation as I go in for one item at around £5 and end up with several and am lucky to get away with under £70 normally. Then when all the goodies are loaded into the back of the car, I remember what I went for in the 1st place and do another £20!!

So with only my 2 hands I went in and got my book. I felt very proud of myself at that stage. However - on the way back to the tills I saw a little red plastic "trug" which would go perfectly with my red watering can, and then I came across a bamboo wigman hold it all in place contraption, so bought one of these too. By this time I realised the trug was not good it was getting filled up with items. Last but not least - a spider plant for my husbands office as it looks really "manly" in there and I thought a plant would brighten it up! Got away with just under £20 this time - phew!!

Monday, 24 March 2008

The Lotty Sign

This is the Lotty Sign - Plot 142

It deserves a post all to itself as our kind friend and neighbour Terry made it for us.
What a professional job he made of it too.
I think it's the best sign on the allotment!

Thank you Terry.

The Beginings.......

My utility room is full to the brim now.
Started planting seeds in February. Some of these are now outside in the cold frame, but I have kept the Tomatoes, Chilli's & Peppers indoors along with any new seeds still germinating.

Here are some pictures of the first attempts with carrots & tomatoes (Feb 08)

These are the onions and these are the parsnips and onions.
All of these are now outside in the coldframe which I bubble wrap and blanket at night when it's cold.
As you can see, there are little seed trays on the window sill. These are all filled with seeds waiting to germinate.

Here are the same tomato plants as in the picture earlier!
Haven't they done well? I have used some cocktails sticks as mini supports!! I am hoping to plant these out to larger individual 3 inch pots later today. I just have to work out where I am going to put them!!

These tomato plants are from the same batch, but instead of planting out to larger modules, I have put them in Paper Potter pots - they are not doing as well but are STILL alive!

This is my coldframe which was kindly bought for me for my Birthday via Gardening Vouchers from my wonderful mother-in-Law, Mrs C & her partner Mr T -the picture was taken this morning whilst it was snowing. I have put the pots against it to save it from blowing over in strong winds. As you can see it is full up. At night I bubble wrap & put blankets over it!
Hopefully I will be able to plant some of these plants out to the lotty next week - however I am going to go by the weather and not rush into things.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Easter Sunday - 23rd March 2008

Needed some fresh air & also found a huge polytunnel on EbaY, so I decided to walk to the allotment to take some measurements of my raised beds
& to have a good nosey around!

It's good to see what other people are doing over the seasons & pick up some ideas, especially as we are new to all this and have never grow veggies before - or indeed had an allotment!

I met Bob there, who stopped for a chat, and who kindly advised me that my onions grown from seed were probably doing ok (described them to him after comparing my seedlings to his ones) My seedlings are in my coldframe mainly, which is bubblewrapped and blanketed overnight in the colder weather
It's great the way that advice is so free flowing and friendly from other Lotty People!

Whilst I was there I took some pictures of Susan's bed. She has planted Peas & Beans & says that she will be really pleased if she "gets a Pea from her allotment!" I think we are going to have a "Susan's had a Pea Party" when that happens!


Before & After......

This is the start of Plot 142 - Stanley Road, Carshalton.

September 2007 by Ali & Susan - friends and neighbours

This took a lot of hard work, and as me and my neighbour Susan are only tiny little things, we had to get help!

Eventually the bramles came down and the rubbish started to build up (end September 2007)

We had to get this removed to the local dump.

Ah! clear at last - Fortunately we got a water supply put right at the top end of our plot - saves us walking to the nearest original tap which was about 200 yards away!

October 2007 - water tank & tap gets sited

Now for the digging to begin. Husbands have been enrolled for this task!!

Yes, that's mine pulling the funny face as always! (September - October 2007)

So with the clearing done and the digging underway, us girls went surfing (the online kind) to find some ground cover sheeting to put down.

Got it all pegged down, and went to check on it all regulary,
especially when there were strong winds.

Susan's husband started off 3 of the 6 raised beds (at the end of November 2007)......

I had to get help! Here are the last 3 going in (February 2008)

You can just make out Tom(right) & his mate Alan(left) - digging as I could never do!

Well done those men!!!

More to follow so stay tuned................