Monday, 26 May 2008

EXCLUSIVE - Guess who's coming.......


These are the first pictures of the still unamed Mrs. Scarecrow

As you can see, she has lovely green eyes

Beautiful dark hair, pink rollers & a pink head scarf

Her very own beauty spot

And lovely ruby red lips!

Her necklace is a bargain buy from EbaY in matching pink to her rollers and head scarf

And she has matching pink gloves

There are a few more finishing touches to go - all waiting the arrival of the post.

So what is need now is a name

So far I have the following suggestions........

  • Aunt Sally
  • Hilda
  • Toto
  • Dorothy

I know what one I like the best, but what do you think now that you have been given a glimpse of the finished Mrs Scarecrow??????

Your answers on a postcard please - opps sorry - comments or emails please

Sunday, 25 May 2008

An unplanned trip.......

An unexpected trip to the lotty today as the weather forecast was for rain, rain and more rain.
Well it did rain - but overnight and early morning. As my neighbour explained ...

Rain before 7, fine by 11 - and she was right.

Ian (hubby extrodinaire) decided to accompany me to the lotty this morning for a quick look as we have to site Mrs. Scarecrow soon.

I noticed whilst we were there, that the cucmber plant had outgrown her little wigwam, so we headed to the shop for some taller canes.

As you can see it is very well stocked & you can go there just for a chat & sit down if you want to , although I always find that I end up buying something!

The weather hadn't improved a great deal, so we went home again. An hour later and it was bright sunshine all the way, so I returned.

I weeded Bed 3 where the Brussels & Brocolli are. What a job. I had to lift all the netting and then be very careful when weeding the right hand side as Susan's potatoes have by some freak of nature, nearly taken over the path way, so I did this side standing up, not using the kneeler as I normally would. This bed done, and looking good, I weeded Bed 4 where the pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes and baby cucumber live. Once this was done, I re- caned baby cucumber and she looks much happier now, so much so that she is producing more cucumbers for me and Ian to eat - lovely - I can't wait as they are so full of flavour.

I then went on to weed Bed 1 - so that's all my weeding done for a short (and I probably mean short) while now.

This is the ladybird house which was purchased yesterday. I have put this in Bed 1 as this is the closest bed to Mavis's Beans bed which seem to have a blackfly problem. Maybe I should have just put it in her bean bed?

And this is my herb trough which I planted up yesterday.

As you can see (from left to right) there is Basil, Mint, Rosemerry, Corriander & chives.

More from 144 - Runner Bean Wigwam goes up!

On Friday, I emailed Nigel, as I wanted to order some canes for the newly dug Runner Bean bed. It went something like this.......

"Do you have any 8ft canes and a step ladder in stock?"
"No, sorry, I only have 10ft canes left but I will help you to tie the tops up"
This was very welcome news as I am 5ft and he is probably double that again - well that's what it looks like from down here anyway!
So, Saturday morning arrives and I go down to the lotty at around 9.30am. I start weeding the beds on plot 142 which seems to be a re occurring task! I weeded bed 2 which is where I have just planted the tomatoes (see the post - "Read all about it - my 1st radishes") which is the same bed that has the Sweet Pea Wigwam, Onions & Marigolds.
At around 10am, Nigel opens shop, so I go to see him to buy my canes
Fortunately he has found some 8ft canes (not 10ft) but still offers to tie the top for me!
This is my shopping list
  • Canes
  • Bag of manure compost
  • Bag of Multi Purpose compost

I return with my goods - with the help of Derek and his barrow, and dig in the manure compost - OH - what a smell - a lovely lovely smell!! Apparently it was smelt half way down the road!

Nigel arrives with his cable ties and 2 bits of cane (about 2 ft each) tied together in a cross formation. Down that went on the ground and Nigel expertly and swiftly put the wigwam together. I just stood there and watched in amazement.

Hey presto - There it is - ready for some Runner Beans, and here are some I prepared earlier

I only put 6 lots in, as I have some beans that George (the laughing Jamaican) gave me which are at home in pots in the coldframe - hopefully germinating.

He also gave me some Cobra????? Beans - (never heard of them) which I am also germinating, but this means another Wig Wam - "Nigel - I need your help again"

I spent more time on 142, digging up the weeds, earthing up the maincrops, tidying around the place and left around mid day. Hubby & I are looking for some new garden furniture, so we went of to the deepest darkest depths of Surrey to try and find what we were after. Unfortunately we didn't find what we were looking for but I did manage to finally find a ladybird house, which I have been looking for, for ages. It is supposed to encourage ladybirds to the area and provide them with accomodation / housing.

I therefore returned later on to water 142 and to put the ladybird house in (picture to follow - sorry I forgot) I had a lovely chat with Mavis who shared some more of her "vegetable growing tips" with me. Poor Mavis is fighting a loosing battle with her weeds in her strawberry beds, that she only weeded about 6 weeks ago, but the devils are back with a vegance. I need'nt have bothered watering as it's been raining here since about 2am and I dont think it's stopped !


Mrs Lady Scarecrow (temporary name) is looking FAB. A few finishing touches are all that is needed now - and a name of course, so please keep your suggestions coming via the comments please. I have some great ones from all over so far, as far away as the USA!

And finally......

The multi purpose compost was for a plastic trough that I bought to put some herbs in. Mavis very effectively pierced the drainage holes with her very sharp pronged fork! Thank you Mavis. So in the trough I put Rosemary & Mint (bought from the shop) and some Basil, Corriander & Chives which I grew from seed. The trough is now a the end of Bed 2 and looks great there as it's just the right size!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Preparing the Runner Bean bed on 144

Plot 144
After finishing of the small 1ft. area that backs onto Paul's plot (where the shed will eventually go) I decided that as this area was originally intended for the runner bean wig wam I had better find another area to cultivate.

Unfortunately I hit a small problem! Yes, I got "Forked". As you can see, I must have hit something solid. As I was a Girl Guide in my youth, I decided to crack on and after having found a new location, I started to clear a large enough area for the Runner Bean Wigwam to go.

This is the humble begining of the Runner Bean Bed

Fortunately for me - Derek - one of our lotty heroes came to my rescue with his ancient mis shaped spade and after a can of Ginger Beer and 2 penguin chocolate biscuits that I just happened to have in my handy little lotty bag, he "Dug for Ali"

This is Derek - an amazing man who has so much energy in him and is adorable as you can see.

After Derek dug, I pulled out the old roots that had surfaced and worked the lovely "virgin" soil to a fine tilth, and the picture below shows the end result.

Shortly after I had finished (I spent around 4 hours there in total this afternoon) Carl - another of our lotty heroes - popped through the gates and started to discuss, not only the chopping up of the tree trunks etc. now that Nigel - yet another lotty hero - is feeling better (dodgy back) but also the burning of what is there as he now thinks its dry enough, so that will make a HUGE difference to me and to plot 144.

We are so so lucky at Stanley Road Allotments to have the likes of Derek, Carl, Nigel & others "The Lotty Hero's" who very generously share their wisdom, time and knowledge with us fledgling lotty people. I can never thank them enough.
I only hope that one day I will be able to return to them, the favours that I have recieved so far.

Read all about it! My 1st Radishes

How exciting - not only did I get my 1st radishes yesterday but also my new book arrived.

It's really "down to earth" and non of this flowery stuff, so its an easy read.

It's called Vegetable Growing Month by Month Take a look at the link - you can easily order it online and it arrive pretty much the next day. I ordered one for Susan next door (my fellow lotty person).

It's by this chap called John Harrison who has been growing veg for 30 years! It's only got a few pictures, so the rest is great information and covers all your niggly little questions from Pests to gardening jargon! Well don John. My book looks like I have had it 30 years already although I have only had it the one night!

My radishes have finally made it and looked ready to be picked. I knew this because it was in "the book"

Don't they look yummy! Boy are the HOT!

The poly tunnel gets it - I had to cut this one in half so that each half sat nicely across my newly planted tomatoes - I planted Marmande & Cerise, so one extreme to the other size wise. All the plants were raised from seed.

A picture especially for my lovely Mother in Law - aka - the armchair gardener. These are the "Vivaldi" potato plants so far.

Now that the radishes have gone, I have put some cos lettuces down each side of the parsnips and I have put some more radish seed in the middle of the parsnips to see if they will come up again. fingers crossed.

And finally (for plot 142......)

George one of the laughing Jamaicans gave me some runner bean's to plant out on 144! He said that all I need to do is pot them on at home, bring them on, and by the time they are big enough I would have cleared a suitable space on 144 to put them in - that is after building a wigwam using 8ft canes ( he made it sound so easy ) so I will have to go and see Nigel in the shop for some canes and probably a heap load of advice.

This is Nigel - another Lotty Hero / Mr. Chainsaw / shop entrepreneur

Plot 144 - UPDATE

Progress on 144 - You have seen the top picture before on a previous post. With a little more digging, swearing, numerous cups of tea & stopping for breaks, this is the progress so far.....

Can you just make out the string to the right of the picture? I realised that I had to mark out my plot end as I was straying onto Paul's plot (which I must say is as overgrown as 144 so he has his work cut out too!) I don't mind straying you understand, but when I have 125 sq.ft. to tackle, and I have only done about 2.5 sq.ft. so far, I would rather not stray at this stage.

Now talking of Paul, he kindly mentioned to me that he will be putting his shed on the end of his plot that ends on to mine, and as it was decided that the shed of character was going to meet it's maker on the bonfire that Kermit nearly jumped into (sorry if you are losing the plot at this stage read my early post - Kermit is rescued and Rain Rain go away) I am going to have to get a new shed (probably the more sensible option really) and he said that whilst he is putting down his base (he is getting an 8' x 4') he will put a base down for me at the same time! How thoughtful is that!!! So we are going to have back to back sheds (mine might not be an 8' x 4') which is why I am clearing my plot where I am. There is a method to my madness you know!


Unnamed lady scarecrow is in the making, but I cannot reveal anything about her apart from the fact that she is going to look fab.

I have had a few name suggestions so far, but keep them coming in via the comments please. All will be seriously considered.

p.s. our local council is organising a Sutton in Bloom competition - and the catagories are

  • best front garden
  • best allotment garden
  • best community garden
  • best business frontage
  • best wildlife garden
  • best school garden

What about best SCARECROW - poor Tatty Boggie Gump

Anyways if you would like to enter - click HERE for an online applcation form & Good Luck

Today is Thursday 22nd May, the sun is shining and I will be off down the lotty for the afternoon - all afternoon in fact!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Kermit is rescued!

This is Kermit

I found him, a little disorientated, hanging around close to the bonfire that Carl was tending on the far side of the lotty. He was all dry and covered in mud.

Carl found me an old container, so off we went - away - far away from the fire!

I walked Kermit over to the only pond I knew of on the lotty - Adrians' pond

Here he is - ready to get out of the tub and into the pond!

And here he is on the side of the pond

It didn't take alot of persuasion to talk him into getting into the pond!

Ah - a happy ending.......

After all this excitement, I did get to plot 144 and made a start on the clearing up. I spent an hour digging. There are soooooo many roots it's unbelievable.

I am returning this afternoon for a marathon 4 hours as I am off this week!

This is what has been dug so far - it's about 1.5 sq ft - it's a start!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Plot 144 - Have I lost the plot???????

As you previously saw from the photo posted a little while ago, plot 144 is a major challenge and not something that is going to happen overnight. Here is a little reminder......

Well I am pleased to report that some mysterious entity chain sawed the trees down! I went to the lotty one day to find stumps! This encouraged me to do more, so I hired some very nice Polish lads to dig out the stumps yesterday morning, as that would have been a job and a half for me. Well I am pleased to say that it is done! No more stumps just great big dollops of root balls!

Derek our on site lotty hero / bramble fairy, has kindly said that he would move the white water butt that you can see in the top photo to nearer the fence - it's full of water snails which apparently keep the water clean, as I am not going to be right on top of the water tap as I am on plot 142 it would be useful to have there.

Carl - another lotty hero / branch trimmer has said that once the wood is dry they will burn it, so that's one way to get rid of it!

I will start to clear a small area - probably this week as I am off work for a week and going to potter around - where the water butt currently is. This way I can get some runner beans in (George told me it's not too late) and also put my tomatoes in there as I now, for some reason have had success with raising the 2nd lot of seedlings (the 1st lot got greenhouse white fly and died) I have them in my coldframe in the garden at the mo.

Wow a whole week off, well actually it's 10 days cause of the Bank Holiday weekend - what a result - a whole week when I can go to the lotty when I please!

This is better than a holiday in the bestest luxury hotel in the world - OK maybe not, but it's my little bit of bliss for 10 days

Photo's of stump free Plot 144 will be taken today (weather permitting)..............

And here they are!

The largest stump & the tree that was (with some rubbish thrown in for good measure)

The old henhouse and another stump.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Tattys & Co's 1st Friend - Homer

This is Homer.

He is Raymonds Scarecrow & Tatty & Co's 1st Scarecrow friend.

This is Romeo, another Scarecrow friend for Tatty & Co that Raymond has made

I was thinking this morning, that I will have to make a Lady Scarecrow - a friend for Tatty Bogie Gump that I will put on my new plot - plot 144 - The problem is, I will need a name for her for inspiration - your suggestions via the comments please!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Lovely Sunday at Lotty with Tatty

Yes, I returned to the lotty on Sunday morning - quite early in fact, to avoid the heat of the day. I arrived at around 8.30 and got weeding. There were not a lot of people around so it was easy to get on and get those dastardly weeds out. It was tricky and delicate work in the beetroot & radish bed (Bed 1). I also thinned out my beetroot. I hope they grow extra quickly as I love to eat beetroot, and have never ever eaten home grown! Mine normally comes from Waitrose or Sainsburys.

As I was about to leave at around 1030, guess who turned up?

Yes- you guessed - it was the laughing Jamaicans - Perry & George

Perry & George

George & Me with Perry & George's log !!

I went home and returned at around 3 in the afternoon to finish of my half weeded bed and then again at 7.30pm when it had cooled right down to water the little darlings. I am pleased to say that my net frame design works well as I can lift all the hanging down nets over to the top of the frame for easy watering!

And finally........

This is a picture of Derek hard at work - he has got a great tan!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Mad Idea - new project day.......

What a lovely day we had yesterday! Here in sunny Carshalton, temperatures got up to 28degrees! Of course, it had to be a Lotty day (a) because of the weather and (b) because I had just come across something in a one of my 7,000 gardening/Lotty books about protecting your brassicas, and as you know - brassicas need protecting from all sorts!

So, first it was a visit to Woodcote Nurseries. I was there on their door step at 8am - just as they were opening for the day. It's the best time of day to go as you are practically the only one in there and therefore have missed the Saturday zombies that go there for a "day out!"

Whilst there I came across this little fellow

It's a mini cucumber plant & you are supposed to harvest the cucumbers when they are about 4 inches long, so I bought one as I love cucumbers. As you can see, it was eventually put in with the pumpkins, courgettes / zucchini & butternut squash.

I also bought some netting and some cable ties, so my project could begin.

After walking the dogs and checking my emails, I loaded up the wheelbarrow with all that I needed for the day. Well, I say day - I lasted 4 hours which wasn't bad in that heat!

I arrived at the Lotty and got weeding first of all in Bed 4 (the potato & pumpkin bed). I then earthed up my first earlies. Mavis very kindly left a funny looking hoe for me in my compost bin. This was the one she had been using when she was demonstrating the earthing up to me on her potatoes - how kind was that! So the earthing up was done. I did sneak down to Mavis's potatoes plot a few times to double check I was doing it right, but according to Perry & George, who strolled by, I wasn't doing too bad a job.

Next was the weeding of bed 3. Bed 3 is where I have planted the broccoli & brussels. All the weeds are tiny little things, so it was off with the gloves and down to hard graft, especially as I had the rocket and lettuces to avoid too.

I then went for a little stroll as I needed a break and met up with a lady called Kirsty. She has a larger plot just down the way - this is where the little and large benches are from my previous photos. Anyway, Kirsty was lovely to talk to, and she had a big job on her hands re: weeds, so with the help of Derek (one of our allotment heroes), she was tackling the situation. She showed me her little greenhouse, which is just what I need and probably what I will put on my new plot. In there she is growing tomatoes, sunflowers and a shark fin melon!

I went back to my plot, wondering if Nigel was going to turn up to open up the shop. Ok, I know it's not official on a Saturday, but Nigel will open up if he is on site - the kind soul he is. Anyway, about 10 minutes later there he is, so I immediately told him I needed canes! Out came the 8ft's and 5ft's (oh and a few 3 ft's for the cucumber), and off I went - my brain full of plans.

A few 5ft's in each corner and at the middle of each bed, and some 8ft's cable tied to those, and I had my frame. The netting proved to be more difficult as it was me, myself and I, but I got there in then end as you can see -

George & Perry - our little rays of sunshine - seemed well impressed as they walked past on their way home and said that they would soon be taking advice from me! Ah - what a kind thing to say.

So nearly 4 hours later and I was all done in. The heat was getting very strong and I didn't bring a hat, so it was time to call it a day. I had to return later on, when it had cooled down, to water the plants, but I find that theraputic. So all in all a good day. I now have baby cucumbers growing and my B & B's are protected from the dreaded butterfly pesty.

I'll be off there again soon, and Hubby Ian said he will pop down this afternoon, so more blog to come later!

Monday, 5 May 2008

Bank Holiday Monday 5th - What Lovely Weather!

The sun has got his hat on - hip, hip, hip, hooray

I was singing that song all day today.
After a quick drive into the office this morning, I decided that an hour down the lotty would do me good. With the week I have got ahead of me, I deserved an hour in my favourite place. I spent the time chatting (ha, ha - you should have guessed that by now)

I started off with Olga, who was working hard once again. I told her about my sunflower dilema - oh! I haven't told you yet - I forgot to close up my cold frame last night because of the humidity, and when I went to inspect things this morning, some toerag slug or snail had eaten one of my sunflower babies in half and the other totally, leaving only a stump! so kind Olga brought me over 2 brand new home raised sunflower babies, which I put into the corners of bed 3.

I then went to see Nigel at the shop, but he wasn't there - however he had left a kindly note on the board to say that if anyone wanted anything, to go and see him at plot 47, so off I went as I needed some horse poo - ooops - sorry manure. After a little chat, I arranged to meet him at 1245 to collect 4 bags full. As I started to walk back towards 142 and whilst texting Hubby Ian with the news and to mak arrangements for him to come and collect me and horses manure in my car ( he wans't going to get that lot in the Porsche, so better to use the dump run vehicle) I then bumped into the lovely Perry & George, my Jamaician boys with the green shed just down the way. They are both so lovely and happy all the time. If I am ever going to feel down, I won't go to the docs, I will go and find one of them, or both and have a good laugh. You can hear them laughing all the way back to my plot sometimes!

Just after leaving them, Paul, the man with the greenhouse and the wonky shed that is going to be donated to me and Susan, came by. He commented on my Tattie and how his little girl always came by to say "hello" to him. He then gave me advice on my potatoes, which I was very grateful for, as I have had mixed opinions, so his sealed my mind in a particular direction.

Paul mentioned to me that I had a "web" thing going on, to which I blushed slightly, and as I did not have a pen and paper I told him to get the address off my by from Nigel as they had eachothers emails - another possible fan then!! I mentioned to Paul that I would be taking pictures of my seedlings for identification purposes, as none of the books seemed to have these, so here they are.......



Parsnips & Radishes


It was then 1245 and I had to go and meet Hubby Ian and my car at the far gate. He backed the car in, and loaded her up with the 4 bags. With permission from Nigel, we left the car by the shop as I had to go and get my bag and stuff. On the way I introduced Ian to Olga (the sunflower lady from Russia) and her husband Julian, who incidently is putting together a shed out of pallets, and after that Ian went on to be introduced to Perry & George, who up until that point, I am sure, were not convinced I had a husband. We all stood there chatting with Carl for a long time. Incidently - this is Carl, who had started to chop down the trees on my new plot 144.....

How very kind of him to make a start. I was worried at one stage though as before letting him loose with his saw on my new plot, he was taking some "shading" branches from the tree next door. This in itself didn't concern me - the fact that he was climbing on unbalanced and unstable looking pallets of wood did! Can I also add, that I am intent on getting this pigstye of a plot cleaned up and I have booked in Derek the Bramble Fairy, Bonfire fairy and digging fairy (Sorry Derek but that was not my nickname for you but I believe Julians!!) for as soon as he has a moment free - probably around September then - I am in no rush!

And finally. I fininshed off my afternoon by aeriating and putting the 4 bags of manure down underneath the holly bushes which are situated at the front of the house. It took Ian and I around 2 hours to do altogether, but a job well done. I then went onto pottering around the garden, especially the decking, which incidently is up for sale on EbaY at the moment, all 330 sq.ft. of it, and watering the pots. I then made a lovely cup of Lady Grey and dozed in a garden chair before returning to the Lotty to water all my hard work so far.

And finally - this is a picture of the wheelbarrow graveyard which I came across today.

and finaly, finally.......

This week is forecast to be "lovely" so hopefully a few more trips down to my lotty in the next few days......

Toodle Pip for now