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!


commoner said...

Your raised beds are looking very neat and tidy! Aaargh! Baby cucumbers already! My cucumber plants are about 2cm tall and sulking... I need to have a serious talik to them.

However I have planted out half my sweetcorn and leeks, some brussels sprouts, broad beans and the first of the courgettes. It's going to be a race against time over the next week or two - beans and tomato plants and much else to go in. Quite when I'm going to be able to do this I don't know - I have deadlines at the end of May and June!

Ali said...

Thanks for your appreciation of my raised beds! Yes, I have to agree, they do look neat & tidy. All I have to do now is to make the paths more level and to mulch or wood chip it. The baby cucumber plant is a big hit so far. Another day or 2 and I will be harvesting my first crop! I still have tomatoes to go in but they will have to wait as they are still seedlings. Going to make the most of the weather this week and hope it's nice again next week as I have the week off!!
You take care now and don't work too hard!

RHIANNON said...

Hi Ali,
just thought that I would say hello again. You seem to be going great guns with your planting and I look on with envy at you neat plans for your beds. I seem to be taking a quick slap it here approach to my patch. Say Hi to tattie, our still to be named scarecrow is starting to fade in the sun and the its straw is attracting snails an unexpected effect I feel!
Our site is having a scarecrow competition so we are ahead of the game on plot 16c
catch up with you soon