Sunday, 25 October 2009

Another Hour & a half down the plot.....

I was in the right place at the right time - some left over turf were going spare yesterday, so I asked if they were going to be chucked on the compost heap, whether I could have them?  Low & behold, this morning they were on plot 144!  All I had to do was lay them out and water them in!

A very sad looking greenhouse, inside and out!
I pulled the pin from the auto closer on the roof vent and put a piece of wood on top to hold it shut, as I don't want a strong wind to get under it and pull it clean away.

And finally the new path looking from the Shed / Greenhouse end towards the entrance end!

I also dug in two bags of horsey poo on plot 121, tied Hilda to the fence as her stake is now broken and she keeps falling over head down into the soil, and I also added a load more kitchen scraps to the compost heap!


Sunday, 18 October 2009

Horse Poo does wonders!!

Well first things first.  My first port of call was the Trading Hut where I purchased 4 large bags of Horse Poo or Stable Manure for £11 - Bargain.

These were delivered to plot 144.

However there was a more pressing task at hand.
My onions and garlic were being played with - could it be the foxes? could it be the birds?  whatever it was, it was concerning Derek & Ron who came to the rescue with netting and bamboos!
Bless them both

Between us we pulled the netting taught and staked it with the bamboo's to protect any more mis haps from taking place!

Ah, n0ow back to the horse poo - 4 bags were delivered to plot 144.  This meant a bit of hard work ahead!

So I thought I would put the kettle on to assist in quenching my thirst after some digging was done and some manure spread about on the patch by the shed (one bag), on the patch where the potatoes had grown (in the picture above)(two bags) and I dug, raked and put the final bag on Bed#2

I had to leave the wild violets in situ - they look so pretty when everything else is dying down at this time of year.  They just popped up in the summer by the peas.

Then I prepared Bed #1 by giving this a quick dig, raking the soil and .....
then I biked it down to the Trading Hut - 2 visits in one day - for a packet of Broad Beans!
In they went.
I was told that the foxes like playing with these as much as they like playing with the onions and garlic, so I put the plastic polytunnels over them until I can see some signs of growth.

And finally, I picked the remaining summer ball squash

That was me done in - 3 and a half hours of medium to hard labour in the sunshine was very invigorating and revitalising, but at the same time I needed to get home have a rest with my feet up on the sofa, so here I am now, typing away, updating this blog!

Lets hope for more nice weather next weekend!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Note to self....

....for next year!

1. Tomatoes - 5 x roma plants in the greenhouse will be plenty

2. Cherry tomatoes - again 5 x plants outside would be just right!

3. Sweetcorn - 24 plants will be more than enough - remember to plant through black matting to add extra warmth to the soil and possibly try  butternut squash interplanting?

4.  Only grow white onions, as we have hardly used any of the red ones (but now trying to hide them in stews etc.

5.  Only grow about 3 or 4 tubers of earlies - no 2nd earlies and Desire & Cara maincrops - we still have some earlies to eat!!  I think they may end up on the compost heap!

6.  Change location for potatoes, onions, garlic & dwarf french bean - all to be grown on 121

7.  Take the marrows, sqaushes & courgettes over to 144.

8.  Remember to successionally grow lettuces, rocket & Mizuna - a small sowing once a week (nice thought)

9.  Grow more leeks - remember to sow more seeds next year, especially later on in the year!

10.  Stick to the above !

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Onions - Radar & Garlic Albingensian Wight & Provence Wight

When I arrived at plot 121 today, I knew that I would have to rake over the last little bit that I left Derek on his lonesome to do yesterday, as I had to get home for 2pm, and this I did with a gusto!
I raked all the roots and stones out and once satisfied, I levelled or should I say, I tried to level the last section off with my rake before lending it to Mike on the plot opposite.

Then the planting started!

I broke the garlic bulbs open and counted 22 cloves of Albingensian Wight


I then did the same to the Provence and counted 15 cloves in all
A large white softneck garlic that can produce bulbs that approach Elephant Garlic size.
Originating in the lush valleys of the DrĂ´me in the north of Provence.
Large fat cloves that suit vegetable and fish dishses of the Mediterranean. Unlike many other Mediterranean types, responds well in the last three months before harvest.

So into the newly dug and raked soil they went, in the hope that the birds don't come along and want to play with them.

I then planted 9 full plot width rows or Radar White Onions

I thought it best to tag the end of each row with a brightly coloured marker, as last year I made the mistake of not doing that, and digging up a whole block that I had planted from seed!! 
Silly me!


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Dig, dig, dig, dig, digging.......

Today's intention was to go to the Trading Hut, stock up on some more onions and buy some large garlic, and then go to 144 to plant them in the raised bed, one along from where they grew last year.

I got to the Trading Hut and I did purchase said supplies, but then the allotment Bramble Beater aka Derek came up to me and said "Ali, I'm at a loose end this morning - lets go and tackle those brambles on 121," so off we went, tools in hand, and got digging......

As you can see to the very front of the picture, lots of brambles are now in place of the courgette, marrow & butternut squash plants.

Derek was on the mattock and the spade, whilst I was on the rake and the fork - sounds like we are in a band doesn't it!!

So as Derek got to the root of the problem, I cleared the brambles and weeds into a large wheelbarrow that was heading for the compost heap or next communal bonfire.

A few hours later and it looked like this!

This is the other end of the plot - BEFORE (you can just make out the black 121 marker to the right top of the picture)

And this is the nearly finished dug over, de rooted plot!

I have now decided, after having a lovely chat with Derek whilst we worked, that I will be putting my Onions (all whites no reds) in along with my Garlic tomorrow, and probably some over wintering broad beans next week.  Then next year I will put my potatoes in this plot and swap my courgettes, marrows and squashes to plot 144.

So, that's plot 121 all worked out.

I ache from top to toe!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Autumnal Harvest

Another great crop from 144 & 121 plots!
Picked the last of the sweetcorn for eating that night and for the freezer......

I was overwhelmed with the aroma of the carrots whilst pulling them from the earth......

And the beetroot never fails to amaze me with it's vibrant colour and taste.....

Unfortunately all this autumnal harvesting was marred by the fact that my neighbour and ex fellow plot holder was over on my previous plot 142!

Although I had had a very successful morning digging 122 before breakfast I returned after coming home for nourishment to dig over some of 144 to find "Mrs Chicken Wire" as she is now referred to, and her shadow (Mr Chicken Wire) tending to plot 142.  Why is it that everytime I turn up her voice goes up by about 15 decibles and she laughs, no I stand  corrected, "CACKLES" at simple words like compost, seeds and Bamboo Canes.

Yes she grates me.
She annoys me to hell and back
it's not enjoyable being on my lovely plot 144 whilst she and sidekick are there.

I do try to avoid being on 144 at the same time she is on 142, but sometimes its not always possible, timewise to go down to 121 as jobs there have been completed.
So I have to turn my back and work away, trying not to listen for the high pitched cackled that may eminate at any second, disturbing the peace and tranquility that you would expect of ones allotment.

Still, the nice thing is, is that I am there on 144 more often than she is on 142, so I do get my little place of solitude and tranquility more often than not.

Back to the harvest.

The carrots looked very orange, smelt very carroty and tasted divine.
The Beetroot were a vibrant purple and roasted - melted in your mouth
The sweetcorn was way better than the Jolly Green Giants!!

He he!!

To top the morning off, another allotmenteer, Val, on a close by plot gave me a gift of a packet of Mizuna (very rare as I have not been able to source them for months) seeds and a lovely "Gardeners Handcream" for looking after her polytunnel for a few days.  Ok, so I did sing to them, but I didn't expect that - what a lovely surprise. 
Thanks Val!!