Tuesday, 27 May 2008

More planting out

Finished digging a bed next to the courgettes on Plot 86 and put the sweetcorn in it. Figured that since they're only a couple of inches high then they shouldn't get too battered by the really windy conditions we had yesterday and not too big that their growth gets checked by transplanting (as I think that's what happened last year). Just in case they get attacked by the slugs I put some pellets (organic ones) down around them.
We also attacked the weeds that have taken over the paved area around the shed and now have quite a nice 'patio' where we can put the deckchairs and maybe the barbeque if the weather picks up (I'm writing this whilst the rain's throwing itself against the window).

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Feeling gravity's pull

MJC came up with another brilliant idea for our water supply logistics. Get a syphon pump to fill up our water butt without trekking to and fro with watering cans from the water tank, which is a couple of plots away. Trouble is his attempts last weekend came to nothing and we decided that it was a good for nothing, cheap piece of .... However after a another bit of tinkering he did get it to work, hurray!

Sucessional sowing

As we're now starting to eat small quantities of the lettuce mixes I sowed a few weeks ago thought it was about time to sow some more. So MJC broadcast sowed some in the pea bed and we'll just have to remeber to keep doing this at frequent intervals.
I used up the free space at the end of one of the onion beds to put in some fennel, perpetual spinach and rainbow chard.

Food for Free

These 5 pathetic little things I found growing in amonst the potatoes. They must have sprouted from the PSB (purple sprouting broccoli) that was leftover from the last tennant and only dug up by us back in January. I'm sure with lashings of TLC they'll grow up strong and we'll be eating free PSB next spring...yeay!

Le Tunnel du Forsage

To give it its correct (if probably wrongly spelt) French name. Another brilliant 'donation' from MJC's parents - merci beaucoup! We thought it would be the perfect solution to keeping the wee celeriac seedlings just comfy enough until they can properly fend for themselves.
(photo to come later)
I also covered the courgette seedlings with the corrugated plastic to get them going too as I think my failure last year was because it was too wet and cold.

Pink Furry Apples

No, not the funny, knobbly looking but delicious potato but the result of all that blowsy blossom a few weeks ago.

Planting Out

Last weekend was a very productive time on the plots. We dug and weeded the big bed on Plot 85a and I decided to plant the celeriac seedlings (all 36 of them) out into the bed rather than potting them on.
We constructed a sturdy bean frame and planted out the purple climbing french beans and the borlotti beans, which I've forgotten whether they're climbers or dwarf.
Then yesterday we weeded an area on Plot 86 for the courgette plants and introduced them to the real world...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Everything outside

With all this lovely warm weather I've decided to move all the seedings (except for the pumpkin's that haven't germinated yet) outside, either into the small plastic greenhouse or the cold frame. But with space now at a premium in these it won't be long before I'll have to decide what's next to plant out on the plots...

Monday, 12 May 2008

Planting out

The peas grown in the guttering were planted out at the weekend and they seem to be (so far) immune from any pigeon or slug attacks. I knew the blackcurrant and apple tree prunings would come in handy as pea sticks. Got another 40 emerging in plugs in the cold frame.


The Jerusalem Artichokes have made their entrance into the above-ground world and although starting off slow I'm sure they will speed up and soon be towering over everything else... The potatoes have also emerged, but not only where they were intentionally planted but bl***y well in amongst the garlic, shallots, onions, carrot and beetroot bed etc.etc. I'm sure I dug every last one up last year... This little beauty was dispatched into a roast tomato pasta sauce...yum! There are others on their way and hopefully by doing this they'll grow on quickly.
And back at the house most of the winter squash sown last week have appeared.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Blooming Lovely

It must be perfect conditions this year for apple trees, as all the trees on the allotment colony have been showing off their finery for the last week or so.
The Bramley on Plot 86 took just the length of the bank holiday weekend to burst out into full bloom, which I'm taking as a futurre sign of 'armfuls of apples' instead of the 10 it produced last year.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Proper looking plot now...

Since I first got Plot 86a back in Feb 2006 its come a long way. From looking like this...
Covered in head height brambles and other nasties lurking underneath. To now looking like this...

Its not quite all done though. There's a couple of areas left to de-weed and I still battle with the couch, marestail, docks and dandelions but it's got such a different feel to it now. Just got to manage the same feat with Plot 85.

Not just a pretty face...

As well as being the brains behind the professional looking paths MJC has also come up with some other ingenious (if novel) ideas.
We have quite a few willow logs courtesy of his folks, and as they've started to sprout he decided to line one side of Plot 86a with them hoping that eventually we can have our own willow fence.

Plan is to get some more and put the rest down one side of Plot 85. We found out there's quite a lot of willow sculpting going on in the colony when we took a tour around the 'new' end on Friday night on our way home.
Pretty impressive huh?!

I was skeptical about this funny looking arrangement but it seems to be working, although we don't have a 'control' version to measure it against. I've named it the MJC Enhanced Rainwater Capture and Collection Device...

Rain stopped play...

..but still managed to have a very productive bank holiday weekend. We went up to the plot on Friday night after work but sod's law the heavens opened just as we were getting the tools out of the shed.....!

However Saturday dawned fine and sunny so we managd a full day's pottering and got the following done (long boring list I'm afraid).
  • planted the reamining broad bean plants
  • dug and weeeded another small bed
  • sowed 3 types of carrots - Giant Red, Large ????, Large 1/2 Long into the small bed
  • sowed 2 types of beetroot - White and Bolthardy in to the small bed
  • MJC started digging another large bed and put woodchips on the paths - very professional looking!!
  • planted the horseradish next to the artichokes
  • weeded what was the strawberry bed and rescued another 3 plants from the clutches of the couch grass
  • cleared around the artichokes and one of the blackcurrant bushes
  • mulched the new red gooseberry plant and the cleared blackcurrant bushes
  • installed the 'Greencone'
On Sunday it was too wet to do any digging so instead I did some sowing at home and managed to finally sow some other beans - 12 borlotti (Lingua di Fuoco), 12 purple climbing french (name?) and once I find the rest of my supply of toilet rolls, 12 yellow dwarf french. Also sowed 18 sweetcorn (Golden Nugget) and most of the winter squash varieties - 3 each of Thelma Saunders Sweet Potato Squash, Buttercup XXX, XXX Acorn Squash but still got Baby Bear Pumpkin to do.

Monday we went up for a visit with our next door neighbours to show them our vegetable 'kingdom' but we didn't really have time for any serious digging.

Just wish I had the rest of the week off as the weather's supposed to be lovely....sigh!

Friday, 2 May 2008


Been off on a watervole hunt...but best get back into the seed sowing as Spring has sprung. Also don't want to get too far behind Dr Greenfingers...www.gardenofdoug.blogspot.com