Saturday, 10 November 2007

Moved the fruit bushes today. 6 raspberries (4 Malling Jewel and 2 that I can't remember what they're called). A huge loganberry and a little blackberry. We also transplanted the gooseberry.
I LOVE how it looks now - how it's been divided from the communal plot next to me. All those lovely berries in Summer mmmmmmmmmm!

View from on our plot.

View from the communal plot.

There I was, pulling up loads of these little baby carrots for tea , when out came this mad mutant whopper! It must've been left over from the first load I sowed that mysteriously disappeared. As it happened the little ones had all been burrowed into by some small annoying creature so the biggie was the one we ate. And yummy he was too!

Monday, 5 November 2007


And what a beauty she is! Not bad for free (bar some nails and coach bolts). Note the new panels at the bottom, seamlessly blending in with the rest of the woodwork. It took us two tiring days at the weekend - one to lay the slabs and one to repair the rotten base and sides, and to put together. It's pretty sturdy though and complete now with net curtains!! FAB! We need to preserve it, but other than a few gaps, it's pretty sound for an old gal.

The beds below are where all our fruit is going. So far I've got strawberries, a donated gooseberry bush (nice bloke over the road and a few plots up), a jostaberry and rhubarb (impulse buys!). I'm also going to move my raspberries, blackberry, loganberry and gooseberry from home to go in here next week (probably!?).

We've got two more beds in the top end of the plot to dig (Beds 8 & 9), one bed on the other side of the compost bin (Bed 12) and finally the beds for the spuds (13-16). Then all the basic structure will be done and we can start to think about paths, etc.

Can't wait (poor Hubby)!

Finally, we had a smashing time on Sat at the Allotment bonfire, fireworks and BBQ. The biggest bonfire I think I've ever seen and tonnes of fireworks (hubby was put in charge of these - bit scary!!). Everyone was really nice (if a little inebriated by the end!) - great fun!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

After a chat with the 'sort of' Site Manager about what he follows cabbage/squash with, I have come to the conclusion that I have been making things quite difficult for myself with different 'families' of veg and fruit dotted all over the plot on my first plan.

I was told that I should try to keep all my spuds together in a block and then move this block to another area of the plot each year (made sense). Also I shouldn't follow brassicas with spuds as the lime in the soil gives them scab - (the whole plan shot then!!).

So a good hour sitting in the sunshine while Hubby helped the 'blokes' shift slabs and here is the new plan. Much simpler I think! Took some working out mind you, and couldn't follow ALL the rotation advice (as in following the legumes with the brassicas - just didn't fit), but it seems to work okay (give or take a few things I've already put in the wrong place - onions etc.).

The plot's coming together brilliantly though. I just had a look back at my posts from July and we've really come MILES! Actually looks like an allotment! Still got two beds left to dig in the first half, along with the area for the spuds (that currently has the shed on - so that needs sorting first). And we're dug. I'm all prepared with green manures for any vacant beds though so far I seem to be filling them as they are emptied.

Early July

3 months later

Bob here was supposed to be a family activity - but I ended up creating him all on my own (kids and Hubby not in the slightest bit interested). Still, he seems to be doing his job, I spoke to him twice thinking he was Hubby out of the corner of my eye, and looked up to see who was standing there more times than I can count. Just hope he works on the pigeons (and burglars too!!)

Hubby dug over all the remaining fruit beds ready for the currant and gooseberry bushes I ordered and to move the 'berries' from home into in Nov. We lined to bottom of the trenches with manure and are now going to give it a few weeks before we uproot them from our garden. Can't wait!

At last we managed to eat two of our sweetcorns. One was scrummy (didn't know I liked sweetcorn - cor!!) and one wasn't ripe yet - yuk! The best thing though, is that my daughter loves them - what could be better?

Monday, 8 October 2007

We always seem to be up at the plot at the right time. Yesterday morning a man in a flatbed van arrived with manure for some of the plot tennants. After a few trips I asked him how we could get some of it and he said he had a couple more loads and came back and dumped a HUGE pile on our plot for us - what a result!! All for the price of a bottle of wine! We then spent the rest of the afternoon shifting it into a hastily made pallet bin (or rather hubby did most of it as we only had one fork. I was on wheelbarrow duty though!). It still needs to rot down a bit and has a fair bit of straw in it, but it will be perfect for in the beds in prep for spring and the rest can just stay where it is!Hubby made a start on the beds for my fruit bushes, both newly ordered and those I'm going to move from my back garden. The soil seems to be getting harder to work the further back we move, but still, Hubby's strong :o) ! It's here in the pic in front of the greenhouse.
  We've picked our first cabbage AND I actually ate a lot of it (was quite nice)!! I'm very impressed with myself (not a cabbage fan) and proud that I've grown such beauties since July.

I picked a small bowl of chillies that have finally started to ripen. I chopped them in half, de-seeded them and popped them in a small jar with some olive oil and pepper corns to make chilli oil. Looks good and will infuse over time. I think I'll make a few of these if they can keep turning red before the first frosts kill the plant off. I must say I'm much less impressed with the peppers though, none of them are ripening!!!! Arrgh! And a few are even starting to rot - what's going on there?
My lovely butternut decided to split :o( - so we chopped it off and roasted it. Nice enough but I think it would have been even better fully ripe. A shame! My pumpkin is going nowhere, lots of babies but none maturing - not looking good for halloween. Slug are big baddies here too!

Few other bits and pieces done too. Tried sowing some more (now very late) kale in cells in the greenhouse as something has eaten all the seedlings I put in. Weeded my smashing salad bed, moved the swing to the back, planted all my onion sets, marked out the fruit beds for Hubby and even experimented with 5 Christmas spuds!! It's all still busy, busy with no signs of slowing down yet. The yellow squash Sunburst F1 are happy as anything, can't wait to try them, they're supposed to taste smashing!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

What a productive day!

We had a great day today, the weather was perfect - not too hot, not cold, not raining or windy (our plot seems really sheltered - our allotments are on a slope with us at the bottom but when we walked up the hill today you could really feel the wind!).

We did loads:

  • Hoed a few paths

  • Put straw beds under the butternut and pumpkins

  • Weeded Bed 5 and was about to fill it with garlic and onion sets when someone gave me loads of leek seedlings to put in (45 in fact). Them in, I then had just enough room for one type of garlic so planted my Cristo

  • Hubby put up the next compost bin & finished weeding Bed 10

THEN, a man came over and asked if we wanted a shed and said we can go pick it up from his plot if we do. FANTASTIC! It's a bit woodwormy on the base, so we'd need to replace that and a few other planks/beams, but overall is great (our car can be our car again instead of our shed! :oD ), and best of all it's FREE! We had been in the process of collecting a shed from Freecycle, but I was finding it hard to get up the enthusiasm for hiring a van to move it - plus it's really a bit too big (6x10)! This is great! Anyway, we moved it down to our plot a bit at a time (it was SO heavy - and I'm such a weaking!! took us 7 trips and my arms and backside (for some bizarre reason??!) are killing.

A tractor turned up today too to chop off all the growth at the end of the plot that meets the boundry. The chap said he was also going to be back to dig out the ground and level it - which is fantastic as it was a job we'd have needed to do to to put the shed on. We've ALSO been told that there is someone giving away slabs that we could have.

It's all looking good and I've even got mini yellow Sunburst F1 squash growing and sweetcorn lady flowers. Love it all!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

It's all starting to take shape now. We've dug and prepared Beds 1-6, 7 has been turned over, and weeded, just needs fine weeding and preparing to plant winter veg (kale, cauli(?) and brocolli) into, bed 11 had been prepared and sown with various salad types (and a packet of unspecified meadow flowers from the library given to my youngest).

Above is a wide shot of our allotment. All the sleepers in the front are going to become a community garden for the site, should be good. My plot basically runs from one side of the photo to the other and from just beyond the sleepers to where my hubby is standing.

This is Beds 1-6 looking up towards the hill.

Bed 1 (furthest) - Pumpkin & B-Nut Bed 3 - Cabbage & brussels Bed 5 - Leeks (so far)

Bed 2 (nearest) - carrots Bed 4 - sweetcorn, peas, toms & chard Bed 6 - Squash (sunburst F1), sweetpeas & cucumber

The frame for the kids is up and getting masses of use, and they are enjoying making their own fun. We go to the allotment about three times a week at the moment and it's enough to keep on top of what we are doing and keep making progress with the digging. All in all, we're feeling chuffed with how things are going!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Beds 5 and 11 have now been weeded thanks to hubby and I think I'm going to move my poor leeks from home into one of them. I sowed some more Rondo peas in Bed 4 - probably too late but I'll give it a go. Sowed more carrots in Bed 2 and they've started to come up, and this time I sowed LOADS, hopefully enough for me AND the slugs.

My greenhouse now has all the panes in it, I needed to buy 9 new pieces of glass and tape a load more, but looks great - just need some staging now!

The swing/slide combo for the kids is up, and getting loads of use. We initially had it in the middle of the allotment as it was the flattest place, but I just didn't like it there - it was out of place on an allotment and just not right. We moved it to the side and it's more out of the way - much better!

It's been rainy for the last few days so haven't been, but hopefully get there tonight or tomorrow.

At home, we've got baby butternut squash growing and our first toms are ripe - yippee! Hubby had first taste (I don't like uncooked toms) and he said it was smashing!

This is the little fella on the right of the top piccy going a lovely shade of orange!

The rest of the garden is a little sad looking, as the stuff is coming out and not being replaced (it's going back to space for the kids to play in since we've got the allotment now). But beans are doing well (even though they're not climbing very well for climbing french beans!) as are my onions if they can survive the constant attack from kid's feet!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

It's been AGES since I last blogged, I've been to the allotment a fair few time though and feel like we've done loads. It's actually beginning to look like an allotment now rather than just a plot of land. We bought a greenhouse and put it up (I broke loads of panes of glass getting it there though :o() and have made a den and bought a swing/slide thing off ebay for the kids as they need something else to do (they're pretty good at entertaining themselves, but somewhere to play is going to help I think!).

The plot's really coming on now, 5 beds have been properly dug over (beds 1-4 & 6) and beds 5, 7 and 11 have been roughly dug. We've put a compost bin and the greenhouse up and and arch to grow sweetpeas over (if there is enough time left this summer). I planted some Sunburst squash seedlings (hopefully the slugs won't get them and I still want to get some late peas in if poss.
The bed plan so far!
We've still got loads to do, but it's really taking shape now!

Monday, 16 July 2007

A Masterpiece!

Such a busy week last week so didn't get to Plot 6 as much as I would've liked. Did get there on Saturday with the kids for a few hours, then back again with Hubby in the evening when he finished work (braving the nasty nibbling flying critters that LOVE the taste of me!). We dug over the 4th bed and I've got half the bed filled with 18 sweetcorn plantlets (did have a little runt too - sweetcorn number 19, but slugs got him - probably for the best!). They look great! I went and checked out how others had planted their's and copied them (spacing etc.). Leeks are going to go in the other half I think. I've had two seperate offers for leeks so I'm hoping I will be able to fill it.

Rained ALL day on Sunday, and only popped in on my way home to drop off some pallets today. I'm itching to get back, but don't really like digging on my own. Need to get Hubby there too!

Sowed a few other bits and pieces to hopefully get in this year. They are happily germinating on the windowsill.

Up the garden:

The tomatoes are doing well, lots of babies now and looking healthy, a baby chilli pepper, peas have toppled over and do not taste that great now (though they were lovely with the pie we had last night), kids went mad pulling up my carrots (eekkkk!), but at least they did eat them! I've only 2 potato plants left now (so sad - mind you they've done well to last as the slugs and snails have stripped them to skeletons!) and beans, onions, garlic, butternut squash, cucumber, and lettuce are still doing well. My raspberries are not fruiting so much now, and strawbs seem to have stopped fruiting altogether. Courgettes are not really that happy in a tub I think and manky fruit flies keep attacking the end of the courg so I have to chop it off before it's really big enough. I'll have to make sure it's well away from the compost bin next year!

All in all I'm proud of what I have achieved up my garden. Even if I can't wait for the next year on my allotment!

Sunday, 8 July 2007



At last I am the proud tennant of an allotment!

It's not on the site I was originally looking at (I'm too impatient, I just can't wait for something without any idea of how long I will be on a list, when there are plots free on other sites). Last weekend I went for a look at the site that is next nearest to me and it looked great. I went to see the two plots that were available on Tuesday and really liked Plot 6. I decided to go for it, picked up the keys at lunchtime on Friday and set to work with the hubby that evening.

We've just spend a fair few hours there in the sunshine this weekend and already feel like we've got loads done! I LOVE it! I was humming away as I weeded the beds, and we've cleared, weeded, sowed and planted in them already. Smashing!

Plot 6 when I first saw it on Tuesday.

From the other end looking up the hill.

Hubby making a start on the first bed in the rain.

End of day two and glorious sunshine. We did really well, 2 beds completely weeded, another bed turned over. I managed to get some butternut squash, something I did think was a squash, but now think is a cucumber and pumpkins.

End of day 3. Bed 2 thoroughly weeded and raked finely and some Autumn King Carrots put in 3/4 of the bed and Chantenay Red-core in the the other 1/4 . French marigolds are surrounding and crossing through them for the carrot fly. In true allotment style I salvaged some posts from the big pile of rubbish on the next plot to us and used it in the corners, firstly to keep the kids off and also hopefully to put fleece around also to keep off the carrot fly.

A nice lady from up the hill gave us 2 brussel sprouts and loads of baby cabbage and the site manager said that if I put up some canes he'll let me have some kidney beans as well as some leeks. Such nice people you find on allotments!

I went to the garden centre on the way home to see what other seeds I can sow now and bought my canes. I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Whenever I take a picture of my veggie patch it never looks as good as I think it's going to. This time I took it from the other direction looking back towards the house, and it looked great (well I think so!).

Had an interesting time last night at my allotment-to-be's (hopefully!) BBQ. Met loads of the allotment holders (a very nice bunch) and got to show hubby around. He was impressed and we really enjoyed ourselves - I REALLY want one. I keep being shown/told about the good plots but at the moment I'd settle for any of them (I say that, but I'm very fussy so I hope I get a choice!). Can't wait though.
Up my garden I've got baby beans and now baby toms, hooray!! Something is still nibbling my raspberries and one or two have sunken grey 'berries' on the surface. However, strawbs are looking much less nibbled.

I've resown the salad bed and covered the seeds with a plastic cloche and some more sawn off bottles. Noticed this morning that there were slug/snail trail trails inside the cloche so I feel a nightly torchlight hunt coming on.
I re-potted the courgettes that were looking rather sorry for themselves as I had been relying on them for their 'boy' flowers as there seems to be only girl flowers at the moment on the two big courgette plants I'm growing in my half barrel. I hate to think of all those lovely unfertilised courgettes going to waste! I also re-potted a rogue seed that has germinated in my strawberry planter. It looks like a courgette - but not quite. It must've come from our home made compost, so I'm waiting to see what it is going to turn into. Very exciting!

We dug up the Anoe spuds on Friday and I must say I was rather disappointed after the success of the Karlena. They are my first earlies and the Karlena were my second earlies, but there were half as many underneath and were definately not as nice. We has to dig up two plants too. I've left the seed potatoes in the ground (just to see what'll happpen) and as there were still a few piffley little ones on them, to see if they'll grow again.

I also made a smoked salmon pasta with butter-fried carrots and courgette from the garden, the carrots were so sweet, lovely.

I WANT MY OWN ALLOTMENT!!!! (***stamping foot***!)

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

I've pinned down the little runners on my strawbs, raised the pot up on blocks, netted the lot temporarily and put copper tape around the pot to deter any new slugs/snails that fancy climbing up for a juicy feast.

I decided against putting the pumpkin straight out, I'm going to acclimatise them and my Sweet Million toms in the peppers plastic frame first.

I also noticed that the rozzers are turning red - hoorah!
Well, the lady from the council got back to me and said that basically I'd have to wait (I suppose it's good to know that they work fairly), and anyway she'd already promised the plot to someone else. I was a bit disappointed, but the good news is that it looks like I'm now 17th on the list. I'm just hoping it won't take too long to get to the top.

As for my garden everything is coming along nicely. My peas are fattening (I couldn't resist and popped open a pod, and the peas inside were tiny!! - but yummy :oD).

I had my first real bounty of food on Monday. We dug up our first spuds (second earlies) and they were absolutely GORGEOUS!! There were also loads of them - it was so exciting! I dug up our first carrots. The Autumn King were still small but looked good, long and tapered to a fine point. The Chantenay Red-cored were a little more unusual and had root going off in various directions, however all tasted yummy and I grew them!!!!! We even ate the Lady courgette and she was good - though slightly bigger than we'd planned - an unexpected visit to the hospital with my daughter due to severe chest infection, meant she had swelled up from a tennis ball to a grapefruit before we had chance to eat her! (the courgette not my daughter!). Think I'll try stuffed courgettes for tea tonight too!

My strawberries are also starting to ripen and are HUGE! I don't think we're going to see much of them though, my daughter's gobbling them up as soon as they ripen. There's also something that keeps having a nibble (I'm thinking snails), so I'm going to have to set up a better defence.

I also planted a new wave of salad a few weeks ago - oriental lettuce, rocket and spinach. They were all coming up nicely and I was just waiting to thin them when the slimers totally devoured the lot!! Grrrrr! I've protected the last few with cut off bottles, but I'll have to re-sow them. Today's task is to do just that and also plant out one of my pumpkin babies ready for October.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Allotment hunt update

Yesterday I contacted the council about the site I fancied, I was told there was a waiting list of 21 people (with me being no.21!), but that not to worry as many people put their name down for several allotments and not everyone wants one when they actually get to the top of the list. My hopes were high and especially as there are a group of people from the Probation Service in, clearing the site and bring back to life some rather unloved allotments. There are 50 plots on the site. About 10-15 are currently taken, 6 are being cleared by the PS now and 9 more (currently a field but used to be allotments) are also due for clearing. Also a few people are being asked to leave and a few are giving up this season. I am VERY hopeful and was told that now is a good time to be on the list.

SO, today after work I went down to the site to see if I could have a look around. It was BRILLIANT! I met some great allotment holders who said they are trying to become an association and get the place sorted, also that if I am keen (I am!) then they have the perfect plot for me with a fab wooden/brick greenhouse and a large shed. It was tended up until the autumn so there is a meadow of 3 ft grass, but underneath it is good. They were really keen for me to push for this plot as it has only just become available, so I have and I emailed the lady at the council again when I came home. Cheekily I think, but if you don't ask you don't get! The ladies also said that they would phone on my behalf and would I like to come to their summer BBQ? I think I made a good first impression (hope so anyway!) as I was given a packet of lettuce seeds. Gonna take Hubby for a nosy soon and will take my camera!
Anyway, up my garden my babies (courges) are coming along nicely and my eldest is nearly fat enough for the chop. Can't wait to taste it (though not actually sure if I even like courgette!), bound to be good though as I grew it!
My first peas are actually looking like skinny peas now too. All so exciting!

I repotted my sad spare tigerella toms last night and although they now are rather wiggly stemmed, they look much happier.
A busy couple of days, I'm surprised I can even fit work in!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

This is my first blog about my adventures into the world of the Vegetable Patch. After a stint of allotment sitting over the summer for my friend Jonathan, watching the amount of peas my veg-aphobic kids managed to eat, as well as the whole laid back, feel good vibes you get from caring for a plot, I was truly bitten. I didn't want an allotment yet (didn't think I was that interested!) but I thought I'd like to give the end of my fairly small back garden a make-over and turn it into my own mini allotment. We started on the 3rd of Feb 2007 by pulling up the patio and with the hubby's muscle, we began to prepare our beds.

The end of the garden before make-over Feb 07
The raised beds & hubby getting down to a bit of diggin'

Well, after 4 months of preparation, sowing, nurturing and excitement as things actually start to grow I feel we've made a great start. We've been eating lettuce for ages (gotta love those cut and come again!) and are eagerly awaiting the growth of the three little baby pea pods I spotted a few days ago and numerous berries. Not to mention carrots, spuds, butternut squash, toms, peppers and soooo much more! I can't explain how excited I was when my first 'lady' courgette flower opened!

June 07
Yesterday, the hubby and I decided that it would be a good idea to try to find an allotment after all. You don't get many spuds in a 1 x 1.5m raised bed (plus 5 in a flower bed), and I think as a family of 4 that these will actually only last us about 6 weeks. We need more space! So the hunt is on. I'm very unfit, don't want to travel far (and so drive every time I go) and I hate going uphill on my bike so I've applied for a plot in some allotments nearby that I hope aren't in as dodgy an area as it looks (but only 3 mins on my bike). Watch this space!


Related Posts with Thumbnails