Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time in the garden

I feel slightly guilty, we spent all weekend at home and only went to the allotment for 10 minutes on Sunday evening to quickly check and water.

I went to the car boot on Cheltenham racecourse in the morning to go and get some more tools for the plot and home. I may have mentioned it before (I forget!) but car boot sales are just fab for bargain tools and things! I've managed to get all the tools for the plot at approx. £1 an item and this Sunday was no exception I bought a really nice old garden fork for £2 and a fab old galvanised watering can for £2! Bargain! I hate the idea of vandals stealing things from the plot but at that price it wouldn't be as financially crippling.

Some good friends that we don't see enough of came around unexpectedly for lunch so we had a fab time eating salads etc in the garden appreciating how nice the garden is looking with all the spring flowers.

Later in the afternoon (after one too many pimms!) I constructed a brick path that I have been promising to do for ages (to myself) . We have a couple of gravel paths in the garden which look nice but come the wet weather I end up with half the gravel stuck to my boots so I decided to add a brick centre path leaving the gravel around the edge.. An amazing website that I found called Turning Earth has some amazing artistic elements and is the sort of garden that I LOVE!!! I have copied the brick paths (quite unashamedly! This lady has FANTASTIC flair and style when it comes to design) from this garden. The millennium shed is great, an old outhouse that she converted herself, knocking down walls etc. to create an open fronted summerhouse...inspiring!

D has gone berserk buying Lavenders, delphiniums and foxgloves for the garden and spent the weekend constantly asking where he was 'allowed' to plant them! Sometimes I think I am to dominant with the garden and allotment....talk about 'Get OFF my land!!'

The garden is looking great at the moment and I have a good feeling about it's prospects for the rest of the year, I'm also nicely content with the plot at the moment too, it really has helped getting it all dug over the other week, I feel so much more relaxed about it (until next visit!!!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Carrots and Parsnips

I've sown the first seeds on the plot which to me was a momentous occasion, ceremonial almost which I was relishing in the peace and quite of a remote allotment site until the grandchild of one of the plot holders starts screaming that he needed 'a wee wee Grandaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!' at the top of his voice to try and get his Grandads attention over the drone of his rotovator! Poor kid didn't realise that on this site you find a convenient bush and.....

Anyway, I managed to get in 2 rows of 'Early Nantes 2' Carrots and 2 rows of Parsnip 'Tender and True' plus loads more digging of couch grass root.

Back at home I sowed loads of Nicotiana (Tobacco plant) for both the allotment and the garden. Last year we had one Nicotiana plant at home which was absolute bliss, the perfume in the evening was just heaven, I have a real thing for heavily perfumed plants/flowers so I've decided to include some up at the plot. I also sowed Calendula (Pot Marigold) and Sunflower, again for both the plot and home and then finally I pricked out 48 Leek seedlings into pots to grow them on before planting out.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Bonanza

Well we did it! We have finally manged to dig all of the plot! We spent something in the region of 10-12 hours at the allotment over the Easter weekend and managed to dig every bed. D was a saint, he managed to de-turf every single bed and dig them over roughly!

I followed in his wake fine digging the beds removing as much perrenial weed root as possible and boy was there a lot of root to remove!! The pictures really don't do it justice and it seems amazing that it's taken that long to dig it all but my God it was tough going!! So we now have 10 workable beds and space to put in some more as and when we need more. I had a mad idea of making a bench/seat out of some of the turf so D stacked a load up at the back of the plot to create a living bench, once the grass grows over it and we sow some flower seeds around it it'll make a nice place to sit and look at all our hard work.

My Good Friday plan of getting the remainder of the potatoes in worked, so I now have 60 potatoes in, I also managed to sow some parsley so that's the devil taken care of (see previous entry for explanation!)
On Saturday I put in the 'Red Baron' onions (44 sets), deciding to only sow half a bed of those as we don't use them as much as white ones.

The weather throughout the entire weekend was amazing, we both caught the sun, it also brought out loads more plot holders so we've met loads more people which is great. We finally met our neighbours and they seem to be great, a couple called Will and Sue. They were there for most of the weekend too and worked like mad.

Now I'd better go and fill the beds with edible stuff!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April fools!

' D' working like a trouper digging new beds

We spent a huge part of Sunday afternoon up at the plot. After my (now compulsory) sulk and teenage rant when we arrived, we set to with lots of digging. I say WE because D came with me again today having not been up for a little while, it's SO nice to have the extra help and calming down!!

D set about de-turfing and digging beds and I followed along digging out couch grass root and breaking the soil up. It was very hard work but once we got into a rhythm it was good. The weather was fantastic and when we first arrived we were the only ones there (apart from Scottish John who is ALWAYS there) Within about 20 mins or so we'd been joined by another 5 plot holders and their families including our neighbours who we have never seen so that was good. It was really weird having spent so much time up there alone to suddenly be surrounded by others but it was also really nice.

On Monday I popped down in the afternoon to get some onion sets in, I prepared and raked one bed and managed to get in 84 sets of New Fens Globe, I then netted the bed to stop the birds from pulling them all back out. I've still got the Red Baron to put in but they'll have to wait until the weekend.

There were a few people around again which was nice, I wanted to chat with Scottish John about our bills that had arrived for the plots, it seems that there has been a raise since last year and John was far from happy. I can see his point but to be honest I still feel that it's cheap, mine is just over £31 (I can't remember how many pence!) which I feel for the size of plot is good value, people are always shocked at how little allotments cost to rent when I tell them.

The weather has been amazing and it is predicted to last for the rest of the week and weekend (fingers, toes and other bits crossed!) I'm wanting to get down again on Friday (Good Friday) and put in some more pots and onions. It seems that Good Friday is traditionally the day for putting in spuds and I've also been told that you should sow parsley on Good Friday to ward off the devil!
I'm a sucker for traditions and old wives tales!

Netted onion bed.....