Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter weekend

D with his Mum and Dad

Well, we had HUGE plans for Easter, then I saw the forecasts on Metcheck and BBC weather and didn't hold out much hope for our planned allotment bonanza.

Our main plans for this weekend (apart from the plot) was the arrival of D's Mum and Dad for the Easter break, they came on Friday morning and stayed until Monday and we had a fantastic weekend of too much wine, food and some allotment visiting!

The forecasts had promised snow and more but in the end although we had the odd flurry we luckily escaped with just freezing wind and the odd hail storm intermingled with sunny periods (see I have the technical talk now!) We took D's parents up to the plot on Friday to have a look, they'd never been to it before so it was great to be able to show them where we spend half of our life! I took up some broad beans that I'd grown in newspaper pots to fill in the gaps where the slugs/pigeons had taken some.

Spuds in shredded paper and manured trenches
Saturday we decided to get some spuds in, tradition has it that they go in on Good Friday as this was the first holiday for the working class man when he was able to get the spuds in and the veg patch started. I have decided to try a new method of planting preparation this year to see if it makes much difference to the crop. I dug out trenches and filled them with a layer of shredded paper and well rotted manure, then in went the spuds before being covered up with soil.
As Easter is a bit earlier this year I decided to only put in my earlies (International Kidney, Belle de Fontenay and Winston) I'm going to give it a couple more weeks before I put in the maincrops as we could still have some bad frosts especially the way it's been lately!

Green Manure ... Phacalia Tancetifolia
I then dug in the green manure, I planted Phacalia Tancetifolia, a plant which is sown as a green manure, in a vacant patch of ground to prevent goodness in the soil being leached out by the rain. Before it gets too big and flowers, you dig it back into the soil so that it breaks down in the ground and deposits back all the goodness it has taken from the soil and it also creates a blanket cover to stop weeds growing on empty ground.The mad Strimming Dad

D's dad came up with us on Sunday and strimmed some of the grass, our mower seems to have given up the ghost so we had to use the petrol strimmer in the meantime, we only thought there would be enough time to go around each bed to define it and keep the main bits down but he was like something possessed and just went for it and never stopped. We'll have to invite them down sooner next time!!

On Monday I dug out the remaining leeks and prepared the bed for the French and Runner Beans, I dug the whole bed over to get rid of any perennial weed roots and then I dug trenches out where the bean poles will be going. Similar to the potato trenches I filled them with sheets of newspaper and composted manure, the idea with this is that it will help to retain the moisture in the soil during the hot summer, presuming we don't get flooded out like last year! Beans don't like to dry out when they are setting flowers otherwise they won't produce the bean pods, so hopefully this method should help keep them in peak condition.
I did a very quick video on Sunday afternoon just to show what it looks like now and maybe I'll do another in a month or two to see the progress, excuse the comedy wurzle impersonation at the beginning, I don't know what came over me, maybe too much exercise!!!!!!


Jo said...


I don't know if you remember me, but I left a couple of comments on your blog last year.

Not having an allotment yet, I have been away from the gardening scene over winter, and so, just catching up with all the blogs that I love to visit.

I've now got my name down for a lottie (it went on last year at number 40), but I haven't heard anything yet. I think I'm in for a long wait! However, I've got D's dad earmarked for clearing when I do eventually get it.

Because I don't have a lottie, I am growing veg in pots, and last weekend I did quite a bit of sowing. Some things popped their heads through within a few days, but I'm still waiting for others to show.

I went with tradition, being working class and all that, and got my first early spuds in (Pentland Javelin) on Good Friday. I planted these last year and they did really well for me. I planted three tubers in a large container and got over 50 good sized spuds back.

Thanks for showing the video. It really makes the allotment come to life. Glad i've found your blog again.


glosterwomble said...

Hi Jo, nice to hear from you again. Let me know when you have your plot and we'll work out a good hourly rate for D's dad to come and help!! :)
Hope you have a good growing year this year!

Tim said...

Hi gw! How I envy your level ground, website design skills, and freedom from horsetail!

Phacelia's a brill plant. I've also used it as a green manure, and would highly recommend leaving a patch to flower (bees and moths just go crazy for it!).

All the best,
Tim (tishop T.)

glosterwomble said...

Thanks for your kind comments Tim. I'll try that with the Phacelia.

Esther Montgomery said...


I felt nostalgic looking at your allotment photos.

We had an allotment. It was wonderful - on a hill, with great views out to see - and a shed.

Then the council built on it.


Esther Montgomery

Paul and Melanie said...

Looking good Mr Womble! You've given me a great idea for my spud trenches too, we've got a shreder bag full of paper, I'd love to see someone trying to dig up my potatos to piece together my credit card statements! ;)

glosterwomble said...

Thank you Mr Cuke, yes it would be interesting to see someone piece together the shredded statement! I'm not sure how well our method will work but it's worth a try!