Monday, May 26, 2008

Catch up

I think it shows that at this time of year we're all just so busy at the allotment that we don't have time to update our blogs, I subscribe to several and there has been a noticeable slowing down of postings as the spring leaps forward. It's the end of the month, bank holiday Monday and this is my first post since last bank hol at the beginning of May.
We've been up at the plot loads and things are looking great (apart from the endless weeds!) Watering duties have increased and loads more plants have gone in. D has been putting in lots of ornamental stuff on plot 2 and I've finally got the climbing beans in (Borlotti, French and runners) put loads more brassicas in under the cage and also put a few of the army of courgettes in.

A lot of our time has been taken up with other things including going to 2 top RHS flower shows... Malvern and Chelsea.

As I mentioned in my last post I volunteered to help run a stand at the Malvern Spring Garden show. I joined the "Gloucestershire Organic Gardening Group" (GOGG ) in February. They are a great group which holds regular monthly meetings and organise loads of different events including the potato weekend that I mentioned in a previous post on here. As well as helping to man the stand, which was great fun, I also helped to set it up on the Wednesday evening with another member of the group, it was a really fantastic experience because when I arrived the BBC were filming right in front of our marquee and we saw loads of famous horticultural people inc. Carol Klein, Joe Swift, Rachael De Thame, Jekka McVicar etc. After we had set up our stand we were able to walk around the showground and see all the exhibits and show gardens. As most people had finished setting up the place was really empty and it was if we had been given VIP preview tickets, we were even present when the RHS judges presented the medals to the show gardens!

Sue Jollans' (Gloucestershire designer) garden won Gold and 'Best in Show' at Malvern

I also decided that I wanted to go to the Chelsea flower show this year, I always love watching it on TV and always regret not going. We stayed with a great friend in London and went to the show on Friday afternoon. The weather was beautiful and we had a fab time, we even managed to witness Alan Titchmarsh filming a piece for the later BBC programme.

Alan Titchmarsh preparing for filming at Chelsea

The show gardens are what Chelsea is most famous for and I have to say they really are amazing to see, it's hard to believe that they haven't been there for years. My favourite was Andy Sturgeons Cancer Research Garden which won a very deserved gold medal.

Andy Sturgeon's Cancer Research garden Gold winner

As I finish writing this it is once again tipping it down, so much for bank holidays! I've just received a Golden Hop through the post from 'Crocus' and I'm dying to get to the plot to plant it let alone all the other plants that are preventing us from using our patio! Until next time ...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bank Holiday weekend

Things have been hotting up with sowing seeds, all the frost tender seeds have now been sown (indoors) Courgette, pumpkin, squash, (several dif varieties of each) Borlotti bean, french bean and runner bean. We really need to buy another heated propagator as we're battling to get things into it, germinated and out so the next thing can go in! Seedlings and young plants have taken over the windowsills, the lower patio and table and all 3 of our small greenhouses.We managed to get up to the plot on Bank Holiday Monday, the weather was ok for a while but eventually rained us off around 4pm. We did however manage to build one of the brassica cages which I've been desperate to do. The idea is that it fits exactly over one of the beds and provides netting protection from pests but is easy to move off to get in and weed or harvest produce. We haven't finished stapling the netting to it yet, a quick hours job in the week maybe.
New brassica cage

The site was really busy with at least 7 plots being worked (that's busy for our site!) Sisters Heather and Hazel who are new to the site this year have thrown themselves into their plot with huge gusto and are slowly starting to put the rest of us to shame, today was no exception with the arrival of their latest addition 'Roger the Scarecrow' !

Hazel, Roger and Heather

Through out this last week I've been frantically sowing different seeds including starting the seed trial that I have been included in. I was chuffed to bits to be included in the 'Gardener's World Seed Trial 2008'. I'm really not sure how I did get involved in it but I received an official looking BBC package with the 2 varieties of toms that I will be trialling and the questionnaires to follow the progress. Exciting stuff! God I hope they grow ok!

Gardeners World Seed Trial 2008

I owe a rather belated thank you to Paul and Melanie at 'GROWING OUR OWN' for awarding me with an award of excellence for this blog, thank you, thank you, thank you!! It's really nice that people enjoy your blog, I now have to pass on this award to another blog and after much deliberation I have decided to award it to a recently discovered blog 'PLOT 61a'. Tim is developing a beautifully tended plot and enjoying the wildlife in the process, it's a great blog.

I have a busy week ahead of me, I've volunteered to help in the organic marquee at the RHS Malvern Spring Gardening Show. This will involve helping to set up the stand on Wednesday night and then to man the stand on Sunday (with others) and then help take it down later. I will tell more after the event. I need lots of strength this week!