Update 14 March 2014

14 March 2015

Sad news that we’ve experienced another round of thefts from sheds.

Meanwhile, I’ve dug about one-third of the plot and started to warm up the earth in preparation for planting out onion sets. (And, garlic, once the bulbs arrive.)

I’ve got potatoes ready to go, but I’m a bit concerned that frost is still a risk so will wait another couple of weeks before plating.


Plot update

11 March 2015

Photos from last week, but already an improvement…

More photos as digging and preparing continues.


Before photos

1 March 2015

Here’s some photos I took on 25 October 2014, the weekend I took over plot 96 at Spital Farm allotments.

You can see that the plot is overgrown with ground cover. There’s a few rows of old broad beans. Generally it was in good shape for a plot that hadn’t been regularly tended for a year or so.

Later in the week, I’ll post more photos showing how far I’ve come clearing the site.


Newspaper plant pots

28 February 2015

The move from Devon to Oxfordshire was minus lots of plastic pots and other gardening paraphernalia. All replaceable, was my thinking. Anyway, the removers strictly speaking wouldn’t take pots or other “soiled” contents as we were going in to store.

At this end, I’d thought make my own pots. After seeing the price of those fancy plant pot makers, thoughts turned to papier mache or using flour and water glue.

To my great surprise today, Google came up with the excellent YouTube tutorial above on turning newspaper into biodegradable pots, ideal for seedlings.

This afternoon I turned out 20 or so. Unfortunately, all those Saturday papers I’d save had been binned by the other half.  So, today’s travel sections was sacrificed and the sports section will follow once I’ve had a chance to read it.

tomato plants

I’ve started out with two varieties of tomato – Sweet Million and Zuckertraube. I’ll save Gardeners’ Delight and Moneymaker for the football and rugby pages. (Notice the recycled in trays from our office move.)

Broad beans

Meanwhile, I’ve sown Masterpiece Green Longpod broad beans. As this is my first year in the new allotment, I’m not sure how broad bean and other legume seeds survive if direct sown. Back in Devon, direct sown might as well have been fed direct to mice.

 


I heart my allotment…

10 June 2013

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From my allotment…

You can see the sea. Or, at least the Bristol Channel.

On a clear day, Exmoor is visible to the east. Pop your head over the hedge and there’s a view of Dartmoor.

It’s a peaceful place. Many days, I’m a lone allotmenteer. My accompaniment is singing blackbirds, swooping swallows, the odd pheasant and occasional high flying buzzard.

Sometimes, there is the interruption of tractors, motorcycles or cars. But, we’re without the constant drone of traffic.

More disruptive are strimmers and other lazy people’s tools.

Me? I’m hardcore. All done by hand. Digging, weeding and cutting: all back, shoulders and ibuprofen.

And, when I have company it’s great to down tools for ten minutes or so to discuss your uncooperative onions, composting tips or whatever’s going on in the village.

For a couple of months, frozen ground or Atlantic storms mean Sunday is spent on the sofa rather then hacking away at clay. Come spring, whenever Mother Nature decides that might be, my crooked wheelbarrow can be heard rumbling through the village up to my plot.

The fresh veg is nice. But, the time to think, the fresh air, the gossip. In equal measure these mean I heart my allotment.


iPodolatory – 3 June 2013

3 June 2013

Tunes on the way to work this morning:


Peas and beans and peat free

1 June 2013

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Thanks to the late Spring and general lethargy, I’ve been a bit behind on sowing seeds this year. There are potatoes and broad beans up at the allotment about which I’ll blog soon.

Back at the greenhouse, peas and beans have made a slow start. The runner beans are left over White Emperor which last year succumbed to rain, slugs and 2012’s overall rubbishness. Given that the season is “two weeks behind” according to something I heard on the radio, it’s not too late for the runners. At least, they have a home to go to: dug, and fed last weekend.

Keeping the beans company both in the greenhouse and in the legume trench are Ambassador peas. These are another left over from the 2012 apocalypse. I found another variety in my seed stash – Karina – but opted to go with Ambassador which, given the vote of confidence, have kicked off nicely.

(Note the toilet roll approach to sowing though I’m still getting used to the narrower diameter tubes.

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Together with another run of peas, today was brassica sowing day: broccoli, cabbage and Brussels. Though brassicas tend to do well up at the allotment, this is all a bit of a punt. Most of the seeds are near the “use by” date and I’ve planted a bit late in the season.

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Of the three, I’m holding out for broccoli. That’s handy as it’s one of my favourite vegetables even though I swear my mum put it in front of us for 100 days in a row one summer.

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This the first year of using coir as my general planting out compost. I do try to stay with peat free though I’m not too fussed about organic or otherwise. Coir was the only type on offer at my last garden centre trip. As far as I remember, it’s ground up coconut husks or something like that. It seems to hold moisture quite well. Let’s see if it’s providing decent nutrients.


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