Allotment tasks – 20/21 August 2011

22 August 2011

Allotment tasks completed this past weekend:

  • planted out last Brussels sprout plant, stunted little plant nurtured back at the greenhouse after the rests the plants went in last month
  • netted sprout bed
  • weeded sprouts bed
  • fed slugs put out more slug pellets in cabbage and sprout beds
  • picked 4 lbs of runner beans, a few peas and the remaining broad beans
  • pulled up broad beans and part-weeded bed

To do:

  • figure out where to transplant strawberries
  • er, more weeding, everywhere


17 May 2011

Who’s that looking out from a window in Windsor Castle?…

New neighbours

25 April 2011

Our allotments have new neighbours:

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Darracott Moor wind farm

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Fullabrook Down wind farm

Likely to be a more common sight in our parts. We’re in an area designated for wind farm development. It does blow a bit – the wind that is.

Unless we start switching out lights, not buying plasma screen TVs, DAB radios and other gadgets we don’t need, we need more power generation.

In the current climate of skewed economics and lack of a national plan, short of nuclear (too expensive, 20 years in development and, er, Fukushima), tidal (booted into touch), offshore wind (expensive to bring the power onshore), solar (inefficiencies) or biomass (local plant NIMBYed), we’re stuck with wind with all its visual intrusiveness and inefficiencies.

There is a better way: small scale, renewable, community owned and operated generation. All it takes is a bit of thought and the will to live next door to a power station.


17 April 2011

Briefly, today, I sowed:

  • runner beans – Scarlet Emperor and White Emergo
  • peas – Petit Pois and Little Marvel
  • cucumber – Marketmore
  • Common thyme
  • basil – Aroma 4
  • Curly parsley

My “love apples”

3 April 2011

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A couple of weeks after sowing, I’ve got several tomato varieties on the go and some yet to germinate. Golden Queen, which strangely produce yellow fruit, were only a few days behind the old standards Moneymaker and Gardeners’ Delight.

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Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my precious Zuckertraube to kick off. These took some time last year. I recall a strike rate of about 1/4.

Some of these “heirloom” varieties can be a bit finnickety. The fruits are delicious, but what’s the betting I get none?


3 April 2011


Fellow allotment holder Jim, subject of frequent posts here, is currently in North Devon District Hospital.

I’m told Jim is suffering from bleeding ulcers and is under observation for the weekend.

All of us at the allotments wish Jim a speedy recovery and hope to see him back holding court very soon.

Answer me this…

28 March 2011

Third place (second losers)

What was name of the former doctor in the Goodies?

What wheat is traditionally used in pasta?

Yes. Quiz night.

Once every three or so months, anywhere from 50 to 120 colleagues plus spouses, partners and ringers assemble at the Barnstaple rugby club for charity quiz night.

Thanks to quizmaster Dave and everyone who takes part, we’ve raised over £11,000 over the years for local charities, including about £250 the other night for St John’s in Braunton.

Though it occasionally descends into drink-assisted farce, it’s a good nature evening full of banter and Dave’s bad jokes. On this occasion, Dave’s distinctive Black Country twang was a source of merriment.

Dave usually chooses an appropriate fancy dress theme, to go along with the chosen charity. Though there’s been patchy efforts more recently, there was pretty good participation this time. Who could turn down the “doctors and nurses” theme? The Dr Harold Shipman team went down well.

For four years, our team has on and off fought for prominence only to fall just short of top dog. That’s a bitter pill. Without being too big-headed (well, perhaps very big headed), I’m used to winning at work quizzes. As a representative of HMG in foreign parts, my office mates usually cleaned up in social club quizzes much to irritation of our defence forces colleagues.

Well, we fell short again on Friday. Let down in the music round and playing our joker in the wrong round. Third place on a tie break question.

What year was Coca-cola first available in bottles? (Nearest answer wins) We guessed 1901 (1894 is correct).

The Goodies doctor? Graham Garden, of course.

Pasta wheat? Durum, naturally.