Plot update

11 March 2015

Photos from last week, but already an improvement…

More photos as digging and preparing continues.


Backfill and backache

31 May 2009

The hottest day of the year, perfect weather for digging a pea trench. I got the usual jokes about shallower trenches in the war, digging for oil etc.

This afternoon, as the mercury touched 25°c, I was a lone allotmenteer (mad dogs etc), left hacking at clay and rock, all for a nice moist rootbed for petit pois. Trench dug, cardboard laid, wet newspaper added, grass clipping and poo dumped on top. Back filling left as an evening job for the week: perhaps when the weather cools later after Wednesday.

Consolation came in the form of a bath and a beer. Peas will follow in about 8 weeks.

A year on

1 March 2009

A year’s worth of digging. Still more to do.


Compare with this time last year:


Onions and garlic looking good after the worst winter could throw at them.


Broad beans (under cover) three plants have poked their heads up.


Numb fingers

2 February 2009

It probably wasn’t a particularly bright idea to go digging yesterday.


On the other hand, it was rather fortunate. The easterly breeze – aka gale – that’s blown continental air – aka frigid temperatures and snow laden clouds – on top of Blighty, whipped my carefully anchored cloche from covering the broad bean bed.


Damage rectified, I lasted about hour in freezing conditions. My core stayed warm, but feeling in my fingers disappeared. Still, an hour’s digging in the circumstances was a result.


In case I forgot to mention, those beds that haven’t been dug are covered by old carpet. In other words, I’ve very nearly tackled the whole allotment, or at least half-an-allotment.

I’m setting a target of the end of May to finish off the digging, That should allow me to fit in all the planned planting for this year.

In other news, my potatoes arrived last week and have started to chit in the spare room. After last year’s success, Desiree make a return. For the earlies, I’ve gone with Dunluce which look like being another very quick cropper – to beat the blight.


Onions and garlic are doing well despite the – up until this week – alternating sunny/frosty and mild/wet/windy weather.

Also doing well was Jim who popped up briefly to feed his chickens. No other mad people up at the allotments.

Trench warfare

28 June 2008


Digging the pea trench…


And, the after shot: cardboard, grass clippings, wet newspaper and horse manure filled the trench. All I need now is pea plants.


Main crop potatoes have flowered.


Playing hooky

22 April 2008


Honest, boss.

My gut was aching all night. This morning, I swear, I called god on the big white phone. Stomach virus, that’s it. I had a stomach virus.

No, my face isn’t red because I was sunning myself up at the allotment. It was all that retching that gave me the glowing face.

Yes, I feel better now, but I’m not sure when the vomiting and nausea and diarrhea and stuff will come back. Could happen any time and, no, it’s not related to the weather… though, come to think of it…

(Well, it sounds a better story than I booked a day off at the last moment to go digging, doesn’t it.)

P.S. – sorry for the awful picture. It was the stomach cramps.

Gardening: old skool

20 April 2008

“Glad to see you doing it by the book” commented Bill as he watched Barry and I struggle digging out the confused and coagulated weed roots.

Digging, old skool.


Well, as I explained to Eamon yesterday, it’s a modified version of the single dig. Dig a trench; collect the spoil; fill the trench from behind; fill the last trench with your original spoil.


Except, in my version, I’m digging out the trench spade-by-spade (actually fork-by-fork) into my barrow and spending several minutes picking out the roots and chopping up the soil. After filling the barrow, the spoil is tipped back in the trench.


It’s bloody hard work. But, it could save forever picking out ground elder and doc weeds. And, as I see it, it’s giving the soil some good structure.


Digging, old skool.

Compare: some of the neighbours.


Blue overalls at number 7: rotovating and mechanical tilling; fake looking soil though you have to admire his horse poo.


George, the newcomer: more rotovating by a helper, no less; benefited from the previous tenant’s plastic covering; fake soil, might as well be astroturf; no callouses from digging, no back ache or pins and needles down the arms.

Give me proper, man-powered digging.

Gardening, old skool.


Just ask my ‘helper’.