Monday, April 18, 2011


We didn't make it to the allotment last weekend, and as a result the plot was covered in weeds again, so I spent half an hour weeding while the kids played with water.

Having emptied the trug'o'weeds into the compost heap and dug out some more couch grass I got on with planting out the broad beans which were too small last time. The beans that are in seems to have been nibbled by insects, nothing too drastic and looking around neighbouring plots have the same problem.

A few fairly leggy Broccoli plants went in  too, in the area where I'd planted parsnips which didn't germinate. These will probably be replaced by some of the better ones growing in the greenhouse, I'm not sure what made me plant them other than not wanting to waste seedlings...

Leeks are up now, really tiny compared to the seedlings I have growing in the greenhouse. Planting seeds too early was not such a good idea. I should just get away with the Borlotti beams and sweetcorn in the greenhouse, but next year I need to set up a planting calendar.

No showing from the spuds yet. Hopefully I didn't under-chit them.

Just before leaving I weedkilled pretty much all the non-cultivated parts of the plot to keep weeds down and prepare for digging in a week or so when I'm on holiday.

At home, sowing loads of seeds-mainly flowers. I'm using up old packs that are past their plant-by date, putting several seeds into each pot to see if I get any results.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

First spuds are in

The early spuds went in on Saturday, along with some broad beans. The bed they went into was double dug and manured about a month ago, then covered in plastic while the spuds chitted. I was expecting it to be pretty dry, but the earth was very damp so I forked over the row before planting and didn't bother raking. Three kilos of Rocket earlies did two and a half rows spuds about a foot apart, just dropped into a troweled hole about six inches deep.

Broad beans carried on at the end of the half row. I don't know if beans should share a bed with potatoes but planting is driven by availability of space so this year it'll all go where there is space avaiable when seedlings are ready to come out of the greenhouse. There are another dozen or so plants almost ready.

There were a few bits of couch grass growing from inch-long bits of root which I hadn't picked out while digging/forking. The allotment won't be seeing a rotovator until it's been hand dug to get the couch grass out!

The weedkiller has effective, leaving a swathe of death which marks the next bed to be dug. I'll nip down one evening and windmill some more; once the weeds are red the newly weedkilled bit can go under plastic till it gets dug.

Seeded the onion bed-need to hoe it next time. Dug some very deep rooted weeds out of the seedbed where my early sowings are not doing much.

Plenty of seedlings in the greenhouse: Borlotti beans and sweetcorn will need beds digging next month.

Next job:dig!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Slash and burn

A couple of short stings on the plot. Friday was an inset day for the kids, so I took the day off and we went to the allotment in the morning. I dug out the small patch of raspberry canes while the kids dug holes and went to talk to Brian's chickens. After lunch Jess and I planted Borlotti beans, broccoli, marigolds, more tomatoes and chillis.
Back at the allotment today Jake and I burnt the raspberry canes.
Garlic leaves are slightly yellowing,
Some of the white onions are ok, not much sign of growth from the red onions or shallots. No signs of germination from the leeks or parsnips yet.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Forking ell

Another afternoon spent digging couch grass out of the bed, though I now have a fully dug bed warming up under black polythene, waiting for beans later on. The garlic is growing well and the onions seem ok but they haven't really done too much. The leeks and parsnips which went in a fortnight ago haven't shown at all yet so I hope they didn't go in too early. The cloche over the leeks is pretty crap, it's sagged with the rain, I need to buy some proper cloches from ebay. The parsnip seeds are now tucked up under some fleece.

I am not an organic gardener. Roundup went on the remaining uncultivated bits at the top of the plot, including the path down the middle. This is my next bit to dig, hopefully starting on Friday unless I dig up the raspberries, much will depend on delivery of muck.

Other people's plots are really well dug over. This is not good when mine is still 75% weedscape. What will the neighbours think?

Tomatoes are germinating on the windowsill, no sign of chillis or broad beans yet. Rhubarb is doing really well.

The kids enjoyed themselves digging holes today, they'll be gutted when their 'craters' need to be filled in with muck for planting pumpkins.

Next jobs: score more free muck, dig,weed,dig, plant

Sunday, February 20, 2011

First seeds in the ground

It's probably a touch too early but today I finished off the seed bed and planted the first few rows of seeds. There are leeks under the cloches and a few rows of parsnip at the front of the bed. The kids had a go with their new child-sized fork and spade, Jess weeded her plot a little and raked it down, Jake dug holes. Little else was done, the second bed needs double digging to finish and forking over to remove couch grass roots and the parsnips could do with covering with a bit of fleece as it's still pretty cold. We met Martin from the plot next door, his large pile of muck was 60 quid delivered so I think I will be picking more up in Jon's trailer as that's a shedload of money for shite...

At home we planted a tray of tomatoes-yellow tumbling toms, red Sweet Millions (cherry), Moneymakers and Super Marmelades (beefsteaks), mainly for the greenhouse. I planted a tray of chillis too, so the invasion of the windowsills has finally begun. In the greenhouse Jake and I planted 50 odd broad beans for the allotment as the bed they're going into isn't ready yet.

Next job..digging. Must get the second bed ready for the broad beans within the next three weeks.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Another hard day at the allotment

Double dug about half of the second bed, stripped out a few raspberries amd leveled the end of the first bed to become a seed bed.

I dug in all the compost we picked up last weekend so we're going to need another load, ideally delivered unless I can get hold of a larger trailer.
The garlic is coming up quite well and a few onions are sprouting too, first signs of new crops, exciting. We will be planting leeks in the new seed bed this weekend once we've been to Norcuts to buy the kids some child-size tools.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Last week's visit

Jees and I went down on Saturday afternoon, planting red onions and shallots to fill the first bed. I also knocked up a very dubious compost heap out of three pallets. The heap is pretty badly constructed and will need rebuilding.

We were only there for an hour and a half, not really long enough to do much.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Allotment plans

First stage- weed and dig over existing beds.

Not straying too far, just sorting out what is already there ready for planting.

Build compost bin from pallets.

Next stage- second bed at the front of the plot. Lots of weeds but some has been covered in polythene so should be ok. Want to have this done by the end of February, incorporating the leaf mould I already have at home.

Next- kids' plot- clear of weeds, prepare areas to plant some of Jake's tomatoes and some pumpkins. Kids can then sow flowers around pumpkins for a nice looking plot- try to choose companion flowers for the rest of the crops.

Weed strawberries, buy straw.

Clear area between kids' plot and blackberries for tomatoes.

Next- clear area between compost heap and raspberries for sweet corn this will become the soft fruit area next year.

By this time all the existing beds should be clear.

Plant next lot of crops
First bed- last 1/4 Not sure yet. Likely to be some potatoes but it hasn't been maured. Could also do some climbing beans put it's at the SE corner of the plot so they will shade other crops.

Second bed- Peas and broad beans, beans to dry.

Kids Bed- pumpkins and some tomatoes

Gap between raspberries and compost- sweetcorn.

Tomato seedlings- start some now to raise in the greenhouse, more in late February/early March for outdoors. Also get some beef tomato seeds to grow in greenhouse, raised bed and allotment to see where works best.

Pumpkin seedlings

Peas in gutters.

Dried bean sedlings

Sweet pea

Chillis for greenhouse patio and raised beds.

Next allotment project
Remove the raspberry canes, gaining a bed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Double digging is doubleplus hardwork

I cheated by (deeply) forking over the first bit of the bed. That seemed to be ok at fishing out weeds but couch grass appeared like exploding spaghetti in the rest so deep digging was called for. Dig, fish out handful of roots, turn soil, pick out the bits you didn't see first time. Repeat till end of row.Fork bottom of trench.goto 10. One dustbin and two trugs of weeds, carpet amd crap later the top quarter of the bed is done. It's a bit higher than the rest but needs leveling so it will come out roughly flat.

I'm concerned that I've left some fragments of couch grass in there. Time will tell, I'll spot weed with fork or roundup later in the year if weeds come up.

Garlic and white onions in, reds and shallots to go in next weekend, leaving about one row for leeks later in the spring

Not sure about the rest of the bed yet. Too square for the amount of broad beans or peas I want to plant.

Down the plot

first bed 3/4 done., originally uploaded by mike1727.

After two years on the waiting list I finally got am allotment. It's in a bit of a state, beds needs serious weeding and digging because I don't think it has been properly worked for a while. There are two raspberry thickets which need to come out cos they're in the way and pretty crap canes.
Apart from that it seems fine, soil ok but a bit stony so will need manure, probably in the autumn now.

I need a shed....