Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Parsnips & Butternut Squash

My brother-in-law phoned last night to say he had a couple of butternut squash over did I want them, I said yes leave them on the seat next to the shed. So lunchtime I popped down with the two I had grown (the two vertically in line in the photo) and planted them with his two (Horizontally in line in the photo) into a year old composted manure that had been sitting in Flower Buckets.  

I dug over and weeded the soil around and will continue and perhaps cover in cardboard on later visits, I hope to keep ahead of the squash as they take over the lower area of plot 1.

At home I have once again set up Parsnip seeds to chit on damp kitchen paper in a plastic container left in the dark under the stairs, so that I can start them off in loo rolls and get some more planted. I so have to do this very much earlier next year.

Monday, 18 June 2018

A More Tidy Greenhouse

I removed the trays and modules and moved everything growing down from the second to the third level down thus allowing more light in.  Using all three levels of tray support only really works early season when you are getting things going, and there is really no mileage in leaving it in there this time of year.   

I've sown beetroots into the loo rolls where there has been no germination.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

View From The Greenhouse Door

Rain stops on the plot play today, so a review of the Greenhouse feels in order.

Top Shelf small dwarf and pot tomatoes Micro Tom, Red Robin, Baiconi Red and Minibel together with Burpless Cucumbers 

2nd Shelf Maskotka Tomatoes, 4 Tiny Tim Tomatoes in the Pop Bottle Propagator, Beetroots in loo rolls, Marrows, Butternut Squash, Marrow, Marketmore Cucumbers, Marigolds.  

The third shelf really needs clearing and everything on the second shelf moved down as I will have more dwarf Tomatoes to put in there once they have been potted up. 

Balconi Red Tomato, MiniBel Tomato, two tomatoes with no labels Doh! I have forgotten which ones they are! Two buckets of Leeks and two of Spring Onions.

Nearly Done Moving

Saturday Morning I spent trimming up all the tomatoes and giving them a Comfrey feed 

Saturday afternoon my future son-in-law and I removed the last of the bulky items from my allotment at Spencer Road apart from the shed. Therein lies the problem as the two guys that I knew who had large enough vans to move it no longer have large vans. 

So now I'm torn, do I find a man and van or see if I can sell the shed to someone on the plot and put the money towards a new shed on the new plot?

Thursday, 14 June 2018


The tomatoes in the back garden are doing incredibly well and growing at a much faster rate than those on the allotment. Looking at them I feel a tidy up and trim will be in order especially as with the flowers now coming I will need to get to the surface of the soil to feed  them, a job for the weekend me thinks. 

The Mini and Micro pot tomatoes in the Space Saver greenhouse are also doing really well and there are little toms already forming and I'm guessing that these will be in the running for first red tomato this year.

Next year I'm defiantly going to do more small pot tomatoes in the greenhouses down on the allotment. 

I've given some away to family who are growing them in pots in their kitchens. Slowly I'm turning them into gardeners they just don't know it yet

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Compost Corner

Picked up a load of grass cuttings from my sister to take down to the allotment to feed Daleks 2 & 3, she just had to show me the source of the cuttings! 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Watering Visit

A swift watering visit and John ambled up with a couple of plants in his hands, two more cucumber plants that already have flowers on them

Would you like them?  Of course I would!  I'm always happy to take excess plants when people have them, I would rather find space than have them join a compost heap. 

As recorded here, I have not had a great deal of success with my own market more and Bupless growing efforts this year and have re sown a batch of both hoping for a later and perhaps extended harvest

The side panel from the ex - dog cage was quickly added to the side of the exiting climbing frame and the two plants given a new home on Plot 1A

Something has been having a go at the Cabbage in the corner by the path

I looked but I could not find the culprit, so another sprinkle of environmentally friendly slug pellets were applied 

The Runners are slowly making their way up the framework and there were a couple of beans that had lost their way so they were unwound and redirected up the bamboo they were supposed to be climbing. 

Many more apples on the trees this year.

The Handy Tiller and Petrol Generator that I bought a few years back and have been sitting in the shed doing nothing were put up on the local Facebook selling channels over the weekend and turned back into cash that will probably go towards a new shed on the plot, something I could actually use.

Meanwhile at home the bucket of Radish are getting larger every day in in around two weeks time I should be able to harvest this batch, only one strip on the plot is still showing so give it another week and I shall sow the next flower bucket of Radish especially as the price per bag has gone up in Tesco by about 50% in the last couple of weeks

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Weekend Update

Saturday 9th June 2018

Committee Meeting on Spencer Road today and I moved a load more slabs and kerb stones plus items that will be useful from Spencer Road to Mill Green 

Sweetcorn beds uncovered de slugged and a sprinkle of environmental pellets applied in readiness for tomorrows plot visit 

Sunday 10th June 2018

Lark sweetcorn planted 

Normally the corns would be twice this size and look much more robust, It looks to be another disappointing year for sweetcorn at the moment, I've never known Lark sweetcorn to grow so slowly as it has the last two years. It wasn't just me that noticed it last year, I don't know if its the crazy weather we have been having the seeds or what?  


Really happy with the development of the Cucumbers that were donated to me by John, my Marketmore had germination problems and I have sown a load more seed and I also only got three Burpless germinate this year. Hopefully the re sown seed with germinate and flourish and I can set up a couple more frames for them to grow up on the new plot and get a later and longer harvest.  


Not planned this year, another gift from John as he had great germination rates and an excess, but they appear to be doing well at the moment. 


Will soon need some ties back to the wall  

Tomatoes & Radish 

Tomatoes are not doing as well as those in the back garden in the compost, so I gave then some comfrey tea to buck them up a bit, some coffee grounds and other fertilisers are in order as this bed was fallow last year and had a layer of spent MPC and coir added as a soil conditioner. In hindsight I should have applied to chicken pellets and or Blood fish and Bone as I didn't get any manure this year.

Two strips of Thompson & Morgan French Breakfast radishes seed tapes were sowed last week, one either side of the bed. That on the left was a pack with weed supressing technology and that on the right was a year older with a sow by date of 2017 and was just a standard tape. It look like the weed supressing tape is supressing germination as none were showing on the left where as many have germinated on the right  


I've been saving the small Coke bottles, I cut the bottom off then puncture all around it and the cap and use the bulb planter to make a hole for it to go into. This enables me to water at depth within the bucket as trying to water from the top with coir is not very effective. I fill another bottle with sand to use as a plug to stop slugs taking up residence and evaporation 

Soft Bricks

The sand laid in metal trays in the greenhouse had dried sufficiently that a huge number of soft bricks could be made using milk bottles. The sand from another three old ones that had weathered and cracked were emptied into the trays to dry to fill another empty bottle next visit.  I find these so useful for holding down weed membrane and netting. 

Community Spirit 

A big thank you to Wally, John for helping with clearing the weeds for one of our new plot holders who was making great progress clearing her plot until she managed to get second degree burns on the hands and arms. She can't work her plot at the moment due to risk of infection, and as the Allotment Managers are due to visit we didn't want to give them any excuse to serve her with a non cultivation notice. Thanks to Keith for lending me his strimmer and offering some weed membrane, all you guys Rock!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Marrows Cucumbers and Squash

Pot up a couple of Butternut squash
Pot Up five Tomato Maskotka
Sow Four Long Marrows

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Update Plot 1 & 1A

I love this time of year when the rain finally stops and the sun is in the sky at 5 in the morning and I can get up, have breakfast and get over to the Allotment early Sunday morning to get on with things that need doing.

I cut the grass in the back garden yesterday afternoon and ended up with three black sacks of grass and I had a food bucket with lid of shredded paper. 

Also on the wheelbarrow was my flask of coffee, bottle of cold fizzy water and two battery strimmers as I just knew that with the rain and hot weather we have had over the last week that the weeds would have shot up another 100 - 150mm I was not wrong!

In the spirit of trying to do a monthly video update very few still photographs, but here is a video of the state of play when I arrived and left the plot today. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

Planning and Reviewing June In Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last five years for June

2013 - Potting up tomatoes & peppers, potatoes, cabbages, sprouts and sweet corn, dug beds 7 & 8  
2014Watering system installed on Mill Green plot 1A, Potted up Tomatoes into buckets, installed bed 12, Marrows in manure covered in cardboard. Beetroots, Harvested the first bunch of Spring onions. Harvested first early potatoes from buckets. End of the month bed 13 completed, second bed of runner beans sown.         

2015 -  Not many posts in the blog for this month in this year, it was however my first Vlog from the plot. first year trying French beans the family didn't like them and it they have not been grown again since. Potted tomatoes from vending machine cups into pots that were taken to the grow house on the plot. First year growing Marketmore cucumbers. Sweetcorn planted on Fathers day, First year for successfully growing a whole bed of Parsnips. First year for peas. Cherries on the cherry trees. Sent two Crimson Crush tomato plants.   

2016 - Very cold June. Grow House heaving with plants, Burpless Cucumber transplanted into pots, Tomatoes potted on from vending machine cups, Sprouts failed and I had to buy some. Third sowing of beetroots, First year for celery. Flooding at Wallington Railway Bridge
Second sowing of sweetcorn due to slow germination then the first sowing germinated after the first ! Drying Coffee Grounds

Mill Green - Runner beans planted out, sweetcorn planted out into beds mulched with cut comfrey, Sprouts planted out,    

Spencer Road - Onions, Potatoes, Beetroots and infrastructure works. 

Home - Tomatoes finally get transplanted into flower buckets.  

2017 - Due to wife being very ill and in hospital a couple of times, everything was late and many things just didn't happen. Sweetcorn was sown about a month later than usual, so were Beetroots, and the first early spud in buckets experiment for SoilFixer was also a month late. Very large double size Dalek picked up off Freecycle for Mill Green  

As one expects there are items that are common to the month, it's interesting looking back at the work on my first plot and comparing that with the second. Most certainly having a plot to deal with has meant that the progress on the second plot has not been so swift.

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in May and what has slipped

To Do List  

·                     As much infrastructure works as the weather will allow - Not enough over the three two months due to the weather.
·                     Weed & Level the Shed and Greenhouse Area - Started but need to be completed
·                     Remove the Trees from along the wall  - TBD too late to burn now
·                     Lay weed membrane over the whole plot - Now nearly all covered 
·                     Collect the last of the slabs from Spencer Road - TBD
·                     Lay the slabs for the shed and Greenhouse - TBD  
·                     Erect the greenhouse - TBD
·                     Make Air Onion raised bed frame - Completed
·                     Move Comfrey Pipe from Spencer Road to Mill Green - TBD
·                     Rhubarb Bed to be created - TBD
·                     Stockpile timber and keep dry ready to burn next year - Ongoing


·                     Cut more path weed membrane - Ongoing 
·                     Make a Spring Green planting membrane sheet - New 


·                     Purchase vent opener for new greenhouse.- TBD

Week 1
Asparagus - stop harvesting - No Harvest First Year
Week 1
Week 1
Week 1
Week 1
Week 1
Week 1
Week 2
Spring Onions - sow fortnightly - Purplette
Gherkins - Transplant
Week 2
Week 2
Week 2
Swede - thin seedlings in stages to 25cm apart
Week 2
Week 2
Turnip - begin to harvest
Week 3 on
Week 3
Week 3
Spring Onions - Long White Ishikura
Week 3
Week 4
Cabbage (summer) - begin to harvest
Week 4

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Watching Growth

With constant rain and thunder and lightning storms, mixed in with work, life the universe and everything, there has been little time and indeed point in trying to get down to the allotment. 

I don't have anything under cover down there to water so my attention this morning was to water what's in the space saver greenhouse and the coldframe.

The Micro Tom has many more flowers open and many more forming since last week when I posted about the first flower and I'm looking forward to what appears may be an early harvest from this little plant. It's done quite a bit of growing in a week and I really must start feeding it now it's got flowers. 

The growth on the Radish over a 24 hour period is very noticeable and hopefully it will not be very long before I start seeing the roots developing and bulking up. 

Radishes are fast growing and are normally ready to harvest in about four weeks from sowing. So my intention is to grow a tray every two weeks in fertile moisture-retentive soils throughout the summer for crunchy salads.

There is a winter variety called Mooli and I think I may look into what other winter varieties are available and extend the cropping season for as long as possible. Next year I will be sowing from the end of Jan / early Feb. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Radish Update

Friday I sowed a cut down flower bucket full of Radish, using the jig on the left of the bucket. I was very happy to find this, when I went out the garden this morning. Still time for the few in the gaps to germinate.  

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Rotary Soil Sieve Update

Last year I found that the Clarke CRS400 Rotary Soil Sieve has a price range of between £64.66 - £38.32 when undertaking a google search, which was mind boggling that companies get away with selling it for so much.

Tool-net have it for £24.94 + Vat = £29.93 then when you add £6.99 for UK Mainland delivery and they apply VAT not only to the item but also on the Post & Packaging it comes to £38.32.

After some searching & research I found the Apex Rotary Soil Sieve Compost Sieve Mesh Riddle from Germany which could be bought via ebay for £34.98 including delivery.

So £3.34 cheaper than the lowest UK price and shipped in from over seas, absolutely crazy but I do like a bargain, and that's equivalent to six packs of seed with change in the Wyevale 50p seed sale later in the year.

I did inform Clarke & Tool-net via email of the price difference and that I was thinking of getting the alternative product from Germany and suggested that they may wish to provide me with the Clarke CRS400 for comparison.

Funny I never got a reply from either company! 

The Apex appears to be no longer available on ebay, but the good news is that there is a new version The BMC and it's another £2 cheaper than the Apex and £10.25 cheaper than the Clarke.

I never did obtain a review product from Clarke so that I could compare the quality with the Apex, however I suspect that fundamentally The Clarke, Apex and BMC are all the same product with different branding and paint colour. 

I should mention that these are great for removing stones and for dealing with your compost if you want to riddle it once its ready.