Monday, 1 June 2020

Planning and Reviewing June In Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last seven 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

2018 - Community work, clearing weeds from plot 4 for Sarah who has burn injuries and can't work her plot.  Crimson Crush & Rapunzel tomatoes planted on the plot.  Lark Sweetcorn planted, Moving slabs and kerb stones from Spencer Road to Mill Green, Sold my Handy Tiller & Generator that I had bought and had never used, Trimming tomatoes and giving a Comfrey feed, Butternut Squash in the bottom of Plot 1. Clearing Spencer Road Allotment and bringing items to Mill Green. Sowed more carrots, Spring Onions in cut down flower buckets, 24th June Cucumbers transplanted, Fixing the chairs, Comfrey pipe from Spencer Road plot set up on Mill Green, Shed maintenance replacing feather edge board, Trees from Jersey Plants Direct, 

2019 - Lots of potting up and growing in the Space Saver Greenhouse, Purchased CMH Heavy Duty Plastic Trays,  Lots of rain and flooding in the early part of the month. The contractor working on the property behind the wall cut down the trees and left branches on my shed. Lots of plums on the tree and the some bastard picked them all!  Beetroots disappointing this year wiped out by the intense heat and slugs. 24th June Butternut squash planted out, cucumbers starting to climb their framework, Trial of Nemaslug sent but they had to be stored in the fridge!, Weekend Heatwave with temperatures in 40C .Watering visits as a very dry and sunny June, Potatoes in buckets drying out very quickly, must consider toeing into the bed next year.     

Planned for 2020

Coronavirus UPDATE

Early into March I ended up self isolating because my wife is very high risk and from the looks of things we will be in isolation for a lot longer than the 12 weeks that Boris Johnson was originally talking about. 23rd March we went into Lockdown, however Allotments can still be visited as it's a form of exercise and mental relaxation and therapy, however in order to shield my wife, I have refrained from taking advantage of the lockdown loophole. 

The To Do List below will remain and be added too with fighting the weeds that will come due to the neglect. As someone who is on his plot all year round and does not leave it alone during Autumn & Winter and who uses it instead of therapy and for my mental well being it's tearing me apart not being able to get to her.

Yes I have decided my allotment is a woman, it is dealing with mother nature after all.

Three storms in February 2020 which was the wettest in recorded history, April 2020 turned out to be the sunniest in recorded history. It was as if the weather was mocking us as we were all isolating and in lockdown. There is no doubt that as the aircraft stopped flying and the cars on the roads reduced that the air quality improved, the skies looked more blue that I had seen for many a year. It's a shame we can't maintain the lack of use of polluting forms of transport. 

To Do List  

I've been very fortinate in that my Daughter Emma and Son-In-Law Andy have been visiting my plot and dealing with weeds, tidying up and installing new beds on Plot 1. They even managed to find me two new compost bins to match those I already have and have extended my Dalek Army complete with woodchip paths. 

Below is the to do list in no particular order of what has slipped because I can't get to my plot, a few items have been completed courtesy of Emma & Andy.  

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Clear Bed 2 of Cabbages and cover - TBD
  • Progress on the wall rebuild behind Shed - Contractor pulled off site due to lockdown
  • Remove and dispose of Corex on the roof - TBD once wall has been rebuilt
  • Re felt the roof of the shed - Tree removed from roof, temporary cover in place   
  • Fix the potting Bench - TBD
  • Clear the Wasp Nest in greenhouse 1A - To Be Done once the wasps have gone! 
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - clearance of weeds in current location and move when ready
  • Tidy Up the Allotment  - Courtesy of Emma & Andy 
  • Weeding - Courtesy of Emma & Andy    
  • Clear Seating Area - Courtesy of Emma & Andy 

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • As much infrastructure works as the weather wilallow - Seven Raised Beds Constructed in Feb two installed in March and waiting for areas to be dug and weeded 
  • Install the kerb edging along the bottom of Plot 1 - TBD
  • Clear the weeds and install a 600mm margin around the perimeter of the plot - Ongoing
  • Woodchip the Margin around the perimeter of the plot. When able  
  • Beds and Paths -  Four Bead and Paths installed by Emma & Andy others to be formed when I'm able to get to the allotment again.  
  • Erect the greenhouse - New Timbers to be cut and treated   
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Courtesy of Emma & Andy 
  • Remove remaining Hawthorne bushes from the wall - Removed by Wally for me what a star my plot neigbour is.  
  • Stock pile Hawthorne to dry before burning - Now covered to keep dry until September 
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Now covered to keep dry until September 
  • Planning - Ongoing
Home 
  • Planning - Ongoing
  • Catalogue Seeds - Vegetables for 2020 done just flowers remain.
  • New Cut Path Weed Membrane - Completed during April 2020   
  • New Cut Bed Weed Membrane - Ideal Isolation Job in dry weather 
  • New Cut Planting Membrane - Ideal Isolation Job need to make some squash sheets c/w watering points
Reminders
  • None at the moment.- Add when remembered.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sunday Tidy Up


A Big Thank you to my Daughter Emma and her Husband Andy for once again visiting the allotment on a very hot and sunny day and for clearing the comfrey plot that had grown so tall it had fallen over and was covering the path. All chopped up and added to each of the Daleks. Emma had me on a video call so I could watch her work and answer her questions. Once it's safe we are going out for a slap up meal as a thank you for all their help. 


That looks so much better than it did 


Andy taking a sack of weeds to the car photo from plot 1A looking down to plot 1


Flower bed next to the temporary leaf cage cleared and covered 


From Plot 1 looking up Plot 1 

I have many squash sown in the Space Saver Greenhouse that will be going down to give some harvest this year. 

Thursday, 28 May 2020

City Jungle Trellis & Sweet Potatoes


Gigantomo Tomato and Trellis added to the Bio Green City Jungle, it took quite some time to fill up the water reservoir but the level indicator in the front left corner is so useful showing you the progress and when you are going to need to top up the water. I'm going to put a cucumber plant either side of the planter so they can grow up the trellis.   


The Treasure Island Sweet Potato collection arrived today from Thompson & Morgan and there were in excellent condition unlike a number of plug plants that fellow gardeners on Facebook have been sharing recently. I think people forget that Saturday deliveries have been stopped in most areas because of a reduction in staff and a backlog of mail. During these times they need to give Thompson & Morgan a little latitude.  


The patio garden is not looking bad considering that SWMBO informed me I was not allowed to turn the patio into a substitute allotment plot whilst we are shielding her and I can't get to my plot. 

It was really useful that I had the Quadgrow, Elho Tomato Panter, Bio Green Maxitom & Bio Green City Jungle at home and had not taken them to the allotment before self isolating & lockdown started #IsolatedGardeners 

I have a long article and review of the Quadgrow planned, It was near completion when I had a hard disk failure so I'm having to re create it for posting next month, so keep an eye out or use this link to find all information re the Quadgrow  

The timber decking tiles really need replacing unfortunately they no longer sell the diagonal ones and I have already replaced those that were at the end of their life with the parallel to edge in the middle that are at least the same size on plan.


Eight flower buckets of first early spuds are doing well on the left and the rest of the flower buckets have two dwarf or mini. micro tomatoes in them apart from the two buckets in front of the broken fencing trellis which will have cucumbers planted in them.  

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Tomatoes



The tomatoes have all now been re potted into the square flower buckets. The two square flower buckets without tomatoes will have cucumbers planted in them. The first yellow flowers were seen today on the Maskoika plants.  


All the remaining mini and micro tomatoes have now been moved up from vending machine cups into pots and now occupy the top shelf of the Space Saver Greenhouse. A few extras are now on the garden furniture table as I could not turn them into compost.  

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Cucumbers & Squash



Six of each type of Winter squash sown today. I had forgotten that I had these until I saw Sean James Cameron's video today. They are ideal to be planted and allowed to take over parts of my allotment this year.

The mini toms on the top shelf of the Space Saver Greenhouse are ready for potting on into larger pots, a job for tomorrow me thinks as I can't spend too much time on my legs yet, but the leg is getting better really slowly.  


Cucumber Esmarald: - Well that was fast and 100% Germination, give them a couple of weeks and they will be ready for transplanting in the back garden. 

Monday, 25 May 2020

Is Your Plot Cultivated ?

This above illustration was drawn for Punch in the 1950s. In those days, men did wear smart clothes even in factories, often with a waistcoat and pocket watch. It was mainly men on allotments (certainly in the North or England) as women ruled the home, and man still took his role as hunter gatherer seriously and Dig for Victory and growing your own food was still very much on the public's mind following the WWII and the rationing that went on for many years after.

Society has changed a lot since then, there are more women, and young families taking up allotments. Those in flats with no garden will sometimes set aside an area for their children to play in whilst they are growing vegetables in a growing area and flowers else where, treating the allotment as a garden. Most allotments will allow BBQ but many have restrictions re having fires these days. 

Then there are those plot holders that want to create wild flower habitats, not really in the ethos of growing vegetables, and difficult to do properly without it just looking like an overgrown weedy mess that will anger serious vegetable growers that are neighbours.  

Small ponds are quite popular, however one needs to consider ensuring that animals and small children can extract themselves from the water should they fall in. Tadpoles frogs & Toads are normally the aim as they help with slug & snail control as long as one isn't using blue pellets of death. Then people forget that ponds attract mosquitoes and other biting insects so ponds are a double edged sword.  

During the lockdown there has been more pressure placed on councils and managing companies with regards waiting lists for allotments which is a good thing. Also as people on lockdown were technically allowed to exercise and visit their allotments and could not work combined with the dry weather, we have seen many plot holders who only just manage to scrape through inspections get on top of their allotments and have them more organised and weed free than we have ever seen before. 

There are a few like myself who are vulnerable or carers of vulnerable people that have had to self isolate before lockdown and will have to continue to reduce the risk after lockdown. I'm luck in that my sister in law is watering what I managed to get in before lockdown and my daughter is keeping the weeds down and putting in the infrastructure of beds and paths for me on my new plot.

 Many Associations nation wide have taken the decision to cancel plot inspections, seed swaps, association trips and annual judging competitions together with Committee meetings and Annual General Meetings

It would appear that because of the Coronavirus that site inspections in the London Borough of Sutton are not likely to take place this year as there is little way of knowing how many at risk plot holders are isolating for the full 12 weeks and beyond.

So no arguments this year about what the definition of Cultivated actually means it would appear. 

  

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Tomato Planters & Tomatoes in Buckets


So the larger plants like Gigantimo, Rapunzel & Crimson Crush are in the Tomato Planters 


And the smaller Mini, Micro, Mini Dwarf tomatoes are being allocated flower buckets. The smaller varieties are still in the Space Saver Greenhouse and they will be potted up into the pots and saucers that will become free as the tomatoes in the photo above get transplanted into their final locations.  

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Lidl Tomato Planter

I was going to buy one of these to see how it stacked up with the other Tomato Pot complete with watering reservoir but the Coronavirus and long queues put the cob wash on that.  This product look uncannily like the Bio Green Maxitom Jumbo, but I'm not going to find out this year. Perhaps I will be lucky and pick one up next year   

Friday, 22 May 2020

Bio Green Maxitom Plant Tower



The Bio Green Maxitom  Plant Tower comes in a cardboard box measuring just 250mm x 260mm x 85mm deep. 



The innovative, space saving design of the Maxitom means that out of this box you end up with a 16 litre planter container measuring 255mm x 255mm on plan and 250mm high with the bottom 60mm forming a 2 litre watering reservoir and a sturdy built in support tower structure that makes the final construction 1.5m high. 



All the component parts are neatly stored in the base of the reservoir



The four walls of the planter quickly click into place and are then ready to be located on the reservoir base 



The base to the planter which is the top of the reservoir can now be put in place ensuring that the slot for watering lines up with the one in the side wall. 



Now the small elbow can be sild into place using the restraints provided on the side wall. 



This elbow holds the soil back and provides the way of getting the water into the reservoir 





All that now remains is to fill the planter with compost, here I used an empty plot to give me the right sized and shaped hole before transplanting the tomato into it's final growing location. 






All that now remains is to construct the Tower and install the legs into the sockets provided in the corner of the planter, which takes no time at all. Nearly forgot add 2 litres of water to the reservoir.


The plant tower "Maxitom" is the ideal plant support for your tomatoes. This complete set requires little space and is ideal for use in small areas: on the terrace, the balcony or in the garden.

The innovative, space saving design of the Maxitom is a great way of maximising your tomato harvest, enabling you to grow up to four plants for every metre – making it particularly good for gardens where space is at a premium.

The reseviour ensures a uniform supply of water to the plants from below, which prevents the dreaded tomato end rot.

The four levels of the tomato tower are individually mountable. Just adjust them to the growth of your plants. The stable, weather-resistant construction gives the plants the necessary support they require and is, at the same time, an eye-catcher.

The planter is available in two different colours Terracotta/Orange and Anthracite/Black which look Grey to me!

Probably due to the Carona Virus and peoples need to grow vegitables in their back gardens, but at the time of using this product and undertaking this review,  the Maxitom is out of stock.

Suttons are selling these as something called a "Tomato Success Kit" for £19.99 each or 3 x Kits for £49.97 which is a saving of £10 or 16%. 


The Small Print. I have not been paid to review this product, I'm not on commission and I was simply provided with the product to trial and review. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

elho Green Basics Tomato Pot



Elho are a Dutch family business formed in the mid 60’s, who are extremely environmentally aware, and they are enormously proud of the giant wind turbines sitting in their back garden, ensuring that their pots are produced with 100% pure wind energy.

That same back garden is home to 2 million bees. Not that they can make pots, but they realise how important Bees are to the worlds environment and to us as well.

In 2019 the company used 5,600,000 kilos of recycled plastic to produce designer pots. They always aim for more:70%  of all the materials used to be recycled plastic. The products are designed and made in Tilburg Holland:




The pots are made to last and will provide enjoyment for years to come, and when finally they are at the end of their life they are fully recyclable.

The elho green basics tomato pot, is ideal for starting your own big city, small garden vegetable growing adventure and the product is aimed at Patio or Balcony gardening where the owner wants something that looks stylish and well designed and manufactured and is environmentally friendly. 






The self-watering and pots with water reservoirs, have become very trendy in the last few years, as they keeps your thirsty plants healthy and thriving especially if you are away from home for a few days. 


The Elho garden pot comes with a handy rack that allows your tomato plant to grow wild and free wherever you place it.






This outdoor plant pot can also be used for growing other veggies, the rack would be ideal for cucumbers. 



The 10 litre Pot has a diameter of 335mm and a height of 850mm with the rack and was launched in the UK in 2019. Elho pots and planters are widely stocked at all good garden centres, retailers and available online. The current RRP for the elho green basics tomato pot is £25.99

The small Print:- I have not been paid to wrote this article, simply supplied with the product to review.  

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Sowing & Potting On


I'm going living room crazy, whilst sitting on the settee with my leg up is helping me recover all be it very slowly from the cellulitis, I have to do something and today after some pain killers it was sowing six Cucumber Esmarald  and eight Waltham Butternut squash seeds. The Cucumbers will be grown here at home up the trellis fencing broken by the storms and the butternut squash will go down to the allotment via my Daughter & Son-In-law.   


The Bio Green Arctic 100 that I put up a few weeks ago moved (as all good blowaways do) despite two 10Litre Buckets of compost and a paving slab in the bottom and as I have no way of putting some ring bolts and strapping in place I decided to dismantle and pack up the Pop up Greenhouse. 


The Quadgrow was to be used this year in the Greenhouse on the allotment, I even had the self watering mechanism that attached to a water butt, and it was going to make looking after the tomatoes on the plot so easy. 

A full In depth unboxing & review will be forthcoming soon but for the moment I bought a couple of 25mm grummets for peanuts off ebay and have disconnected the two so that I can use them separately and move them if required as the patio door is going to be replaced in the next 4 - 6 weeks.  which is another reason I wanted the Bio Green Arctic 100 out of the way.    

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Rotkappchen (Red Riding Hood)


TOMATO DWARF ROTKAPPCHEN


TOMATO DWARF ROTKAPPCHEN. A compact dwarf variety, perfect for the balcony, baskets or any smaller spaces.  Also known as “Red Riding Hood”.  The bush plants will reach no more than 550mm in height and produce a good crop of 50 Gram red fruits of excellent flavour. Determinate.

Cultivation Advice TOMATO DWARF ROTKAPPCHEN


  • Sow in spring 1/16 inch deep in fine seed grade compost.
  • Germination takes around 6-14 days at 65-75F. (18 - 24C)
  • Transplant the seedlings when large enough to handle into 3 inch pots.
  • Grow on under cooler conditions and when about 4 inches tall,
  • plant to thier final container or basket in the greenhouse
  • or gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions in a warm and sunny spot in and keep well watered.
  • Container fruit plants will benefiit from regular feeding.
I purchased my seeds from Premier Seeds Direct


As always I use a vending machine cup fill of soil to make the profile for the tomato plant that is about to be potted up into a larger pot.


The I squeeze the vending machine cup and pull it off revealing the nice root system and pop it into the hole formed in the larger pot, firm in place and top the pot up with compost. A nice water that has been standing in the sun and is warm so as not to shock the roots and let them adjust to their new home.


These two Rotkappchen were potted up from vending machine cups on the 19th May with many other tomatoes and in a few days time will get a Seaweed Feed for good measure.