Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Shed Base Goes In

As it was overcast this afternoon due to some cloud cover and as a treat to myself I went over to the allotment to continue levelling out the corner where the shed is going so that when I go to collect and bring it to Mill Green it can go straight on the base.

I'm happy with the slope down from shed towards what will be a path that will link up with the central path on Plot 1A. 

So the 3 x 5 white/ light grey slabs will be the shed and the darker grey will go around the shed. There will be a path in front that will line up with the central path from Plot 1A. I plan to have a semi covered storage area behind the shed and will use what slabs I have scattered around to fill in the row behind the shed that currently has two slabs laid the rest will be covered in woodchips 

Monday, 16 July 2018

Levelling The Land

The wasp nest got another dose of powder tonight as there are still wasps going in and out of the crack in the wall. But there were so few wasps and plot 1 was in shade as it was around 7:30 when I got there that I managed to uncover the area where the shed is going and I started raking out the heap in the corner, spreading and leveling ready for the slabs for the shed to go in. It's going to take a little time and I am going to have to consolidate once I have it level-ish.  I see a few hours work in front of me here yet.

Large comfrey pipe milk bottle was overflowing so replaced with a new one tonight. 

Harvested a couple of nice cucumbers.   

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Scorching Shed Sunday

This Sunday in the morning I wanted to get the area where the shed is going cleared, but there was a little problem, in fact 100s of little problems in the form or wasps that have taken up residence in the crack in the boundary wall where the shed is to be erected.

The other problem was the intense sun, heat and lack of any cloud cover. I tried clearing and cutting up some of the joist but once the sweat started dripping off my head and face and onto my glasses I knew it was time to spend most of my time up on Plot 1A in the shade and not Plot 1 in the sun. 

My last job in the Sun was fitting the tap to the water barrel. I started to fill it only to find that I had made a great job of making the tap water tight but there is a leak in the bottom of the barrel, so that's why it was freecycled !. I'm guessing I can always use it as a potato tower or for growing long carrots. So the tap will come out and go into the other water butt and hopefully that one will not leak. 

The comfrey pipe was re loaded as the weight had dropped again in the two days since the new bottle was installed, the sun and heat is really assisting in comfrey production this year.  

I cut the grass in the back garden yesterday and came to the plot with sacks and buckets of fallen apples and leaf's off the trees, as they are falling early as the trees are thirsty as we have not had any significant rain for weeks. Daleks 2 & 3 were both topped up to the brim again and Dalek 5 the acidic compost received the apples.   

Whilst the obligatory watering at depth took place, I sorted out loads of dross from the shed and amazed myself just how much room there is in there once the build up of rubbish is removed, I also started clearing up the area in the shade until it was time to leave the allotment.

I went home for lunch via the hardware store and bought some wasp killer as they are too near the shed and where I need to work, otherwise I would have left them.

On the agenda for early evening was a visit to Spencer Road with my future son-in-law to take down the shed ready for transporting to Mill Green when I have the base ready and can arrange it with Terry. We stacked the shed in a nice pile to the side of its location and then loaded the 15 paving slabs it had been sitting on into the boot and transported them to Mill Green.

I'm hoping that Terry's car transporter will be able to reverse down to plot 23B which is at the bottom of the access road on the left, If not then Floor, four walls and roof will need to be carried up to the gate. Before dismantling I took the plot numbers off the shed and screwed them to a post at the corner of the plot ready for the next tenant of plot 23B 

Once back at Mill Green the slabs were unloaded and stacked and as the wall was now in shade and the wasps a little less active the entrance to the nest was treated with the white powder of death. 

I have not posted a picture of the beetroot bed in a while, they are coming on and I really must get another bed load sown before this month is done. 

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Working On Shed

This morning I went to Spencer Road and was shocked just how the weeds have taken over, I did give them a treatment of weed killer last time I was down there. 

The task for this morning was to remove the shelving from the shed and as many screws as possible ready for my future son-in-law to give me a hand to disassemble it ready for me to arrange pick up and transportation the less than a mile between Spencer Road and Mill Green Allotment.

Most of the screws come out but there are always a couple and it would happen to be the two on the threshold that the heads have rusted away, so options tomorrow are cut the timber and add a new bit for transporting and carrying or take a crow bar and try and leaver out the screws and re fix else where when it is re assembled.

The shelving and other items that are useful were transported in the car from one plot to another so there was no time for watering today. 

Friday, 13 July 2018

New Shed Roof

This morning the Corex sheets were stapled to the roof and it was made water tight again so all I need now is some RAIN. The Corex is actually long enough to butt the wall behind the shed providing me with a covered storage area.

Photo taken before I swept up all the cuttings and junk that was swept off the roof. 

I also treated all the bindweed and weeds that are poking their head up on plot 1 with weed killer in between the watering at depth via the pop bottles.  

Thursday, 12 July 2018

How Much in 7 Days?

For those of you that wonder how much pure comfrey liquid you get out of a 4ft or 1.2m Comfrey pipe that is 4" or 100mm in diameter in 7 Days it's this much, and it looks like another bucket load of cut up comfrey needs to be stuffed in the pipe to bring the weight outside again.

Showing Vacant Plot

This morning I met with the next person on our waiting list for an Allotment Plot and showed him our last vacant plot. He is as keen as mustard and I will let the Allotment Administrator at idverde know so she can send the paperwork.

Some watering at depth took place and whilst this was happening, the sheets of Corex were sorted out and three nearly new with no damage sheets found within the pile given to me yesterday and these have been slid on the shed roof ready for me to bring the staple gun down and fix on my next visit. 

This means the polycarbonate that I had plans for can now go back to that project. Getting up on a ladder and cleaning off the roof I saw the real damage to the roof and I was staggered how little felt was actually left on the apex of the roof. 

A shallow narrow trench was excavated for the hose pipe as it means I don't have to keep moving it from the corner of the plot to the tank and back again every time I want to water and it will no longer be a trip hazard, I saw a fellow plot holder trip over it this morning and that made me do this earlier than I had anticipated.  

Just the section from the right to the water tank to do before idverde come to cut the grass and muller the hose. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

More Water Butts

Morning visit to ask the contractor if I could have the sheets of corex that they have been using to protect floors and have finished with and I spied in their skip during my evening visit last night. I would not just help myself without asking that's stealing even if it' in a skip.

The contractor said yes and pulled them out for me and I took them to the paved area between the shed and greenhouse and put some soft bricks on them to hold them down. I have a cunning plan for these and I will let you know what that is shortly.  

I watered the plot and my one thing a visit today was to clear the area where the two rubbish bin comfrey and nettle water butts are ready for another.

It's one of the butts that will go on the new greenhouse I filled it up to the tap hole to stop it getting blown off it's stand now all I need to do is find the tap I bought for it. I put it in a safe place and can't remember where that safe place is at the moment 


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Water Butts Everywhere!

Another early morning visit to my plot between 7:30 - 9:00 to water and get one job done before returning home to get on with some work. As I'm now visiting nearly every morning for a couple of hours,  I get to say "good morning" and have a chat with the mobile crane driver from Liverpool that is working on the conversion of offices to residential behind my plot.  

It's amazing watching this thing unfold and fold back up and how he manages to turn it around in there and not take the wall out is quite amazing. He jumps in the seat at the back of the cab, opens the window in the cab, then in no time at all he is up above the building and moving stuff around. There is no air conditioning in that cab and I have felt quite sorry for him being in what could be considered a mini greenhouse up a pole the last couple of weeks with 30C temperatures 

Today the focus was on clearing the paved area at the bottom of plot 1A and re installing the Nettle Water Butt that came back from Spencer Road a few weeks ago.

With the deep watering system it easy to drip feed the watering points and move the hose around from bed to bed and point to point and in between moves get on with another task, who say men can't multi process.

So rubbish cleared and another sack load going home today and the water butt stand re built and the Nettle Water Butt has just been filled up with water ready for the hose pipe ban that I think will come shortly.

I have two large water butts for the new greenhouse, but neither of them have lids or taps. I have purchased taps but need to find them as they are tucked away in a safe place somewhere and I need to find some lids for the water butts. If I can do that sooner than later I will be able to set up another two water butts ready for the hosepipe ban. 

My little Triffid (the wife) received a telephone call from her sister around 7pm informing her that they had cut the grass again. She has a huge garden and I normally get two huge mail type sacks of grass from them each time they cut. 

Wife: Are you interested ?
Me: Yes tell them I will come round and pick it up now.

So there I was up to 9:00pm watering in layers of grass, coffee grounds, shredded paper into composting Daleks 2 & 3 the grass was already decomposing and creating heat as I placed it in the Daleks.

I also had a food bucket full of cooking apples that have jumped off the trees at home to add to my acidic composting Dalek 5 this compost will be used to feed my raspberries and fruit next year.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Cucumbers Planted

Here is a short update on how things are growing 

Burpless Cucumbers making their way up the framework

Market More Framework extended with Fire Guard
5 extra Marketmore cucumbers planted
Spuds In Buckets can be harvested now

Tomato & Radish Bed fed 

Sweetcorn finally growing and looking stronger

Spuds Nearly Ready To Harvest from the looks of things

The last 1.2m x 1.2m Pop Bottle Greenhouse panel has finally been taken apart. I cut the  tops and bottoms off and split the middle and put the middles inside a bottle to take up as little space as possible to go into the plastic recycle bin at home. 

If you are ever thinking of making a pop bottle greenhouse forget it, its a pain in the arse to take apart and get rid off especially when the council only collect a small crate load once a fortnight.


Rain !

Looking at the weather forecast for the next 14 days, there is no indication that we are likely to even get a quick shower, so it looks like I will be on watering duty in the mornings for at least the next 14 days. I have one last remaining water butt to set up and fill up whilst we can still use hoses so that I'm ready to start using watering cans when the hose pipes get banned in SE London area, which has got to happen soon. 

I think I have found my allotment job for tomorrows visit. 

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Composting Corner

An early start to the day and on the allotment by 7:30 whilst the top half, Plot 1A was in the shade of the trees and the rising sun. First job of the day watering whilst everything is in the shade. I installed two deep watering points in the beetroot bed and filled in the gaps with beetroots grown in loo rolls.

Three more parsnips started in loo rolls were added to those already there. The cucumber  mesh was extended in height to on both beds with cucumbers and the Marketmore cucumbers from the Space Saver at home were planted and watered in.

I harvest a Cucumber and Radishes today and I should have harvested some courgettes as they will be turning into marrows shortly if I don't. 

I topped up the small comfrey pipe again and noted that the liquid is now near the bottom of the handle of the milk bottle and will keep an eye and replace the bottle with a new one once it's 3/4 or more full.  The new bottle replaced yesterday on the large pipe has approx. 10-15mm of pure comfrey juice in it and the bottle is just still visible above the pipe. So as its flowing, I decided not to clear last years plug of comfrey at the bottom of the pipe and will clear the pipe at the end of this year ready for next year.  

I cleared bed 7 of the window fames and was going to plant the rest of the beetroots, however by then the sun had raced up the plot and it was far to hot the sweat was already dripping off my head and onto my glasses so I decided to remain up the top end of the plot and in shade as much as possible for the rest of the morning.

I cleared the store extension to the shed and brushed out all the debris that had gathered over last year and winter, and swept up the patio area. Knowing that I would be working in the shade because of the 32C forecast, that I had taken my brother label maker with me and started to label all the food buckets with lids "Coffee" "Compost" "Coir" "Paper" "Sand" "Hops" etc. and sorted out all of the buckets that have been living under the potting bench, under chairs, around the greenhouse and over the plot. and have stacked as many as possible (27) in what I now regard as Composting Corner. 

There are a few full buckets left over, and a few empty buckets and these have gone back under the potting bench, But at least now I know what's in each bucket and the same material is now stacked together for ease of finding when needed.   

I managed to get the last of the pop bottle cloche frames taken apart and on a future visit the pop bottles will be cut up and brought home to go in the plastic recycle boxes on rubbish day.    

Before leaving at 1pm, I made sure that both bird bathes were filled up again as we have a load of Robins around the site that come and visit when you are working and exposing soil, bugs and potential food for them.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

What Water Butt?

I did have a gutter that rested on the extension and went into a water butt, I know you look at the photo and say "What Water Butt", its there honest Gov and I think I'm going to need it shortly so as I arrived at 7:15 and got straight on with watering my plot I decided I would also search for the water butt.

I found it !, and in doing so also managed to clear a lot of the ivy off the back of the felt roof that need replacing or covering and have let some daylight get into the storage area behind the shed that was in total darkness. 

There is still some clearing and tiding to do, and I will remove the remains of the racking system base and sweep out the extension and stack my buckets with lids of composting materials in there

Once I fix the plastic to the roof I will re install the guttering to collect water off the roof in the water butt. It will need a filter because of the amount of dross that comes off the ivy, but for the moment in anticipation of a hose pipe ban and due to recent problems with regards angry plot holders and the use of stand pipes I filled the half full water butt up to within 300mm of the lid and to give clearance to some plastic balls off cisterns ball cocks from the scrap bin of a plumbing company that used to be behind the allotment site to stop the water freezing in the winter. 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Water Wars

Due to the lack of rain I have been visiting the plot either first thing in the morning or in the evening to water and to fill up the comfrey pipes as they appear to be compressing the comfrey at the rate of the length of the pop bottle weight every couple of days.

The comfrey is flowing very well from the short pipe but I think the large pipe is blocked as the comfrey appears to have overflowed from the top! 

Not a job I'm looking forward too and perhaps the last thing to do before I come home on Sunday incase I get it all over me!

Last week I turn off the tap with a splitter on and cut off the water to another plot holder. He has two plots that are at different ends of the site and are so overgrown you can't see him on them when he is and it was an accident, I turned the water on and just turned it off before I went. He had a go at me and I told him I hadn't seen him and to just go and turn the bloody thing back on and to stop making a song and dance about it. 

One evening this week I had an altercation with him as he thought I had turned off his tap on the splitter fixed to the standpipe. The fact of the matter was that the standpipe was not turned on when I got to it and I did turn off the splitter that my hose was not connected too as I wanted a full head of pressure so that I could get the watering over and done with relatively quickly. 

The guy charged onto a fellow plot holders plot that I was on at the time and came toe to toe and nose to nose shouting the odds and tried to intimidate me. I believe he now realises that getting in my face so to speak didn't scare me and I'm not into being intimidated as I put my hand on his chest and held him back saying there was no need to get so close and into my personal space, which did make him bounce up and down for a while and increase the verbal nonsense he was spouting.   

I'm not a violent person, and if there was no option but to retaliate then that's what would happen, I don't like too because when I see red and blood I want to continue seeing it and quite frankly I have scared the shit out of myself as to just how aggressive I can actually be when pushed over the limit, and the worrying thing is last time it happened when in my late teens so 40 odd years ago I enjoyed it far too much, and since then have always tried to be the grownup in these kind of situations and if at all possible the piece maker. 

It appears you can't talk logically or sensibly with a terrorist, a wife with PMT or a plot holder who has his nickers in a twist about a hose that could easily be turned back on even if it had been turned off deliberately which it hadn't.

Discretion being the better part of valour, this morning I extended the watering system I have installed so that I can actually connect to the stand pipes at either end or both ends of my plots. It has been said to me that I'm letting him win and should just continue using the tap at the top end of my plot, but really in the grand scheme of things is it worth getting elevated blood pressure over a tap and hose when the likelihood is that the bloody things are going to be banned shortly anyway. 

So here is how the final system will look once all the beds are in and it just means that there is a hose I can use at every other set of beds. Each one of the offset hoses is long enough to give me coverage over a 3 metre or more strip of the plot from top to bottom along its length. 

The system on the right which is plot 1A has been there more of less since I installed the beds in 2013 and for the moment the main feed pipe and one offset is in on plot 1 until the beds go in and then I will cut the main feed and put in the offset hose and watering head.

Each offset has a watering head on it, for speed and efficiency and with pop bottles installed with pin holes in them in the beds its possible to water at depth on a number of beds at once if it needs it. Less evaporation, roots have to go and look for the water and over all less water used.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Eureka re the Roof

After seeing the split roofing felt on Sunday I have been thinking about the work and effort that will be needed to cut back all that ivy which happens to look quite nice over the shed, to re felt the roof, and then whilst on a watering visit had a brain wave!

I've had a load of sheets of plastic roofing behind the shed waiting for me to use it for some time, so I got and have slid it between the ivy and the roof, just to see what it would look like. 

So I need some cup washers to fix it in place with some screws to resist wind uplift. I will need to trim the sheets for length as they overhand too much especially on the left into the storage area. 

I can overlap and silicon the apex to make it water tight

From the look of things I will have a few weeks to get this done as there is little rain forecast for the rest of the month. 

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Planning and Reviewing July in Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last five years for July

2013 - Infrastructure works, harvest of first early and cucumbers and the best cabbages I have ever grown ! Beginners luck   
2014A really good year with plentiful harvests .  

2015 -  Great year for beetroots, Wrens in the bird box .   

2016 - Lots of coffee grounds, drying coffee, Building a replacement door for the outbuilding from decking timber.

Mill Green - Onion White Rot, Runner Beans,     

Spencer Road - Comfrey Bed 2 completed, Four Beds, Butternut squash, Beetroots, spuds and spring onions. Onions, Potatoes, Beetroots and infrastructure works. Burpless Cucumbers go manic  

Home - Tomatoes finally get transplanted into flower buckets.  

2017 - Really behind on growing and keeping the plot weed free, especially the paths on Mill Green as the woodchip had finally rotted down into good growing medium. Absent neighbour meaning weeds encroaching from plot 1.  11th July first red tomato, Meeting with Redrow and Council to agree the formation of the Drop off and Pick Up area, SF60 Potatoes in Buckets experiments, 5 Beds productive at Spencer Road, 30th July harvest of First Early Spuds & Onions 

July is normally the month for harvesting rather than planting, but below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in June and what has slipped. Way too much has slipped.

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

To Do List  

·                     As much infrastructure works as the weather will allow - Not enough over the first three months of the year due to the beast from the East and bad weather. Now the intense Sun is putting me off, so I can't really win until we get some overcast 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 - Completed
·                     Collect the last of the slabs from Spencer Road - Done
·                     Lay the slabs for the shed and Greenhouse - TBD 
·                     Erect the greenhouse - TBD
·                     Move Comfrey Pipe from Spencer Road to Mill Green - Completed
·                     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 2
Potatoes - plant sets for autumn harvest
Week 3Cucumber (ridge) - begin to harvest
Week 3Kale - transplant to final position
Week 3Onions - stop watering
Week 4Beetroot - begin to harvest
Week 4Cabbage (spring) - sow (pots / temporary bed)
Week 4Sweetcorn - begin to harvest