Saturday 15 June 2024

#StopUPOV - It should not be illegal to save and swap seeds


It's time to #StopUPOV

Imagine being unable to share your seeds with your neighbours - all because a corporation on a different continent owns the rights. 

Now imagine that doing so could land you with a criminal record - as is the case in Indonesia, where farmers have been prosecuted for saving and sharing particular crop varieties. 

An obscure trade convention called UPOV91 is the reason behind this - and the UK is complicit in spreading it around the world. 

UPOV91 makes it illegal for farmers to freely save, swap or sell some of their own seeds - and it's currently present in 19 UK trade deals with 68 countries around the world - 19 in the Global South.
Add your name and stand against corporate overreach that criminalises farmers - and together, we can #StopUPOV. 

Trade justice doesn't happen overnight - but by joining us today, you're standing with the farmers worldwide constrained by corporate overreach into the land they tend to every day.

Trade mechanisms like UPOV91 work best for big business when they aren't well known - but we want to change that.

Sign the Petition

Friday 7 June 2024

Open Farm Sunday


Visit a farm this weekend
for Open Farm Sunday

Hundreds of farms all over the country will open their gates for Open Farm Sunday on 9 June.


Pull on your sturdiest shoes, learn first-hand about where your food comes from and treat the family to a great day out.


Looking for a farm to visit? Take a look at seven reasons to attend your local event.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Back British Farming


Back British Farming



Sunday 2 June 2024

Modifications To Greenhouses


Back on the 15th February I posted about possibly making modifications to my greenhouses on the plots as with my current and possible future mobility issues, due to the cancer and arthritis problems I will not find it easy to step in and out of the green house with it, as it is at the moment. Raising the greenhouse up and using the timber sub frame was not a problem when I erected the two Palrams one on each half plot

The timber sub- frame to the second Palram Green house erected in 2021 before being driven into the ground.
These frames give weight and increased the height of the greenhouse internally when I erected them, but now its just a barrier to me getting in and out of the greenhouse easily.

So I was thinking drill two holes in the timber and then saw a notch out of the timber and take an angle grinder to the steel frame. I will leave about half the depth of the timber to step over to ensure the structural integrity of the timber sub frame and to act as a threshold to the opening door.

I will then have to get some hinges and turn the sliding door into an opening door, I may need to build a door frame into the opening to mount the hinges for an opening door, plus I will need to extend the height or depth of the door.

The steel C Section is screwed to the timber all around and I may have to put some additional fixings either side of the door and perhaps some additional straps.

I also thought about making steps up and down either side of the threshold, but today when I was looking at the cost of replacing my two 1.8m x 1.2m (6x4ft) Palram greenhouses with a single 2.4m x 1.8m greenhouse,
I wasn't even in the bath and I had an eureka moment!

If I was too unscrew the Steel C section of the greenhouse from the timber sub frame and lift the greenhouse off the timber sub frame and use that else where to raise other beds higher, then dig a trench and bury the Steel C section of the greenhouse up to the red line then I would lower the threshold and make access easier.

Then I would end up with something that looks like the photo above but the ground inside would be the same level as the ground outside. No modification to the sliding door required. I'm sure I can get a few of the lads on the allotment to help me lift it off then place it back once the trench is dug.

Climbing Frame Greenhouse Planting

A short visit this morning with Emma to get the cucumbers and Lazy Housewife Climbing French Beans in the climbing frame greenhouse before the 12pm - 3pm hottest part of the day. Alternate sowings of cucumbers and Lazy Housewife French Climbing Beans in the Climbing Frame Greenhouse. I just hoping the snails and slugs leave them alone, because the have mullered my Tomato plants at home, and the Parsnips on the allotment.

Some excess Lazy Housewife French Climbing Beans added to the Cantilever Runner Bean Frame

Bindweed removed from another onion bed

I set about drilling the vertical posts added to the raspberry beds so I can fix the bamboo restraint horizontally to keep the pathways open.

So much bindweed in the raspberries I'm going to have to get in there and start cutting and removing it.

Emma did a Raspberry harvest whilst I was finishing off drilling the vertical restraint members to cable tie the 8ft horizontal bamboo in place.

Saturday 1 June 2024

Climbing Frame Greenhouse Beds

Climbing Frame Greenhouse Beds finally completed. Moat around the outside edge for watering as I have found cucumbers grow better if watered from below and not directly on the base of the plant.

Climbing Frame Greenhouse Isometric View for those that remember their Technical Drawing from school

Climbing Frame Greenhouse Beds Side Elevation View

Climbing Frame Greenhouse Gable End View

Late afternoon early evening. I've cleared a lot of square flower buckets that had soil/ compost and coir in them from last year and bade up the level of the soil in the climbing frame greenhouse and formed the moat around the outside edge ready for planting the Lazy Housewife Climbing French beans and the cucumbers.

I can't get down that low to plant them out so I thought I'm going to have to ask for some help or try the kneeling stool when others are on the plot so that if I get stuck they can come to my rescue.
My daughter Emma asked if I could do with a hand on the plot Sunday morning, so I bit her arm off and said yes.

Planning and Reviewing June In Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last Eleven years for June

2013 - Potting up tomatoes & peppers, potatoes, cabbages, sprouts and sweet corn, dug beds 7 & 8  
2014 - Watering 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.  

2020 - Due to Covid and the lockdown I  didn't visit the allotment during June as I was shielding my wife. My daughter and son in law visited and tried to keep the allotment tidy and undertook weed management. All of my growing was done in the back garden.

2021 - First week potting on tomatoes into vending machine cups. Met Jane from idverde and she undertook the plot inspections and served no cult letters on two of the plot holders. Planting Sweetcorn into the beds. Gherkins and cucumbers potted on. Second week of June really hot and dry, mid week watering visit required. 300mm x300mm paving slabs off Freecycle used to make the path between SFG Beds 1 & 2. Making tomato planting membrane for the new narrow beds on the plot. Buying 3" spring clamps to hold the debris netting to the tube was a game changer . Lined the inside of the plot 1 Greenhouse with blue Debris netting and made it look like a TARDIS. Beetroot bed a third sown and growing. Tomato Bed 2 weeded, compost added and plants planted. Path between Rhubarb Beds 1 & 2 weeded and formed. Quadgrows finally set up in the plot 1 greenhouse.

2022 - Lots of Raspberries harvested this year, Onions harvested before they go to seed, First trial of Postiplugs from Suttons, Planting Membrane production, Kelly and Emma cleared Mares Tail, Poor sweetcorn germination so late starting off on kitchen towel in a take a way container, Sowing Cucumbers and Courgettes.

2023 - Trying to get everything up to date because of the proposed reconstruction of my jaw. I have cut back on sowing new vegetables as my girls will want to come and see me in hospital and not be down the allotment planting out watering and weeding. Setting up the Hotbin worm farm, Harvesting Raspberries , Karmen (Red), Pink Panther (Pink) and Snowball (white) Onions and Lazy Housewife French Climbing Beans, Crystal Lemon & Crystal Apple cucumbers.

To Do List   

The weather in May did not improve and that combined with my mobility issues meant that I didn't get as many visits to the allotment as I hoped I would, 105 parsnips in loo rolls transplanting into the bed and within a week the slug and snails have cleared them all. Slugs and Snails a reall problem because of all the rain we have had over Winter and Spring. 

I now have some medical boots that will go over my dressings and I'm hoping that I will be able to drive myself down to the allotment at least 2 or 3 times a week during June.  

To Do List   

Mill Green - Plot 1A
    Re Add additional supporting timbers to the roof of the shed - TBD
    • Greenhouse 1A - Modify the dormer window and replace. - DONE
    • Greenhouse 1A - Modify the frame and door - NOT DONE 
    • Greenhouse 1A - Set up more Coffee to dry out - DONE
    • Beer Traps - Set Up Beer Traps - Done some more needed  
    • Bed Near Hotbin  - Clear Netting & Hoops and Vegetation into Hotbin 

    Mill Green - Plot 1 
    • Greenhouse 1 - Modify the dormer window and replace.
    • Greenhouse 1 - Modify the frame and door - NOT DONE 
    • Raspberry Beds - Make Framework on Beds to hold canes up and keep paths clear - STARTED.
    • Square foot Garden Beds - Frames Cut and Bed 2 completed in May
    • Square foot Garden Beds - Remove the Mels Mix from Bed 2
    • Climbing Frame Greenhouse - Weed and finish of the last arm of the beds internally - STARTED .
    • Blueberry Ares - Weed and make a base then fence in using spare panel  
    • Tidy Up Behind The Shed - Weed and clear path - DONE.
    • Potatoes In Buckets - All Now Planted 
    • Beer Traps - Set Up More Beer Traps 

    • Planning - Ongoing
    • Space Saver Greenhouse - Clear and Clean then try and sow to the planned schedule.

    Sowing and Planting Plan for June    

    Week 1              Asparagus - stop harvesting
    Week 1              Cucumber (ridge) - plant out (grown indoors / shop bought)
    Week 1              Carrot (early) - harvest those sown under cloches
    Week 1              Lettuce - begin to harvest
    Week 1              Sweet Peppers - harden off
    Week 2              Cauliflower (summer) - begin to harvest
    Week 2              Kale (curly) - transplant to final position
    Week 2              Plum - prune from now to mid July
    Week 2              Potatoes - potash feed fortnightly
    Week 2              Swede - thin seedlings in stages to 25cm apart
    Week 2              Sweet Pepper - move to final position
    Week 2              Turnip - begin to harvest
    Week 2              Melons – F1 Mangomel - Plant Out
    Week 2              Melons – Rugoso di Consenza Giallo Plant Out
    Week 3              Carrot Onwards- harvest as they become ready
    Week 3              Cauliflower (autumn) - plant outside
    Week 3              Cucumber (ridge) - prune main stem
    Week 3              Spinach - harvest spring grown leaves
    Week 3              Radish – Sow fortnightly
    Week 3              Spring Onions – Sow fortnightly
    Week 3              Lettuce – Sow fortnightly
    Week 4              Cauliflower (autumn) - begin weekly feed