Sunday, 20 January 2019

More Cutting & Painting

A dry Sunday so the cutting of timber to 2.5m and 1.2m length continued and I managed to get the remainder of the sweetcorn stalks cut up and put in the Dalek along with some Coffee Grounds and leafs from the middle of the plot. Painted timbers were stacked on the floor and the new timbers stacked on the saw horses and the painting started. 

Sunday, 13 January 2019

January Plot Tour

I'm going to try and do a Plot Tour midway through each month as I hopefully get Plot 1 under control and hopefully get Plot 1A ready for the 2019 Growing Season 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Another Couple of Hours Painting

Little and often is the way to make progress, however it looks like I have a Ronseal Product that does not do what it says on the tin. One coat my arse, I'm defiantly going to need two to get a decent coverage on the boards.

So Progress made and many boards shuffled and painted and some of them have now had a single coat on all six sides, but looks like at least another 2 - 4 hours worth of painting is going to be required before this first batch of boards are done and ready to go in the ground in their final resting place. 

I also managed to shift some woodchip from the pile to the area beside the shed where I was beginning to wear through the weed membrane.

View from the boundary wall 

View up the allotment from the entrance gate 

Monday, 7 January 2019

Planning and Reviewing January in Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last Six years for January

2013 - Infrastructure works, Laying concrete 43 slab paths and patio area, Collecting Leafs  
2014Infrastructure works, Plastic edging from the Window Factory, Digital Thermometers from Lidl, dismantle a greenhouse, Bean trench, Chitting Potatoes, Onions from seed  

2015 -  Coir Blocks from Poundland, Onions from Seed, Spacesaver Greenhouse, Chitting Potatoes, Onions from seed. Allotment Winter Tidy Up   

2016 - Infrastructure works base for the Shed on Spencer Road, Sarpo Spuds arrive end of January, and were set chitting

2017 - Infrastructure works, Laying concrete slabs, Base for the patio area on Spencer Road,  Digital Thermometers from Lidls for the additional green house and Grow Station, Tomato Compost & Coir to the plot as soil conditioner

2018 - Infrastructure works covering the plot with weed membrane, Moving infrastructure materials like kerb stones from Spencer Road to Mill Green, Worked out the Tomato Grow List for 2018 after receiving the GYO Seed Circle packs, Overwintering Spring Onion experiment and walking onions in the greenhouse. Updates the Gardeners Guidance publication for idverde & LBS, Beast from the East & Terracotta Pot Heater in the greenhouse.     
To Do List  

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

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • As much infrastructure works as the weather will allow 
  • Water Butts - Fix taps 
  • Guttering to Shed - TBD
  • Extension to shed - rear - built minor modification required   
  • Cut Roof Joists to bed sizes - Ongoing
  • Make Bread Tray Saw Horses - Done
  • Paint Joist cut to bed sizes - Ongoing 
  • Lay the paving for the greenhouse - TBD 
  • Erect the greenhouse - Timbers Cut for base need to be treated  
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing and looking better all the time
  • Remove Hawthorne bushes from the wall - TBD
  • Install Kerb Edging all around the plot - TBD
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Ongoing
  • Install Flower Beds - TBD   
  • Plant Spring Bulbs - TBD

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Weeding - Never ending job   
  • Clear the greenhouse - To Be Done 
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - clearance of weeds in current location and move when ready
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing and looking better all the time 
  • Clear area behind the Greenhouse - TBD
  • Clear Seating Area - TBD
  • Plant Raspberries - TBD
  • Planning
  • Catalogue Seeds 
  • Purchase vent opener for new greenhouse.- Not Yet

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Painting Raised Bed Timbers

This Sunday I woke up a little later than usual, and there were things to do at home that took priority over the allotment in the morning and I ended up shopping and cooking lunch, but as it was dry I shoe horned in a visit to the allotment in the afternoon and set about painting the timbers that have been cut to bed size. 

As I have a load of timber stacked and ready to cut I really need to get the timbers on the saw horses painted and moved out of the way. The Photos were just before coming home as the light was going, it has to be said the phone cameras theses days are fabulous at making it look much lighter than it was.  

When I left, all the 1.2m timbers are painted, but the 2.5m lengths are only painted on two sides and the ends on the two saw horses in the back of the photo, and only the ends and one edge on the saw horse front left of the picture. So hopefully the weather will remain dry and I can manage to find a couple of hours during the week to get the rest painted.  

Currently on the Saw Horses I have 7 x 1.2m and 16 x 2.5m lengths 

Already painted and off the horses I have 6 x 1.2m and 3 x 2.5m

So that's a total 13 x 1.2m and 19 x 2.5m length before I cut up the pile of timbers stacked on the left of the bay 

I should get a 2.5 & a 1.2m out of those boards on the left so that's another 5 boards of each size which works out at two and a half beds worth. 

There are some shorter boards stacked down the end of the plot that I will be cutting down to 1.2m lengths to make up the 6 number 1.2m lengths I need, which will mean I should have enough timber for 12 Beds. 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Daffodil's finally get planted

I purchased a load of Daffodil and Tulip Bulbs to go into new beds along the interface between Plot 1A and Plot 1, but I haven't been able to get the beds in and now being January and the bulbs have started to sprout I had no alternative but to find somewhere to put them. 

So I cleared bed 13 and placed a 105 hole planting sheet over and have planted 12 rows or 84 bulbs in the bed. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Cardboard Drop Off

The first flying visit to the allotment in 2019 was to drop off a large cardboard box to be used to cover the ground, but I could not resist cutting up a few length of timber Joists as bed edging whilst I was there as the timber had dried out nicely since Sunday.  

John came to the site and offered to help be stack some of the longer timbers so that air can circulate and they dry out a bit. Obviously if they are dry on the next visit I will cut up as many as the battery on the circular saw will allow. 

I left the allotment about 45minutes after arriving to make my way home before it got dark, quite happy that I had made some small progress. Little and often and progress will be made.  

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Normal Service Resumed

So after what feels like forever, I managed to get down onto the allotment when it's dry-ish, there had been some morning dew and everything was damp, but at least it was not raining buckets.

First things first, I topped up the compost Daleks 2 & 3 with kitchen scraps and dead flowers, then added a layer of leafs from last years collection as Browns. I removed nearly all the sweetcorn stalks from beds 5 & 6 and chopped them up placing them in the new Dalek at the end of plot 1 also reducing last years leaf collection as I need to clear the weed membrane.

I then set upon making two more bread tray saw horses and then started moving the 2.4m cut timbers further back down the plot with the intention of clearing the interface between plot 1 and 1A, hopefully to get the flower beds in before the spring bulbs grow too much and have to just put in anywhere. 

Lots of scraps of rotting wood left by the previous tenant gave been holding down the weed membrane and as we can have fires up until the end of March 2019, I set about collecting and cutting them into incinerator bin size and placing them inside the incinerator so that they can dry out ready to be burnt. The two flower buckets of dried hawthorn cuttings also got tipped into the incinerators. I stacked larger lengths of timber on a pallet and John ask if I wanted him to burn it for me as he has a large oil drum and loves a burn up to make the ash for use as fertiliser. If someone is going to help me get rid of rotten wood I'm not going to stop them. 

There were five of us on the site during the morning some stayed longer than others who were either there to drop off composing material or pick up the last of their vegetables. catching up with each others lifes, with hopes of having had a good Christmases and Happy New Year wishes were exchanged. We are very lucky that apart from one individual who appears to rub at least half of the plot holders on the site up the wrong way, we have a really nice crowd of plot holders on Mill Green. 

John has not had any luck contacting our woodchip supplier so it looks like we need to find another source for the woodchips.     

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Saving Tomato Seeds

Sieve & Paper Towel - To save a small quantity of seeds for your own use

Remove seeds from the fruit and rinse in a sieve under cold running water, rubbing them against the sieve to remove the gel coating. Spread them on a paper towel or piece of kitchen paper and leave to dry. Fold up the paper, label it, and in the spring pop the paper with the seeds attached on to moist compost in a seed tray to start your plants. I have drawn boxes the size of the seed packet and have placed the seeds on the kitchen paper before then cut up once dry, but prefer the Fermentation Method

Fermentation Method - To save a larger quantity of seeds

Squeeze the pulp from ripe tomatoes into a suitable container (e.g. a large yoghurt pot or KFC Gravy or Beans container). You can also process ripe fruits into a food processor with an equal quantity of water until you have a pulpy mass. The seeds are hard and will not be damaged.

Put the container into a warm place to ferment. It may smell bad but it is good for the seeds. Fermentation removes compounds that inhibit germination and it also destroys seed-borne diseases. You are merely duplicating what happens in nature. 

After three or four days, when the container is topped with a mass of mould, add plenty of water and stir vigorously. Good seeds will settle to the bottom, so you can tip the rotting mass away. Rinse and repeat until only good, clean seeds remain. Strain the water off and place them on a clean plate or piece of glass or KP Nut or Gravy plastic lid (they will stick to paper). Stir once or twice a day to promote even drying and prevent clumps of seeds forming. Dry the seeds quickly to prevent them germinating, but avoid direct sunlight or an oven. A cool, gentle breeze is best I place mine on top of the fridge next to an air brick. 

As I save for my own seed bank but also for seed circles I use 55mmx55mm zip bags and make up labels to go into the bags using Microsoft Word and a table template. 

Tomato seeds will last in storage for about six years, depending on the variety, they will last longer if stored in a dry cool place. The size zip lock bags that I use lend themselves to being stored in what are basically deep business card plastic boxes 

My Tomato seed collection or Tomato seed bank is now well over a 100 varieties and grows with each passing year. I enjoy trying out different varieties and types of tomatoes, as a family we consume a great deal of tomatoes and its always sad when we have to return to shop bought during the winter months.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Tomato Seedmas Arrives

Grow Your Own Magazine Grapevine Forum Seed Circle package arrives 

1. Scarlet - Violet Jasper - Tiny Tim - Hahms Gelbe
2. VC - Livingstons Favourite - Homosa 
3. Thelma - Polish Linguisa, and just 2 or 3 seeds of Nectar Rose 
4.JJ- Zlatava & moskowsi ultra skorospelyi & Lukullus
5. MarkP - True Black Brandy Wine - Okeron Yellow 
6. SP - German Red Strawberry 
7. Norfolk Grey - Black Vernissage Giallo D'inverno 
8. Trip - Black Russian 
9. Bramble - Stupice - salisaw cafe
10. Ms T - La Carotina Tomato OrangePeacevine 
11. Cads - Micro Tom - Repunzel - Balconi Red - Red Robin
12. Paulie - Angelle, Principe Borghese 
13. farendwoman - Black Triefle, Black Cherry 

In addition to the seed circle tomatoes, I've received some from the Tomatoes from the  Virtual Seed Parcel that need growing and fresh seeds saved and returned to the Bank next year. 

Nicos - Petit Moneau (Red Currant Tomato
Scarlet - Cyrils Choice
Unknown - First In Field
Rosie Pumpkin - White Cherry Tomato
Rosie Pumpkin - Raspberry Oxheart Tomato
Unknown - Latah Red Tomato
Chilli Grower - Red Alert
Seasprout - Alaskan Fancy
Unknown - Egyptian
Nellie-m - Lukullus
Café Seeds - Sallisaw café 
Unknown - Stupice (Cold Tolerant)

Having now found links to the details about the tomatoes, I'm going to get the seed labels ready for those that I don't have seed labels for already and perhaps even the paper labels ready for when I save the seeds next year for returning to the seed bank and next years seed circle. 

Friday, 21 December 2018

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice 2018 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 22:23 on
21 December
All times are in United Kingdom Time.