Sunday, 2 August 2020

August Plot Tour


My daughter Kelly is around an about today so a weekend Saturday visit rather than a Sunday visit. I was down on the plot by 7:30am and my legs managed to hold out until midday when they and my stomach were telling me to go home for some lunch and give my legs a rest.

The photo above is the Thompson & Morgan new Squash varieties which are an alternative to Mash & Baked Potato. I had to water the four beds of squash ( two more beds up on plot 1A) and the Parsnips using the water in my greenhouse water butts and a watering can. 


Unfortunately for me where people have been disposing of weeds along the front of the bees and combined with the long grass that has not been cut around the dip tank and water tap the end of my hose that I had buried across the path and taken to the tap was lost. 

I did try looking for the hose at the far end of the path and cleared the build up of weeds, but had forgot that I put a large radius on the other side of the path and was clearing in the wrong location. In the end I lifted the end of the pipe from my plot and had the whole lot up again to expose it. I will take the drill and the Power Planter auger with me and bury the whole pipe up to the tank and cable tie it to the tap/ tank so it can't be lost again should I have to do another four months shielding come the second wave of the virus.


Despite the sun, it was a nice sunny day and got to about 24C today, I humped the slabs from the pile I had stacked in the corner of Plot 1A / Plot 1 near the path between Plot 1 & Plot 2. I show where they were in the Plot Tour video below.  

I harvest two 10 litre buckets worth of apples that my daughter is going to get creative with and I'm looking forward to some apple crumble and apple pies coming back to me.    


I could not resists looking on the other side of the wall behind the shed on plot 1A to see how close the bike rack is to the wall that the contractor still has not done anything too and is leaning towards my shed. 


I will be chasing the council again re this wall hopefully something will be done before it falls and wipes out my shed and its contents In fact I think its only the rack I have behind it that is abutting the shed that is propping the wall up!


Not many plot visits since my last plot tour, but here is a video for you. I really need to invest in a camera that has a stabilisation feature, I have tried using some software to steady the footage but I think it's more likely to make people seasick. 

Let me know what you think of the result of the software Vs a phone shaky video.
 

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Planning and Reviewing August in Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last seven years for August


2013 - Built my first Comfrey Pipe after making it in buckets and experiencing the stench, harvesting spring onions, radishes, Wyevale seeds at 50%, trouble getting a fork in the ground used a pick axe. Central path of paving slabs from front garden went in on Mill Green. Wyevale 50p seed sale


2014 - Growing Marrows for the first time, harvesting, Onions, Spring Onions, Carrots, Wyevale 50p seed sale end of August.  


2015 -  Onion End Rot on Mill Green allotment, harvesting month, Digging up paths for compost bins, First Red Tomato 6th August, Sowing Beetroots, whitlow appeared on my finger just as I got my second plot at Spencer Road.   


2016 - End July / Early Aug end of season gardening sale at Wilko, First and last time trying to grow Celery and butternut squash, Pickling Beetroot, 17th August first ripe tomato, end of season Coir top up for next year.  


2017 -  Harvesting and Pickling Beetroots, Spring Onions in cut down Flower Buckets, SF60 Potato In Buckets Harvested, Self Seeding Pumpkins, Comfrey Pipe Upgrade, Overwintering SF60 Spring Onion Experiment,  Agreed the Drop off and Pick Up area with Redrow and the Council,  August Bank Holiday - Wyevale Seed Sale


2018 -  Harvesting so many tomatoes from the three tomato plants on the allotment. Second beetroot bed planted up first week of August. Finally have the stove in the shed and can make coffee. Harvesting cabbage and cauliflower. Pickling Beetroots. Harvesting cucumbers, courgettes, runner beans.  Built the rear extension to the shed on plot 1 .Drying tomato seeds for seed circles. Harvesting potatoes and tomatoes. Picked up packs of seed from the Wyevale seed sale. Started to review my seed box for 2019.

2019 -  Harvesting spuds cucumbers, runner beans etc.. High winds had to rescue sweetcorn. Runner bean frame collapsed so made good on a temporary basis. Shed repairs & weeding. Make a plug plant extraction tool. Pick up materials for cucumber A Frame. Won Kew Gardens Collection Heavy Duty Bypass Secateurs. Segway Stag Do 


2020 - August is normally the month for harvesting 

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in July and what has slipped. The plan is now to get a few late crops in and to work on getting the plot ready for next season. 

Coronavirus UPDATE

Early into March I ended up self isolating because my wife is very high risk and from the looks we were in isolation for a lot longer than the 12 weeks. 

My first visit to the plot was on July 21st Fathers Day with my second and third visits taking place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July to plant out the Baked Potato and mashed Potato Squash and some Butternut Squash. 

To Do List  

Below is the to do list in no particular order of what has slipped 

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 - I have now cleared the weeds in the bed and covered in cardboard in current location and move when ready
  • Tidy Up the Allotment  - Ongoing 
  • Weeding - Ongoing   
  • Plant Baking Potato Squash - Done 4th July 
  • Plant Butternut Squash - Done 5th July
  • Sow Bed of Beetroots - TBD

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • As much infrastructure works as the weather wilallow - SevRaised 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 plotWhen able  
  • Beds and Paths -  Four Bed 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 during lockdown .  
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Now covered to keep dry until September 
  • Plant Mash Potato Squash - TBD
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.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Weed Identification

 

weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place". Examples commonly are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fieldsallotments gardenslawns, and parks.

The term "weed" has no botanical significance, because a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing in a situation where it is in fact wanted, and where one species of plant is a valuable crop plant, another species in the same genus might be a serious weed, such as a wild bramble growing among cultivated loganberries.

In the same way, volunteer crops (plants) are regarded as weeds in a subsequent crop.

Many plants that people widely regard as weeds also are intentionally grown in gardens and other cultivated settings, in which case they are sometimes called beneficial weeds or wildflowers

The term weed also is applied to any plant that grows or reproduces aggressively, or is invasive outside its native habitat.

Not being able to get to my allotment for four months during the first Corona Virus wave, my plots are covered with weeds, and it occurred to me that I could not identify many of them and wanted too and to find out the best ways of dealing with them and should they be Burnt, taken from the plot, safe to compost directly of did they need to be dried or drowned before adding to the Dalek Army? 


The intention was to make a post using a table with a small photo and the plants name, what it's also know as, a few facts and then a link the the RHS or other source of more information.

The problem is that Google now own Blogger and are re-engineering also know as "fucking up" the editing software that was already naff. Tables were in the beta that we have been using before the forced move over to the new platform, but suddenly it's gone! 

So until it returns and hopefully in a functional way and without having to program in HTML my solution has been to upload all the photos to my Facebook and put the information and links there. 

I have shared this with all the gardening and allotment groups I belong too so that people can access until Google sort out the Blogger editor and I can do it directly on here. 

Information Sourced from a number of pages via a google search for "weed identification UK" and books I have, a few listed below. 

DK Allotment Handbook Pages 239-239 Gallery of Weeds

 

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Mentioned in Dispatches by Thompson & Morgan

Thompson & Morgan

 

Hi Alan,

July is the glorious month when our beds, borders, baskets and containers are at their peak - and if you’re a veg grower, it’s the season of gluts! This month we’ve loved seeing your homegrown harvests, reading your allotment news and admiring your beautiful blooms. Here are just some of the stories that particularly caught our eye…

Drop us a line via blog@thompson-morgan.com if you spot something that deserves a mention in our August email. And please make a fellow blogger’s day by sharing these posts...

 

Pretty in pink

David had that ‘I’ve got to have it’ feeling when he saw Diascia personata last summer. See why it’s his ‘plant of the year’ over at David's Garden Diary.

Read more »

Bonsai magic

Bonsai is the ancient Japanese craft where gardening meets art. Visit T&M's blog for expert tips, and try this stress-relieving hobby at home.

Read more »

Rambling roses

If you’re a sucker for a rose-covered cottage, you’ll love Susan Rushton's beautiful images. Discover 18 stunning ways to support a rambling rose.

Read more »

Allotment update

Check out this allotment masterclass over at The Frustrated Gardener! Dan’s only had this plot since January but his stunning veg will make your mouth water.

Read more »

Stylish meadow

Think meadows are messy? Pauline’s neat patches of flowery meadow at Lead Up The Garden Path gracefully attract birds and insects galore.

Read more »

Hydroponics

At manVslug.uk Alan’s been dipping his toe into hydroponics. See his ingenious idea for recycling plastic tubs into soil-free growing systems.

Read more »

Wild strawberry cake

Overrun with wild strawberries? Make the most of those tiny fruits and satisfy your appetite with this delicious recipe shared by Shaheen at Allotment2Kitchen.

Read more »

Mulling on Mullein

When this statuesque wildflower turned up at Mal's Edinburgh Allotment, he was delighted. But who knew it can be used to stupify fish or line your shoes?

Read more »

 

All the very best,

Thompson & Morgan blog team

 

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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Re-Purpose Rubbish II


Re purposing plastic takeaway containers, using a craft / Stanley knife cut two slots either end of the container lid. Take one sheet of kitchen roll and fold in half then trim to width and pull each end into the slot so that the towel will end up on the top after you fill the container with water and pop the lid on.
The water will wick up the towel and will keep your seeds damp so that they can germinate. Do and leave it, no keep going back to spray and water. I'm going to try this method with micro greens so I can trim easily.
The bottom tray in the background of the top photo was placed on top as a propagator lid.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Weeding & Composting



Not the usual view of the allotment as I don't often include the building behind because for at least the last four years it has been a building site. My plot neighbour who has taken the areal views for me lives in the top floor flat behind my shed and greenhouse on plot 1 (the left side).

    
This photo is looking just at plot 1 and the Dalek army along the path between plots 1 & 2 and the most of today was spent cutting back and up the comfrey bed and the grapevine and filling to the brim the Dalek on the right by the path into plot 1A. 


I was going to remove the grapevines last year and only actually got around to removing two of the 3 plants. The result was that the remaining vine has gone mad and into catch up mode and has taken over the wall behind the greenhouse on Plot 1A, but the bindweed has also stated to cover it as well as the leaf bins. 



Once I had filled the Dalek I started clearing the Bindweed from Dalek No 1 that needs relocating with the others and pulling the bindweed off the two leaf bins. More time and effort is required to clear all this bind weed away from along the wall and on this side of the plot, but I'm happy with what I managed to get done today in a couple of hours, Rome was not  built in a day.   



Photo on the left is the 17th July and that on the right is the 26th July just 9 days in the ground and a little rain and the difference is size and growth can be seen. 

What's also noticeable is the amount of weeds coming through the additional holes. I didn't get around to removing these  weeds during this visit and that means they will need to be dealt with on my next visit when they will be at least twice as big. 

What this is telling me is that I need to make some squash specific planting membrane sheets up that only have the two holes for the two squash plants each end in each corner and a watering hole in between them for a pop bottle with pin holes so that I can water at depth between them.

As my available time to get to the allotment is reducing as my wife needs additional care I need to find as many ways as possible to reduce the need for weeding and become more efficient. This is another reason I'm looking into hydroponics and in particular the Kratky Method as what I could do this with less frequent watering visits during the summer growing season.



Weeds, Weeds Everywhere! 

Because of covid-19 and four months of relative neglect of the plot there are weeds everywhere that need to be dealt with. On plot 1 I have Marestail also known as Horsetail or that bastard stuff that has been around since prehistoric times. You can't really dig out or chemically treat it, you just have to keep pulling it up and keeping on top of it and hopefully over time it will reduce in strength and dissipate a little. 

What I didn't know is what a lot of the other weeds that are growing are called and more importantly it occurred to me that I don't know which ones can be safely composted and which ones (apart from Marestail you should just burn).  

Thus having photographed these weeds I have set myself the task of identifying them, with the aid of fellow allotmenteers on Facebook Groups of course and producing a reference guide of some description. 

Quick footnote, Rain most of yesterday and over night, yes it was wet, yes I should have worn boots and not trainers that got wet in the toes, but it was fantastic just to get away from the house and the same four walls for a few hours. I saw and talked to people other than my wife including my sister-in-law who hopefully we can socialise with again once we stop shielding next month.