Sunday, 18 August 2019

Drop Off

Busy weekend I only managed to drop off the materials for the Cucumber frame to the shed over the weekend between being busy and the rain. Butternut squash are invading all over the place!  

Friday, 16 August 2019

Neudorff Organic Tomato Feed


Is a brand name that has been seen in the UK by gardeners since 2012, the company is in fact have been specialising in the development and production of natural gardening products for the garden, home and environment for more than 150 years. 

Their guiding principle is to combine a high degree of efficacy with the best possible degree of compatibility with people, animals and the environment.

No other range in the world can compare with the natural garden products that Neudorff  offer. They have been pioneering their ‘natural, safe, effective’ message in Germany for decades and natural products mean more to them than simply being the result of a "market trend". To Neudorff, it embodies a living belief of treating nature with respect and not taking the environment for granted.

Neudorff products are now beginning to be seen on supermarket shelf's as well as garden centres and of course from many sources on the internet.

Following the Garden Press event last year the nice people from their marketing department sent me a number of their products to play with and as my tomatoes are now in flower and some in the production of fruit I decided to rather use diluted comfrey extract from my two comfrey pipes on the allotment to give the Neudorff Organic Tomato Feed a go as it's truly organic and provides NPK of 3-1-5. 

The yellow cap is in fact a measuring container with graduations for 5,10,15 and 20ml, and on the back of the bottle the Feeding recommendations is to feed once per week using 10ml/L water. So it's easy to measure out and you never loose the measuring cup as long as you put the lid back on 

Thus this Litre bottle of feed will make up to 100 Litres of Tomato feed, so that's me sorted for some time. 

Now what's the cost ?

A very good question, the Neudorff Web site gives no indication as to what the RRP of their products should be, so let the buyer beware! 

A quick Google search provided these results 



So dearest found today £11.87 and the cheapest £4.25 which is a huge difference so as all gardeners know, it pays to shop around. 

If you want to find a local stockist you can go to Neudorff Stockist Web Site Page  and put in your post code and find out where you can buy their products locally.
  

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Cucumber A - Frame


After knocking up the Plug Plant Extractor the gadget building bug has got me again. In the car are 8 x 1.5m lengths of 40mm plastic pipes, 2 solvent weld Tee Connections 6 x push fit Tee connections and 4 x 90 degree push fit Elbows, a roll of plastic covered mesh fencing and a hand saw, ready for the weekend.


Total Station sold me the wrong pipe, which I had cut before I noticed, so I had to change some of the original solvent weld fitting for push fittings and they did not have enough push fit Tee connections so I made and executive decision to alter the design above slightly by changing the Tee connections at the bottom rear to 90 degree elbows. 

My Cucumbers are going to be so spoilt next year it's going to be untrue, I cant wait to get it all to the allotment for the build.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Plug Plant Extraction Tool or jig Mk II

Way back in February 2015 I made this simple Module Seed Extraction Tool of Jig up to assist in getting the seedlings out of the 20mm x 20mm x 30mm deep nursery module trays I had bought second hand off ebay, I cut the large trays down to full half and quarter trays and wanted a fast way of extracting a row of plug plants from the trays. 


Photos above is the jig primed for use and below the guide module in the closed position


Making 

1) Take one bed slat offcut from another project.
2) Put elastic band on drill the same dia as the dowel at half the thickness of the wood as a stop.
3) Mark the holes at the bottom of the seed modules along the wood.
4) Drill the holes as vertical as possible as I only have a hand drill.
5) Cut the dowels to a length that is half the depth of the module plus the depth of the holes in the base.
6) Wood glue the dowels in place.

Using

1) Move the single strip of module up to the top of the dowels.
2) offer the tray on top of the strip of module on the jig.
3) lower the tray.
4) The seedling plugs are pushed out of the module from the bottom.

Well that's was the theory, and when it came time to remove the onions grown from seed for potting on I used the jig and it worked. 

Fast forward four and a half years and I'm at it again only this time making a Plant Plug Extraction Tool for my new CMH Containerwise Materials  Heavy Duty 77L Shallow Long-Life Propagation Trays  one of which has load of Beetroot Plug Plants that will be going into a bed on the allotment this weekend. 


Below is the jig un-assembled 



Making

1) Take one bed slat from the timber store and cut to required lenght.
2) I bought a 12mm timber drill bit and some 12mm diameter timber doweling. 
3) Marked the holes at the bottom of the seed modules along the wood.
4) Drill the holes as vertical as possible as I only have a hand drill to a depth of approx 5mm.
5) Cut the dowels to a length of 25mm 
6) Wood glue the dowels in place.



And thus the MKII Plug Plant Extraction Tool or Jig is born and will be ready for use as soon as the wood glue is dry. I do have enough dowel to make more extraction tools for different tray configurations I have bought or perhaps even consider making one that does all the 77L Shallow tray in one go, now there is a project for the Winter.



If you visit CMH Containerwise Materials Handling and make an enquiry then please do tell them where you heard about them, this gives them and myself some ideal of how many people are visiting their web site as a result of my article. I have not been paid to write these articles about their company and I'm not on commission. I have to say I'm quite honoured to be listed with Charles Dowding and Huw Richards 


Hopefully I may get discount on future purchases if enough of you find them via my blog, but if the modules last as long as I think they are going to, I don't think I will be buying too many more of their trays. That being said I have got another half plot now and an additional greenhouse that is half constructed so who knows what next year might bring.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Repairs and Weeding



A nicer less windy morning on the allotment this Sunday 



Yesterday I mopped up the shelf under the cooker where water had been driven through the joints in the T&G boarding where shrinkage had opened the joint and later swelling and moisture and bowing of the planks had stopped the joints from re engaging. Daylight can be seen in the first photo and the water staining on the shelf in the first two photographs.  

I've filled the joint from the inside with framing silicone and smoothed it on the outside to stop the water from running or being driven into the shed by the wind.   





I managed to get the runner bean cantilever brackets fixed back to the hanging basket brackets. I have cleared the sprout hoops from bed one and laid them on bed 12 and have re laid the path to the left of the bed.



Beds 3, 4 & 5 Spuds 



Bed 9 Butternut Squash on the right and Pumpkin and Mini White and Kiwano on Bed 10 and the path between Beds 9 & 10 has been lost under the vegetation.  

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Wind Store Weeds & Spuds


   .
There was a high wind warning for last night and today and I have never seen wind like it down on the plot 



The storage rack made from old blow away tube and fittings that I installed at the covered storage area behind the shed finally started to collapse, and with the blue water pipe and other materials I have been scrounging I could not get to the wheelie bins that are in the internal corner formed by the boundary wall to get at the weed membrane sheets that I have stored in there. 

There was also no room to shelter and sit in the shed when the rain started, so the next dry spell I decided that I would remove everything from the storage area and I gathered enough wood to install two bearings and I cut roofing battens to length to make a shelf not unlike the one in the onion rack. 

You can't see it in this photo but I can comfortably store and stack the food buckets four high under the upper shelf. At the moment the upper shelf is holding mushroom trays & gravel trays that will ultimately go in the new greenhouse.

As the sides of the extension are now load bearing, I added two feet to the front of the side panels to take the load off the brackets attaching the sides to the rear of the shed. 

I spent some time pulling the weeds from paths and beds around the plot and clearing paths from invading Squashes




Because there is a step in level between Plot 1A and Plot 1 - I've had a change of mind about putting a full 1.2m wide bed at the interface, as if I work on that bed from the 1A side the path will be 200mm above the ground level until I manage to fill the bed up.

So using off-cuts from the Roof Joist I have been cutting for the beds, I cut four 600mm long timbers and gave them a couple of coats of paint during the day after the showers had stopped and the timber had dried in the sun. 

The sweetcorn cobs have finally arrived in less than a week! They are finally there waiting to be germinated, the problem I see is that the wind was so hard that there is little chance that the pollen got to where it needs to be, but only time will tell. 

The other problem was that the high wind pushed over a couple of corn so the two 1.2m bamboo and cable tie rescue plan was implemented to hopefully save the plant.   



On the left is bed 9 Butternut Squash and it's taking over the paths and invading the beds next door. In Bed 10 we have a low level mesh panel with Mini White Cucumbers and I have harvested another two today and can see at least another half doz growing and the Pumpkin is also in competition with the Butternut Squash for plot domination. 


      
The runner bean cantilever frame has become detached from the brackets thanks to the wind and its now hanging in space, so it looks like I will finally have to put in some permanent support rather than the Heath Robinson solution that has worked for the last three years but was only supposed to be a stop gap for a year. 



There are at least four more Cucumbers growing on the climbing frame. I have decided that I'm going to make a couple more of these frames but I will use a more open mesh as as usual I have found a cucumber that has grown in one of the holes and there is no way to remove it whole without cutting the mesh and I'm not going to do that I will have two half's of cucumber instead. 



It's always nice to come home from the allotment with a harvest, and today's was first early spuds from six buckets that were emptied. I have another 12 buckets to empty and three beds of seconds and main crop spuds that the foliage is dying off and will need to be dug up shortly.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Beetroot Plug Plants


I used one of my new CMH Containerwise Materials  Heavy Duty 77L Shallow Long-Life Propagation Tray  to grow a load of Beetroot Plug Plants and they will be going into a bed on the allotment this weekend. 

I've been out and bought some timber dowel to make an extraction tool to make life a little easier getting the plug plants out of the tray.

Health wise for me this year has been a disaster and as a result I was too late for everything and I have given up on getting the usual 22 tomatoes in the back garden, which is a shame as I have some gadgets and product to trail, and a load of heritage plants that died as a result of the heatwave and my lack of mobility. The gadgets and products will have to be played with next year but I will post about them shortly.



The new Greenhouse on the plot is only half erected and so I have decided just to continue with Micro, Mini and Dwarf tomatoes in the Space Saver Greenhouse in the back garden for this year, and the crop will basically form my contribution to the various seed circles I belong too, and replenish my seed bank.  

   

Monday, 5 August 2019

Coming Soon....


A trial of a new product to use in the battle against slugs and snails! 

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Cucumber Sunday


What a difference a week makes in the life of a cucumber, The long green are Fothergill's Esmarald cucumbers, the shorter green/yellow is a Burpless Tasty Green and the Mini Whites have gone mad. I had another Burpless and 2 Mini Whites and runner beans but I gave them to my neighbour when I got home. 

The weeds have gone mad, the grass that was only cut two weeks ago is high and needs cutting again. 



This crazy seesaw of rain and very hot and warm weather has made the corn grow high and the pollen tassel at the top is there before the fruit or ears of corns have even formed on the stalk, so I'm not holding my breath for a good result from this new variety from  Marshalls Alliance Sweetcorn at the moment, but I will have to wait and see what happens. 

The butternut squash has started an invasion across the paths and into the surrounding beds. It's making me think that perhaps I should keep a large area at the bottom of the site just for growing butternut squash. The Pumpkin has also taken over half of the bed and is also wanting to invade the neighbouring beds.

Five buckets of apples and three of shredded paper were added to the acidic dalek, and this years two normal Daleks were again filled with alternate layers of grass and shredded paper. 

A couple of beds were weeded and the path weeded and covered in weed membrane. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Ban on Metaldehyde Slug Pellets Overturned

A High Court order has overturned the decision to ban metaldehyde slug pellet products, with immediate effect.


The High Court has approved an order, agreed this week by the company that challenged the legality of the ban, that formally overturns the December 2018 Defra ruling to withdraw all products containing metaldehyde, with immediate effect.

Source Farmers Guardian 

Friday, 26 July 2019

The Other End Of The Seesaw


Well here we go again from one extreme to the other again and warnings of possible flooding. I was hoping to get some time in on the allotment over the weekend, it does not look like that's likely to happen this weekend, and the Garden BBQ for my daughters Birthday looks doubtful.  




Saturday 27th July 2019

Issued: 05:25 (UTC+1) on Sat 27 Jul 2019

Further details


An area of heavy rain which has developed overnight has become slow moving across this area. 10-20mm of rain has fallen over the past few hours, with a further 10-15, locally 20mm expected over the next 2-3 hours. This has the potential to cause some localised travel disruption and make driving conditions difficult this morning.


Sunday 28th July 2019 

Monday, 22 July 2019

Extreme Weather

Here we go again it's either a months rain in a day that floods the allotments or high temperatures that make working in the sun unbearable and increases the need for visits and watering. I'm just going to have to visit every other day to keep a close eye on things, and water the plants. 
  

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Sunday Visits Resume


After a few weeks of bad weather an injury to my leg last weekend, I managed to get down to the allotment for a few hours Sunday afternoon. It's a little disheartening to see the bind weed covering the rhubarb and the weeds in the footpaths and bed but I had some harvesting to get done, there was no time for weeding!

The view above is the corner of the plot after I had strimmed the edges as idverde finally came and cut the grass but made a shite job of strimming the edges, they left two clumps along the bottom that I had to remove. My little battery strimmer did a better job than they did with their professional petrol equipment. I need to get the kurb edgings installed as it will give them and me an edge to trim too. 

    

The onions were harvested from the full bed there were a few that were starting to show sign of white rot attack and they didn't end up on the rack they have been taken home to be sliced and frozen for adding to stews etc.  The overflow bed of whites have not really grown much larger than the sets so I have left them in place for the moment. 


Next on the agenda for the day was to harvest my first early spuds from the buckets 


It's satisfying to brush the compost away and reveal the spuds 


Had I been growing in the back garden then I could have lifted and harvest the spuds from the inner liner of the Echo Green Basic Potato Pot 330cm. I like this over the others I have  as there is nowhere for snails and slugs to lurk like they do in the curved strengthening ribs of the ones in the other photos of spuds in buckets.   


Again it's nice to see the spuds tight against the sides of the buckets 


Not the best results I have had from six buckets of first early potatoes but they do look nice and tasty and will go down nice with a salad. My daughter Emma likes the very little ones so I will let her have them. 

The sweet corn is really taking off and looking good. All six butternut squash plants are looking healthy, the 2nd early spuds have flowered and fruited and it will not be too long before they need to be dug up. The cucumbers are climbing the framework and are at the top and I can see small cucumber growing. I need to extend the netting on the gherkins and the Kiwano.

The foxes have been having a great time digging out the woodchips along the paths. There is a wasp nest in the greenhouse that needs clearing at some point in the future.  

I managed to straighten up the pear tree that the fox had dug up and pushed over, and then it was time to go home to my good lady wife having accomplished at least a little today 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Grass, Freebies and Update



On Saturday morning I responded to an offer on Freecycle for Approximately 30 metres of 25 mm diameter and 5 metres of 30 mm Blue MDPE underground cold water pipe. Saturday lunch time I fell over and hurt my leg again see post It's One Of Those Years!    

After four days of having my leg up and iced and now being able to hobble along without too much pain I went to collect the blue water pipe from Garry who had kindly agreed to hold it for me after I explained my predicament after falling over the kerb. Bless him he had even rolled it up nice and tight so it went into the car easily. 


I noticed that idverde had been to strim the blind bend corner tee junction that we have to turn into to get to the allotment and though smashing that means they must have finally after 3 months cut the grass they were supposed to be cutting monthly.

No such luck as you can see we have grass going to seed which is something we never had when the council used to be responsible for maintaining the paths on the allotments. Last year cutting the grass on a regular basis was the only thing idverde actually manged to do. 

I made a complaint about the grass some weeks ago and I have heard that other sites are finally getting cut so hopefully they will come back and run the sit on lawn mower up and down the path, ot takes then 10 minutes and they could have done that why the guy was strimming the bank on the blind corner at the entrance. But I guess joint up thinking as saving money is something idverde are just no good at. 




The foxes have been having a field day digging out the woodchips and covering the paving on the plot. 



The sweet corn and thickening up but still are short compared with previous years. The marrows are looking healthy and there are flowers. 



 All six butternut squash plants are looking healthy in the bed in the back ground and the Gherkins and Kiwano are looking healthy and the pumpkin has flowers on it. I'm just hoping we have enough summer left to get fruit. 


  
Marketmore and Burpless cucumbers on the sides seem to have stalled or have been eaten by slugs where as the ones on the front from John are growing nicely up the framework and have flowers on, again I just hope there is sufficient time to get a harvest  



First Early spud are done and need harvesting this weekend 



And looking at it so do the second batch of first early spuds grown in buckets. 



  Looks like the fox has pushed over the pear tree when digging and looking for worms and I need to re pot this tree when I visit on the weekend. Hopefully I will be more mobile by then but I'm going to have to take things slow and put in a few coffee breaks.