Friday, 31 May 2013

Spring set to be the coldest for 50 years


I read this in the Metro on the way up to London Bridge Railway Station, mow I know why my seedlings and young plants are looking sad being outside.

Source http://metro.co.uk/2013/05/30/spring-set-to-be-the-coldest-for-50-years-but-sunshine-to-return-for-the-weekend-3821024/

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

25th - 28th May ~ UK Holiday Monday 27th May

OK you're expecting that I've done so much and that I have at least another two beds ready on the plot..... So was I, but the reality is that we are going to exchange contracts on my parents house within the next two weeks and push has come to shove and Jen & I have been clearing out the property over the past four days.

Four days because there was so much stuff that came back to my house that it looked like a bomb had hit it and I couldn't go back to work Tuesday and leave the house in the state it was in (so I booked another days holiday) as I still had charity shop runs, dump runs and stuff to put away in the loft etc.

I did manage an hour off on Sunday and Jen and I went too the plot to meet up with Keith, to put the netting over the hoops on beds 5 & 6 as the plants were getting too big for the mini netting cloches and to water the plants. The only other gardening stiff I have done is remove all the plants from Mums kitchen and install in the cold frame - I know that it's still getting cold at night but looking at the temperature gauge in the frame at 5:30 this morning it's 9.2 degrees C in there. I must remember to open the vents during the day as it's getting warmer, but still close at night.

I could have done with a larger cold frame, the sweet corn is on the patio and I have a couple of trays of Peppers, Cabbage and Marigolds our Kitchen by the grace of Jen (but only a short term basis I'm informed
;)  ) there are about 40 marigolds that need potting on to individual pots in the next couple of days as I only had time to deal with a dozen late last night.

I do have a small tomato grow-house for going over a grow-bag that I'm trying to work out where I can shoe horn it into the garden and how to create a framework to support the additional plants. The Runner beans down on the allotment and the garden have had it and I've planted more in loo rolls to replace them, but they are not showing yet. looking at some of the plants they were far happier in Mums kitchen than in their new cold frame home.

So the house is empty apart from some stuff I have put on free cycle - and I have sorted out Dads shed and what I'm keeping will come over this weekend then I'm done over there, and can catch up with my garden and the allotment, plus I need to deal with a number of jobs in the house....... ( That's for Jen as I know she reads this and as she often reminds me I don't live in the garden.... but it has been suggested that I could down the
allotment  ::) on occasion  ;)

Jen - Thanks for all the help plus moral and physical support Babe....

Update 3:22pm - telephone call from Jen - "fancy putting that on the Blog" - told you she read it ;)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

23rd May 2013

Having access problems at London Bridge so working from the office drawing up the plans and elevations - So lunch on the allotment and used the time to drop off more plastic drink bottles for the grape vine bottle screens - I have green growth on one of the three vines so I could be picking grapes in a couple of years.

Crazy weather today hailstones then bright sunshine, then hailstones again all morning, but by lunchtime looking at the pavements you would not know that anything had fallen from the sky?

Sid has left me some more timber so I dropped that off as well - so I have enough to make the second frame and I'm guessing enough bottles to half fill it.

Finally put together one of the garden chairs so that Jen has somewhere to sit when we go together. If I can get the rest of the garden furniture assembled that will free up the storage area a little.

The Council actually are fixing the front gate - looks like reminding them that if it did fall on someone and kill them that their was an audit trail showing that they were notified of the danger has worked
;) - sometimes you have to play the system to get done what you need.

Prepped a stack of loo rolls ready for the runners and used the soldering iron to melt holes on the bottom of 1/2 doz 2ltr bottles ready to top and tail some more bamboo sticks. 100s and 1000s toms look like they will need potting up on the weekend.

Sorting out cardboard boxes to take and cover the last uncovered grassed area on the plot over the weekend - I will lay them down and cover with them with tarps to slow down and hopefully kill off the grass - there is  no way I'm skimming it all again.

Re potted toms from Keith are looking much happier today

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Jools Holland at Croydon



22nd May 2013 - Rescue Mission on the way home from London bridge to the allotment to pick up five tomato plants, a cucumber and a couple of marrows that Keith (Brother-In-law) has grown in his greenhouse and were surplus to requirement - taken home due to threat of frost for the next couple of days and I wanted to move on and pot deeper in larger pots and let all those hairs turn into a better root system.

Runner beans are looking really sick, and I will need to plant some more in loo rolls this weekend - so that planting out can take place when the threat of frost is greatly reduced. That's a lesson learnt, and I will not be so eager next year.

Comfrey is coming up a storm now - but so is the couch grass and the weeds - the young couple on plot 3A were due to have a baby and have not been over for a couple of weeks and their plot is now lost in 8-9" of grass, weeds and a sea of dandelions that are due to loose their seeds.....

Michelle on plot 5 is worried about the annual inspection, as what looked reasonable a couple of weeks ago looks as if it's not been touched for months as their petrol strimmer is out of action and they have not been able to deal with the grass and weeds.

It has to be said, taking the time to hand dig and extreme weed plus using the weed membrane under the wood chips has really paid off as the half of the plot I've dealt with is not as a bad condition as my neighbours - I will definitely be planting through weed membrane for larger plants a large spacing to prevent all that weeding in between.

The other half is going mad and I trimmed the grass and weeds around the edges where I have not got it covered in the carpet that was on the half I had cleared and the damp proof membrane I have put down to try and kill the weeds.

Attacked the bindweed that was sneaky and had started growing up the bamboo behind the shed with weed killer   

Jen and I went to see Jools Holland with Roland Gift of the Fine Young Cannibal plus Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall at Croydon in the evening - I missed my annual fix last year as Jen was in hospital

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

21st May 2013


Working from the office today as I have to get all the health and safety documents done for tomorrow and I have an appointment near to the allotment at 2:00 so off to the allotment for lunch. Weeded beds 1 - 4 again!

Main Crop potato's are up and showing before the First Early and the Second Early what's that all about  ???


Monday, 20 May 2013

20th May 2013


I managed to get home from the London Bridge site a lot earlier that I thought I would, I was up at 5:00 am and out of the door by 6:00 to ensure I got the site induction on time. Passed the drug & alcohol and the induction test then had to wait whilst they sorted out the fingerprints and ID - Access Pass.

I could only do work outside of the site today as the necessary health & safety stuff has not been checked Doh! - but it did mean I was home in time to spend an hour on the plot - I dug into the pile of earth near to the shed and sieved and bagged it for mounding up the potato's and covered the area Keith and I cleared a couple of weeks ago that had turned into a 8" - foot high of grass with a roll of DPM that I got off free cycle when I picked the kerb edgings - Didn't need to water, it looked as if Keith had done that for me, as he knows I'm going to be pushed for time for the next two to three weeks - his a good brother-in-law. 

Watered all the seedlings and young plants when I got home and planted out 16 radish in toilet rolls as I need to get some of this stuff going in the hope that I will have the beds ready in the next 4 - 6 weeks.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Mc Fly and Frank Spencer strikes again!



McFly were as good as usual, but way way to loud  :blink: still waiting for my hearing to return and the ringing in my ears to go away  :nowink:. Could have been because we were nearer the stage but they need to wind it down a little or get the soundman that has been with them for the last 10 years back.

Today planted 3 seeds per module

20 Modules of Little Gem Lettuce
10 Modules of Iceberg Lettuce
10 Modules of Rocket Wild
10 Modules of Lollo Rossa
10 Round Lettuce

Yep the wife and I love salad
.... :lol: 

Very swift visit to the allotment to water and deliverer two giant tubs of compost from Mums along with the concrete squirrel bird feeder and a pick-axe - The half of the allotment cleared of couch grass two weeks ago is once again a lush lawn  ::) - there are potato's showing in all four beds and they have a not so nice carpet of weeds on the banking up that I cleared Wednesday but its back. I thought using the hoe and the sun was supposed to kill the little B#g#ers?

Saw a YouTube video where the guy was using a pop bottle that had hole punched in the cap to water his seedlings and thought "Cracking Idea" a couple of small pop bottles recovered from the recycle bin and a mapping pin later, and I now have a couple of different sized bottles at Mums and in the Cold Frame- saves all that with the spray bottle that is very hit and miss on working and it's FREE.

Just heard that my assistant has broken his foot, so looks like I'm on my own Monday for the site induction and for the next 3 weeks (I've told him before he should change his name to Frank Spencer
::))

18th May 2013 - Potting out this morning



Tomatoes, Broccoli and Cabbage, the sweet corn has really come on and is now in the cold frame until I can get over the allotment to get a bed ready for it. Taking the girls to see McFly tonight at Wembley, so no allotment for me today - moving the stuff from Mums house tomorrow.

 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Star date 17th May 2013


I didn't really get to the allotment last weekend - clearing out my Mums place - a couple of lunchtime visits to weed the potatoes beds 1 - 4 and drop off some 2ltr pop bottles Thursday and today and that's been about it.  The council did come and fix the leaking tap Tuesday by all accounts.

Seedlings all doing well, sweet corn has grown like mad and I've potted up 12 Cabbages.


Got to be said with the cold night the runner beans are not looking good at all and I may have to replant 80% again at the end of May....

It looks like I will be working at London bridge for the next few weeks so the lunch time visits will be out of the question.... NOT Happy about that
:(

Friday, 10 May 2013

Friday 10th May

Well the sweet corn has gone mad and I have 8 little green heads about 5-6mm high that seen to have appeared in the last 24hours .....that's just crazy :unsure:

The debris netting arrived at work today before lunch so it gave me an excuse to visit the plot and dump it in the shed - whilst there I had a tidy around because the wind had moved stuff again and I cleared the incinerators and compost bin etc. from the area where beds 7 & 8 are due to go in - weather and time permitting. The ground was still wet so I didn't water and we have rain forecast for the next week anyway.

So just waiting for the tent pegs to arrive - early next week hopefully and I will be able to get the netting over beds 5 & 6 and put the small netting cloches away. I have a big project at London Bridge coming up so I'm not going to be able to get the plot lunch time and early evening .....not happy about that at all  ::)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

9th May 2013

9th May - Lunch time on the way to the allotment to water, when it started to rain so diverted to the Garden Centre and came away with

1 x 10kg Blood Fish and Bone & 1 x 10kg West Growmore Plant Food for £20 (£9.98 off)
Scotts Roundup Pump and Go 5L with applicator £19.99 (£10 off)
2 x packs of JAB Cabbage Collars (£5.98)

Because I spent over £40 I could pick one of the dying shrubs worth £7.99 I asked them if I could eat anything they had on offer and they looked half dead anyway and they told me no, so I declined their generous offer.... and told them to offer it to the next person to come through the till.

Emma had taken Jen to see GHOST at Wimbledon Theatre so I went home via the allotment just to check that it had rained there, and it hadn't !!!! But what wind - Keith and Pauline were on my plot having just watered theirs and were recovering all kind of items that had been moved around by the very high wind. (tops to slug traps - plastic pop bottles on Bamboo, the fence panel wedged between the shed and the wall, and the gate leaning in the access to my storage area etc.)

Even Adi's young tree was laying at an angle and a couple of plastic grow houses had disappeared from plots further away. Once everything was once again in place or secure I watered and it was very dry and then went home.

I did notice a nice new crop of weeds growing on the potato beds I had only cleared yesterday but it was too cold and windy to do anything about them.

 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wednesday 8th May - Flying Lunch Time Visit

Rain this morning but by lunch time it had stopped and in fact the pavements had dried out - a quick trip to the allotment for 1/2 an hour lunch time weeded rose beds 1 - 3 and potatoes Beds 2 - 4 measured the area to the side of the shed as I may have a 6ft x 6ft plastic shed that could go in there going begging, and it would just fit.... will need to think about that.

Brian from Mencap was on site clearing and I have told him if I get any excess plants out of my efforts especially the Sprouts now I have Keith's planted that they can have them. Bless him they funded the plastic cold frame using the money from the scrap metal they cleared from there and every one else's plots. Their idea is to sell the produce in house to buy more seeds and equipment as they have no real funding for this venture. The guy in the wheelchair is amazing at sieving the earth and they are digging and sieving large volumes, mind you the plot was over 6ft high brambles and no body else wanted to take it on.

Ron was beavering away - 80+ and been in two road accidents knocked off his bike and then as a passenger in a car and ended up being knocked out and now using a walking stick but that guy will not be stopped, many of the plot holders next to him including Keith have offered to help him ensure he is far enough along come inspection, but he is a very proud man and wants to do it all himself.

I watered the seedlings tonight and the Broccoli and the Marigolds have also now started to show.  I'm going to need some guidance as to how large to let these thing grow before re-potting, I can see some photographs and questions on the forum at http://chat.allotment.org  if I can't find anything on YouTube to help.

3m x50m of Debris netting ordered for the hoops

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Tuesday 7th May 2013

All dressed and ready for work, when Jen says "Why don't you book a days leave and get those poor little plants in that Keith gave you into the ground - I can hear them calling you"......

OK I look at the Diary and I don't have any appointments, but I do have lots to do... but then again I've only taken one days leave in five months and I do have to use it up before the end of December. Its nice sunny and warm and the weather forecast is not good for the next 10 days and rain over the weekend, and Jen is offering to spend the day with me on the Allotment.... I'm only human

So I phoned the office, told them I was going to book it off as holiday - logged in and booked it as holiday and changed into working clothes....

Looking at the runner beans I could not leave them any longer and I placed 1/2 doz in a carrier and by 8:30 Jen and I were on the allotment and work and planting Runners. I then planted the sprouts and Jen and I covered in the compost from two of the tugs. Keith popped in to check on the plants and lent me the probe and we cut blue water pipe and inserted four hoops only to find the netting was too narrow and was 2m not 3m wide. Jen remembered the four netting cloche we bought as end of line and we ended up using those for the moment until I can get some more netting.

It took until about 1:45 and a couple of Mars bars to keep my blood sugars high to stop me getting wobbly to get the point where I had dug the bed and the path at the rear of Bed 6 then we decided to come home for something to eat.

After about and hour we returned with the rest of the runner beans these one I lad flat in a cardboard tray a much better way to transport and after planning on with the task of forming the paths - treading down and compacting and inserting the grass edging then weed membrane down ( the second rolled stuff from the 99p shop is not as thick and dark  as the folded stuff they had originally) and then barrow loads of woodchip to complete the task.

10 White and two Red Cabbage plants later and Jen was placing more compost on the weed membrane one side as I was planting on the other side.

Then I ran a new longer hose from the water butt in Adi's plot and watered the potatoes and finally the Cabbages. Netting Cloches installed over and a swift tidy of the weed membrane being tucked under the first row of paving slabs and we were done (IN that is) and we left the allotment at around 7:45ish and went home for the evening meal (after I watered all the seedlings)

Below is the state of play at the end of the day.......
     



Monday, 6 May 2013

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May - Got to the allotment about 8:00 - Jen staying with Kelly this morning. It was a really lovely hot bright and sunny, and I got cracking straight away with digging against the wall and removing as much bindweed and couch grass as possible, and digging my way out from the wall. In the early morning beds 5 and 6 are in shadow.

Progress is slow due to the amount of weed , so I decide to come about 18"  back from the path parallel to the wall and level then tread the path in and lay grass edging between the last two rose enclosures weed membrane and woodchip. That done I then soaked the thee grape vines that have been languishing in the shed in a bucket of water that had been warming in the sun for an hour as stated on the packaging.

The allotment was a lot busier today - Bob, Ron, Andy, The young couple from plot 3A, Keith and Pauline, Barry and his significant other and Owen, and the Mencap crew all made a show during the day.

So just before returning home for lunch the three vines went in and were heavily watered. I covered them up with the plastic bottle framework that is now complete and I made three new bamboo canes worth with what we had taken to the allotment. Note to self next lot to have holes burnt for the ends. The idea is that they should help increate the temperature and hopefully promote growth.

I then decided to not dig the whole width as mentally it was taking too long so instead of Bed5 Path Bed6 - I came just to the right of the Path into Bed5 - Got to about 12:30 and I needed something to eat badly so off home for lunch - below is the state of play lunchtime.





After lunch Jen and I went back to the allotment - Keith and Pauline were still there - and Keith got a brew on - he has bought a nice little camping gas burner and It looks like Jen has an eye on us getting one so that we can return the favour and ask the 6A lot over to 1A for a cuppa once in a while. Once I have completed half of the plot and have the paving laid a little more level - I have my Mums old garden furniture to assemble so we will all have somewhere to sit and relax.

So cracking on - Keith increases the pressure to complete at least one more bed as he has an excess of sprouts and cabbage - So nose to the grindstone - Jen tries to weed Bed 2 for me and gats out of puff so I tell her to sit down - a little later she has a crack at clearing the comfrey bed with the speedy weedy which turn out a lot better for her as she does not have to bend and she makes a grand job.

by 4:50 we have nearly got Bed 5 edges and I manage to lay the woodchip in record time, before we have to go home. So evening mean and a Drew Barrymore film then a quick trip back to water the plants Keith gave me the potatoes in Beds 1 - 4, vines and Comfrey - Whilst that was going on I laid weed membrane in Bed 5 as that will be where the sprouts will be going.

Photo at the end of the day below - Home and water all the seedlings and young plants.



View of the cleared Comfrey Beds - The bricks are what I've dug up from under the location of the old shed in front of Beds 4 & 5 waste not want not and they delineate the bed and will help keep it weed free.

 
This little fellow hopped out of no where and climbed up the bags of sand and watched me dig for some time



Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday 5th May 2013

I went to the allotment with the electric drill to place some eye bolts for the two runner bean planting areas and had just and finished when Jen complete with coffee flask was dropped off by Emma.

It was really sunny and warm, Andy was already on site and popped over to borrow some scissors to cut his netting up.

Second frame followed, whilst Jen weeded Potato Bed1 - which took a lot out of her so I suggested she sat and rested whilst I had a coffee, and she ended up tidying up all the dross in the shed for me.

Keith and Pauline turned up with all their brassicas to plant - during one of Keiths coffee breaks noticed that Pauline was planting Brussels into weed membrane as she has already had enough of weeding the other beds.

Found a large Frog when clearing the nettle and bindweed along the wall, that's it now the wall is clear and I have Beds 5 & 6 to dig over tomorrow. Jen watered Beds 1 - 4 and the comfrey which is taking off quite nicely now

Came home and watered all the plants, and painted the three fence post for the boundary rope.
     

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Star Wars Day - May the 4th Be With You


It keeps raining on and off and it's too cold to go to the allotment for Jen so I've been sorting out my seeds and sowing .....

Plant Update

Runner Beans still going mad
Tomatoes All starting to show, 100s & 1000s best Money Makers and then Plum
More traffic light Sweet Peppers showing
Cabbage January King doing well
Spring Onions doing well in their modules not sure how big to let them get before planting out? then saw the post and photograph by DD

Sowing Today......

Potted up 12 x Sweetcorn lark F1 Hybrid in 3" pots
                  8 x Celery Tango F1 Hybrid in modules
                16 x Sweet Peppers F1 Mohawks in modules
                1/2 tray of lettuce surprise Mix 
                12 x Brussels Sprouts in modules
                12 x Cabbage Hispi F1
                12 x Cauliflower - Cheesy F1
                12 x Broccoli Autumn Calabrese 
             
Ok I bought some small storage boxes and 2.25" x 2.25" Seal bags from Hobby craft and printed out the labels to fit inside for all my seeds as it really bugs me that the packaging is all various shapes and sizes and it goes against my OCD tendency.


Sorted out the Cold Frame a little and cleared up No 2 Shed between the showers.

My daughter Kelly has sarcastically requested that I start measuring the height of my plants and blog that as well - give it time ;0)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Wednesday 1st May - Fox Prints - Wood Chip and Notice Board

I visited the plot first thing in the morning on my way to work as I have a late appointment and will not be able to get down there tonight - watered the potatoes with the sprinkler which covers 4 beds when placed in between bed 2 - 3 and whilst that was happening I humped another four more barrow loads of woodchips from the drop zone just inside the main gate to my plot.
I notice from the paw prints that the local fox had been walking all over the four dug plots - looks like I'm going to have to net all the beds just to keep the little bugger off my plants

I've applied for funding to the council for a notice board for the allotment as I keep getting stuff sent to me by the council and local gardening organisations but have no where to pin them up.