Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Table Finally Assembled

Thanks to many small metal angle brackets and straps the table that my son-in-law Andy rescued from the dump because he thought it might be useful on my allotment has been reassembled this morning during a very early visit to the allotment for an hour and a half of allotment therapy.

A jet-wash with my battery Worx Hydroshot and a coat or two of teak oil and she will be good to go and water resistant again.


The apple tree is bursting into blossom and make feel happy when you take the time to notice such things.
The plots gets a little better with each visit and I'm loving it! Still a long way to go but I'm enjoying the journey.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Clearing behind Plot 1 Greenhouse





On the allotment by 7:45 after clearing frost on the windscreen of the car to find that the Greenhouse on Plot 1 was covered in frost. temperature inside 1.2C but the water in the hose and the gun had frozen overnight.







I cleared the area behind the Plot 1 greenhouse and woodchipped and laid two of the rubber mats, then leveled everything off with the top of the paving slabs.


I moved the Rhubarb beds, cut the yellow tarp and relocated in the corner of the plot and then started to bring in woodchips so that I have a supply for the paths once I get the weeds extracted as the chips are going way too fast and if I don't get some on my plot now I will end up with dross if anything.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Let it Snow!


So glad I didn't get up at 6am to go to the allotment this morning and decided to have an extra hour and a half in bed.

The snow was heavy, it was covering the roofs because they and the top of the cars already had a layer of frost on them from the early hours.

My grass and timber decking in the back garden were covered but the concrete path resisted the settlement of the snow.

By mid morning after the sun came out and by 12 ish there was no sign of the snow of the morning.



Sunday, 11 April 2021

Free - Water Butt & Paving Blocks

 

Up early and out at 7:30 to pick up my latest Freecycle win a "Water Butt" for the plot 1 greenhouse.

Then to the allotment to clear the shed on plot 1 looking for the galvanised nails to re re roof the shed on plot 1A but I must have put them in a safe place, so safe that I can't find the buggers but I did clear a sack load of rubbish in the cleaning process and the cooker is now exposed again in all it's glory and coffee making facilities and kettle boiling services are resumed.

I fixed the automatic vent opener to the greenhouse on Plot 1.



I have installed the water butt to the right of the Plot 1 Greenhouse.


I had just started to clear and weed the area behind the plot 1 Greenhouse. Once the weeds have been removed additional wood chip and two of the rubber matting squares will be installed and the table will be assembled and located in its final position.

Weeds have been removed from the walking onion beds.


Bed cleared and covered with potato planting membrane ready for main crop spuds to be planted next weekend. Now we have more blocks there are additional blocks holding the planting membrane down against the wind.


Planting membrane removed bed raked level and recovered with a pre season black sheet and some blue water pipe hoops. More bricks have been added to this bed later this evening to help better hold the weed membrane in place.

Later this afternoon Kelly and I went to pick up 150 half paving blocks from Ewell to use as weights for holding down nets and planting membrane. Emma turned up at the plot to assist in unloading which we did just before the skies went black and it started to snow!


Saturday, 10 April 2021

Water System Extended

Early morning visit from 7:30 - 10:00, emptying six buckets of spent compost on the beds and topping up the two Daleks with grass from the back garden. 

Then I set about finding the hose pipe fitting and lengths of hose and started to piece together the watering system from the corner of plot 1 opposite the tap and dip tank up plot 1 with an outlet every other bed and then along to plot 1A joining onto the existing watering system on plot 1A. 

I had already removed the hose going to the water tank at the plot 1A end of the allotment, as using it had caused so much trouble with the site arse hole. Yep every site has one and at the end of the day it was just easier to source my water from the other end of the plot now I have plots 1 & 1A. I don't have to interact with the numb scull at all.

The hoses are all out in the open at the moment, but the pipes will be lost in the wood chip paths eventually. 

It looks like I may need a few more ends to get the coverage I want around the whole plot, but at least I now have water for the full length of plot 1 and 1A and I'm ready for the growing season.  

Although we are supposed to have a couple of rain showers today I watered the Raspberries, the potatoes in buckets and the onion sets this morning because I can without using the watering cans.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Free - Pipe for Hoops?


Freecycle is doing me proud at the moment, I managed to pick up a coil of black pipe that I can use for hoops and netting on the allotment. I may have enough blue pipe, and this black pipe may end up lining my 1.8m x 1.8m Greenhouse frames that are going to become vegetable climbing frames in the corner of the plot. 

Dangerous Hedgehog House

 


🦔PLEASE DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!🦔

This product went on sale yesterday on Thursday 8th October in Aldi stores. These igloo houses have been the cause of death for many Hedgehogs, Wildlife Warriors are calling for their ban. Hedgehog rescues report that Hedgehogs spines get caught up in the inside where they become stuck and literally starve to death or at least suffer construction injuries. They are poorly made and blow over in the wind. They should be removed from the market. If you want to make a good Hedgehog house check out:

https://www.gardenersworld.com/.../how-to-make-a.../

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Free Stuff - Rubber Garden Matting

Todays Freecycle find was 11 square metres of outdoor play area rubber garden matting. I was not expecting 9 mats 1m x 1m and two mats that had been cut into path width strips! I emptied the boot to the car and luckily enough they just fitted and I managed to stack them in the boot flat. I unloaded them and took to the plot.


Two number 1m x 1m mats placed in front of the Plot 1A Greenhouse on the paving to flatten out in the sun, if and when we get some.


I have temporally laid the cut sections down as paths between the Raspberries but I'm thinking of pulling the yellow tarp back laying the weed membrane path strips I have made and putting the mats on as a temporary path that will not attract bees and wasps looking for a drink.


Stack of 7 number 1m x 1m outdoor play area rubber garden mats in front of the shed. I could use 4 to make a patio area in front of the shed, or I may use them as paths behind the two sheds. I'm not quite sure yet and have not made my mind up.


Old netting hoops on the left which have a more straight leg as the have taken the form because they have been warmed by the sun and the same length newly cut hoops on the right that need persuading into the desired shape as those on the left.


Longer Diagonal Hoops that will be used in the 1.2m x 1.2m square foot gardening beds with debris netting to keep Mr Fox off the beds. Again installed on a bed just to get their desired profile.


New 25mm diameter sprout cage hoop cut to length and cable tied to one of the originals to help it adopt the desired profile. It will need drilling and additional struts added at a later visit.


It's not modern art just getting the hoops into the profiles we want and help straighten the legs up so they are easier to install into the beds later when they are needed. It also makes it easy for me to see how many sets I have and how many others need completing.


Modern Art from a different perspective 20mm diameter set and a slightly higher 25mm diameter set in the same bed ready for the sun and its heat to do its magic on the legs.


So tempting to use four or six of those mats as a patio area in front of the shed.

What do you think shall I ?

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Free Stuff - Rubbish Bins

 

Late afternoon round trip to doctors then pick up a couple of plastic dust bins off Freecycle to store compost safely away from the foxes on the plot. Cut some blue water pipe to length and place in the bed to the left of the photo to take up a more flatter sided hoop shape in the sun. Older blue water pipe used to lift the debris netting off the second bed of white onion sets and back home for evening meal. 6C and a little chilly on the plot this afternoon but another short little and often visit.

Two slightly different 80L Black plastic dustbins picked up off Freecycle being used to protect bags of compost from the claws of the foxes on the site.


Photo from some time ago when I was trying to explain my vision for the unworked area of Plot 1


Photo of my vision becoming a reality for the bottom end of Plot !

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Onion Sets


My daughter Emma helped me get 105 Red onion sets in and 105 white onion sets in late this afternoon early evening. Just after she left it started to snow!

I only managed to get one hoop frame erected the other bed is covered with the netting to provide a limited protection to the element as it's going down to -3 tonight and to prevent birds pulling them out of the ground before I had to leave for home and my evening meal.

Suttons Onion Sets - Red Baron

Suttons Onion Sets - Pink Panther

For the moment I can't recall what varieties the white onions are, one pack came from TESCO and I have to say they were awful good job the other white onions were plentiful and in a good condition.  


Monday, 5 April 2021

D.T.Brown's Green Manure Collection

 


Green Manure Seed Collection    The great value collection includes 6 seed packets, 1 each of the following varieties:

Crimson CloverA fast growing weed suppressant and great for beneficial insects, crimson clover is an excellent nitrogen 'fixer'. Ideally dig in just before it flowers. Works very well in exposed areas. Sow: March-August Dig in: March-September. Packet will cover approx 7 sqm Not the 20sqm (24sq yards) as stated on the web site for the collection as the pack weight is only 14g

Lucerne (Alfalfa)A deep rooting nitrogen fixer which will reach down and improve the sub-soil. If desired it can be left for a year or more before being dug in. Sow: April-July Dig in: April-August. 100g Packet will cover approx 20sqm (24sq yards).

Mustard (White)Perfect for soils lacking organic matter, it grows on most soil types and produces large amounts of green matter and fibre and will help structure and moisture retention. Helps hold valuable nutrients and is ready for digging-in in only 4 to 8 weeks from sowing. Sow: March-September Dig in: March-November. Packet will cover approx 20sqm (24sq yards).

Phacelia tanacetifoliaWinter hardy so can be over wintered. Ideal for adding humus content to impoverished soils. Sow: March-September Dig in: March-November. Packet will cover approx 20sqm (24sq yards).

Winter RyeOne of the very best over-wintering green manures. Soil structure is greatly improved through the abundance of fibrous roots produced and nutrient retention is improved in wet weather. Sow: February-March or August-November Dig in: February-December. Packet will cover approx 20sqm (24sq yards).

Mustard CalienteFast growing green manure that improves soil structure and fertility. Adds organic matter and nutrients, giving the soil optimum health by suppressing weeds, soil pest and diseases. Sow: March-July or September-October Dig in: February-December. Packet will cover approx 70sqm (84sq yards).

The incorporation of green plant tissue into the soil is an ancient practice known as ‘green manuring’. Green Manures are used to disrupt pest and disease life cycles, improve soil fertility and nutrient levels and suppress weeds.


            
            
            
Sow Indoors
 
Sow / Plant Outdoors
 
Flowers / Harvest
 



What I found disappointing is that no details regarding the coverage or the weight is to be found on any of the packs of Green Manure provided in the collection. 


Coverage Area & Pack Weight should in my humble opinion be added to all the packs. 

 

The information can be found on the products web page. 

So based on a bed size of 2.4m x 1.2m = 2.88 sq. m

 

Crimson Clover only covers 7 sq.m thus 7/ 2.88 = 2.43 Beds, so may as well say just 2 beds and split the 14g pack in half 14/2 = 7 g


Lucerene (Alfalfa), Mustard (White), Winter Rye Pack coverage = 20 sq.m 

Thus 20 / 2.88 = 6.944 beds per pack, say 7 beds 

So with a pack weighing 100g I can measure out 7 equal quantities and have enough for one bed so that I'm not too heavy handed and have the correct coverage.  

100g / 7beds = 14.29g / bed  


Phacelia Tanacetifolia pack is only 33g and also covers 20 sq.m so

33g /  7 Beds = 4.71g / bed 


Mustard Caliente pack is 100g but covers 70 sq.m 

Thus 70 / 2.88 = 24.3 say 24 beds!!! Now that's value for money  

100g / 24 beds = 4.166g / bed.  

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Potatoes In Buckets

Sunday morning on the allotment, mixing compost and coir with a little potato fertiliser for four buckets of three different varieties of first early spuds with four number in square flower buckets topped off with the bottom of baking trays to stop the fox from digging them out and undoing all my hard work. A thank you to Daughters Emma and Kelly and son-in-law Andy for assisting me getting a load more paving blocks down to the allotment late afternoon.


1 row of Permier - Mr Fothergill's
1 row of Home Guard - Dobies
1 row of Acoustic - Mr Fothergill's
All New Varieties of First Early spuds.


Bottom of baking trays put on top to prevent the foxes from digging around in the buckets


Coir Block in trug before breaking it down with the paving weeder and adding the Wickes New Multi-Purpose Compost and the potato fertiliser 


Wickes New Peat Free Multi Purpose Compost looked good but then I read it has coir in there anyway! no information about what percentage is added but it would be interesting to know.

According to the back of the sack on a scale of 1 (Low) to 9 (High) for Nutrients this compost is a 6-7 and contains the right level of balanced food with which to nourish plants for up to 4 or 5 weeks after planting, good thing I laced it with slow release potato fertiliser.


600mm long Power Planter 75mm auger made fast work of mixing the potato slow release fertiliser that was sprinkled on top and the coir and Wickes compost. Mixing loose coir and compost is the one job I will do with a drill without a steadying handle, plus I forgot to take the Ryobi drill with me.


After mixing 


A Meerkat has appeared on the plot on a hillock of woodchips near the entrance!


The Malling Juno Raspberries (Spring) from D.T.Brown are taking off there are still a couple that look like dead twigs but I'm hoping all 6 in each variety all take.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Coir & Block Paving

Up at 6:15 to Breakfast then hydrate four buckets of coir and place two paving bricks on each then fill two square flower buckets with six paving brick to replace the soft bricks (milk bottles full of sand). Drive to the allotment and arrive just after 8:00. Re energise two Daleks with cores of coffee then layer grass which had reached 25C in the trug overnight and shredded paper/ cut cardboard and water in each layer. Use the 600mm Power Planter and Ryobi Drill to break up the compost in one of the other Daleks. Distribute six paving bricks to those beds that still have soft bricks holding the weed membrane down. then back home by 10:15.


Car ready for unloading in the allotment car park


Coir with two paving blocks on top


Two Buckets with six/ a beds worth of paving blocks


Grass was so warm! I decided to measure how warm?


Just over 25C


Soft Bricks (milk bottle filled with sand) being replaced with paving blocks.


The grass and shredded paper topped up two of the Daleks.


12C in the Dalek and that was after it had been watered with water from the Greenhouse water butts! It will be interesting to see what the temperature is tomorrow.