Wednesday, 22 June 2022

I Was Set Up Gov!

On the 16th June I posted this on Facebook


The Mares Tail working it's way up my plot and how overwhelmed I was feeling as I could not visit the plot enough to deal with it and keep it in check.

Tonight my youngest Daughter Kelly tells me she is picking up her sister Emma from work and spending the evening with her.

After our evening meal my wife says why don't you drop off that tug of grass you sister dropped off to the allotment Dalek rather than having it stink the car up, so I did. As I entered the Drop Off & Pick Up Area (Remember we are not allowed to call it a car park!) I saw a car that was the same make as Kelly's.

Now I don't know her registration number but what I do know the air freshener she has hanging from her mirror. Then it hit me I have been set up and sent down to the allotment at my wife's request, because my daughters were waiting to surprise me!


They had been on the plot for about two hours and in that time had pulled all the mares tail from the paths from the Raspberries on plot 1 and had also re woodchipped all the paths adding another 7 - 8 wheelbarrow loads, so the woodchip is thicker and hopefully will help prevent further growth this season.




Paths from the Plot 1 TARDIS Greenhouse


Plot 1A and Plot 1 Boundary looking from the main path 


Plot 1 looking from the main path from the Compost Store 

My Daughters Emma on the left and Kelly on the right, I'm so proud of these girls 

I know a proud Dad wanted another photo of them but it shows the paths they have cleared and refreshed with woodchips tonight


I added a layer of Grass about 100mm deep to active compost bin and the one next door to it,  that I guess technically now is also active. Once you get a Dalek cooking the levels drop very quickly and you know your on it when you have two active bins on the go at one time. At the end of the season I have been known to be filling 3 or 4 bins. 

I suggested to Emma that as she was here she may as well harvest another load of Raspberries, they were after all purchased so I could provide her with a regular supply of them.

Mini Muncher F1 from Suttons

New for 2022 Mini Muncher F1 from Suttons 

I'm a little late on sowing these, but they have time to catch up and will no doubt grow like bonkers in the Square Foot Gardening Bed 2. At a cost of £3.99 for 4 seeds it feels a bit too expensive to me but we will have to wait and see if they produce enough crops to make them worth buying again in the future. I may also try harvesting some seeds and seeing what I get as a result of saving, and growing in the second year. I've done it before with F1 Tomato seeds and had two very different results and followed both then decided which one to save in the second year.  

Cucumber 'Mini Muncher F1' is a female flowering outdoor mini cucumber that develops fruits at the size of 10-15cm with 1-2 per node. This variety is ideal for British summer weather, as you can get great fruits even if you live under colder conditions in your area. The mini cucumbers are juicy and crisp with an excellent taste, making them the perfect, healthy afternoon snack or a great lunchbox filler for kids.

This a unique cucumber to opt for and if looked after well, you can expect vigorous, early plants with high yields. Mini Muncher is tolerant of powdery mildew, downy mildew and cucumber vein yellowing virus, plus cucumber mosaic virus resistance. Therefore, a very disease-resistant crop to grow!

Sow seed singly on edge in 9cm pots under glass at 18–21°C (65–70°F) March-May for greenhouse crops or April-May for outdoors. Later pot on plants into large pots, about 25cm in size, or plant them out in a frame/greenhouse or outdoors. (Do not plant in cold frames until May.) Maintain night temperatures of 16–18°C (60–65°F).

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Fathers Day Visit

A big thank you my Daughters Emma and Kelly for a great Fathers day. They looked after their Mum this morning so that I could get to the allotment to try and get on top of the weeds and the Comfrey in the morning.


As seen last Sunday from the other side of the Comfrey bed it has grown so much that its all falling over and spreading and the path has gone!



Four Rubber Tug loads cut up later and added to the Daleks and the path into the plot can once again be seen and accessed.

The levels in the main active Dalek had once again dropped to around the top level of lines on the side of the Dalek and and was filled up with 3 rubber tug load of cut up Comfrey and then topped off with spent compost from modules of sweetcorn that had not germinated.





The Plum tree is growing into the path between plots 1A and 2A and the decision has been made to significantly reduce the tree as it was covered in small baby plums and all but 4 now remain. 

Something is stripping the tree and I'm not getting any harvest from it so it may as well not be there.


The blank weed membraned sheets that have come off the beds that were a little grubby were hung on the Herris fencing and washed and brushed clean and allowed to dry, turned over and the other side washed.


The Blank weed membrane bed sheets were draped over the onion beds and allowed to dry off before finally being folded and put away in a storage container until they are required again to cover the beds for winter.


Photo taken just before I came home for lunch showing the progress made in clearing the bulk of the mares tail towards the greenhouse frames. More clearance happened when we retuned in the afternoon but I didn't get any photos, but we have filled the rotating Composter with mares tail to dry off so I can burn it when we can have fires again. The bed on the right is the Asparagus bed and it seriously needs weeding again! a job for a future visit.


The weeds on the patio to Shed Plot 1A needs weeded or straying with weed killer again.


The three Allotmenteers, Emma at the rear Kelly in the middle and Mr Ruggedly Handsome in the front.

The girls both cooked a great beef roast Sunday fathers day lunch with all the trimmings and make a forbidden chocolate cake for desert. We watched a family film together over lunch and then after allowing some time for our lunch to get down, they both came with me back to the allotment to harvest four deep Chinese takeaway containers of Raspberries.

Emma taking two home with her, Jen and I have one and our neighbour had the 4th container. They also helped me pull up as many Mares Tails as possible from the woodchip paths and the beds, before we had to get back to my wife.

In addition I got lots of Fathers days gifts and I'm going with Kelly to see Top Gun on Tuesday night and for an evening meal with Emma on an night of my choosing when I can arrange for Kelly to keep her Mum company.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Planting Membrane

I was up early and working on a 1.2m x1.2m planting sheet with 7 x 7 grid of planting holes at 150mm centres before the sun comes down to the patio






This afternoon between rain showers two more 1.2m x 1.2m blanks cut out and one turned into a 16 Hole 4 x 4 grid at 300mm centres and 150mm to the edge which will be ideal for some more sweetcorn.

Friday, 17 June 2022

12 Cauliflower Depurple postiplugs


12 Cauliflower Depurple postiplugs from Suttons arrived today after having been in the mail system since dispatched 3 days ago on Tuesday. I must say the leaves look a little washed out but the plants look remarkably healthy for their journey during hot weather conditions. Cost £9.99 and Harvest during August.


They have been potted into vending machine cups and watered in, plus they have been in a water bath for half an hour and are now in the space Saver greenhouse overnight but will be brought indoors and out of direct sun light as it's a little harsh for baby brassicas at the moment in the Space Saver during the day.


Two 4ft x 4ft Square Foot Gardening blank weed membrane sheets cut out ready for covering the beds in Winter once they are free of produce.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Sunday Afternoon Visit


It's been a bit of a strange week, a few short showers, very overcast, and pockets of sunshine. With my foot and leg playing up, I've not really had a lot of incentive to shoe horn a visit down to the allotment in or to do anything really. 

The girls were out with their old class mate celebrating his 30th birthday Saturday, and I didn't know how good or otherwise my foot was going to be, and not wanting to get the girls up early Sunday I put off the visit to the plot in the morning so they could have a lay in bed. 

Emma volunteered to come down with me to plant out the sweetcorn that were in the greenhouse Sunday afternoon after the Sunday roast.


I cleared the bed and found a 27 Hole 3 x 9 Planting membrane and planted out the Sweetcorn Moonshine F1 from Marshalls. Such disappointing germination the packs had 50 seeds in and I sowed two packs worth and just have enough to fill the 27 holes. Next year I'm going back to germinating the seeds on kitchen towel before sowing, so much potting compost gone into the Dalek as a layer of browns as a result. 


2nd Potatoes and main Crops doing OK on the left and Broccoli and Melons doing OK on the right, and the runner beans are starting to climb the cantilevering Minty Frame on the wall behind them.  


Close view of the 
runner beans starting to climb the cantilevering Minty Frame on the wall, and the Dwarf French beans in front. 


The red grape KC5383 Grapevine Plant - Flame growing really well but bed needs some weeding again.


The Comfrey has grown very tall and fallen over, I need to get the comfrey pipe mended and also harvest some to add to the Daleks.


Onions that have gone to seed and so will not fatten up anymore were harvested


Onions that were harvested because they had gone to seed and were washed because they were covered in blackfly or min aphids.




What was left in the three onion beds after the onions going to seed were harvested and put on the drying rack. 


First harvest from the 
Malling Juno (early) Raspberries from the D.T.Brown - Long Cropping Raspberry Collection minus a few that had to be eaten as picking them of course.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Sunday Platinum Jubilee Visit

Emma was over just before 10 and that allowed me a 3 hour window as the rain was stopping to visit Avalon (Plots 1 & 1A) this morning.

My sister had dropped off her grass cuttings a day ago, and these were taken down with a bucket load of cut up cardboard I had processed on Saturday to fill the Dalek up again in layers, that were watered in.

The grass was already hot and in the process of decaying nicely in the sack.

There are 4 thermometers of various lengths in the top of the bin which will give me some indication of what's happening in the bin at various different levels.

It had been raining and everything was wet, and I really didn't feel like it but weeding the Raspberry bed of mares tail just had to be done as the raspberries are growing really fast and the other beds are quite thick with canes.




Weeding the path of mares tail makes me feel like trying another way of providing paths, perhaps using cardboard & Weed membrane and the rubber matting so the it can be lifted and the actual path dug and weeded. Something to ponder for the future me thinks. 



Harvesting the Malling Juno (early)  Raspberries from the D.T.Brown - Long Cropping Raspberry Collection suddenly turning red, a few had to be eaten straight off the bush, just to make sure they were OK and a remining 20 that were picked were taken home for Jen and Emma to consume, in our Jubilee tea party.


Cutting the Hawthorn and brambles back to behind the timbers, which need to relocated and stacked in front of the Daleks with some air flow so they don't rot away before I can get them ready for beds.

Some sorting out of the weed membrane, planting membrane and bed blanks in the storage chests in the shed lean-to which indicates to me that I need to make a few more planting membranes and a few bed blanks come the dry weather when I'm restricted to home and can't get down to the allotment.   

I did get to water the plants in the greenhouse and the beetroots I left in the water dip tray looked a lot healthier when I left at 1pm to go home for our Family Platinum Jubilee party, and to watch the proceedings on the box.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Debris Netting & Weeding

The Platinum Jubilee celebrations marking the Queen's 70 years on the throne are the first of their kind - aside from Victoria, no other Queen or King of Great Britain has even reigned for 60 years.

In my childhood there was only one scouts promise. 

The Scout Promise for members who are Christian

On my honour,
I promise that I will do my best
to do my duty to God and to the Queen,
to help other people
and to keep the Scout Law.

because in those days were were predominately Christian and were taught religious studies in school.  

Well as Liz arranged for an extra couple of days off, to celebrate her Golden Jubilee and my daughters are both at home this morning, so they suggested that I could get off down to the allotment with my new roll of 3m wide debris netting and get a few hours in.


SFG Bed 2 weeded and the metal mesh added to the back and diagonal blue water pipe and debris netting cover that was on the Asparagus bed before I re-covered it.


Beetroots planted in the corner of Square Foot Gardening bed 1, they were a little worse for the heat and not being watered for a few days but hopefully they will pick up again.


Now I have 3m wide debris netting I've removed the mesh panels and the short debris netting and covered the Asparagus bed with 3m wide netting. I still need to get in there and weed the remaining half of the bed, but that will be a lot easier now it's completely netted.


Asparagus Bed from the other end where the mesh panels were. The 3.5" and 6" Spring Clips make holding down and accessing the beds a who lot easier and I have made sure that their is enough overhand to tie the ends together and weight down with a block paving or another 6" Spring Clip. 


Broccoli bed covered with new 3m wide debris netting and 3 Black Beauty Melons added to the end of the bed, by the runner beans. I need to sort out the rest of the Brussel Sprout bed hoops and clear that bed and replace the shallow black hoops with the taller hoops which are up against the greenhouse at a future visit.


Closer view of the Broccoli bed covered with new debris netting and 3 Black Beauty Melons added to the back of the bed.


4 French beans plants added to the runner bean trench, need to sow some replacement runners for those that have not germinated.


View from the greenhouse door. Sweetcorn need to go in the ground, walking onions germinating and growing. Celery Sprouts and melons watered, and will hopefully still be OK when I next visit.