Monday 31 December 2012

Rose Bush Defensive Barrier

I have been informed by people down on the allotment that historically my plot had Hawthorne growing up the wall to detour little darlings from climbing over the wall and gaining access onto the allotment, and have been asked if I find any growing under the Jungle would I be keeping it?

I’ve only found one small plant bent over under the weight of the weeds to the left of the plot. I would like to grow something spiky in the shapes drawn above on the photograph and was thinking of some kind of fast growing “Rambling Roses” that would look nice in the summer, attract the bees, and still allow me to grow beans under the arches in future years.As I lost my Mum a couple of months ago, I'm looking at Yellow flowers as it was her favourite colour.

I know little about roses, so can I have your suggestions please for the best type of rose that has a fast growth rate and I can train into the arcs?

Sunday 16 December 2012

Saturday 15th & Sunday16th December

The remainder of the Jungle at (1) has been cut back some more, about an hour in to being on the site Keith and his mate Mick turned up with Mike's Dads rotavator, to attack Keiths' plot.

The Pile (4) was cut up Saturday morning and placed into the drying enclosure (3) which was filled up again to the top, and I have a nice blister on my finger so I must have been working hard ;0). I placed a Pallet over the top and covered it just as a short shower of rain came down at lunch time and met Pauline coming into the allotment with a couple of flasks of soup for Keith and Mick as I was going home for some lunch and do some non-allotment related things like picking up Christmas presents for a few hours with Jen.  

Jen and I went back in the late afternoon/ early evening just as it was starting to get dark to burn what we could, as we arrived we found Keith and Mick loading up the van, both covered in mud but looking extremely happy with what they had achieved.

The burning went well-ish and by time we gave up we had reduced the contents of the bin by half.

Sunday morning, I took over some timber and some sides of a tallboy wardrobe I have saved and made a table/ shelf out of it in the shed to the right of the door, which allows for three storage boxes for netting and stuff like that under. It is at about mid door height and really stiffens up the panel which one has to stay was somewhat flimsy and offered little resistance if anyone pulled at the door handle. A narrower shelf was installed above this just below the eaves to the shed.

I reconstructed the metal shelving that I had harvested from my Dads workshop which fits quite nicely behind the left panel to the door. I have a number of smallish plastic boxes that are ideal for the gardening bits and bobs that I’m going to need come spring.

I spent some time walking around the plot picking up debris, drink cans, broken plastic flower plots, lemonade bottles etc. and added them to the other bags of non burnable debris and put them all in a couple of Wheelie Bin Bags to keep the car clean and brought them home (on the back seat of the car) and disposed of them down the dump.

Not massive gains but I'm getting there slowly  

Monday 10 December 2012

Burn Baby Burn

Ok I didn’t get much done at all last week (Christmas Shopping) this weekend I managed to get down to the allotment with the bench and one chair and the shelving rack from my Mums place, and I have also:-

Cut halfway into the last remaining area of jungle (1)

I burnt all of the dry weeds and brambles under tarp at (2) in one very red rusty and one very shiny new galvanised incinerator which I have side by side.

I also managed to empty and burnt all the brambles and weeds from the pallet drying frame (3), which was going to be a massive bonfire for Nov 5th and I am so glad that I didn’t burn it all like that after seeing how this stuff can go up when the conditions are right.

The damp material in contact with the ground at (2) has been forked into the now empty pallet holding frame (3) which has a pallet on the ground and lets the stack breath and dry out.

The plan for the next visit is to cut up all of the tree branches that are under tarp (4) into small lengths for the incinerators and place them in the drying frame (3) and finish cutting the jungle away at (1) and find the wall, again all the cuttings from this area to dry out in the pallet holding frame

I found that fire lighters and lots of cardboard with timber from pallet sawn up and chopped up into small pieces with an axe made getting the fires and keeping the fires burning much easier than the last time I tried this. Adding cardboard fuel between layers of dampish weeds

So before next Sunday I need to cut up lots of cardboard boxes that have come down from my Mums loft, and chop up the next pallet(s) ready for another good burn up.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Christmas Greenhouses

Now what do I buy a 54 year old husband for Christmas, I was asked by the wife - So I suggested that as they were on a half price offer at that she could buy me a couple of greenhouses ;0)

This little fellows dimensions are 810 wide x 1080 deep x 1430mm high and was £9.99 and is going beside the shed as in the "Master Plan" shown in a posting below"

And this one is 1340 wide x 500 deep x 1600mm high was on offer £19.99, and will fit in the back garden on the margin between the path and the fence facing the sun. So I can have a bash at getting my plants started off a little early.

I was thinking that I could put a couple of tea light candles in jars on the bottom at night to keep the frost at bay... Anyone have any other suggestions for heating it. 

Sunday 18 November 2012

Grand Erections ....No this is not a porn site

This morning I went over to the allotment to tweak the base and get things ready, Emma drove over with Kelly and Jen (My wife) a little later, and they assisted in holding the first couple of panels to get the ball rolling. They left Jen with me and she helped and stayed with me for the whole day. Her twin Keith and his wife Pauline also came over and Keith got to work on getting his base ready on his plot after popping to B&Q for the slabs.

Photographs below are Jen with the Shed (no she isn’t tall the shed is short, in fact quite a lot shorter that I thought. And a couple of wide shots, from the usual locations just for record purposes!.

Attacking the Ivy and a Base for the Shed

Saturday 17th Nov and I was doing what it says in the title of this entry, no real option now that the shed has arrived and I want to get the soft elements covered i.e the floor by the shed and the roof by some felt, plus it will be good to have somewhere to stack the tools and make base camp –Boys always love having a camp or a place to call their own and most of us men still have that child in us somewhere.

I now have the massive pile of Ivy to cut up and get rid off and the plot looks more untidy than it did – but I keep telling myself I will get it cleared before next season. I’m on orders from the wife that we have to go shopping next weekend due to my daughters Birthday and something called Christmas that is fast approaching........  

Saturday 17 November 2012

The Shed Arrives

Friday lunch time, I received a phone call that the sheds had arrived,  so I dashed up to help Keith hump them from the entrance to our plots, we alternated the destinations for each element, so that we had a long walk to Keith’s’ Plot 6 followed by a shorter walk to my Plot 1A. Luck for us Keith was not working today as he in on shift work and could wait between 7am – 7pm for it too arrive…

Thursday 15 November 2012

Bedding Layouts - How many can I fit in?

I have my initial list of what I want to grow after talking to my wife and daughters, so now I need to work out how many and where to grown them allowing for a 3 year crop rotation so I thought first thing is to work out what I can fit in a bed....

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Monday 12 November 2012

Remembrance Day on the Allotment

I was up and dressed and waiting for daylight, whilst the wife and kids were still in bed condensing snot. Out into the cold and scraped off the ice from the car windows – “Bloody hell I should have the ground turned, over this stuff can be helping me” goes through my mind….

So I arrived at the allotment just as there was enough daylight to see what I was doing, by time I had my boots on and unlocked the gates and trudged to my plot the sun was just coming up (yep the sun a big yellow ball in a very clear blue sky).

I did not hang around and started to attack the weeds and brambles with one of the scythes that Keith found in his Asbestos Shed before it was removed!! I am so glad that he did, I would have been lost without it.

Whilst on the site, Keith phoned me to say they had bought the sheds and they are being delivered next Friday!  There I was thinking that I had at least another two weeks to clear and get a base ready… It will be good to have somewhere to put the tools away.

During the day I have been visited by a Cat and Fox after the Chickens on the plot three down, a Robin after anything I may expose and the biggest Toad that I have ever seen. The Bees humming in the Ivy tree sounded like a well lubricated motor and for some reason I was not worried about them, normally I’m petrified of the bloody things, but we were all doing our own things and they are going to help me grow stuff.

This year has not been kind, with the stress of my wife turning blue, and spending weeks in hospitals and then my Mother dying, plus the usual life and work pressures. Allotment Therapy is really helping me to chill out a little and get away into a little nice relaxing place in my mind.

The photographs are the state of play at the end of the day after covering up all the piles of cut weeds so that they can remain dry and dry out more so that I can burn them to add back to the soil and save me many trips to the dump.

Sunday 4 November 2012

In Search of a Wheel Barrow (or Part thereof)

King Arthur called his knights around him and spoke “Gentleman, forget the Grail……go search the lands and find me an economic sturdy wheelbarrow for Cadalot's allotment” and they went on their quest ….

OK I did myself and used the internet – If you’re in a similar position then below are the direct links to the pages with Wheelbarrows. Keith (my brother-in-law) popped around the other night and he was about to buy a new wheel for his wheelbarrow from B&Q

Then Keith had an idea, if he used a £6 can of tire inflator (which are single-use devices intended to provide a quick, temporary solution to drivers who experience flat tires), he would not have to pay £15.59 for a new tire for his wheelbarrow.

That was when I told him that that he could but a whole galvanised wheelbarrow currently “on offer” at Greenfingers for just £19.99

All the above links go to pages about Wheelbarrows I’m very Victor Meldrew and "I don't believe it" the vast variations shape style, colour and price when comparing like for like.  

Saturday 3 November 2012

Still Clearing The Weeds

I got a few hours in on the plot today started at 7:00 am 

Cut my way into and beyond the gate and fence to the top half of the plot, and found a tribe of pigmy's in the long grass, who told me their name, can you guess it?

Found yet another stack of glass sheets

I took the pallet fence and gate down and they are now leaning against the wall. I didn't find the compost bin in the photograph when I cleared the weeds, Jackie at the local Authority put me  in touch with a lady who no longer wanted her compost bin, so I went and collected it and dropped it off at the allotment during the week. I've decided that I'm not going to try and compost anything from the initial clearance of the plot but I'm saving material from home to bring to site  

View from the East looking West

View from the South Looking North

I've used the rotting pallet fence to make an enclosure for the cut vegitation so that it can dry out and I can have a bonfire once all the grass & weed are down and dry, I will be covering the piles up later before the sun goes down and the rain clouds arrive to make it all wet again. Even I know that wet grass and weed will not burn ;0)

Hopefully in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky that tree will not cast a shadow over my plot.

And the pigmy's are called the Fuckarwe tribe as you guessed, they jump up and down in the long grass saying "where the fuck are we, where the fuck are we?"

Thursday 1 November 2012

Local Societies

Benhill Crescent Horticultural Society: The BCHS trading hut is open on Sunday mornings 10.00 – 12.30 throughout the year. Supplies of potatoes, seeds, and many allotment and garden items are available, at very reasonable prices. Membership costs just £1.

Cheam and Cuddington Horticultural Society: evening meetings at St Christopher’s Church Hall, Dallas Road, Cheam, Surrey, SM3 8RS, 8.00 pm. – All enquiries to Mike Snowdon. Telephone (020) 8642 9670

Epsom Garden Society: meetings at St Barnabas Church Hall, Temple Road, Epsom, 8pm, admisssion £1.

Stanley Road Allotment and Garden Society: trading hut open Saturdays 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, Sundays 9.45 am to noon.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Planning the Plot

I hate the Winter.... its official .... dark mornings and dark nights and by the time I get home, there is now no daylight to clean up my back garden or go to the allotment, which is really not going to help me clear it and get it turned over and ready for the frost to help me and ready for a good start next year.

But I can at least read and plan my way forward and document my ideas, so here is my starter for 10

I'm not sure I want to get into raised beds, because at the moment the top half of the plot is covered in weeds growing over plastic and carpet (thank you previous owner) I'm hoping not to find anything nasty under that lot, and the bottom half is covered in waist high weeds and whatever I find under them when I get to it. I really don't know what kind of shape the soil is in under all that, and I'm not sure I want to incure the cost, time and effort of creating raised beds this year.

But I do like the idea of having access, pathways for wheel barrows and for me kneeling down on my garden zimmer frame (kneeling pad) and beds that I can get access from all round, and I can set targets of clearing and turning over these smaller bed areas than keep looking at the whole plot and getting to the point where I don't feel like I'm making quick enough or any progress.

I will need to do some form of crop rotation. (Blind me, I sound like I know what I'm doing) and carving up the plot like this may help me with that. 

So having kind of carved up the plot into beds in my mind, I asked the wife and kids what they would like me to grow over Sunday lunch and ended up with a nice list which looks like I should have got a full plot and not a half plot.

I said this blog wasn't about CAD but after a couple of pencil sketches I could not resist but to draw it up

Paths are 450mm wide, beds are 2.4m x 1.2m or 8'x4' there are three areas of four beds with some un-rectangular beds on the outside of the plot which will work for crop rotation, I'm already thinking about placing potatoes in the bottom very weedy area of the site.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Dummies Guides to Allotments

My gardening knowledge is very limited, yes I have done my share of hard landscaping and grunt work, trimming hedges and cutting grass, and there has also been the obligatory growing of tomatoes in pots over the years especially when my daughters were little and they loved helping me water them and harvesting them.

But last year my brother-in-law Keith gave me a few excess plants from his greenhouse, and I also grew potatoes in garden sacks, 2 x cabbage, 2 x cauliflower, runner beans, my spring onions and beetroot didn’t amount to anything, but I really enjoyed eating the result of what did grow.  Keith took my pepper plant in a pot to his greenhouse last week as the weather is turning, and I would like to see if it will mature and produce edible results before it dies from frost attack.

It’s kind of Keith’s fault that I have the allotment as I went down to help him mark out his plot as it was so overgrown and the boundaries were not clearly defined. In addition the local authorities are splitting a number of plots making them half the size.

He informed me that when he selected his plot that there were still three plot available, so I put my name on the waiting list thinking that I may be lucky next year. Turns out that the plots were so overgrown that people on the list didn’t want them and I accelerated to the top of the list and obtained Plot 1A which has the least amount of growth and hopefully debris

I’ve since met Andy (also 54) who took on a plot with 8ft high brambles over the back half and this weekend he cut his way in and to his surprise found an 8 x 6 feet shed against the rear fence full of debris and tools from the previous tenant.

So knowing that my knowledge of growing thing is limited I have purchased the three books at the top of the page to help

The Dummies Guide to Allotments has a RRP of £15.99 I picked up a new copy from ebay for £11 with free P&P.

The Essential Allotment Guide & Vegetable Growing Month by Month were £5.99 each with free P&P, however at the moment they both come signed by the Author and with four packs of Sutton seeds each.

Result two very informative books costing £10 which came with £25.80 worth of seeds.

I've ended up with

2 packs x Sweet Peppers F1 Mohawk
2 packs x Carrot F'Maestro
1 pack   x Tomato 100s and 1000s
1 pack   x Tomato Gardener's Delight  
2 packs x Onion F1 Santero

Check out if you want to buy the books and get the seeds

Sunday 28 October 2012

28th October 2012

Well here is the progress at the end of a mornings work on Sunday 28th October 2012.

I worked from 9:00 until about 1:30 before returning home for lunch

This is a picture of the top half of the plot and you can now make out the fence and gate that splits the plot on the left of the picture above. better view in the picture below.

To the left is the water tank now upside down and drained, moving right is a carper, then three covers to plastic greenhoused that were under the tank along with pots, and loads of plastic bottles and empty cans of beer etc and the pile of glass is now exposed but just outside the photo against the wall.

Here is a view from the South West corner post of the plot looking North East, I have started to cut my way into the bottom half of the plot hoping that the weeds and long grass may dry out by my next visit. And I've trimmed up the Ivy a little more... I think that's going back to the wall at some later stage, at the moment it's somewhere to shelter when it starts to rain, and is assisting in keeping my tools dry until I clear the area for my shed.

27th October 2012

Here is the state of play at the end of the first half day working the plot. Photograph taken from the South side of Plot 2 looking North

The South boundary of my plot extends from the white post at the South West corner on the left of the picture to the external corner of the wall at the South East corner. Today I managed to remove the weeds from the pallet fence on the south boundary and clear half of the pallets.

I've found lots of guttering, pots, broken tools and carpet under the weeds. Brambles are hiding what appears to be a pile of broken glass and there is a lot of debris under the broken water cistern. 

I have trimmed half of the ivy tree type structure that is overhanging the East wall and have found that I have a couple of gardeners friends "Robins" they have been busy popping in and out of the ivy and flying around me, as I uncover insects for them to eat.

I must do something about the water tank as because it's open it's only encouraging mosquitoes to breed and I've been bitten, there is plenty in the ground for the Robins without the mosquitoes.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Plot 1A Pre taking the Allotment on

Here are the before pictures ;0)

View from the South East Corner looking North West

Plot 1A on Plan

View from the West looking East

There is a fence with a gate halfway between the East and West Boundary which you can't really see for the height of the grass and weeds. And this is the condition pre starting any work on the plot.

Friday 19 October 2012


Welcome to the Blog about my Allotment!

Yep nothing to do with the Construction Industry, CAD, BIM, Health and Safety or Party Wall matters ......... This is the "off subject" Blog about (as the title suggests) my Allotment.

My daughters now 21 and 18 think that their dear old Dad is really getting old, and they also think it's cute that I've got an allotment! and that perhaps I'm also going a little crackers......They could be right ;0)

The purpose of this blog is to record my progress and perhaps to get some feedback and comments on what I'm doing right and wrong and to remind me how much I have actually achieved, when I really don't feel like I'm getting anywhere or moving as fast as I would wish.

In my head I'm still between 23 - 26 and think I can function at the speed and without the consequences of physical work - Truth is I'm 54 and my body knows it and no doubt will let my brain know by sending messages from aching muscles.