Tuesday 31 December 2013

31st December 2013 - Extreme Planning and Programming to Succeed with Successional Sowing !

It's taking quite a lot of time but I'm creating a mega spreadsheet that has a diary on the first work sheet.

An audit of my seed collection with all the information off the backs of the packs on the second with the expiry date of the seed packs, amount of seeds, cost, spacing, rows and planting depths germination and anticipated sowing to cropping times,  so hopefully I use them in the most efficient order

A worksheet for every month with a list of tasks for home and the allotment, advice from all those books I have.

Lists of what I should be sowing in the cold frame and on the allotment and how many, and what I should be planting out and harvesting on the plot.

It has highlighted that I have seed for items I have not allocated space for and that I have allocated space for plants I don't yet have seed for.

I really want to master the art of "Successional Sowing" and max the production from the plot.

At least next year should be easier, and I can use this years spreadsheet as a starting point. If anyone wants a copy to look at once I've completed it, and perhaps modify for their own use, send me a personal message with your email address and I will send it over when it's complete or at least 90% there.

Monday 30 December 2013

Monday 30th December 2013 - Still Wet and Windy

Very Windy again today, I 've removed one of the fence panels as it was about to come away anyway

I was hoping to get to the allotment today but the wind and rain have prevented that, so I've started looking at successional sowing and I'm building a week by week spread sheet of tasks.
below is my plan for Iceberg Lettuce, Carrots and Onions, I'm thinking little gems at home and Iceberg on the allotment, however my main problem is so far I have not allowed a bed just for lettuce so something may have to give and it may be the marrow bed.

I'm wondering if one could grow marrows around sprouts to cover the ground and keep the weeds off? Like I plan to do with the Squash seeds Beryl sent me on the Sweet Corn Bed

The seed sower I bought off ebay arrived today, I had one of these but lost it last year somewhere, I bet I find it now I have another.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Sunday 29th December 2013 - Frosty Start

Up early and scraped ice off the car windscreen and windows - an nice frosty start and I hit the allotment about 8:30 photograph of plot 1A this morning.

Worked up a sweat and warmth by digging 2/3 of bed 10 and the path between plot 10 & 11 Viewed looking down the plot. Took breaks by removing the netting from Bed one and replacing the lawn edging with timber, weeding turning over and covering with manure

Weeded the half of bed 2 behind the pop bottle cloche which was frosty but had kept inside frost free, then covered it with a sack of Micky's Muck

Topped up some paths with woodchips and had a tidy of the timber store and the shed to make room for the nets and hoops. The roots of the sprouts and leafs were added to the dalek.

John saw the strawberries donated by Beryl and added to my collection from runners he took this year. - When the weed membrane arrives they will finally be going into bed 9. Topped up the comfrey butt with water and comfrey from the pipe. Finally packed everything away and made my way home about 1:15 ish

Saturday 28 December 2013

Saturday 28th December 2013 - Deconstruction of Fencing

De-constructed the broken fence panels and took all the wood down to the allotment to add to the obligatory wood pile - I may use it to make the bases for some cold frames using the secondary glazing glass panels -

Frances over the road has offered some timber joist from his loft conversion that I can use to make raised beds.

I also managed to fill another two sacks of leafs and added them to the leaf bins - I'm going to really struggle to find any more leafs now. Hoping for a dry day tomorrow so that I can get down the allotment and do something and make some headway. 

Tuesday 24 December 2013

24 December 2013 - Windy Christmas Eve

Well blow me down or at least my fences at home and my greenhouse and grow house down the allotment.

Photos below of the Garden this morning and the allotment after I had found the green house and grow house or at least their remains and found all the other things that had been taken by the wind and had a tidy and righted everything.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Sunday 22nd December - Sprout Harvest for Christmas Lunch

It's been raining so much that I can't really do any digging on the allotment, but I did go and harvest about 70% of the remaining sprouts. I'm leaving the small ones at the top to fatten up a little and hopefully I can harvest those in a few weeks time along with the tops to have like cabbage. I picked up all the fallen sprout leafs and put in the green dalek. Photo is after taking off the netting and before picking

I did manage to get the timber into the first bean trench but forgot to take my paper shreddings. I will chop up the sprout stems and bury with the paper and cardboard to rot down in the bean trench after Christmas ready for the beans later in the year.

Also managed to get the timber in front of the grape vine (second photo), I just need the trim up the small section one end next time I'm down there. The rain is doing a grand job of washing the mud off and exposing the slate, I just wish I had got around to washing all the mud off and out before I used them - Better than nothing I guess and hopefully will still keep the moisture in and the weed out.

Got a telephone call that my sister was dropping off presents, so made my way home so she could also collect some sprouts.  

Friday 20 December 2013

Friday 20th December 2013

A swift visit to drop off paper shredding's and some vegetable food waste for the compost bin, drop off another load of pop bottles and timber from the youngest daughters bed that broke.

I topped up the leaf bins again now all the leafs I have are in them. I filled up 3 milk bottles with sand, and laid out more in the metal trays in the greenhouse to dry off. A quick tidy up and away in an hour, as I needed to go and get Jens Christmas gift, and then get on with some work. 

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Wednesday 18th December 2013

A quick visit to the allotment to pick up the flask full of now very cold coffee that I left in my haste to get home on Sunday, after the phone call about Snoop.

Monday went by at a snails pace, and the vet was supposed to be with us between 12- 1 but because of an emergency operation didn't make it until 4:30. Absolutely agonising and heart breaking for us all, and what a void such a little chap can leave in the house and our hearts. 

Getting back to the allotment, I topped up the leaf bins again with a sack load into each as they leafs had compacted over the last few days. I still have two sacks waiting for more compaction to talk place, and I have half a sack from the front garden again and with what has finally come off the trees in the back garden that will become a full sack. Still no sign of woodchips anywhere to be seen, bleeping council about as useful as a push bike is to a goldfish!

I filled up a couple of plastic milk bottles with sand that had dried out quite a bit in the greenhouse as I had to kill a little time until the shops opened. My darling accident prone youngest daughter had managed to break her bed (on Monday but didn't want to tell me because of what was going on) and somehow managed to rip the towel rail off the wall in the bathroom.

So far the working for my self from home and the weather have not really allowed me any time and advantage to get down to the allotment for any significant time to make headway into getting ready for next year.

Snail or slug trails on the moisture to the inside of the cold frame glass - but can I find the culprit! There are only two lettuce that are not really doing much in there at all.

The spring onions on the allotment look smaller if anything from when they went into the ground and don't appear to have made any headway at all, I'm not really sure this over wintering stuff works.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Sunday 15th December

15th December - The shortest trip to the allotment ever - I went via my sisters house and picked up two large council sack loads of leafs from her drive and took to the site, I was just in the process of tipping into the leaf bins when I got a sobbing telephone call from my wife that our dog had tumbled down the stairs.

I was hoping he would have been in reasonable health to last over Christmas, but the whole family have now agreed that his quality of life is such that we are going to have to let him go because we love him, it would be cruel to prolong the inevitable. We have increased his pain killers as the vet told us we could but tomorrow I need to get them in to help him into a lasting sleep in the comfort of his home.

Friday 13 December 2013

Friday 13th December 2013 - Unlucky for some

So after over a month waiting for leaves to arrive on the allotment I get a message from our contact at the council "the grounds team are not clearing leaves this year, so it’s unlikely that you will get any leaves from us this time".

If they not collecting it's more than unlikely I would say its Bl--dy impossible ;0(

So a quick re-jug and what was supposed to be overflow leaf bin store 2 becomes a fox proof cloche

The bread trays have already been cut down. So I drilled four holes along the edge with the handle and connected them together via cable ties and once they have been lined with some plastic, we have fox proof cloches for next year.

When they are closed you have a nice carrying handle in the middle and they can be stacked flat. I can see me getting some more of these, next time the pile outside the local corner shop builds up and they get fed up with them not being collected again.

All the offcuts from the sides are waiting for me to cut off the small returns at the ends and then they will be used as bed edging on the plot, which is another good reason for getting more of them.   

I dropped these off together with 6 black sacks of leafs from the front and back garden - I'm guessing there is probably another one or two bags worth still waiting to drop off the trees given another really cold night or two.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Wednesday 11th December 2013

Sawn off the raised edges to another four bread trays to make another leaf holding bin as I swept up all the leafs in the front garden this morning and ended up with 2.5 sacks worth, and by the time I came home lunch time there were another 2.5 black sacks worth. I put it all down to the heavy frost last night - scraping ice off the cars in the morning and Jens car still had ice on the windscreen this afternoon.

So I now have 5 sacks of leafs for the allotment, I chased the council yesterday about the lack of woodchips and leaves that were promised over a month ago - knowing my luck they will drop off both on the same day and cover one with the other!

Hoping to get a lunch time visit in Friday if possible.

Job List in no particular order - Update

  Tidy the racking and storage area
  Weed and manure the empty beds - Half Done
  Finish construction of half bed cloche - mini polytunnel
  Build second half bed cloche - mini polytunnel
  Plant out over winter spring onions from the cold frame 
  Plant out over winter cabbage from the cold frame - they died
  If peppers are ready harvest and collapse the pop up greenhouse - Decided to leave erected and use for storage
  Construct the greenhouse - coldframe extension to the side of the shed
  Construct the third plastic bottle 1.2 x 1.2 m frame - Made 4th and now have enough bottles for a 5th 
  Use freecycle greenhouse framework to make a cage over a bed
  Guttering on the shed to the water butt
  Sort out the leaf stores and harvest more leafs and fill up. - On going  
  Fill up the comfrey pipe and top up the comfrey barrel.
  Dig bed 10 and create paths around
  Dig bed 11 and create paths around
  Dig Bed 12 and create Paths around
  Dig Beds 13 onwards in the triangular area
  Install kerb edgings along the main access paths
  Stake the carpet path to the ground to prevent fly away in high winds
  Lay the remainder of the paving slabs and level existing - Started
  Infill the bottom of the path around bed 1
  Cut back the grapes for winter - February Job
  Clean off the slate chippings from freecycle - especially if water still on
  Lay slate chippings around the grapes
  Sort out the shed
  Treat the allotment padlocks with the special WD40
  Chase the council for more woodchips
  Hump said woodchips to plot and fill up the paths and sacks for the paths on the remainder of the plot
  Topped up half the paths from my ever reducing pile of woodchips

Sunday 8 December 2013

Sunday 8th December 2013 - Cuts the Mustard

There has been no or little allotment action since the 24th October as I have been wrapping up at my old company and setting up my own limited company. In addition I have years of reference material to go through as my home office is really small.

I have been having allotment withdrawal attacks and the weather was great nice sunny and dare I say it warm and I needed to go and do something down on the allotment.

I decided to hit bed 3 and cut back all the mustard and then turn it into the soil. Photos below are half cut, fully cut and then turned into the soil. I managed to find a number of potatoes that had been hiding despite digging the bed over twice. The soil is so good here that I ended up putting a sprinkle of farmhouse manure over the top and have capped with cardboard like bed 4, there is no need for the frost to do anything, and I would rather the worms be called up when they hear the rain on the cardboard and pull all that good green and farmyard manure down into the soil.

The lawn edging is getting a little brittle and may last another year but ultimately I think I'm going to have to replace it with timber of some description.

I took another sack of leaves and have added to the leaf bins as can be seen above - they are both nearly full, but I want to get more and I know they break down to almost nothing. The Overspill leaf bin is now sitting on bed 4 waiting for the delivery from the council if it ever comes, I will have to chase next week as we were supposed to be having woodchip as well.

I emptied the green house and grow house, and I have put the farmyard manure that was under the bench in one and sand in metal trays in the other, hoping that when we do get sun the sand will dry out so that I can fill up some of 20 odd plastic milk bottles to make more soft bricks to hold down the cardboard on the beds.

Skimmed the earth and took to the end of the path where there was a large dip and laid four slabs at the entrance to the plot and filled the bottom of the path with woodchips.

Next visit I may lay the slabs under the bench and to the left where the carpet currently is then the carpet can go on top of one of the beds once they are weed free and have has a layer of manure added

I cleared the weed from the grape area cut some plastic hoops to go around the vines then laid weed membrane and covered with the slate chippings that I got off freecycle a little while ago. I then filled in the hoops with compost. Looked up about when to cut back the grapes and it looks like February.
I harvested some sprouts and took home but was too late for dinner today so we are having them tomorrow. 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Sunday 24th November 2013 - Basil Brush Again!

I took decking offcuts, more leafs from the apple trees and pop bottles to the allotment this morning. On arriving I spotted someone had collected all the leafs in the car park and put in a massive cardboard box on top of the industrial wheelie bins. Watching me was Basil Brush who was looking for something eatable, if you look at the photo you can see him hiding behind the box.

Goes without saying that the leafs were added to my leaf bin  ::) There was a 5 minute shower so I took to the shed once it stopped I picked up all the leafs from the sprouts and put in the green dalek - harvested some sprouts for lunch and Sid next door - Then Barry turned up, then John on his bike (riding again so soon after a hip replacement) and finally Andy.

I came home early as I have loads to do at home sorting out all the stuff I'm bringing home from work and trying to get my home/office set up, but I still wanted to get a few hours in on the allotment.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Saturday 23rd November 2013

All the Crimbo stuff down from the loft so the girls can do the house up as they are at a concert next weekend and she who shall be obeyed always has the house Crimbo ready before Emmas' birthday on the 5th Dec. Built the replacement window box out of decking - the Asbestos one went when the drive was done.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Sunday 17th November - WD Everywhere !

Up early and painted the fence post I put in yesterday afternoon, then took two bags of leafs from the apple trees and two stacks of pop bottles down to the allotment. Very active down there today Andy, Bob, Paul, Owen and Keith & Pauline were all there this morning as it was dry and mild.

The can of super wd40 supplied for the padlock by the council had decided to discharge in the shed and had got into everything, even had to throw a couple of packs of seeds away (shock horror), it took ages to clean up the mess it made.

Moved last years leafs into a single bin ready for this years collection and emptied my two sacks into the empty bin to get it going. There are 100s of baby slugs in my dalek all around the lid so I went in a squashing feast. Obviously they are not touching the blue pellets of death I sprinkled in, so not really sure what else I can do to kill them off.

Dug over bed 4 and rescued some missed potatoes, then I added manure and a layer of cardboard for the Winter.

The mustard on Bed 3 is doing really well, I'm not quite sure when to dig it in? There is still so much to do it's scary, but I have to say looking at my plot against those without paths I'm really glad that I've invested time in creating an infrastructure.

Topped up the path between bed 4 and 5 as I could see the weed membrane where Basil Brush has been investigating again. The more he does this, the more I'm thinking of chicken wire enclosures over all beds that are not covered with hoops and debris netting next year. 

Bed two and the pop bottle Borg roofless greenhouse/ cloche the spring onions are flat against the soil but they take so long to grow - I now have 6 stacks of pop bottles another 4 and I can make a roof to the cube.

Left at 12:30 - home lunch then finish erecting the fence blown down by the high winds - managed to get most of it done before it got dark - just the paving slabs around the post to go back in and the gravel boards - after they have had a fresh coat of red wood paint.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Wednesday 13th November - First Frost

The first frost and I was scraping it off the car windscreen this morning - Great stuff for the sprouts perhaps another one or two mornings like today and I can start to harvest some of the lower larger sprouts - with 8 plants worth there will still be enough for Christmas.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Sunday 10th November 2013

A couple of hours in the Sun this morning to make the 4th side to the Pop Bottle greenhouse. I got a few bread delivery trays from the local corner shop who was massing a large collection as the people that deliver don't seem to want to take them back - some are housing the ornaments in the back garden - 4 have been cut back and are now cable tied together to hold some of this years collection of leafs when they arrive at the allotment

I may have to liberate another 4 and make the bin higher or perhaps have 2 until they rot down a little and can go into the ones I made last year. The bins were full last year and now there is only about a 1/4 of the original volume   

Friday 8 November 2013

Friday 8th November 2013

Nice and sunny lunch time so a flying visit to drop off some compost just to find the green dalek full of small files and what looks like 100s of mini baby slugs..... dropped some blue pellets of death inside and around the base. Whilst quite happy for worms and wood lice to do their thing not really wanting to let the slug population explode.

Also took 10 pop bottles with the bottoms holed with the soldering iron and re-stacked all the pop bottles with the ends fixed and to 1.2m high ready to go in the frames. I now have 16 so just enough for one and a half more frames for my greenhouse cube.

Andy was having a morning of tidying up and Adis' mum had come to harvest some more potatoes.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Sunday 3rd November 2013

Up early and on the plot at just past 7:00 -worked until 1:00 Andy. Michelle and Lee on the allotment as I left for home and Sunday lunch.
  •   Tidy the racking and storage area
  •   Weeded bed 2 and harvested the spring onions   
  •   Planted out the over winter spring onions from the cold frame in Bed 2 and watered with comfrey tea
  •   Took the over winter cabbage from the cold frame but didn't get to plant it
  •   Harvested the peppers and the last of the toms
  •   Constructed the third plastic bottle 1.2 x 1.2 m frame
  •   Stacked all the pop bottles ready for frame 4
  •   Filled up the comfrey water barrel with extract from the comfrey pipe.
  •   Sorted out the shed
  •   General tidy of rubbish and retrieve the lids to the incinerator and the green dalek

Thursday 31 October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013 - Rain Rain Go Away!

Really getting the hump with the weather, rain rain and more yet more rain.

I feel the need for attacking the ground and getting the rest of my allotment in order for next year, I want to be ahead of the game and not playing catch up like this year. From the looks of the 5 and 10 day weather forecast it should be dry on Sunday following a mainly dry Saturday, fingers crossed.

With the clocks going back, and the dark mornings I will not be able to get down there until about 7:30 - 8:00 but I really need some allotment therapy, and to get the overwintering spring onions out of the cold frame and into the ground covered with the half made half plot mesh / plastic cloche.

Job List in no particular order

  Tidy the racking and storage area
  Weed and manure the empty beds
  Finish construction of half bed cloche - mini polytunnel
  Build second half bed cloche - mini polytunnel
  Plant out over winter spring onions from the cold frame
  Plant out over winter cabbage from the cold frame
  If peppers are ready harvest and collapse the pop up greenhouse
  Construct the greenhouse - coldframe extension to the side of the shed
  Construct the third plastic bottle 1.2 x 1.2 m frame
  Use freecycle greenhouse framework to make a cage over a bed
  Guttering on the shed to the water butt
  Sort out the leaf stores and harvest more leafs and fill up.
  Fill up the comfrey pipe and top up the comfrey barrel.
  Dig bed 10 and create paths around
  Dig bed 11 and create paths around
  Dig Bed 12 and create Paths around
  Dig Beds 13 onwards in the triangular area
  Install kerb edgings along the main access paths
  Stake the carpet path to the ground to prevent fly away in high winds
  Lay the remainder of the paving slabs and level existing
  Infill the bottom of the path around bed 1
  Cut back the grapes for winter
  Clean off the slate chippings from freecycle - especially is water still on
  Lay slate chippings around the grapes
  Sort out the shed
  Treat the allotment padlocks with the special WD40
  Chase the council for more woodchips
  Hump said woodchips to plot and fill up the paths and sacks for the paths on the remainder of the plot

Doh! now looking at this list I really need lots of dry weather  ::),

Well I shall be self employed shortly so I may have to give myself some dry days on the allotment from December and work from my outside office - I will have my mobile phone with me.

Monday 28 October 2013

Monday 28th October - After High Winds

Lost the fence in the back garden again in the high winds, it was a new post last year!

So a flying visit lunch time to the allotment to check it out turned into an hour, as the carpet paths were all over the adjoining plots and the sprouts had all been blown sideways. I remove the netting and staked them all vertical again.

The two grow house were still there, the square one next to the wall was leaning slightly to the left, because the shed extension panel and been blown onto the side of it in the winds.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Sunday 27th October - Freecycle Harvest

Picked up a pop up greenhouse on Freecycle from a guy who is moving home, the skin had seen better days but as it was a walk in type with shelving on both sided it's the frame plastic joints and mesh shelving that I'm after anyway.

The skin on my pop up greenhouse is knackered in the corner and may just make it to next year if it gets past Sunday / Monday if not then I will use the plastic connectors and pipework from the two to make up a frame to hold netting to go over one of my beds next year.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Saturday 26th October 2013

Swift visit as it was dry and sunny for a little while, just enough time to harvest the last two Cabbage and cauliflowers and four peppers and some red plum toms from the grow houses which may or may not still be there after the high winds Sunday night / Monday morning
I decided to water what's left and zip them up and hope  ::)

The excess outer leafs that had been nibbled went into the green dalek.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Lunch time visit to water the peppers and the last of the still green plum toms.

Started to clear Bed 1 of the broccoli cutting it all up and putting it in the green dalek, I have two small coli (tennis ball size) in there and I'm thinking I will have to harvest next weekend along with the last two cabbage in Bed 6.

Everything is just so wet, we don't seem to have had a completely dry day for at least the last couple of weeks, and the forecast is showers every day for the next 10 days. I'm glad I have the next area to dig up covered with plastic. I can manage cold, I can work in that but not in the rain. >:(   

Thursday 17 October 2013

16th October 2013 - Flying Lunchtime Visit

A flying lunchtime visit but forgot the shed key - Doh!

Watered the Peppers and the last of the toms and harvested about 15 nice red plum toms, I have one red Pepper and one part orange pepper - well chuffed if I only get those two and the others never ripen.

The leafs on the bottom of the sprouts are all dropping off - I don't know if this is normal or not? 

I must have a look in some of the books, but I doubt if they will say anything. So picked them up and put in the green dalek, the levels of which have dropped quite a lot seeing as it was over 3/4 full and now I would say only about a 1/3 that stuff is really compacting and hopefully rotting away nicely

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Friday 11 October 2013

Thursday 10th October 2013

Went to the allotment lunchtime to clear my spinning mind a little - cleared a lot of weeds from the beans and from bed 9 - topped up the compost from the remains in Bed 8 - took the full hour - could have happily stayed there for the rest of the day.

Weekend - Rain and the wives birthday - took her to see 7 brides for 7 brothers at New Wimbledon Theatre what a cracking show catch it if you can - Croydon Fairfield Hall next

Hoping to get to the allotment tomorrow lunch time as the weather is supposed to be good, Thursday dry then rain for the next 10 days - Doh!

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Wednesday 9th October - Your Jobs at Risk!

Informed 20 minutes before an office meeting about the future of the company that they are stopping one of the services I provide and my job is at risk - Stunned  :ohmy: another meeting in two weeks time to discuss further - like they have already made their mind up it's just a process they have to follow. I'm guessing written notice of a decision re redundancy will follow swiftly after.

Tuesday 8th October 2013

A lunchtime visit on the way back from site as I had to pass, it was a lovely bright sunshine, Bob, Adi's Mum and Mick & his Mencap gang were there as well.

Picked up 10 bags of slate fragments on the way back from site courtesy of freecycle and offloaded them with a bag of compost from home and the peppers. The slate fragments will go down around the grapes on weed membrane to keep the weeds down and if enough under each of the monkeys in the runner bean area.

I cleared the tomato plants from the green house and two from the grow house - and replaced with the peppers, two of which are starting to turn orange, so they might just make it before the frost kills them all 

Cleared the rest of the broccoli from bed 8, and put it into the green compost bin the level of which had dropped thankfully allowing the top up.

So bed 8 is now ready for clearing and applying cardboard covered with farmyard manure, on a future visit.

Cleared the weeds from bed 9, and turned the soil a little to breakup the crust that was forming, next visit a sprinkle of chicken poo pellets, get the strawberries in and cover with the chicken wire frame, to keep Basil Brush out!

Topped up the comfrey and the water butts, ready for the water being turned off at the end of the month
. :nowink: - once I have built the greenhouse extension to the shed I will sort out the guttering to harvest rainwater.

Sunday 6th October 2013

Up at 6:00 and it's pitch black, dressed and breakfast, loaded up the car with a couple of tugs of used compost destined for the runner beans area, took some 1.3m bamboo canes with caps and some without. A crisp morning with fog in the A217 at the low point by Glastonbury road rolling over the recreation ground.

Arrived at the allotment just after 7:00, took the stuff into the allotment, two trips and started by sorting out the bit I needed for the day. I made a big mistake of wearing trainers which were soaking wet from the dew in the ground. I continued to clear the runner beans when Keith and Pauline arrived. After a quick chat, I carried on harvesting beans and clearing the beans until called by Keith for coffee, by the time I had walked down the main path and up to Keith shed on plot 6 my feet were soaking.

We were all sitting and drinking when Basil Brush appeared from plot 7, I told Basil to hop it and he just looked at us and started to sniff the sack of potatoes, Keith shouted at him to leave them alone, the Pauline exclaimed that he was nicking Keiths potatoes. Sure enough the little fellow has a potatoes in his mouth and run off, we all laughed and could not believe the cheeky little gits bravado.

Keith loaned me some boots he had in the shed for the walk back and a further hunt in my shed on my return, I found my cut down wellingtons. So second coffee of the day saw Keiths boots returned.

So it took time but the Runners beans are in the composting green dalek, the netting was put in a rubbish sack, I will not be using that netting again, next year I have planned gallows brackets and to start from near to the wall at the ground and have strings leaning out with a canopy like a Minty frame.

Comfrey harvested, shredded and added  to the comfrey pipe.

Bed 4 now cleared of potatoes, about half an onion sack full.

Bed 8 Harvested two cauliflowers and two cabbages, Really impressed with the Cauliflower, once the green leafs were cleared they are nice and white, really makes up the naff broccoli in beds 8 and 1 which have both bolted due to the warm weather, so lots of foliage has been added to the green dalek and it's full. I also topped up the black dalek. Looks like I better position the second small black dalek at the rate I'm going.

Tomatoes from the grow house that were red were harvested and it looks like the plum tomatoes will be ready by the end of the week if the blight stays off them being inside.

I painted some of the large batten that I want to make the next potable half bed debris netting frame with, and some of the pallet wood that I'm going to edge the beds with.

Bearing in mind that I was there until 1:00 so about five hours, I didn't feel like I had achieved as much as I wanted, but there again that's nothing new, its always a lot quicker in my mind than in real life and time.

It took two trips to the car to get everything in there that needed to come home, and after lunch Jen and I processed the harvest, a food parcel for Jen sister and a lot of stuff cleaned, cut and bagged up in the freezer.

I need to weed bed 9 and get the strawberries in ....

Thursday 3 October 2013

Wednesday 2 October 2013

2nd October 2013

Too Sunny to stay in the office - a flying visit and I managed to get the hoops covered, just a little tweaking of the ends to tidy up where the chicken wire laps and then cut off all the ends of the cable ties and its done.

John arrived as I was leaving only had his hip replaced just over a week ago.... the man just can't keep away bless him

Take That Basil Brush

Tuesday 1 October 2013

1st October 2013

A lunch time visit - Basil Brush has dug a ruddy great hole in bed 7 that I cleared and covered with farmyard manure on Sunday  :ohmy: Making noises like Mutley in Wacky Races ... I hate the Bleeping fox  :mad:

So that's it, I was going to weed but I have screwed up the first portable hooped frame that I use to set out the plots and put the edging in against after diggin and before making the paths around.

I started to cover it in the chicken wire I got off freecycle..... Next lunch time visit should see it finished

The strawberries are going to need protecting from Basil and I'm not putting them in until I have some way of keeping him out.

More ideas for fox proofing the beds are hatching in my mind, any suggestions out there?

Sunday 29 September 2013

Sunday 29th September

Arrived at the allotment just before 8:00 and started by harvesting the last of the runner beans, ended up with a plastic storage box full from the two beds, stripped the first bed of foliage and added to the green compost dalek.

Next on the agenda was to harvest two cabbages, and the netting enclosure for the bed thus being removed to allow so, a liberal sprinkling of slug pellets were added before re- pegging. The lower leafs of the cabbages that had been nibbled a little were also added to green dalek.

A layer of comfrey to assist kicking off the composting process was then added to the green dalek.

I harvested all the beetroots and carrots from bed 7, adding their foliage to the green dalek. Pulled out the lower sections of the sweet corn stems and cut them in slices to add to the green dalek. A layer of tea leafs that gone past their sell by date was sprinkled on before more runner bean foliage was added. Bed 7 now being free of plants, it was turned over weeded and then covered with a sack of mature farmyard manure.

Dug up half of the potatoes on bed 4 and covered what was left with the half framed netting cage to keep the fox from digging the ones on the ground up. And before I knew it, it was nearly 1:00 which is when I planned to leave for home for lunch.

Harvested all the red and green tomatoes in containers and buckets outside the grow houses and cut them back.

After lunch I went over the Merton and picked up the two sheets of twinwall polycarbonate sheet, each approximately 1250x700 mm, and took them to the allotment and added then to the pop bottle cloche for the mean time. I have plans for these to become doors to a mini greenhouse built on the side of the shed once I remove the plastic framed grow house after the tomatoes have finished.

It took quite a time to wash all the potatoes and carrots, Jen cooked off the beetroots and removed the skins and cut up the runner beans and bagged them up into meal sized bags for freezing, and we created three food parcels one for my sister, one for Jens and a third for our neighbour Sid.

Saturday 28 September 2013

28th September 2013

Captains Log Supplemental

A very hectic week at work, no real time to get the allotment during lunch time and had to work from home Thursday due to having the cavity walls insulated - we were on the list twice for it to be done for free last year but the company could not organise a booze up in a brewery and it never happened, so just paid to have it done, it is supposed to pay for itself in 3 - 4 years.

I did get to the allotment Thursday night to water what's in the grow houses and Andys toms in his grow house..

Mr Fox once again spotted and again has dug up bed 3 which actually already has a carpet of mustard showing! Now that was quick only went in on Sunday.... I topped up the paths around bed 3 with woodchip and then scattered anti dog and cat crystals that I inherited from my Dads shed when I cleared the house earlier this year. I have absolutely no idea where he bought this stuff from but it will be interesting to see if it deters Mr Fox. I may be on a quest to find more if it works. 

Picked even more red toms and looking at the state of the plants and the weather I think all toms will be picked this weekend and some will be used to make green tomato chutney. with the slug action going on there is going to be a major harvest including the last bed of potatoes and cabbages, the end of the beetroot and the carrots. Then I can green manure the beds, whist there is still time for it to grow.

Just answered a couple of freecycle Offers for two sheets of polycarbonate and 450mm square grey paving slabs - picking up the polycarbonate Sunday afternoon and keeping fingers crossed and waiting to hear about the slabs - I do like freecycle.   

Supplemental notes to the Captains Log Supplemental     

Went and collected 18 grey 450x450mm paving slabs and delivered to the allotment ..... That's the patio area done then ;;)