Sunday 30 June 2013

Sunday 30th June 2013

OK your expecting me to be telling you that Bed 8 is complete.... So was I until last night on the way to bed, I notice the boiler was on, ummm no ones running water and the radiators are off so why?

Then I find that the pressure has dropped to zero and looking underneath the boiler, the carpet is saturated in water and it's still dripping. Off with the water mains, off with the electric to the boiler. and mop up the floor and place a tray under to catch the drips.

Phoned the boiler company and It appears that we may not be able to get parts because its' obsolete!!!

I have the part number of the heat exchange unit from the last time if failed, and they are going to check and ring me in the morning.... What a pain not having water to the washing machine, sinks and wc - filling buckets, bowls and anything else so we can flush the loo - So I must look into fixing a stop-cock in the run to the boiler somewhere easily accessible

So shopping and a quick visit to water late afternoon, John gave me a large bowl of strawberries to bring home and some dexian racking from his work that they were going to dump that I can use beside the shed to store my obligatory pile of wood etc.    well that's another job for another day....
Toms and runner beans in the back garden
Toms in the greenhouse on the allotment

Sprouts on the Allotment

Toms in the grow house on the allotment 
Sweet Corn on the Allotment
Cabbage on the Allotment

Saturday 29 June 2013

Saturday 29th June 2013

Spent 4 - 5 hours down the allotment

When it rained the other day the fat top to the grow-bag tom grow-house filled with water, So I cut a pallet up to create a high point in the middle and cable tied it into position, then made shorter packs for 1/4 points to that the water will nor run off - what a naff design in the first place.

The transplanted four toms up to B&Q buckets after drilling holes around about an inch from the bottom

Then sowed Beetroot, carrots and radish is the rest of bed 7 - Cut all the blue water pipe up and ended up with 9 hoops - then installed four with bamboo apex restraint cable tied and  debris netting over.

Returned later to water the plants.

Thursday 27 June 2013

Thursday 27th June 2013

Meeting my sister lunch time so no mid day visit today, went to work via B&Q and picked up 15 builders buckets at a £1 each for my toms for the greenhouse and grow house on the allotment and in the back garden.

I will drill four holes around the outside at 12, 3 6 and 9 o'clock about an inch up from the bottom so that the bucket retains water at the bottom when watering. Instead of crocks in the bottom I have some water retaining jelly to add to the compost in the bottom and I have been keeping all the bottle caps from those used to build the greenhouse panels which will go into the bottom of the buckets to create some voids to also hold water.

A light rain tonight on the way home and after the evening meal which included my first picked radish (others too small) the ground is wet but not saturated, so I will give visiting a miss tonight, shame I'm kinda addicted to going, and I wanted to take the pick axe to the rest of bed 8...

Ho Hum .....think I'll go and check the weather forecast for the next five days....

Captains log supplemental -

Friday      100% Chance of Light Rain
Saturday    20% Chance of Rain Partly Cloudy
Sunday        0% Chance of Rain Partly Cloudy
Monday      30% Chance of Rain Few Showers
Tuesday     30% Chance of Rain Scattered Showers

So looking good for Sunday .... Yipppeee

Making another bird scaring windmill but this time using a small coke bottle, wife is just looking at me and shaking her head
  :nowink: and rolling her eyes  ::)  ...... apparently it is sad to see a grown man playing Blue Peter ...

Ummmm wonder if I could still make Tracey Island?      

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Wednesday 26th June 2013

Quick lunch time visit and in the evening we dropped the girls off at Wimbledon Theatre to see the Dream Boys and on the way back visited the allotment to water the potatoes with some comfrey. My God what a stink!  :ohmy:

I then harvested a whole lot more leafs and started the process in the twin giant ice cream tubs off again. I already have two more batches brewing in large plastic milk bottles,

Took the pick axe to plot 8 and nearly broke up to the end of the bed, only a strip for the two foot wide path to go, out came more timber glass and metal and I have now filled two tugs with weed and debris and that's before digging with the fork!.

The plan (weather permitting) is to hit the site early Sunday and to try and get bed 8 done in a day like I did with Bed 7.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Tuesday 25th June 2013

Tuesday 25th June - A quick lunchtime visit on the way to the tube to go to the Imperial War Museum London for a meeting.

Took the pick axe to a small area on Bed 8 but could not do too much, don't want to get too hot and sweaty as I'm working, so I did some weeding, some nail removal from pallet wood that's to be used for path edging. I opened the mini greenhouse that was very wet inside - I think its the water in the pepper seed tray that's promoting that and I will have to take down a tray with drainage to replace it next visit.

late home due to meeting and journey back from IWML - picked up an old fashioned fireguard off freecycle going to use it to protect plants in some way. And after dinner, I fixed the broken screen on my daughter Kelly's laptop.

I drilled the holes in the pop bottle bird scaring windmill I have made. I first saw these on Mr Sam The Allotment Mans YouTube video - I like his sense of humour and I have built mine based on the link he had on his early video

I found out last night that he has now produced his own video on how to make these. I found the cutting of the pop bottles really dangerous using a Stanley knife and I have previous for cutting half way through my left index finger as a model making teenager so I'm really careful and respectful of knifes.

I found a branded cola bottle that I can't really use for building greenhouses and it comes profiled with flutes around the base and in the top which act like guide lines for the cuts to form the blades.

I took the soldering iron to the top and bottom of the side flutes and burnt holes which sealed the plastic and then started a slot with a Stanley knife just big enough to get in scissors and cut between. then I folded each section and an angle of about 5 degrees at the top all in the same direction then repeated the process on the bottom so that when the pop bottle is squashed like a Chinese lantern the two ends match.

I have seen in the YouTube videos that ultimately the fixing of the wire keeps the windmill shape or the use of tape, but I was not happy with that, so I tool the soldering iron to the to touching ends and used it to weld the plastic together and spot welded around the circumference of the bottle.

Once done I then creased the ends of the blades flat and welded each blade at the mid point on one side then turned it around and did the same on the other side. I preferred this to the use of tape which may or may not last once wet.
I then cut up three of the bottle tops that I keep from the bottles used for the greenhouse frames into four and stuffed them inside the windmill via the cap.

Wire bent in a loop at the bottle cap end and another bottle cap with hole added to the rear to maintain clearance for the 90 bend in the coat hanger wire and job done... all that now remains is to drill a hole in the top of a timber stake for the wire to go into then the windmill can follow the wind and as it turns the noise from the cap bits inside will hopefully also help to scare the birds.

Monday 24 June 2013

Monday 24th June 2013

Evening Visit with Jen, we erected a tomato grow house and I attacked bed 8 with the pick axe whilst Jen watered the plants - We are sure the corn has grown already, it sure looks happier in the ground.

I found more buried pallets, glass and weeds under the shiny surface - came away about 8:00ish once the nipping insects started feasting on me!

Sunday 23rd June 2013

Up early and down the allotment for 7am - Dug and weeded Bed 7 and the pathways around it. I left with three Black Bags of weeds and I filled a tug fill of stones.

I then trod the paths down ready for the lawn edging by and all by lunch time 12:30.  A very good five and a half hours work, I'm feeling very pleased with myself. I had to shelter in the shed a couple of times due to showers, and the sun made a short appearance as I was leaving.

Andy tuned up about 8:45, and Keith and Pauline made a fleeting visit mid morning, apart from that it's been just the two of us this morning. I use the framework with the hoops to measure out the bays and as a template for installing the lawn edging. The photo is how I left the plot.

Captains log supplemental - After lunch and watching Hugo in the early afternoon, I couldn't resist and a return visit with Jen for a couple of hours saw the edging installed the paths laid and the sweet corn planted out - and we covered the small frame in netting and put it over the sweet corn as a wind break.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Saturday 22nd June - We Will Rock You!

Jen came with me to the allotment to attack the aphids on my beans, with some soapy water in a spray, as I didn't want the infestation to gain too much ground, also took the fried egg plants grown from seeds that were sent to me by Surbie100 off the Allotment Gardening Forum are now planted.

It was supposed to be a flying visit as the girls were taking me to see "We Will Rock You" but Jen noticed that the cabbages in Bed 6 have grown so much that they have becoming distorted because they are in contact with the netting, and asked how long it would take to fix? "5 minutes to cut new hoops" said I

So we took it off, cut four larger water pipe hoops, weeded and re- fitted the some new netting as the original was not long enough to enclose the ends. It's so easy to deal with the weeds that have grown in the compost on top of the weed membrane and the bed look really good again. We agreed that there will be more planting thru membrane next year, I'm even thinking of doing the potatoes that way with really black thick stuff and not mounding up.

Lessons learnt I'm going to make all the netting enclosures the same size especially after seeing Keiths carrots etc. Just manages to get done in time to go home change and get the Tube to the Theatre to a see the show.

If you have not been and you like Queen and get the chance, go see it - It was fantastic

Saturday 22 June 2013

Friday 21st June - The Mavericks new Album

Took three Gardeners Delight Toms into work for Tracey. Another lunch time visit, Listened to the Mavericks new Album in 10 years on the way there and back ... cracking stuff, also listening whilst typing this up. 

Here is some old stuff

I gave the plants a water, I've been kind of expecting thunder and lighting because it's been so warm, humid and stormy looking the last couple of days.

Noooo, I have aphids on my beans, so I will have to return with some soapy water and give them a spray, that not likely to be until Sunday as the girls are taking me to see "We Will Rock You" Saturday as a belated Fathers Day present. Also the fried egg plants seeds that were sent to me by Surbie100 are now plants and sitting in my Cold Frame need to go down to the allotment and be planted around the beans so they can attract aphid eating insects.

The weed killer I sprayed a few days ago seems to be working along the path, As I had some time I took the pick axe to the rest of the "clay concrete" that has formed at Bed 7 and found some nice lumps of timber & steel buried under the hump that runs along parallel to the path.

I've been informed by Michelle and Barry that a previous tenant would deal with weeds by skimming the top and raking it all to that edge of the plot which is why he only grew in 3/4 of the width and there is a small anti gypsy caravan type very weedy hump along the path.

In the evening I attacked the back garden and evicted the "Phukarewe" Tribe of pigmy's that were living in the
long grass :D and managed to get the grass cut again, four sacks of grass cuttings - took the new wed burner to the path and cremated the weeds - It's so easy to use, and it's much faster than trying to scrape them out of the cracks.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Wednesday 19th June

No lunch time visit to the allotment as I was working from home, a swift early evening visit to the allotment to water Keith's and my plots, and to take a pile of timber battens down there. My neighbour rescues the timber from the builders/ roofers yard that he keeps clean and tidy. It's new timber and if I didn't have it he would just burn it :nowink:

In the past I have used it for making up the pop bottle frames and the bases to the hoop frames and I will use some to make an extension to the shed I have in mind, and some tray staging if I bite the bullet and get that poly tunnel I've been looking at:D

Then home and watered all the plants in the mini grow house and cold frame and transfer some lettuce from modules into large plots. Transplanted one the larger toms to it's final large patio plot home, and had a general tidy up.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Tuesday 18th June

 A lunch time visit to water and check on the mini greenhouse. OK it's a lot hotter than it has been and I'm looking at what looks like mildew on the surface of the four new toms in pots compost that I put in the mini greenhouse (picture below)

The mini greenhouse has no ventilation and I watered the toms with some nettle tea yesterday,  so I'm not sure if it's the combination of the tea and the humidity that has stared off the mildew process because the inside of the greenhouse is lined with lots of condensation I'm guessing this because I notice how quickly mildew appears on tea when put in the darlek composter, or is it as I've been informed that it's impossible to grow toms down on our allotment due to blight?   

The bigger Toms in buckets on the floor of the greenhouse appear unaffected by this mildew? Is that because they are nearer the ground where it's cooler and there is some ventilation at the bottom?

Needless to say I have removed the four toms in pots, off the shelf at the back of the greenhouse and have scraped and washed off the mildew and left the toms outside to breath and for the surface to dry out a little. If that does not work I read somewhere that a solution of baking powder can help prevent or cure mildew - I shall have to investigate some more.

During lunch I also managed to weed out a lot of the large thistles and bindweed that seem to have come out of nowhere and have been hiding in the potatoes, in Beds 1 - 4. I found a live slug in one of the buckets with Toms despite all the blue pellets of death and so I dispatched him to sluggy heaven and then mourned the loss of yet another young pepper plant, with a tear....... Ok I really looked up in the air, mad a tut sound and curst the slug and his mates, then has an evil grid because I had my revenge <wicked smile> 

Evening visit to water Keith's and my plot - Owen, Adi, and Michelle were there - Michelle is paranoid about this years inspection having received an improvement notice last year, as did Adi and most of the others despite it raining all the time and being one of the worst years for allotment holders in recent history.

Replaced one of the ends of the hose network I have built with a stop end that stops the flow when disconnected from the watering tools, so that I don't leave the sprinklers and ends out to be pinched.

Now I have soakers on the grapes and beans and hoses off the main hose run down the centre path at each end and at third points down the length plot, that allow me to water without having to drag the hose around the whole plot. I can just disconnect the watering head and take it to the end of the next hose and continue ....... luxury or what!

Monday 17 June 2013

Sunday 16th June

Quick visit to drop off four more tomato plants and water all the plants in the mini greenhouse and the sprouts and cabbages.

Got a really nice Allotment Handbook from the girls for fathers day, one of the best I've seen so far, and next Saturday the girls are taking me to see We Will Rock You.

My Comfrey has really grown so I'm currently trying two methods to make Comfrey Tea

1) Two plastic containers, added comfrey and water to the first and place the second on top filled with a concrete block to squash the comfrey - when I tried this with nettles I lifting out the second box and giving a stir once in a while.

2) A two Litre plastic milk bottle stiffed with leafs some chopped up and others whole stuffed into the wide neck and then filled with water leaving an inch or so of air at the top so I can shake the brew up. I've read that this method needs 4 - 5 weeks to produce results.

Before the comfrey looked big enough to nick some leafs, I tried method (1) with nettles and the remaining mass of leafs were added to the compost heap.

What with weeding, rain and fathers day, I've not managed to actually dig any more and I'm getting a little frustrated that bed 7 isn't ready - Look's like once I do get them done it will be for green manure to prime for next year!

All those plans and seeds - at least I do have cabbages growing in the cold frame that could go in I've I do manage to get a couple of more beds dug before the end of the season.

Hopefully next year will be easier as I will not be starting from scratch

Sunday 16 June 2013

15th June - Wind Socks

Dropped off 5 secondary glazing windows to the allotment that were donated to me by my sisters friend, and picked a little more comfrey to put in the pot. Very Windy and the wind socks were at full tilt. 

Potted up some more Toms into larger pots and placed short bamboo sticks around them to try and prevent a repeat of the broken tom - Some of these will join the others down the allotment - The Cherry and most of the Plum Toms are still way to small to be potted up in their final containers.

Topped up the compost in the plastic cups of peppers and other plants in the cold frame.

Planted a tub of British salad seeds as a cut and come again supply. potted up some of the little gem lettuce from modules into a tub. Must plant some more spring onions this weekend.  Marigolds are all doing well. I did notice that the surface of some of the pots were going a little green, I suspect I've been guilty of over watering. 

Saturday 15 June 2013

14th June 2013

  • Nettle Tea all done and 4litres bottled
  • Comfrey cut, the bed weeded, and the tea making process started.
  • New Soaker pipe installed in the grape vine area and water hose modified
  • Some B**** Slug has managed to get to one of my peppers and have eaten the whole thing!!
  • Sprinkled the green house with blue pellets of death
  • Watered the toms and 5 remaining peppers with nettle tea
  • Jen Watered my plot whilst I watered Keith's
Jen bought wind socks after seeing my plastic bags from the bamboo and these have been erected on Beds 2 and 4 just hope light aircraft don't think my paths are runways

Now she is talking about getting solar lights  ::)...... God give me strength ....Beam me up Scotty!

Before and After the Slug attack - Didn't leave a lot did he? I hope it gave him wind  :nowink:

Thursday 13 June 2013

Wednesday 12th June 2013

Quick visit to see how the toms in the mini greenhouse were doing - the water feeders on the whole appeared to be working the 2l bottle was empty but the stiffer small coke bottles were still half full - Now the question is will the suction hold the head of water or will they continue to slowly discharge water?

Filled them up as I will not get time to visit Thursday and with the rain have no real need as everything bar the grapes and what's in the greenhouse is getting water.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

11th June - Quick Lunch time visit


    * Took 6x Peppers and popped into the mini Greenhouse
    * Fixed soft bricks to the front of the greenhouse with cable ties
    * Dug up a small area of ground with the pick at Bed 7
    * Cut the weeds and grass around the incinerator
    * Filled 4 bottles and added the slow feed heads and placed in Tomato buckets

    Mike, John and Lee on site today.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Monday 10th June

Quick visit between 18:00 - 19:00 to water the plants and to pot up 2 x Gardeners Delight and 2 x Plum Toms in B&Q buckets and place into the mini green house - they fill it up apart from the shelf at the back, a scattering of slug pellets around nibbles on the sprouts and the beans, then thought why not do the potatoes as well.

Watered the plants at home on our return. Sorted 6 little peppers to make their way down to the mini green house, I will take them to work with me in the morning, and If we don't get rain drop them off lunch time.

Monday 10 June 2013

Sunday 9th June 2013

Early morning start, down at the allotment for 6:00 and worked at it until 12:45 then made my way home for Sunday lunch.  I ended up clearing out the shed and putting the mini cloches back in their bags - and sorting out the other bits that had been deposited, i.e. all the plastic drink bottles. There were enough to make another frame up for the grapes.

So I cleared the grapes and the runner beans of weeds, pulled out the beans that have not made it and planted new beans straight in the ground - must remember to slug pellet on the next visit.

Dug and sieved half the mound of earth that's near the shed and in the way of bed 7 and attacked the area with a pick axe to break up what is turning into mud concrete.

Assembled the Garden Table and then cleared out the storage area - spraying the bind weed as I came upon it. and got rid of a lot of the debris that was knocking around the plot. So not a lot of progress re digging but a good mornings work.

Keith, Andy, Bob John and Adi made appearances during the morning as well.

Returned in the early evening to water and Jen suggested putting up the mini greenhouse she bought me for Christmas after I told her it would take about half and hour to erect. laid all the bits out on the newly erected table in number order and it went together really easy. Then home to pot up the strawberries and water all my babies in the cold frame and mini grow house.


Sunday 9 June 2013

Saturday 8th June 2013

No real allotment action today - although I did set up the mini greenhouse first thing in the morning and cleared up the garden where it's going to stand at the end of the path. Emma picked be up a new supply of plastic drinks cups and blue pellets of death and I have scattered these around and under the greenhouse prior filling.

Went to the garden centre picked up 6 x 56l bags of New Horizon Organic & Peat free Multipurpose  Compost which is on offer at £20 to gardening club members - dropped off 4 to the allotment and 2 at home - then did the rounds to find healthy looking strawberries. Which bucked up after a good soaking over night and were potted up in interlocking tower containers on the patio deck Sunday.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Mini Greenhouse and Free Plastic Trays

On the way back from site I picked up some more Runner Beans from Homebase, I had to stop off to use their wc and it was a good excuse to get the beans. On the way out I noticed that they had put the trays that the plants come to them in a wire bin with please help yourself on it, so I did and picked up 7 plastic trays just right for holding my plastic cups. The cardboard trays don't last long once caught by the rain  ::) .

I also had to pass Argos and picked up a mini greenhouse that has been reduced from £21.99 down to £13.19 (saw the offer on a flyer via email this morning)

So a busy night spent most of it potting up the last of the Marigolds and the Cherry Toms and have nearly used all the plastic drink cups, so I will have to get to the 99p shop for more and some blue pellets of death, found another slug in the cold frame - How and where are they getting in from is what I want to know?

There is one pepper in the trays with the Marigolds can you spot it? ;)

Friday 7 June 2013

Cheeky Little Fellow

Dropped the Cheeky Gnome off at the allotment but could not stay to do any work - Doh.

Home and water all the plants to find that a slug had made it into the cold frame and had made a meal of three of my new runner beans in loo rolls - Little B. He must have sneaked in when I had left the lid off because the floor is concrete slabs covered in insulation which I'm wondering if I should remove now it's finally getting warmer?

Any suggestions readers?

Hit the front garden which has now been cut three times but looked as if it had not been done since last year!

Played with my new weed burner from lidl which cost me £14.99 with a cylinder of gas (they are £20 without the gas everywhere else) - on the drive and once the ash was cleared with broom it looked really good and a whole lot faster that hooking all the weeds out with the weeding tool. 

I'm glad I bought this one because it has an ignition button and system which others didn't and the wind blew out the flame a few times.

Finally packed away about 9:30 as it was starting to get dark. So glad I did the front garden as it rained over night. 

Thursday 6 June 2013

5th June 2013

5th June - I had a site visit in Gypsy Hill and came back to the office right past the allotment just before lunch, so I stopped off for my lunch at the allotment - quick sausage roll from the snack wagon and 3/4 of an hour of weeding.

Mike from Mencap was there and had wondered who had left him all the metal for the scrap dealer.

Adi's old Mum could not work out how to use the hose because of the splitter, I soon got her up and running.

Barry and his other half turned up just as I was leaving.

Also watered the spring onions that I planted out from modules last night as they were looking a little on the sad side. No visit this evening as people picking up the last of the stuff I have put on free cycle for collection, hopefully we exchange contracts Friday and complete next week .....

The rude gnome from Mums garden is also destined to join the Monkeys at the allotment (I will add a picture of him once he is down there). 

Next job if the weather holds has to be the grass in the front and back garden

Wednesday 5 June 2013

3 Wise Monkeys

Quick trip down the allotment with my 3 mates, planted the Spring onions and placed the mates in their new homes whilst Jen watered the plants and weeds

Tuesday 4 June 2013

3rd June 2013

We visited tonight to water and take more buckets and bits and bobs to the allotment and some more metal for Mencap. Harvested a large plastic container of nettles filled 1/4 full with water and placed another container on top with a brick on to make nettle tea.

Fixed the leaking water tap and set up a two way splitter as Owen was also watering from the same tap.

Thinking about growing salad in seed trays between the Brussels as I have weed membrane down - not sure that a shallow seed tray is adequate?  Came home and watered my babies in the cold frame and gave the young toms some blood fish and bone, to try and buck the sick looking ones up a little, thought I may as well after seeing Gardeners World the other night. 

Nearly forgot it looks like the fox has taken a liking to my sprouts and has torn some of my netting trying to get inside the hoops - Any suggestions how to keep him out of my plot?

Monday 3 June 2013

First weekend of June

First weekend of June - and I should be doing much more down the allotment - but Mums house is finally sold and we are hoping to exchange before the 7th June, so it's been a last push to get Dad workshop cleared and the house finally empty. We moved in when I was 7 and I can recall it being empty when we moved in - it's strange seeing it empty again and just a little heart breaking, but it has to be done, it's 10 months since Mum passed on.

We popped down to the allotment to water and whilst that was happening I fixed up the second garden chair and found that the bolts for the table seem to have disappeared somewhere so I will have to go and pick up some more.

Sunday morning dropped off the last of the cardboard boxed, and lots of metal for the guys from Mencap who take it to the scrap merchant to assist in the funding of their allotment project, I would rather they benefit than just take it to the tip.

The January Gem cabbages have all died, where as the other type seen to be holding their own. read in the Metro on Friday that this Spring is on track to be the coldest for more than half a century, provisional Met Office figures suggest.

I'm wondering how big the comfrey needs to be before I can start to harvest?, but also looking at all those nettles on the way into the allotment and thinking of making some nettle tea up.

Saturday 1 June 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.