Wednesday 31 July 2013

Wednesday 31st July 2013

 A short evening visit to take more bird and I'm hoping fox scarers down to the plot - they have been at it again digging holes and crapping everywhere (the foxes that is, not the birds  ::) ).

I found a short length of clear plastic pipe from a broken water feature and have fitted and glued it to the end cap to my comfrey pipe and I also added a sink strainer and mesh from a 99p shop strainer to the inside to filter out the comfrey from the liquid.

I've marked out the wall where the brackets will go to fix the pipe to the wall, and have filled a pop bottle with sand, made a hole on the lid and fitted some rope thru the cap ready to use as a compressive weight. However I forgot to take home the good portable drill from work so could not complete the job.

Whilst I was doing this Jen was watering the toms in the grow houses and whilst she was at it she gave the newly planted broccoli a drink, I'm not sure if it's too late for them to mature, but they were sitting there in the cold frame and they may as well take their chance in the ground, I suppose I could check the back of the seed packet or my book to see, but why spoil the surprise

I really must thin out the beetroots, carrots and radish over the weekend as at the moment they have no room to breath let alone grow into anything significant. It has to be said that if I am away from the allotment for more than a couple of days I really don't like it - I fear that I am now an allotment-holic  is there any cure?

Monday 29 July 2013

Monday 29th July 2013

Evening visit to water the toms in the mini greenhouses - the wind was up and the skin to the mini greenhouse next to the shed had split - tied it back to the frame through the split - these grown hoses are really not a good idea unless you manage to pick them up dirt cheap at the end of season like those I got from ASDA.

This has really got me thinking about having a polytunnel for next year, if Keith does get a bigger greenhouse I will definitely take one of his small ones off him for the allotment.

The cabbages are getting huge so I picked the lower leafs from one row and filled two plastic shopping bags one for us and one for the wife to take to my the sister in law tomorrow.

Tuesday Update - No surprise Cabbage was on the menu for evening meal tonight, and it tasted great with the home grown new potatoes, chicken, peas and gravy, I love home or allotment grown food, it has so much more taste that shop bought.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Allotment Update

Thursday 25th - Harvested the rest of the potatoes from Bed 1

Friday 26th - Water and weed Bed 7 lunch time.

Saturday 27th -  All in all a productive 3 hours on the allotment between 9:0 - 12:00 this morning

Weeded the Beans and Bed 5 the sprouts
Second dig of Bed 1 and pick up the stragglers that I missed the other night,
Raked the bed and then planted with 8 Broccoli plants -thru weed membrane
Placed the hoops and netting over.
Trimmed up all the potatoes foliage that was laying on the paths..
Trimmed up the lower leafs on the Toms
Gave the Toms a feed of Comfrey Tea.

Thursday 25 July 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.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Wednesday 24th July

A visit to the DIY shop to buy a pipe, pipe clips and a cap end to make a comfrey pipe.

I'm going to also get a small overflow connection so I have a spout from the bottom of the pipe and I already have a 99p shop frying pan mesh & plug guard thing to cut and place in the bottom of the pipe to filter the gloop. I will take photographs and put on my diary when I do it.

Took to the site to drop off and also take photographs of the fire damage to plot 14A a bee enclosure that was reported to me this morning to send to the council for their information and further investigation

Cadalots army are doing a nice job of clearing my beans of aphids

Monday 22 July 2013

Monday 22nd July

An evening visit to water the plants and erect the bench, took some more bamboo for making greenhouse frames down with me and placed in what John calls the timber yard. Adi and Own were on site and Keith turned up just after we arrived to harvest some veg and water.

In the photos below you can see that I also had another go at pushing the overgrowing ivy and tree back as the corner was just full of dead leaves. Now I also have branches of tree to deal with and get rid off. The leafs will make it into the compost heap which I seem to be for ever filling and every time I open the lid there is just enough room for me to add more..... It's like magic

You can see in the photo that the sweet corn is nearly at the top of the hoops, and I'm going to have to uncover but I want to make something up to keep those foxes out as they have already flattened Barry's on plot 1 and shield them from the wind a little.

I can not believe how quickly the comfrey has gown back, I must harvest some more and get some more tea on the go.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Sunday 21st July 2013

I lifted the slabs in the front garden that run behind the hedge (It's all coming up soon when the drive is done) and took them down to the allotment.

I've had an email that they intend to strap the crack in the wall behind my shed at the corner, and I have explained to them that there is another crack behind my shed and that the wall between the two cracks has shifted forward on it's DPC and that strapping to something that is already unstable in addition to the corner leaning such that its centre of gravity is out side the middle third of the width of the wall, that it should be rebuilt, plumb after they deal with the tree that is immediately behind it and is causing the problem.

So all the stuff in the corner came out and the slabs went down - providing a base for the metal racking system that John donated to me from his factory - It didn't take long to put together once the sitting tenants (frogs) found somewhere out of the way to go.

The fire guard that I picked up from my sister created 1 and a half shelf's and I started cutting up pallets to created the missing half to store the soft bricks (heavy milk bottles full of sand) that have proven so useful.

Had not finished by lunch time and had to go back in the late afternoon to finish off. The sun was so bad that I really just wanted to get done and back home in the shade with a cool beer.

I forgot the phone on the second trip so no pictures of the finished works but I did get the frogs during the first visit. I will post some pictures of what John has called my timber yard.

Saturday 20 July 2013

Saturday 20th July 2013

Very little allotment action today as I've spent all day tidying up the back garden as we are having a BBQ tonight just Me Jen the girls, Andy and Keith & Pauline - Gardening is suppose to be relaxing  :nowink:

The end result is not perfect nor as good as it has been in the past and there is still some clearing away and tidying up to be done but here are some photos.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Thursday 18th July 2013

Picked up an old fire guard from my sister in the morning (you can never have too much mesh) then a quick 1/2 hour visit lunchtime in the way to undertake a schedule of conditions and I managed to drop off said fireguard and have half an hours weeding in the blistering sun (I don't think I could have done more anyway) but the beans look happier for the attention (well in my mind they do ;) )

After long last guy at Plot 3 has moved the shed (he was donated it by the previous owner so he says) off plot 3A and onto his plot 3. It's just a shame that he didn't do that earlier and that the young couple with the new baby didn't feel like they had to give up their plot.

A number of us did offer to help them get back on top of things but the shed, and the relationship with their neighbour was the final straw for them, as now with a baby they didn't have room to keep bringing tools backwards and forwards. and wanted the shed moved so they could have one of their own there.

An return visit with Jen to water our plot and my brother-in-laws, as he is on a training course and going to be too late back and would only become mosquito food if he visited at that time of night.

I've arranged for the Asbestos flower box to go from home Saturday morning, so one job is building a new timber one to take it's place the next is to jet wash the slabs under it as that will go the allotment. Also clean and paint the flowerbox brackets - find the BBQ in the back of the shed and tidy up the back garden - thank Heaven that the two apple trees mean we have some shade in the afternoon.

Keith and Pauline are going to come around for a BBQ in the evening. Sunday Morning will be pick axe bed 9 and get the paving slabs to the allotment so I can sort out the storage corner and get the racking up - I can work there in the shade until lunch time.

Monday 15 July 2013

Monday 15th July 2013

Didn't get to the allotment at all as we had a minor leak on the boiler and had to wait for the boiler man to come and fix it.

Tuesday 16th - morning and evening visit to water as it has been so hot and the toms at home were looking sad

Wednesday 17th - No lunch time visit as they have the road from work to the allotment closed for resurfacing, but I did get an ARGOS sale flyer in the morning and reserved the last cold frame in store reduced to £12.99 and parked in ASDA's car park lunch time.

I then went into ASDA to buy something over a £5 to get my £2 parking fee back and they a flogging off 4 tier greenhouses at a £5 each - Can't even get the staging for that so I bought 3 of them, I was well and truly happy  :D

Evening visit with Jen, Emma came with Andy as he has never seen, and only heard about Dads playground. He watered for me whilst I dug up half a bed of first earlys' with Emma, we had finished off those I dug up over the weekend tonight for dinner. I then weeded bed 7 and potted up three tomatoes from home into one of the giant tugs.

As we keep getting visitors looks like I will have to put the bench together so we can sit four which was the intention because Keith and Pauline (brother and sister in law) are on the same site. 

Sunday 14 July 2013

Sunday 14th July 2013

Up at the crack of dawn (lucky Dawn  :ohmy:) and over the allotment by 6:30 this morning as I wanted to start digging bed 9 in the shade and before the sun came around.  I was working with a pick axe as the soil is so hard I cant touch it with a fork, and was doing well until the head started to slip down the wooden handle. So I knocked it back down and dropped the pick axe in the water trough so that it will swell up and grab the head once more.I dug up some first early potatoes and was given the courgettes by John and I gave him some of my excess brassicas, that's what I like about allotmenteers they are always happy to share young plants or harvest when they get an excess of good fortune.

I saw Mr fox this morning and then found the little (darling) had pulled my nets out again - I sounded like Muttley cursing to himself indistinctly.

I could not find the cabbage collars I've obviously put them in a safe place.
Made up a short length of pipe with a stop fitting so I can unplug the grape soaker and increase the water pressure, and watered Bed 7 and 8 the tomatoes and the peppers.

Decanted the Comfrey into a bottle and disposed of the solids in the composter
Cut more Comfrey and started off a new batch

Then I attacked the hillock between the path and Bed 7 as Bed 9 will need some filling (a little bit of civil engineering cut and fill going on I think) and I couldn't use the pick axe. I sieved and weeded the hillock and dumped the resulting soil at the end of Bed 9.

Bob Arrived and then Andy and they both proceeded to strip off and work, but by then I had done 5 hours, I was getting hot and bothered and decided to call it a day (possibly a morning as I may return tonight to water and perhaps bring some of the tomatoes over from home)

Captains Log (Supplemental)

An evening visit with my Triffid to water the allotment and pot up three tomato plants and four peppers that are now on the carpet patio area - Soaked the pick axe again whilst we were there. Also took an old parasol and base up for Jen

Andy was there watering as we arrived and Keith turned up to do the same as we left.

Friday 12 July 2013

Friday 12th July 2013

Jen suggested that as we (she) wants to cut Snoopus tomorrow and she knows I want to get the plants out of the cold frame and into Bed 8 that we visit tonight and she will water whilst I plant and then we can both sort the netting out.

Planted  4x Cabbages,  2x Cauliflowers, 2x Broccoli  There is room in Bed 6 for an additional Cabbage as the purple one died but I didn't get time to sort out the netting and plant it tonight that will have to be a job for tomorrow night or Sunday Morning.

Keith and Pauline arrived shortly after us, and stayed a while on their way to water and harvest.

We managed to get out of the allotment just as it was starting to get dark and before the biting insects came alive! ( will need to find the collars in the shed and fit around the cabbages.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Thursday 11th July 2013

Picked up some 2.4m Bamboo canes for the hoops to beds 9 - 12 now need to get some more blue water pipe ordered - took to the site - Bob on plot 4 was there again no top but a bill and ben type hat on digging away. I weeded the grape area and pulled some of the larger weeds out of the potato Beds - 1 - 4

I ran out of potatoes in Bed 4 and have planted out groups of spring onions - the potatoes plants are getting too high and weak and are starting to droop, so I pushed in some bamboo to hold them off the onions - then too soon I had to get back to the office - picked up Jen and at 3:00 we left for the Zoo Trip

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Wednesday 10th July 2013

Very Hot  8) , the grass everywhere is turning white and sun bleached and we have not had any real quantity of rain for a month - I know its not the best time to visit and work the allotment, but the office is driving me crazy at the moment and I'm loving getting away for lunch although I do have to work a little longer.

So a dash to the allotment, I removed the portable hoop frame that I use as a template to install the lawn edging the new stuff isn't as deep as what I had been using but it was extremely cheap - next year I may replace with timber. levelled the soil into the edges and installed four blue pipe hoops and a 2.4m bamboo cane along the top in preparation for covering once the plants go in.

There are a number of cabbage and broccoli plants in the cold frame just begging to go in the ground. Due to other commitments and my company is taking us to London Zoo to meet an armadillo and a BBQ to celebrate their 50 year anniversary tomorrow afternoon / evening there will be no planting until Friday night or Saturday morning.

OK I shouldn't do this but, I'm hoping to get over to the allotment early Saturday to draw back the last of the carpet and the plastic and prep the ground with the pick axe for Bed 9 and on Sunday Dig and weed Bed 9.

I also have a lot of weeds to get out from the beans, grapes and Sprouts in Bed 5 not to mention looking at my sick looking potatoes and perhaps harvesting some Charlottes

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Tuesday 9th July 2013

A visit lunch time and visit this evening and the paths around Bed 8 are in, complete with cardboard under from the boiler installed yesterday. Strange bit I watered the paths to assist the cardboard to relax into the trod path and the water ponded on top of the cardboard and wood chippings!

I shall have to keep an eye on this area and see how it performs against the others that don't have the cardboard cant be walking on soggy wood chips.

Our "friend" NOT the fox has been up to his tricks again and digging holes all over the place in paths and beds - I'm disliking him more with each visit. I'm wondering about throwing some BFB over the wild area near the entrance to try and divert his attention away from my plot, and empty the water I leave for the robin, which may be attracting him over.

Monday 8 July 2013

Monday 8th July 2013

Very hot and sunny again today - I had to empty my home office as the drain for the heating system is in here - originally it was next to my drawing board, now some 10- 15 years ago that got replaced with filing cabinets as I produce everything on computer these days, and I ended up just storing stuff under and on top of the drawing board.

So bottom line, I was hoping the boiler would be replaced quickly, and I might get half a day on the allotment - No such luck, I finished putting things back this morning and only made a quick visit in the evening to spray the aphids on the runner beans and water Bed 7 and the toms.

I feel like the year is getting away from me a little and I may get it all dug over and ready for next year but my plans for lots of veg is fast disappearing, Time waits for no man (or woman come to that)

B*&^%$£ Fox has decided he will visit walk all over bed 8 and dig a ruddy hole in the middle - I'm beginning to dislike him a lot
  >:( >:(

There has to be something that will keep the B thing away apart from a 12 bore - there must be some plant or smell they don't like - I have some tubs of BFB and Chicken Poo but don't want to use them because it will just encourage him. 

Thinking about using cardboard as well as the weed membrane under the woodchip paths to try and discourage the weeds - which need a good spanking again and I have not weeded for a week and a half and they are laughing at me again.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Allotment catch up Tuesday - Friday The odd evening visit to water.

Saturday all day working on the front garden in readiness for the impending driveway works - Cut the privet hedge up and shredded it - Sid next door had the shredding's apart for a couple of bags for the compost heap.

The hedge that isn't mine but I have to cut to allow access to the car was cut on the side and top and I ended up with 3 large council plastic bags of cuttings that were sucked up the lawn mower to make it more compost bin friendly. So in the evening over to water and I filled the plastic compost  bin to the top with alternate brown, green, comfrey paper up to the top. The fox had tried to make his way into both ends of the hoops and debris netting on Bed 7 and had bent a corn over in the process. I need to find some way of keeping the * away from my stuff, If you have any ideas let me know.

Sunday - Over the allotment between 7 - 10:30 so that I could dig in the shade for as long as possible and bed 8 is there, no edging or path but it's there! - Photo is how I left it in the morning. Popped over to the garden centre to pick up 5 x 56ltr bags of compost for £16 same stuff that was £20 for 6 a little while ago.

Jen and I returned in the evening and I trod the paths down around Bad 8, whilst Jen did some watering.

The potato's are starting to look a little battered and sad, and the foliage is drooping and filling in the paths a little, does not help that the Fox has decided to have a dig. Radish showed a couple of days ago and the two rows of beetroots can now be seen - no sign of the carrots yet.


Tuesday 2 July 2013

Monday 1st July 2013

I found someone who can get the parts to fix the boiler and that's happening Thursday. And handed over the keys to the estate agent to Mums house, looks like I'm parking back on the road until I can get my drive done.

A quick visit to the plot to water and I have cut a couple of 600mm wide strips off the ever reducing carpet and laid it along the edge of the plot and eventually I will cover it in woodchips. that I'm happy to report the weed killer has done an excellent job.

Spent the rest of the evening sorting out the cold frame and the jungle that has grown - potted up some peppers that have really moved on and moved on some toms from small pots into large patio plots and then from plastic cups into the now empty pots. The garden is looking better but I'm still getting neck-ache from "she who shall be obeyed" that she can't see it all getting clear and tidy this year! 

Keith and Pauline came round and Keith went home with a selection of tomato plants (Cherry and 100s&1000s), and peppers (Traffic light and Mohawk).