Tuesday 27 August 2013

Monday 27th Aug 2013

A quick visit tonight, Jen watered and I dug the end of the path up with the pick axe - filled a tug full of weeds. - no visit tomorrow, it's our wedding anniversary, so taking my lady out for an evening meal.

The foxes have been all over bed 9 - more poo on the paths

Harvested the last of the first sowing of spring onions, hope the second sowing have time to mature.

Monday 26 August 2013

Sunday 26th August 2013

Up at 6:00 on the allotment by 7:00 and came away about 12:30 and I started by trying  to find a way to extend the height of the hoops and scaffolding debris netting over the sprouts. Finally decided using the pipes from an old gazebo was the way forward and made a new framework up. Keith arrived and made a cup of coffee, two more followed during the morning, and he helped me cut some more netting for the higher frame. The fox has knackered the original and made holes in it.

Because of the additional height there are two stips of netting fixed on their edge to the apex bamboo. I've rolled up the bottom of the netting and cable ties it to length so that the tent pegs go over it. The ends are lapped and cross each other.

I noticed fox poop in the paths between beds 1 & 2 and 4 & 5, bagged it up and deposed of it.

Next job was to dug up the rest of the second early potatoes in Bed 2. and leave weed and hopefully potato free.

I then cut up two comfrey plants and removed the cap and weight, stuff them in the drain pipe until the weight just fitted inside the pipe, added a little water to help get it working and replaced the weight and cap.

Next on the agenda was to blood fish and bone Bed 9, which is to be the strawberry bed - Surbies  excess strawberries are sitting on the table and are eagerly waiting to get into their new home, but I want to make sure they have plenty to keep them going before they go in. I'm also thinking about how to make fox proof because the blighters will no doubt want to dig them up. So there is some construction work to do, I have some wire mesh in the shed.

Harvested the runner beans and cleared the weeds from around the bottom of the runner bean beds. 

Gave the tomatoes and the peppers a comfrey tea feed, the plants in the green/ grow houses don't look as good as those outside but they all have green fruit, even the peppers and now displaying signs of fruit. There are a couple of orange on the bottom and green on the top tomatoes.     

Over the past few days, I've observed that the trees are beginning to shed their leafs, so I need to decant the leafs from leaf bin two into leaf bin 1 as there is more than enough room for them now.

John, Adi, Richard and Andy also turned up as the weather was so good.

= + = + = + =          Future works (In no particular order)        = + = + = + =

Plant out the strawberries after the foxes have dug around to get at the blood fish and bone, and got bored.
Construct some fox defences for the strawberries then plant out using weed membrane.

Pick axe up the bottom of the path and the end of the plot and lay the paving slabs before I carry on getting the beds ready for next year.

Pick up the dalek from my sister and start off compost bin 2.

Dig weed and create beds 10 - 12 and the additional trapezoidal beds complete with wood chip paths adjacent to the main access path

Photo are of the extended height netting enclosure to the sprouts - they do look happier now they are not pushing up the debris netting.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Saturday 24th August 2013

Ok not a lot of allotment action since Monday 19th when the slabs were taken to the plot.

I have been back a couple of times since Monday to water the toms in the green/ grow house.

The drive was completed Wednesday 21st and I used a wheelbarrow and brought in a pallet and a half of un-used mixed colour paving blocks to use under the plinth of ornaments in front of the two Ketter sheds. Jen bless her stacked the blocks for me in the back garden, on the BBQ patio area.

Friday 23rd - Came home to find that someone had attempted to force the front door! The police have been but could not find any fingerprints and a locksmith has fitted new "anti snap" lock and new door handles for us, so we can double lock easily.

Saturday 24th - The rain is stopping play today and it's looking like there will be no Sunday Morning joy as the forecast is again "light rain" - I would not call what we have had today as light rain!

Arrrrrrhhhhh - I really want to get on with the allotment.

Monday 19 August 2013

Monday 19th August 2013

Well they started on the drive and dropped off the paving blocks to the allotment this morning.

Jen's lunchtime visit to the hospital was rewarded with another annual check up, so that's four consultants keeping an eye on her annually, that's good news.

In the afternoon we visited the plot to tweak the paving a little and start clearing up around beds 10 - 12 and the triangular strip. Cut some more carpet up for the main access path. Found enough blue kerb edgings bring used as weights, to go all around the comfrey parch as well which should make that look neater.

I need to take the pick axe back with me to the allotment so I can attack the mounds at the bottom of the path.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Strawberry Sunday 18th August 2013

Surbie100 and I have exchanged seeds in the past but finally we have met, and it was very nice putting a face to the writings, seed exchanges and telephone calls.

I popped over to her allotment this morning arriving about 8:00 (she is another early riser) to pick up a her excess strawberries, that she wanted to find a new home for not wanting to compost good plants, and who can blame her it would be a crime against nature.

We had a natter about life the universe and everything, She gave me the 2 bob tour of her allotment, very different to the small allotment I'm on that only has 14 full plots, some divided into half plots 

There is one plot holder on her allotment who has a dressed mannequin sitting at a table as a scarecrow.

Finally after the tour, we loaded up the car boot.

Surbie then asked if I liked golden purslane, I had never tasted it before, Jen is the salad queen, I took it on the understanding that if Jen liked it I would grow it if not it would end up and compost, I asked Surbie to post the name of the plant because  I would never remember it (short term memory loss) and then I bid Surbie a fond farewell, and made my way back home. Surbie Jen did like it and it will live to grow another day.

One cup of coffee and a breakfast later, Jen and I were off to the allotment to drop of the strawberry plants 

and to:-

Water the toms on the mini greenhouses
Pick a couple of cabbages
Pick Runner Beans
Pick Radishes and Spring Onions

Ho Jen what a lovely pair you have

Back home and dug up the last of the concrete paving blocks that are going to be used in the back garden, under the plinth for the vast collection of Jens garden ornaments and those we inherited from Mums garden when she passed away last year.

A Sunday Roast dinner  of, chicken with peas and parsnip with home grown runner beans, cabbage and roast potatoes. We are on the 2nd Early's so not the best for roast potatoes in the world but still enjoyable and tasty.

After dinner,  I attacked the kerb edging in the front garden and managed to get up eight edgings using the pneumatic drill with chisel attachment and we dropped them off to the allotment. We came back and started on the next batch and it started to rain, so I pulled the extension lead and the drill indoors and made a cup of coffee whilst waiting for it to stop raining so I could get out there again.

I had a quick look at freecycle and found that someone had answered my wanted post for a gazebo frame! The sprouts are pushing the netting up off on the water pipe hoops and I don't want the butterflies getting their eggs on the leafs because they are in contact, so Jen had the idea of trying to get hold of some old gazebo frames. 

A quick phone call to the lady in question and we popped round to dismantle the frame, by time we go home the rain had stopped and the concrete was once again dry so the next eight edgings came out and with the gazebo were taken down the allotment.

Home a final quick tidy of the front garden and I was done (in) about 8:00ish

Friday 16 August 2013

Friday 16th August 2013 - Update

I've been too busy to get up to the allotment during the day (lunch time) and I've had my daughter working with me in the office again this week. So I've had time for a couple of quick 1/2 hour pub visits for a pint for me and girly drink for her and a couple of pub door stop sandwiches plus a shared pot of chips. Good job I work between two pubs isn't it  ;)

Two evening visits during the week to water the toms under cover until this afternoon.

I had today off and it rained in the morning, but this afternoon was lovely, sunny and bright, so Jen and I had a couple of hours on the allotment before we picked up our daughters from work. Jen watered and I installed the lawn edging and then we fixed the weed membrane and put woodchip on the paths. That nice Surbie100 is letting me have some of her excess strawberries, and I'm going to pick them up over the weekend weather permitting, and bed 9 is going to be their new home.

The milk bottle under the comfrey path is filling nicely.

The landscape contractor starts the front drive on Monday, so I'm hoping to have the 600 x600mm ex council slabs on site and the centre path installed, on Monday as well.

Nearly forgot, visited the garden centre to pick up some more Little Gem Lettuce seeds - could not resist looking and also buying Lettuce Mini Green seeds which are mini iceberg hearts about tennis ball size the pack says
Tantan Lettuce - A slightly larger little Gem type lettuce
Runner Bean

Well they are at 50% off

Sunday 11 August 2013

Sunday 11th August 2013

Up bright and early (OK Ok early) at 6:00, breakfast and down on the allotment for about 6:45 - I love these early mornings, me and nature alone as the day starts.

I've been looking at the last of the woodchip by the front gate, and decided to bag up some more and take to my plot as the pile on my plot, on what will be the final bed (no 12) is decreasing rapidly.

It took so much effort to arrange the first couple of drops of woodchip, and I don't want to get to a stage where I can finish off the paths on my plot. I also spread some of it around the area between the outer gate and the inner gate where it was thinning and the clay was beginning to show again. 

Ideally if I can get enough slabs off freecycle I would love to have paved paths between all the beds.

The guy doing my front drive has said that he will drop off the 600 x 600mm ex council paving slabs that I bought from the contractor when they lifted them and replaced them with tarmac, some twenty odd years ago. These were used to form the parking bay to my house, with red and white paving bricks either side to act and a landing strip for the wife when she reversed onto the drive. 

The 600x600mm paving slabs will form the central path to plot.

The hard landscaping contractor  is also going to drop off the slabs under the window, and the kerb edging  to the allotment for me when he starts on our new drive, which is looking like sometime late August / early September.

Next on the agenda was to screw in the eyebolts for the wires to support the grapes, and then add the wire.  OK strictly speaking not really needed until next year but hay it's nice to be in front for a change and not in catch-up mode. 

Still no comfrey in the milk bottle from the comfrey pipe!, so I decided to add a little water at the top and some nice rich black comfrey stated to dip from the bottom, so it must be decomposing nicely in the pipe. 

I also had some nice decaying comfrey that I had put into large industrial ice cream containers. I put the comfrey into a container,  then added another container full of bricks as a press. The first time I did this I added water and the results weren't bad, the second time I did it dry and the result was black decaying comfrey with a little pure comfrey liquid. I added some water and tried to filter but the strainer just blocked up. 

So I decided to add this gloop to the comfrey pipe, the results were fantastic, gravity did the job for me and I've ended up with a litre bottle of rich dark comfrey that will be watered down to a weak tea colour  and used to feed the tomatoes twice week, now they have lots of fruit.  In the past I never bothered to feed tomatoes but, feeding twice a week is what the forum and various books recommend.

The plum tomatoes are doing really well, so are the gardeners delight , and even the sole surviving 100s and 1000s all there but all green, not a single red tomato to be seen yet!

Next on the agenda was a bit of a general  tidy up and being sick of seeing the post and rope fence laying on its side waiting for me to get to the end of the dig, I decided to grasp the nettle (not literally)  and augur the holes and stick the post in at least they are vertical - ish (remember the Comfrey Pipe ).

I took the next batch of spring onions (grown in modules) , and sowed them into the end of Bed 2 where I had harvested the 2nd early potatoes and weeded and removed as many stones and bit of glass as I could.  So one and a half rows of clumps of onions now live there. Note to self must grow more spring onions at week to fortnightly intervals next year.

Finally I got to what I had really gone to the plot to do - The digging and weeding of Bed 9!

The usual mixture of metal, timber pallet remains and glass, Oh and not to mention weeds and roots came out in fact 5 tugs worth came out of an area about 2.4m x 3.6m = 8.64 square metres. I worked until 12 as I had to go and pick up my youngest daughter Kelly who had been to a gig and after party in London and had booked into a local hotel to recover and not have to try and get home in the early hours of the morning.

A quick lunch and then Jen and I returned about 2 ish and I continued digging. Finally about 4:30 Jen watered the plants and I used the hopped framework again to set it out Bed 9. Boards were used to compress the soil 600mm around the bed and then, I shuffle walked on them to compress them even more. It truly amazes me just how much air there is in the soil once it has been dug over and weeded.

So next visit will see more shuffle walking the paths and then laying of cardboard and weed membrane - the better stuff folded and not the naff thin rolled stuff I picked from the 99p shop and then a layer of woodchip from the ever diminishing pile!

Grape Vine

Saturday 10 August 2013

Saturday 10th August 2013

Most of the day shredding from tidying up the front garden - most of the shredding's went on my neighbours front garden. Also cleared the back alley of young trees. I ended up with 3 black bags of compost material which was taken down the allotment in the evening for the watering session

Took a pick axe to bed 9 and the surround area to break up the concrete like soil so I can get a fork into it.
Drilled the holes for the extra eye bolts to the top two wires (but forgot to bring the eyebolts) Doh!

Friday 9 August 2013

Friday 9th August 2013

No Wednesday visit and too busy for a lunchtime visit

Thursday 8th August - picked up some more eye bolts for the grape wires lunchtime and an evening visit with Jen to water the Toms and other plants (forgot the drill - Doh!) - could not believe how the weeds had grown over a few days.

I have trouble getting a fork in the ground but the weeds have no problem growing

Jen watered as I weeded bed 8 and sprayed un-dug bed 9 with weed killer - did the rest of that side of the plot where the weeds are coming up around the edges of the carpet and plastic sheets

Despite my warning the straps have been fitted over the crack, shame they are not actually in contact with the wall at the top

I'm going to measure the wall with a plumb bob and send a report to them, but anyone can see the strap at the top will do nothing until the wall moves at least another 10mm and makes contact with the strap/

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Tuesday 6th August 2013

Lunchtime visit to water the toms in the plastic green and grow houses and I drilled and fixed 5 rows of horizontal eye screws to take wires for the grapes - Adi's Mum was on plot 2 and Jon came in for his quarter of an hour lunchtime session.

Picked first harvest of runner beans and second harvest of spring onions. Note to self - start off spring onions earlier and sow every 2 - 3 weeks to ensure a continuous supply next year

Monday 5 August 2013

Monday 5th August 2013

This morning I received an email that Thompson & Morgan are reducing their seeds by 25% to celebrate National Allotment week, until midnight Sunday!

I was undertaking a schedule of Conditions in South Croydon this morning and on the way back need a comfort break (wc) so I popped into the Croydon Garden Centre on the site of the old lido which operated from 1935 to 1980 and the diving board remains ion the middle of the garden centre, and they were knocking out seeds at 50% off.

Resistance was futile and the Seed Borg added me to their collective on the way back to the car ... could not resist the call of cheap seeds....  Had to look then buy and parted with £4.96

Bought these to sow now

.  Thompson & Morgan - Cabbage April (Spring) 450 Seeds - Sow July to August
.  Suttons - Radish French Breakfast 3 - Sow until September

And these listed below for next year, as it was mentioned that we eat more cherry and small tomatoes than large ones. I was gutted that there were only 8seeds in the 100s & 1000s seed packet this year, and only one survived re-potting so I picked up

.  Suttons - Tomatoes F1Sweet Million 20 seeds - Sow March April
.  Suttons - Tomatoes Sweetbaby 20 seeds - Sow March April
.  Thompson & Morgan – (Free with any 2 packs of seed) Tomatoes Harbinger 30 Seeds - Sow March April
.  Thompson & Morgan - Cabbage Kailbos – Unique Red Pointed Cabbage (100 Seeds) Sow March to May

Sunday 4 August 2013

Sunday 4th August 2013

Up and down on the allotment for 7:30 - hit Bed 7 and weeded filing two tugs of weeds, I have sweet corn  ??? Thursday nothing, now there is hairy stuff half way up the stem of the corn.
  •  I weeded Beds 2 - 4 and re-ran the hose pipe - dug a slot for it to go in front of the paving slabs so no
  •  more trip hazard and have now pegged it in place down the main central path.
  •  Sorted out the grapes
  •  Sorted out all the 2ltr pop bottles
  •  Harvested some radishes which a really hot, just how I like them, I had some yellow radish and having
  •  never seen yellow ones, chucked them
  •  Found a snail in mid munch and gave him a real telling off before he was thrown over the wall onto the road.
  • Tidy up the shed.
So by 12:30 when I left to go home for lunch, I had five blag bags of weeds.
Jen and I popped back in the afternoon, I fixed the metal bracing onto the bench so that can be used without the fear that it will collapse, and weeded the Comfrey patch, whilst Jen watered the plot. So all in all about six and a half hours invested today.


Saturday 3 August 2013

3rd August 2013

Captains Log 03-08-2013 21:01 - It's been a busy day, spent most of it clearing out the brick gardening shed/ store and fitting up shelves to the rear as I'm sick to death of stacking stuff up in there for it only to fall out on onto me when I open the door. I've had the wood saved from an old tall boy wardrobe for years in there waiting for me to get around to doing it, and finally I have.

Everything is now so neat and tidy and I have hooks on the back of the door for spade, shovel and fork plus a lot more and I can actually find things now (and yes I did find a lot of thing I forgot I had because they were buried at the back. (not to mention a number of balls of string)

An evening visit to the allotment, Jen watered and I cut Comfrey up and filled the pipe to about a 18" of it's capacity. There is a photo of the weight and end cap (100mm 4" pot saucer). I harvested my first home grown spring onions, last year they were kind off stunted, and never grow big enough to eat.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Thursday 1st August 2013 - Comfrey Pipe

A lunch time visit and evening visit and the Comfrey Pipe is up, not plumb  :nowink: but up - OK OK I can tweak the brackets and put it right, but that what comes of rushing stuff in a lunch time, I should have gone back to the car and got the spirit level.

During the evening tomato watering visit I cut up three comfrey plants and stuffed them in the pipe and placed the pop bottle of sand on a rope down the tube on top of them - I'm now curious how long it will take to start to see pure comfrey juice dripping into the milk bottle.