Wednesday 31 December 2014

Ex Nursery Heavy Duty Seed Trays

The once used ex nursery Heavy duty seed trays I purchased off ebay have arrived 10 x 240 cell modular trays. Each cell is approx. 2 cm x 2 cm x 3 cm deep. There was a black one stuck to one of the 10 white ones,  so I ended up with 11 trays.

I have washed and cut down 3 of them to normal seed tray size which gives 8x14 = 112 modules per standard seed tray. The offcuts will be cut down to fit half and quarter trays. They have a nice little drainage hole on the bottom that I can use to push out the seedling when I want to move them on to larger modules or vending machine cups. I may also try tomatoes this way next year.

These trays have been purchased for my direct cell seed sowing of onions which I'm aiming at sowing late January / Early February if it's warm enough so that once germinated I can ship them out to the greenhouse in the growhouse on the allotment or perhaps under propagator in the space saver greenhouse at home and cover with bubblewrap at night.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Winter Solstice

or the shortest day today so it's all downhill into summer from today .... Yippppeee

I have been spying lots of leafs in the car park at the hospital when I drop off my daughter, so I went to the allotment via the car park and picked up two very full garden rubbish sacks of leafs. Got to the car park about 8:00 and to the allotment about 8:30. Nice morning overcast but not too cold.

I topped up both leaf bins to the brim again and used the bottom of bakers trays cable tied together as a temporary leaf bin placed on the bed in front of the two leaf bins. Sacks brought home so that I can do another collection on the next Sunday visit.

Bed 12 being cleared of sprouts last week got weeded and cleared. A sack of stable manure raked over the top, two primed slag traps laid one each end and then covered with weed membrane which has been weighted down. Looks very neat. I must get some more weed membrane, as I have a few beds covered with plastic which is holding the water.

The timber threshold on the shed has finally been screwed in place following the mouse squatter I had.

Spout stems bashed with a hammer until I busted the block of wood I was using, compost bins aerated, watered and topped up with paper shredding's over the greens.

I noticed on my way into the allotment in the morning that one end of the woodchip pile was more wood than foliage, so I have topped up the paths around the site and around the compost bins at the bottom. I also bagged a couple of sacks loads for the paths around beds 15A and 15B which are currently covered and have no paths on 3 sides yet. I also got a sack load of the more mulch type woodchips for the compost bins ready for later next year. 

I started getting the firrings off the timber joist and have moved a couple up on the patio ready to cut, paint and construct the bed enclosures. I will not have enough wood for all the beds but they will be better than the plastic, I'm using, which was an improvement on the lawn edging in the first year.

Again, before I knew it, it was 12:40 so a tidy and round up of the tools back into the shed, Wished Andy (the only other person down on the allotment every Sunday morning like me) a happy Christmas, and left about 12:50 to make my way home in time for Sunday Lunch. 

Job List in no particular order

  1. Remove nettings and hoops from bed 13 & 14
  2. Weed and dig over beds 13 & 14
  3. Manure Bed 13 & 14 and cover for winter
  4.  Dig and Sieve Beds 15a and 15b
  5.  Make Raised Bed frames for Beds 15a & 15b
  6. Install paths around Beds 15a & 15b
  7. Make & Install Raised Beds from rest of timber joists
  8. Turn Compost on a regular basis
  9. Clear the greenhouse or rubbish and smoke bomb
10.  Bag up some more woodchips and mulch
11. Trim Back the grape vines
12. Deal with the encroaching brambles and weed from plot 1]
13. Make some 1.2m x 1.2m timber hoop frames up ready for next year
14. Make some pea frames up ready for next year 
15. Weld the edges and holes of membrane brought home from the allotment.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Fox Attacked Hoop Frame

On the allotment about 8:30 and worked up to 1:00 - Frost on the cars and so cold I had on my Mc Fly baseball cap.

Cleared out the acco drain to the drive yesterday and got a flower bucket and a half of very wormy compost out of it, also two black sacks of leafs from the front and back garden. Then there was a square flower bucket of runner beans that have been chopped up for compost, and a black sack or paper shredding's. All taken down to the allotment and thus the compost bins was the first job on the agenda.

Next empty out all the new potatoes from the flower buckets

The foxes have been bouncing on the cage over the sprouts and had dug a trench along the 8ft side but could not get in but they had made the hoops collapse, so I dismantled the netting and hoops and harvested the remaining  sprouts. Fox damaged enclosure picture below.
I managed to clear bed 7 and spread a layer of farmyard compost, and re-cover with a couple of slug traps under the weed membrane.

Time goes too fast and before I knew it, it was time to come home.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Potatoes, Sprouts & Compost

Got down the allotment about 8:30 and it started to rain a little so I spent some time tidying up the greenhouse and making some soft bricks.

As the showers stopped I harvested two carrier bags of sprouts, and cut up the foliage and filled up Dalek 2 to the rim again and placed a layer of leafs in Daleks 3 and 4. Each sprout has about 100 - 150mm of sprouts at the top and they are holding on to their leafs.

The larger of the cauliflower I had left yesterday had discoloured and I could have kicked myself from not harvesting it yesterday. I ended up turning it into compost food and as only the smaller one was left, that ended becoming compost food as well. A sprinkling of coffee grounds went over the top of the cabbage and sprout greens.

I'm not sure about how healthy the over winter spring onions are looking but the onion sets are doing really well.

I was going to harvest some of the new potatoes from the flower buckets, but it started to rain again and I'd had enough so I made my way home about 12:30ish.

I was happy to be out in the daylight, it was not too cold, but I don't do wet. I still have so much to do on the plot. Wednesday a friend is helping shift a load of timber joist from my sisters property to the allotment so I can make the raised beds around beds 15A & 15B. There should also be some that I can use with the glass frames I have to form cold frame type covers for the beds to warm the soil in spring.
Note to self - Move some of the potato buckets into the greenhouse so they can dry out and make harvesting a bit of a cleaner job.   

Saturday 6 December 2014

Cauliflower Harvest

A visit to the allotment to take the timber frame of my daughters old bed down to the allotment as I will be able to use the timber for making a bottom frame for another hoop protector for the crops next year.

The slats I will try and use for the sided to cold frame bases to the glass panels I have down there. Whilst down on site I noticed that I have cauliflowers, so I've harvested 3 and left another two that are still small but the leafs are curling around them in place. Leafs in dalek 2 then a layer of shredded paper.

I'm not sure if I should cover with fleece as we had ice on the cars and a hard frost last night with more to come?

Monday 1 December 2014

Coffee Grounds

Saturday 29th November 2014 - Picked up my sister who had collected a huge sack load of coffee grounds from Costa Coffee for me as she works opposite and knows the manager.

Coffee Ground information see this The One YardRevolution Video  NPK = 2.1 0.3 0.3

No Coffee for Slugs

Sunday 30th November 2014 - Dropped off the coffee grounds to the allotment.

Used the compost aerator to loosen up the compost bins and poured coffee grounds into holes drilled in the compost then a nice layer of grounds over the top, and I still had a flower bucket of coffee grounds left over, which are now in the greenhouse drying out.

I must admit the aerating was more about disturbing rodents than it was about making compost, but it's good practice and I will keep it up. Dalek 2 compost looks very rich and compost like and was full of red worms busy doing their thing, Dalek 3 didn't look to be as in good a condition worm wise, but it is only half full now so I must be doing something right, and Dalek 4 has only just started and I'm hoping a layer of coffee grounds and some mixed in will get it cooking and attract more worms.

I will definitely be getting more coffee grounds if I can, I just love the smell that is still lingering in the car, and from what I have been reading and watching on YouTube they are so good for the soil, plants and compost heaps, plus I'm hoping the foxes will not like the smell.

Dead mouse found in the shed, and so I had a general tidy in the shed. Lots of slug traps have been made up and are now filling a plastic box ready for the new season, or for placing under the weed membrane, once I have scattered the farm yard manure on beds 4, 7, 10,11,12 & 13, and re covered them up. The ones that I have already baited and laid on the beds are full of slugs, my theory is the more slugs I can kill now the less eggs there will be for next season.

All the comfrey that was in plastic milk bottles is now in a 5 litre plastic bottle that will not decay as quickly and has been placed in the greenhouse to try and prevent it freezing and splitting the container if we get the kind of cold spell they keep talking about.

I re primed the mouse/ rat bait boxes along the wall, then made my way home because it's that particular weekend when all the decorations and tree goes up for that event that is on it's way that we are not allowed to talk about on the forum just yet. We are more advanced on the decoration front, as I had to clear the loft because of the water leak, otherwise she who must be obeyed would never had let me out to play on the allotment today

Friday 28 November 2014

Panting Like An Old Sheep Dog

As it's been dry today a later afternoon visit to Wyevale's to collect 6 bags of composted stable manure for £18 minus my tokens £12.50 well happy. Trip to the allotment to drop the offending bags off, two trips in the wheel barrow, should have made it 3 lighter trips me thinks as I was panting like an old sheep dog by the time I got them to the plot.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Rain Stops Play & Gets In The House

No allotment due to rain, and I hate that I can't get on down there, so I started to clear out my office a little, then my daughter informs me that her carpet is wet.

Trying to work out where and the whys and there is water flowing out of the wall at the ceiling and the wall paper has lifted off the wall. Turns out a leak in the roof just inside the wall where the roofing felt has given up the ghost.

Made a quick bodge job using a plastic cutting board to hold the felt at the lap and over the wall, so hopefully that will hold until I can get a roofer in to repair. Had to get all the x-mas decorations down to make access possible.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Slugs & Rat Traps

Swift visit to the allotment after dropping off Kelly to the job centre. I took some kitchen off cuts down to the compost bin.

On inspection both mouse / rat traps were clear of poison, and when I went to the shed to fill them up the little bu99ers had got into the shed eaten through the cardboard packaging and emptied one of the packs of poison! So I used the one that was left and filled both traps outside again.

All the slug traps were primed and spread around the allotment, some by the dalek bins, others in beds that are yet to be tucked up for winter and others under the covers to beds that have already been put to bed.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Rats & Mice

I've been way to busy to get to the allotment during the week and with the early dark evenings if I can't get down there during the day on a Monday or Tuesday it just isn't going to happen.

Hit the allotment about 8:00ish and came home at  1:00

The Plan for this visit was -

    * Bed 7 Weed and re-cover bringing the potato cut weed membrane home to weld the frayed edges.
    * Bed 8 bringing the potato cut weed membrane home to weld the frayed edges, manure bed and cover.
    * Runner Bean Beds, weed and trench, then fill with leafs and a sprinkle of spent compost.

Well half of one out of 3 isn't bad I suppose. Last week I saw a small rat and the week before a mouse.

My sister saved her washing machine tablet containers for me, I don't have the heart to tell her I can't use them as small cloches as they are green..... but then I had an idea. I drew a tom and Jerry type mouse hole at either end and used the soldering iron to melt the holes and they are ideal for holding rat poison. So the runner bean beds have been cleared and two rat traps and four slug traps have been installed.

I will trench and place a layer of leaf mould and compost early next year, for the moment it was up against the wall that I saw Roland and Micky so ideal locations for the bait.

So having seen rodents I decided to decant the leaf mould from the right bin into the lefty bin and then went to the car park of the industrial unit behind the allotment and have filled up both bins plus I have a sack load in front to top up as they start to drop.

I took some compost with me and topped up Bin 3 with it and I cut up all the sprout leafs into bin 2 with a topping of comfrey. there appears to be some spring bulb activity in the comfrey bed that I filled with crocus, daffodils and bluebells last year. There are also four potatoes coming up in bed 8 that has the onion sets in, so I will have to get them out next visit as well.

I also harvested another tray load of sprouts and there are still lots on the stems that need to fatten up a little for that special festive dinner.
Note to self ... harvest the potatoes in the buckets next dry visit   

Sunday 9 November 2014

The Magnificent Five

Down on the allotment from 8:30 - 1:00, nice and quiet and overcast up until the last hour when the sun came out and the fleece ended being tied around my waist to keep my back warm.  Today I took 3 black sacks of paper shredding's down to the allotment plus compost from the beetroots and the runner beans, in addition to a number of pop bottle slug traps   

Frame 2 of the runner beans is now down and the all the vegetable matter went into the bottom of dalek 4

2 Cauliflowers were harvested because the leaves were not wrapping around them and they were spotted by John when he came up to the say hello, I had not even noticed they had shown last time I looked they were nothing but leaf, in fact 6 plants still are. I'm hoping they will come to something as overwinters but if not, then it's just more material for the daleks.

I managed to get two wheelbarrows of leafs from between the gates and used them to top up dalek 3 and a layer in dalek 4. So with the last of the comfrey being shared between daleks 2,3 &4 and the leafs from the parsnips and beetroots being shared, I now have 3 and a half compost daleks on the go.
Most of the parsnips looked like the one on the right and they were dispatched to the daleks, but I did manage to grow and harvest a few good parsnips and the last of the beetroots. I also emptied the pots from the peppers into dalek 4 as the pots were a mass of roots, I knocked off as much compost and leafs with a trowel and them cut up the main root.

I have spent quite a lot of time cutting up the compost contents, but its worth it as the daleks work much faster with well chopped up material to work with.

Some of the comfrey I had cut has come back I'm sure it's only because it's so mild and it has not twigged that it's winter now. 

Bed 1 Put to sleep for Winter

Plan for the next visit is:-

* Bed 7 Weed and re-cover bringing the potato cut weed membrane home to weld the frayed edges.
* Bed 8 bringing the potato cut weed membrane home to weld the frayed edges, manure bed and cover.
* Runner Bean Beds, weed and trench, then fill with leafs and a sprinkle of spent compost.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

During the Winter ....

I will be updating this blog with what happened after the post below

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Dropped off wife then went to pay my ground rent for the allotment for next year at the council offices. Then on to the site for two and a half hours of fun in the sun.... yep it was sunny and warm.

I took 3 pumpkins that the kids had bought for their annual Halloween carving competition down to the allotment and copped them up and added to the compost dalek 2 and 3, along with paper shredding's. 

Washed the green algae off the outside of the greenhouse whilst it was warm and we still have water turned on. disconnected the water system so it can drain. Noticed that the two water butts either side are all ready full from the rain we have had.

Harvested more been pods for seed and cut back runner bean frame 2 and topped up the incinerator

Slug beer traps around the compost bins and in bed 8 with a blue pellet of death trap the overwinter spring and onion sets. plus I added a blue pellet of death trap in the grapes bed

Weeded Bed 2 and put it to sleep for Winter with a fine sprinkle of blue pellets of death under the grey plastic DMP then placed a sprout hoop frame on to hold it down and a milk bottle sand/soft brick in each corner.

Sack of rubbish brought home to dispose off, on my way to the car I saw John the site agent next door who has kindly had words with his boss and has put by some hoarding and post to one side, so we can install a fence and increase the drop off and pick up area. He is waiting for the van to be emptied and then we can pick up the ply sheets and posts and crack on with the work.     

Monday 3 November 2014

Modified Slug Traps

Up early and decided to make some modified versions of the pop bottle slug traps as I intend to wage war on the little blighters, the more I can kill the better. So rather than the arched openings at 1/3 points around the bottle I cut and folded and then trimmed to form a little canopy to stop the rain getting in on pellets or diluting the beer.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Up early and it started to rain, so I waited and it stopped, got to the allotment about 8:15.

It had been raining but was dry. Managed to fill dalek 2 back up to the top with the compost from home and top up dalek 3. Really nice to see the level in dalek 2 drop on each visit and I must be doing something right as there were lots of nice red worms visible.

The pepper plants have had it and I have lost a few peppers to rot and attack but I still managed to come away with a few good specimens. Is it worth all the heartache trying to grow them, well yes I think it is, the wife or one of the kids bought me some two years ago and by the end of the season I just about had a plant, so it a challenge to see if I can do it and I have.

Bed 3 got cleared of weeds and more large stones and glass when it got turned over and raked flat, then it got covered with a sheet of weed membrane which I weighted down with PVC edging and a blue water pipe sprout hoop made for next year.

I managed to cut back the foliage and dry runner beans from the first frame and have filled the incinerator with it so it can dry out and then I can burn it. Then suddenly heavy rain, so a retreat to the greenhouse and runner bean extraction from pods took place, and the cutting up of all the pods for the compost heap.

I had a small tidy of the greenhouse and emptied sand from some damaged soft bricks into the metal trays to dry out, then when the rain slowed down a little I made a dash for the car, and came home around 12ish

Friday 31 October 2014

New Pop Bottle Slug Trap

Tonight I made two Pop Bottle Slug Traps for my over wintering Bed

1) I cut the top off a POP bottle
2) Marked up little arch openings at third points on the bottle and cut out
3) Cut the bottom off a pop bottle
4) Place the top half over the bottom
5) Using a soldering Iron spot weld the two halves together

Take to the allotment

6) Open top and fill with Beer for Beer Trap
7) Open top and put blue pellets of death in - the pellets will stay dry and
    other wildlife can't get at them easily
8 ) Put cap back on
9) Bury in the soil just below the bottom of the opening

Job Done .....

Sunday 26 October 2014

Beetroots, Onions, Sprouts & Runner Beans

Clocks back an hour and a good five hours on the allotment today, dry and warm for the time of year. Four black bags of leafs taken to the allotment.

I applied some growmore to the bed and then planted 50 Medium Flavour Senshyu Yellow Onion sets, 5 rows for 10 onions in the remaining half of bed 9 and then erected a new Hoop debris netting cage over the bed to stop the birds for pulling out the onions.

I measured and drilled the longitudinal plastic braces that are fixed to the hoops and mid height and down the sides. So much easier to set up the hoops and fix the bracing with cable ties.

I then harvest all the remaining beetroots in bed 2 before clearing the leafs from the spouts. I harvested sprouts from the bottom of the plants where they were large enough. The foliage from the tops of the beetroots, the sprout leafs and comfrey once again filled up dalek 2 and then topped up dalek 3

Ash from the incinerator was also added to dalek3. More runner beans harvested for the seed circle.

Friday 24 October 2014

My Triffid Thinks I'm Mad!

Thursday 23rd & Friday 24th October 2014 - I did have a quick session yesterday picking up leafs that had blown into the garden following the high winds as the rubbish bins were out. I managed to fill up a black sacks worth.

Today the wife needed to be dropped off around her sisters to baby sit and said " I expect you will be off down the allotment" No Babe too much work to do. But I did manage to fill another 3 black sacks with leafs from the pavement in front of my neighbours houses.

I had suggested to my little triffid that I might do this in the past, and was informed I was mad....

Now I'm just waiting for her to spot the sacks, or if I'm really lucky I may get them to the allotment without her catching on. (like that's going to happen)  I have been wracking my brains trying to think where else I may find lots of leafs but without all the garbage.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Up at 5:30 and it was raining and I was not quite sure I was going to get an allotment day in. But it stopped about 6:30 and I was on the plot just after 8:00 once the daylight had arrived.

I took a whole lot of cabbage back as compost, two sacks of paper shredding's and that went into dalek 3, Moved a staging down by bed 11 cleared the weed membrane off bed 10  (which will have to go home to be welded to stop further fraying) and set about digging up the potatoes. I left them to dry out on a plastic tray on the staging

Bed 15A and 15B were tidied and the carpet from Bed 4 was laid and then the two half's of the inflatable bed put over the top keep the rain off so hopefully I can remove and dig and sieve through the winter months if we get some dry Sundays. Bed 4 now being cleared I dug out the few weeds. As I uncovered the stack of carpet two little field mice ran off. I shall have to keep a lookout for the little blighters I don't want them setting up home in the wood stack or god forbid the shed or greenhouse.

I harvested potatoes & dry runner beans from the first frame and cut the strings and foliage down, that went in the incinerator to dry out to be burnt at a later date. The Minty Frame to the second frame has collapsed, I suspect the wind had al lot to do with that, but for the moment I waiting the runner beans to die so I can harvest the beans for the seed circle on the Allotment Gardening forum.

The picture above is a fish eye panorama from plot 2 looking at my plot

Bed 9 has the spring onions in and Bed 10 is now covered I will be re-digging looking for potatoes as I've no doubt missed some and they are a real pain in the bum when they come up the following year. Bed 11 has the new sprout frames laying on damp proof membrane to stop it blowing away. I need to get into Bed 12 (you can just see the bottom of the netting) to remove the leafs that are dropping off the sprouts soon (more food for the compost bins).

Bed 4 now covered for winter in for foreground, I have harvested the Beetroots from bed 3 and started to weed and have also harvested the last of the Marketmore cucumbers, I ran out of time and didn't get to remove the weeds from the mesh. Putting Bed 3 to sleep for winter is a job for the next dry Sunday visit.

All tools packed away and I staggered back to the car with a huge Harvest of Potatoes, beetroot, cucumbers and runner beans for seeds. left for home and Sunday lunch just before 1:00 pm all in all a good five hours work and very little down time

 1. Clean up the falling leafs from the sprouts and add to the compost & start harvesting the sprouts from the bottom up
 2. Next Sunday which at the moment is supposed to be dry - Harvest the late potatoes and cover   
 3. Harvest dry beans and they appear <---- Some Today
 4. Harvest the Beetroots <---- Some Today
 5. Sieve Beds 15a and 15b
 6. Harvest Potatoes in the Buckets
 7. Remove Pea Frame from Bed 7 - manure and cover
 8. Start clearing the greenhouse of trays etc.
 9. Trim Back the grape vines <---- Some done
10. Deal with the encroaching brambles and weed from plot 1
11. make some 1.2x1.2 timber hoop frames up ready for next year
12. Make some pea frames up ready for next year 

Saturday 18 October 2014

Fixing Shaggy Planting Membrane

No allotment but I did weld the edges of two cut sheets of weed membrane that I brought back home from the plot as they were fraying - Had to fight the wind and weight them down to work on them because it was so windy, but it was not cold for the time of year about 19 degrees.

Sunday 12 October 2014

A not so early start as it's getting darker and darker in the morning. I took compost from home and a sack of paper shredding's with me and attacked Beds 15a and 15b later called 15 & 16 the courgettes and Marrows. I dug up the woodchip around the beds that had rotted down and alternated brown, green - comfrey - brown green - comfrey and have ended up filling dalek 3 to within 3 inches of the top.

Whilst clearing I found many slugs and snail and dispatched them to snail and sluggy heaven and they I found Fred (picture below) a truly mashousive specimen (It's no wonder with the amount he has to eat this year)

So job for better weather is to dug up and sieve beds 15a and 15b and install the timber as edging as there is a bit if a difference in levels - install the concrete kerb edging and sort out what I'm actually going to do with the last two trees - I feel I need to be able to get out half way along the plot so I may put one up by the entrance by the bench and table / comfrey bed.

The sun did shine for a little while and it was quite warmish for October by the time I was ready to come home after cutting up all that stuff and my wrist is feeling it a little. So paths re laid and home about 12:30 ish with a Pumpkin that Barry left for me.
Job List - In no particular order

 1. Clean up the falling leafs from the sprouts and add to the compost & start harvesting the sprouts from the bottom up
 2. Next Sunday which at the moment is supposed to be dry - Harvest the late potatoes and cover
 3. Harvest dry beans and they appear
 4. Harvest the Beetroots
 5. Sieve Beds 15a and 15b
 6. Harvest Potatoes in the Buckets
 7. Remove Pea Frame from Bed 7 - manure and cover
 8. Start clearing the greenhouse of trays etc.
 9. Trim Back the grape vines
10. Deal with the encroaching brambles and weed from plot 1]
11. make some 1.2x1.2 timber hoop frames up ready for next year
12. Make some pea frames up ready for next year

Saturday 11 October 2014

Pepper Problems

A trip to the allotment to water the peppers and if by chance they had ripened harvest and what do I find a hole in my pepper - I did find a very small snail in the greenhouse so not sure if he was to blame but he attracted my wrath.

Pulled the staging out and turned it around so that I can put the growhouse in the greenhouse once again to try and increase the amount of time the rest of the peppers have to grow and ripen before the plants die of cold

Cabbages are being attached by slugs despite the blue pellets of death, 4 got harvested and 50% of them got chopped up and went into dalek 2 filled it up again and then dalek 3. topped both of with some comfrey for good measure.

Filled up another 2 plastic milk bottles with sand to make soft bricks. Barry donated 3 cucumbers and is going to sort me out a pumpkin from his patch. 

Update - forgot to mention taking the debris netting down on the gable end to let more light get at the peppers.

Monday 6 October 2014

Harvesting & Composting

You may have noticed that there was not a Sunday morning visit this weekend - I decided to stay home and work on the shaggy weed membrane melting the edges and the holes so they last longer and don't fall apart.

I've repaired a potato and the strawberry sheets and have extended a cross on the holes on the strawberry sheet so its easier to plant and maintain. As I have had bind weed problems in the strawberry bed this year and I didn't deal with it when I first noticed it, and I want to be able to lift the membrane off and deal with anything growing underneath and then replace the membrane. 

We have had a frost over the weekend so I visited to check on the peppers in the greenhouse, I'm hoping they will turn before they die. I harvested most of the cucumbers (5) leaving 2 on the plant that now does not look too happy but they are still a bit small so we will see.

Harvested runner beans for the beans, I have left the smaller ones on the plant to do what they can so I get enough beans for the seed circle 20 people x 10-15 bean each = 200 - 300 beans I shall need. There are quite a few drying off on top of the fridge freezer in the kitchen.

The rain came and I had a tidy in the greenhouse, it slowed down and I managed to top up dalek 2 with more marrow foliage, which is now on the turn but is also now so thin due to my efforts with each visit that I can see the cardboard.

heavy rain finally stopped play even though I had another hour of allotment time scheduled into the day. I brought another shaggy potato weed membrane home with me and if and when we get dry weather I will melt/ trim it up for use again next year. I have purchased some 30 litre buckets to grow potatoes next year.

Friday 3 October 2014

Swift Visit

Drawing in the morning and finally got all 10 drawings completed and ready to submit for planning, emailed over to the client for final review. So a swift visit to water the peppers in the greenhouse and the plants on the allotment as we still have not had any rain.

Carried on cutting back the marrows and courgette area and dalek 2 had once again dropped about four to five inches. I took the compost mixing tool I bought from Kleeneze with me and I have to say, I'm not really convinced how much good using it is doing? I guess I'm adding air into the equation lower down again.

An hour later dalek 2 is once again full and dalek 3 is getting topped up and an hour of cutting up foliage is enough for one day. Harvested some runner beans for the seed circle, the spring onions in bed 2 are looking very sad for themselves. The beetroots are really coming on I will give them a few more weeks and then harvest another batch to pickle.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Every Little Helps

According to reports it was the driest September since records began, looks like everyone has forgot the flooding at the start of the year. I have been drawing most of the day and I had to get away from the computer and rest my eyes for a little bit late afternoon. As I had not been down the allotment for over 36 hours I decided at a visit to water the peppers in the greenhouse was in order.

I also watered what crops are still viable plus washed the demolition dust off the greenhouse. I topped up dalek 2 with the foliage from the marrows and courgettes and found a few more to harvest in the process. Once dalek 2 was topped up again I started on dalek 3. About an hour spent in total but as a certain superstore says Every Little Helps.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Sprout Hoops

Later start as it's getting darker in the morning so at the allotment at just gone 8. It's been really bright sunny and warm and I soon discarded the fleece temperatures in the 23 - 24 range by the time I cam home.

I took two sack loads of grass cuttings from cutting the grass in the back garden last night and the skins off the 6 jars of beetroots Jen and I pickled yesterday and fed dalek 3

I then set about clearing out the rubbish from the shed in order to find the drills so I could drill the blue pipe and cut 1.2m lengths of plastic trim and drill holes either end.

Worked out half the circumference of a 600mm circle so I could drill the first holes so the tie forms a semi-circle at the top of the hoop and then drilled 600mm down and 500mm down. Connected the ties / struts with a cable tie and then stacked them on bed 11. I'm hoping that the sun will assist in making the hoops adopt the straight sided profile, I will need to sort something out on the ones that are still curving in at the bottom.

Spent the rest of the time weeding and tidying up the shed, and came away with a sack load of rubbish and weeds. Watered the peppers still not quite all yellow but getting there.

Job for another visit is to drill the holes at the end of 5 number 2.4m long members and at 800mm centres so I can fix to the four hoops when they get erected next season on Bed 1 which will be sprouts.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Yet Another Swift Visit...

Nice and warm again today 20 degrees C - and it's rubbish day, so I harvested all of the 100s and 1000s from the space saver greenhouse and all the Toms that are now red are in the fridge. All the tomato foliage is in the dust bin. 

I found too many slugs hiding under the gravel trays in the bottom of the green house and dispatched them to sluggy heaven. Washed everything and left out in the sun to dry - well until the cloud came over. The Peppers in the Space Saver don't look good at all they have a fuzz on them and look decidedly manky, I will post a picture on the forum to find out what I did wrong unless someone can tell me from here it's the picture on the above.
Did some work then in the afternoon then a swift visit to the allotment for an hour to water the peppers in the greenhouse down there. They are doing really well an one is even changing colour and going yellow. I took the debris netting off the side and roof of the greenhouse but did not get around to removing the one on the gable that's inside, a job for another day.

Fixed the fly net curtain back up at the shed door - what the eye can't see the heart can't greave over.

Finished adding foliage to dalek 3 and cut back the marrows and courgettes and I have found another couple of marrows and courgettes I did not know I had  So the biggest I brought back for my neighbour whos daughter is a warden in sheltered accommodation and shares it out to all the old girls in the block. Plenty big enough for them all to have a portion
Basil has been treading down my old spring onions and playing with a potato as a ball again, b1oddy thing.
Watered all the remaining crops then came home.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Another lunch time visit to....

My sister is coming for an evening meal and I'm going to put a goodie package together for her so harvest another cabbage (dispatched more slugs to sluggy heaven) ,more runner beans and more beetroot, but forget to get a marrow and there are at least two I have spotted that are a decent size in the foliage - Doh!.

All the excess foliage got shredded up and Dalek 2 is once again full and Dalek 3 is now getting fed.

I cut the blue water pipe and stuck into bed 3 so that the sun can warm the pipe to shape, I'm going to drill and place one of two horizontal bars to each hoop to form straighter sides and make it a more rounded top A frame shape on a following visit. At the moment I have linked them with string, but solid bar will be better

Sprouts are really small at the moment didn't get time to scatter some blue pellets of death but I will do on a following visit. Cauliflowers are all leaf at the moment and no cauliflowers at all, they were late so I have no idea if I will get something or nothing from them, but they need blue pellets of death. 

Return trip to pick up a marrow on the way back from collecting the wife in the afternoon. 

Monday 22 September 2014

Darn Slugs!

Lunch time visit to water the spring onions with comfrey tea and harvest two cabbages. Basil was poking around my plot but scarpered when he saw me coming, he knows if I get near enough he will get a boot up the jacksey.

Took the netting up and pulled all the weeds that have grown around and near to the cabbages in bed 13. I wanted to do this because something has been having a go at them and that something turned out to be slugs.

So a number of the orange monster got snipped in half as I cleared the lower leafs so that I could sprinkle blue pellets of death for any that jump off the cabbages they are already eating or try to get to my cabbages.

I cut all the outer leafs of the cabbage up and put in Dalek 2 which is composting well and the level keeps reducing at breakneck speed, added a layer of comfrey leafs, a layer of spent compost, more cabbage and more comfrey. Then wet it down and slapped the lid back on. 

Saw another or possibly the same little mouse again running around, I think he has been finishing off the corn that I have not got around to adding to the compost bin. I've seen the magpies having a go at my neighbours corn.

We ate
Kelly's peas yesterday (that's why you can't see them in the background of the photograph), she was not impressed and I do have different peas but I liked them. Shame there was only enough for two if us but next year I have bigger plans and will be planting half a beds worth. 

Note to self - blue pellets of death in the sprouts and cauliflower beds next visit

Sunday 21 September 2014

Potato Harvest & Spring Onion Planting

Darker morning so I’m not getting to the allotment quite as early, but still there by 7:30 Cloudy start but the sun came out and I managed to get quite a lot done before in full sunlight.

Beautiful sang to me to say hello, and I got straight into digging up the second early potatoes from bed 9.

It’s amazing how many large stones and bits of glass I’m still clearing from the beds. Above is a picture of Bed 9 minus all the potatoes and a picture of the potatoes that were in a good condition on the staging drying out in the sun on the next post.

So the spring onions in the greenhouse are at a point where they need to go out so I planted four rows into bed 9 and watered in. Tomorrow they will get some comfrey tea. Picture showing setting out so that the hoe has enough work and strips of membrane offcuts (see picture above) can go between if needs be to keep weeds down.

Folded a sheet of membrane in half and covered up the access path end of the bed

The membrane used for the potatoes is very frayed and I washed it off and have brought home to seal the ends with the soldering iron, so I can use it again next year and perhaps a few more.

Harvested more marrows, courgettes that think they are marrows and runner beans.

Saw a field mouse so I will have to keep a look out around the timber store and the shed as there is too much stuff in there anyway last thing I want is lodgers.

Potatoes from bed 9 drying in the sun, quite a few hollow ones with a small hole in and most of the good ones have had a good sucking from slugs. They are smaller than the first early potatoes which I really don't understand. I sorted them into 3 bags small, medium and large.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Planting Membrane

I have been cutting up a roll of black weed membrane using a soldering iron.

I tried on the first melt/ cut and it went really well. It cuts as it burns and melts the edges so that the edges don’t fray. Some of the weed membrane that I cut and formed a planting hole pattern has not weathers too well on the edges. I should have thought of using the soldering iron before.

I've placed a scaffold board on the Garden Table and burnt / cut on that. I must not get into trouble with the good lady wife, especially as I re Teak Oiled last week ready for the winter.

I’ve cut the profile for next year’s Courgette and Marrow complete with holes in the form of an X slots for the watering pop bottles. I may do that instead of melting holes for the plants in future

Now off to plant some lettuce in the back garden.

Monday - Friday Minor Updates

Monday 15th September 2014 - No allotment today but pickled my first ever five jars of beetroot - looks like I'm going to need to find more jars looking at what's still on the allotment 

Tuesday 16th September 2014 - Lunch time visit - took compost from home for "Rusty", one of my new dalek's and whilst down there harvest more beetroot to pickle and put the leafs in Rusty also a black bag of shredded paper. Watered and harvested peas for Kelly.

Thursday 18th September 2014 - Break ins on the allotment site

Well I had kind of been expecting something like this to happen as the building work is attracting the wrong kind of people to the area and discover that we are behind a nice high wall.

I went to the allotment today to water the spring onions and the plants in the greenhouse to find that they had tried to get into my shed but I have an internal locking system as well as an external one and they seem to have just moved on to other peoples that are less protected or not locked up at all.

They had however placed pallets up against the wall beside and then on top of my leaf bins to use as ladders to get out. I believe they must have come over from the construction site where the fence is damaged and still awaiting repair by the council.

They appear to have taken some old petrol strimmers from one of the open sheds and for some reason left it next to their exit, or were they expecting to return tonight and use that as a way over the wall and back into the allotment?

One of the other plot holders shed was broken into and he as reported it to the council and they are supposed to be coming tomorrow to visit and look around.  I checked my brother in laws shed and his looked OK as well.

Friday 19th September 2014 - Met PC Plod on the allotment lunch time - did his thing showed he was listening, nodded in all the right places said all the right meaningless words.
The idiots bolt cropped the chain that keeps the padlock attached to the gate but did not damage the padlock of the fitting - we think they just climbed over after the gates did not open after the chain was cut

Who ever did it got that excited when they managed to open a shed that they did a poo on the plot in front of no 3's shed. The plot owner offered to bag it for the police to run DNA, but the copper declined 

I had a real hard time not laughing  at the coppers face who then went to look at footprints in the soil. But no plaster of Paris appeared and apparently the community bobby will be around the area a little more than usual. All in all nothing like David McCallum of the Goth girly of NCIS involved. 

Popped down to Wyevale and picked up 50 Senshyu Yellow Onion Sets to put in over the weekend - I feel the need to have something growing on the allotment over winter.

Sunday 14 September 2014

I Now Feel A Little Like Davros

A lady called Shona in Caterham had a couple of daleks up for grabs on freecycle, and I arranged for her to leave them in the front garden for me to pick up on the way to the allotment. Luckily one fitted inside the other and I managed to get them both in the car on one visit and to the allotment by about 8:15

They just about fitted in the back of the Corsa and after lugging them to the plot I set about moving all the stored carpet and pallets, dug out the area where they are going to stand and de-stoned and weeded, nice to see some worm in there just waiting for a food source.

Dug a trench for the kerb stone and lined the kerb stone with weed membrane that tucks under the carpet pathway to the plot and under the daleks. Drew around them with chalk and then cut a hole out about 50mm inside the profile of the dalek so the worms could get in.

Covered the area with woodchip and then set about trimming back the marrows and courgettes and slicing small I started to fill the first new dalek.

Measured Mick's plot with him so we can check that the council are billing for what he actually has now he has taken on two more half plots. Came home for lunch about 12:30

With my 5 daleks
2 dustbin water butts, 2 super slim water butts and my big blue
water butt, incinerator, plus two plastic dustbins used for storage
I now feel a little like Davros with my dalek butt and bin army
Twin Water Butts on the Greenhouse and new dalek and butt arrangement on the Master Plan for next years planting ...... until I have time to think about it over the winter after receiving the seed circle package.