Wednesday 30 April 2014

Tuesday 29th April 2014

An hour and a half on the plot today for an extended lunch time visit

Comfrey going absolutely bonkers. cleared out the comfrey pipe ready for re-filling.

29 little 100s & 1000s Tomatoes potted up into vending machine cups picture below is them out of the pop bottle self watering pot

Covered Bed 10 - late potatoes with a fleece as the temperatures are supposed to be dropping on the weekend

4 Sweet corn showing in one tray and one in another. I have picked up an additional packet of lark sweet corn just encase I don't get enough to fill a bed.

Watered all the plants in the greenhouse, filled another two milk bottles with dry sand.

Monday 28 April 2014

25th - 27th April Update

Friday 25th - Really busy so only a quick watering visit as the sweet corn dries out so fast

Saturday 26th  - Offer of help from Emma & Andy but again working all day

Sunday 27th  - Working until just after lunch then had to stop - too much time in my small office cell. In the late afternoon I went down to water again as I had not been down for 48 hours and needed a fix and to water the sweet corn again.

Situation report - nice puddles on the dpm covering the bottom of the site. Some sicko has dug up the woodchip I laid on the muddy path because they are too lazy to walk to the front gate to fill their bags or wheelbarrow - Fuming

Photo below looking up the site at the re laid paths around the potatoes and sacks of woodchip for the new paths, if I it stops raining and I ever get to dig again

The white grape on the left has decided to do more growing in the last week than it did all last year, the one on the right is working it's way up the wall again. The Red in the middle just looks dead   :(

The apple trees are going bonkers

Strawberries are doing well, just wish I had got them in a little earlier - I may need to give them some comfrey tea

No photo today but the comfrey has gone mad and have got flowers coming - must clear the pipe and refill plus get a photo next visit.

The first 3 beds of potatoes are really growing, and the last bed are now poking their heads trough the weed membrane and need a fleece cover next visit. 

There are now Toms in the greenhouse that need to be potted on to their own vending machine cups - I like to gradually move them up from pot to pot and that allows me to bury them with each re-potting so they get a good root system from the hairs off the stem

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Wedneday 23rd April 2014

OK remember I said I had to concentrate on work, well it's the wife's fault she asked if I could drop her around her sisters and it's halfway to the allotment - Resistance was futile and It was only an hour and a half (In my defence I was working late last night and early this morning) so guess what.

Yes I visited, and got one large barrow load of woodchip and topped up the paths whilst I watered and topped up the transplanted tomatoes. I updated the notice board and laid a little more woodchip around it as that's where we are going to leave excess plants and produce if we don't see anyone on the site to give them too. A nice idea from Michelle who has been given full credit and has bent my ears today three times walking up to my greenhouse and scaring the life out of me because I was so engrossed in what I was doing I didn't see her coming.

Below is a picture of the Harbinger and Sweet Mullians the others are not really big enough to transplant just yet but they will not be long. Still no sign of the late sowed Plum Tomatoes and still only 3 Money Makers. Ran out of time and still didn't get to top up the potatoes in the greenhouse Doh!   

On walking out I noticed that bed 10 is starting to show potatoes so I will have to visit and cover with fleece if we are going to have a cold night in the next couple of days.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Tuesday 22nd April 2014

I dropped off to the allotment this morning to water the plants in the greenhouse as I had not been down there for a couple of days - As I pulled in to the access road there was a tree surgeon cutting some trees down. A conversation later, it turned out that his boss had underestimated the amount of work and volume of debris and he was very happy to deposit the whole truck load on the allotment site, rather than pay to dispose of it at a tip.

So I stayed for a little longer than I had anticipated, so they could complete their work, but we have ended up with a valuable resource, and we have exchanged telephone numbers so we can do it again in the future. There is a God out there and he was smiling on me today ;) .

I ended up potting on 16 tomatoes, filling some milk bottle with sand and filling up a staging full of metal trays of damp sand for drying. I topped up four of the flower buckets in the greenhouse with Pentland Javelin in. There are four more that need to be topped up but that will have to wait until my next visit.

I returned later in the evening and bagged up 9 sack loads, topped up the existing paths and patched up the access road / path that was beginning to get a little muddy and thin. There is a gap in the middle but I'm hoping someone else will fill that in. I'm going to put a sign up telling the other plot members that they can take what they need, but to fill in the middle stretch if they take some.

I've left a message for my brother in law as he has the last 1/3rd of his plot to lay out new paths on.

Really too busy for photographs on this occasion. At home the red spring onions are showing in the cold frame and a lot of the lettuce I've planted recently are showing. I must concentrate on work tomorrow as I have three new enquiries on my phone.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Saturday 19th April 2014

As there is rain forecast and my Daughters have booked Dad as a Taxi to get them to the tube station as they are going to Bournemouth my coach from Victoria for a couple of days and to see McBusted I decided to do the Sunday visit on Saturday  ;) Nice and sunny today

Hit the shed and sorted out loads of rubbish and found items that I had been looking for. A decision has been made to scrap all of the pop bottles. Now I have the greenhouse I really don't need them, I will keep the one I have made but the pop bottle squasher will be used.

Watered the plants in the greenhouse and sowed two cat litter trays of sweet core in flexi recycled plastic pots

Some of the toms are getting near the point where the will need potting on I suspect a job for an evening visit whilst watering other stuff. The White Lisbon Onions getting the comfrey tea feed are really cracking on.

I chopped up some more comfrey stuffed it in a plastic milk bottle and started off another batch. I think I should have at least 3 bottles on the brew and I need to fill the comfrey pipe not sure if I should empty the contents from last year first?  Any advice out there?

Beds 2, 3 & 4 got their new plastic edges and the green lawn edging was removed, they were also weeded and the huge amount of volunteer Potatoes were extracted. OK some are really small and there is no way I could have found them. But, I dug those beds over at least 3 times and can't believe the size of some of the potatoes I have dug out!!

Keith an Mick came to Rotovate Keiths additional width of plot.

I removed the grey DPM covering beds 12 & 13 and started to bag up the woodchips and fill up some of the paths especially around beds 2, 3 & 4.

I'm hoping that I will have enough woodchip to complete all the paths, but that's unlikely - and I may have some carpet paths until I can resource some more woodchip.

Ron arrived, Owen and kids, Michelle, Bob it was quite nice to see so many people on the site. I made a comment about Robert the new owner of plot 3 not having done anything and Michelle said she actually met him and he has started clearing. I had a look on the way back - looks like an area about 2m x 4m at the moment, He has a long way to go.

It amazes me how fast the hours fly by on the allotment, Now I work from home I really enjoy getting away from it, if only Mrs Cadalot would come with me more often like Pauline does with Keith. 

Squashed a slug that dares to be out in daylight, and the little bugger have left trails all over my solar tent plastic cloches - so I didn't drink all my can of bitter - some when into a cup for the slugs to enjoy and hopefully drowned in. (update he did ..... Evil Grin)

Dug up the soil in the bean trench and amazed to find the stalks of the sprouts have not rotted down!!!!  Well I'm not extracting them all so they will just have to stay there. an additional layer of last years compost with some chicken pellets will have to go in next visit in readiness for the beans in mid May.

The afternoon was spent at home cutting the grass and fixing the fence and paving around it on Sids side of the back garden and the next job is replacing the fence posts and panels on Joes side. Not to mention patching up the grass again that didn't take

Friday 18 April 2014

15 - 18th April 2014

Watering visits for the seed in the greenhouse and a trip to pick up some capillary mattings from the Garden Centre £3.99 for 5 tray size sheets.

Monday 14 April 2014

Monday 14th April 2014

Watering visit plus took a tray of spring onions down to the greenhouse and 10 Brussels potted into vending machine cup to free up space in the cold frame at home so I can get some more stuff on the go. I really wish I could get the back garden done and my space saver greenhouse erected.

Took the post out on the weekend and stripped it back now comes breaking out the concrete to install the new one. I suspect the next post will need replacing as well

Sunday 13 April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014

Woke up just after 6:00, breakfast and out of the door by 7:00 - I was alone down on the allotment for the first few hours this morning, I decided to get the strawberries in as they are already developing flowers that will turn to fruit and they have been there a very long time waiting.

Next I turned my attention to uncovering beds 7, 8 & 9 as the potatoes are showing and pushing up the fleece. So I've used soft milk bottle bricks to make a tent type structure, not sure it will last long but looking at the weather forecast we shall need a little frost protection next week during the night.

Then I used what I could of the blow a way tube and fitting to make a cage to go over a bed and decided on placing that on bed 10 where my late potatoes are and currently they are not showing but they did go in the ground a week of two later than the early potatoes. Hopefully Basil Brush will think its a trap and keep away from the bed.

The plants in the greenhouse got watered and looking at the bottom of the vending machine cups and seeing the roots to the beetroots I decided they should go in so they are now living in bed 1

I weeded bed 2 and there are not many onions actually left from the overwintering experiment and those in the greenhouse look better than those that I over wintered, so if I do try again they will be overwintered in the greenhouse and not outside where the slugs can live off them.

Here is an update on the numbers of tomatoes now showing their little heads, previous figures from 3 days ago on the 10th April in brackets

35 (27) - 100s & 1000s
  9 (2) - Beef Steak
  9 (3) - Gardeners Delight
10 (7) - Harbinger
  3 (3) - Money Makers  <<<< Really not sure what's going on with these ?
  6 (4) - Lizzano
  7 (4) - Sweet Baby
  9 (3) - Sweet Mullion

I got rid of a lot of the cardboard that was covering bed 4 and that I had been saving and have now decided it's just junk that I could really do with dumping. A new sack of sand has been opened and the wet contents has been emptied out on the metal trays and they have gone in the grow house inside the green house and I have a vast quantity of empty plastic milk bottles that need turning into soft bricks. The half a sack of sand has gone into the greenhouse so that hopefully it can start drying out as well. 

I filled a tray of loo rolls with compost and found that cutting the bottom of a 500ml plastic milk bottle and using it as a funnel was the best way of filling the loo roll tubes without filling up the spaces in between. I've compacted the compost and left the top 10-15mm down from the top ready for the runner beans.

The comfrey I chopped up and put in a plastic milk bottle is rotting down well and that gets a shake up each time I visit the plot. Next visit will see a second comfrey milk bottle stared off, as I'm sure its the comfrey tea watering that I give the spring onions that is bringing them on so well.

I cut some 1.2m lengths of the plastic edging ready for replacing the lawn edging on beds 3 and 4 and weeding on the next visit. So I still didn't get any more of Bed 11 dug and weeded but the sun is doing a good job of drying out what I have broken up with the pick axe.

Paul from Plot 6A & 7A came watered and left. Bob on Plot 3 arrived with daughter and son-in-law who have been rotovating his plot for him this year. Brian was next then Andy and finally Michelle and Lee. I came away about 12:45 after a whirl wind of a tidy up of all to tools and repacking the greenhouse with the crates of empty plastic milk bottles.

I have masses and masses of plastic pop bottles but now I have the greenhouse there is no urgency to make up panels apart from the fact that I'm drowning in them, the shed is full of sacks with pop bottles in!! 

Home Afternoon Sowed 5 Cucumber (Marketmore) Seed and 10 Plum Roma Toms

Friday 11 April 2014

Friday 11th April 2014

Typed up the labels for all the opened seed packets that are now in the little hobby bags this morning.

On the basis that I'm starting early and working later, and that I have a late schedule of conditions tonight, and I didn't get down there yesterday, and I was half way there as I dropped the wife at her sisters this morning, I decided to pop down to the allotment and check on the plants in the greenhouse. So another watering spree and a couple of the 100s and 100s are moving on from the two seedling leafs and getting their real leafs. Itching to get to the stage when I move them on to vending machine cups, then 3" pots and finally B&Q and Flower Buckets

I topped up a couple of the flower buckets because the potatoes are now standing tall and about 150mm above the rims. A pick axe attack of the other half of bed 11, Bagged up some more woodchip and moved the plastic back off bed 11 so the elements can help break down the clumps of soil I now need to weed and dig with a fork.

Bed 1 got weeded and the volunteer potatoes from last year have been transplanted into two large tubs that are along the edge of the plot next to the access path. Waste not want not and it will be interesting to see if they amount to anything.

I managed to sow two rows of parsnips with radish in-between as a marker and an early crop and thee rows of carrots on a tape that should have gone in last year so I'm just hoping they germinate and come up. The drills and seeds were covered with verve compost and a plastic weed membrane peg placed at the ends of each row so I know where they should come up.

I covered the half planted bed with the portable 1.2m square 3 hoop netted frame. I'm really going to have to get some timber and knock up some more hoop frames to protect the crops from Basil and his mates.

Yes Basil has visited and has been digging the paths up again

Thursday 10 April 2014

Thursday 10th April 2014

Early morning sowing of a 15 module tray of vending machine cups of Red Salad Onions planting one seed in the middle then and N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW points on the compass so 9 seed per cup all equally spaced to give growing room.

Also sowed 10 cheesy cauliflowers meant to do them at the same time I put in the cabbage but didn’t get around to it. 

In the evening I planted some Little Gem Lettuce,  some Lattuga Lentissima a montare 3 Cos Lettuce and some Corn Salad or Lambs Lettuce.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Wednesday 9th April 2014

A watering visit in the evening, I tend to fill a seed tray with comfrey tea water and place the seed trays with the vending machine cups in the tray to soak up the water. So whist each tray has it’s turn I potter about.

I pulled back the plastic and shovelled up some woodchips to replenish some of the paths and bagged up a couple of sacks for the future paths and managed to take a pick axe to half of bed 11 breaking up the concrete like soil ready for digging with a fork and weeding. It has to be said there are lots of weed roots but are they dead or just dormant waiting for light and water? Better safe than sorry they will be weeded out come the real dig with a fork. Only an hours work, but every hour counts as everything including the weeds are growing.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Thursday 8th April 2014

A watering trip via B&Q to pick up two more 125L Bags of verve Compost - My daughter and her boyfriend came down to inspect the allotment to help me in and out with the very heavy bags of compost. They had not been down for about 9 months so saw the difference. I've had a promise of help and a BBQ lunch in couple of weeks, if it will actually happen or not is another matter.

Plants are all doing really well and I now have many more tomatoes showing, little seedlings are popping their heads up daily. 

29 - 100s & 1000s
  2 - Beef Steak
  3 - Gardeners Delight
  7 - Harbinger
  3 - Money Makers
  4 - Lizzano
  4 - Sweet Baby
  3 - Sweet Mullion

4 Peppers 2 of two colours and 0 for the other 2 colours

The Comfrey has gone mad and I've planted the last of
the excess bluebells from home in between them

The Apple trees are really growing well

Saturday 5 April 2014

Saturday 5th April 2014

Quick visit to water and lots more 100s and 1000s now showing (at least 21) and

3 Sweet Mullion
7 Harbinger and
2 beef steak tomatoes are suddenly popping their heads above the compost
0 Gardeners Delight
0 Money Makers

Friday 4th April 2014

A quick visit to water the plants in the greenhouse turned into a longer visit as the guys from the council turned up to look at the problems I had reported with the wall behind my plot, the entrance gate and the fence along the boundary on the plot of land they are about to develop and where the fire brigade broke the fence down to access and put out the fire last year.

I had picked up some gel matting from the 99p shop and lined some seed trays with it and placed the peppers on it, hopefully that will mean I will not have to go down every day to water them as they appear to be drying out really quickly.

Yet another 100s & 1000s seedling and in the photo you can see the next little chap just starting to bend and poke his head out of the compost so that's eight in all at the moment. There appears to be signs of life in some of the other tomato pots with one or two very tiny seedlings showing their heads. Beetroots are doing really well and so are the spring onions.

The early potatoes I put in the flower buckets in the green house are growing like mad, on the darker side of the greenhouse and not so well on the lighter side , but they are different types of potato the Swifts appear to be living up to their name.

I had hoped to get some carrots in but didn't get time because of showing the council guys the problems that need sorting, same excuse as always no money and the rents don't cover the running of the allotments .... . . . . . . . . . . etc.

Water is back on so that will save me taking in bottled water.

Back home in the cold frame the cabbages, sprouts and fried eeg plants are all now starting to show. 


Thursday 3 April 2014

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

Up early and working between 7-8 and I have the wife at the doctors at 8:30 - managed to get her to come with me to the allotment to water and make a few soft bricks after, then home to sort out what I could before going to Fulham for a meeting at 2:00 with the Contractor and Approved Inspector. 

I did not get home until gone 6:00 evening meal, then more work.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Thursday 1st April 2014

Started work early and decided to give myself an extended early lunch break on the plot. Watered the plants in the greenhouse and outside and managed to move all the things on beds 11 & 12 out of the way. Cut 1.3 m width off the damp proof membrane and bagged up a lot of the wood chippings. Topped up the paths around bed 10 and between bed 5 and the greenhouse on bed 6.

Laid out the dpm and added weights to keep it there - sprayed the weeds along the foot path and added weed membrane around the middle tree and started sorting out the slate chippings from the filter netting over the flower bucket adding a small pop bottle to get the water to the tree roots.

In the evening found out that my cousin has cancer and they can't do any more for him and he is caring for both his parents who are both seriously ill - My sister and I are making a trip to Portsmouth to see them all this Sunday so no allotment for me Sunday Morning

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Monday 31st March 2014

Undertaking a Survey near to the allotment so popped in to top up the water and water the plants in the greenhouse - doing the peppers in the square pots was a mistake they are drying out far too quickly - The pop bottle pots appear to keeping moist, but are they too wet and will the seed germinate?. Time will tell....

The 100s and 1000s appear to be going from strength to strength as you can see in the picture below

In the evening I made another milk bottle water feeding pot and have sown some April Spring Cabbage seeds in there to see how they do against those in the conventional modules in the cold frame.