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