Thursday 31 December 2015

Tarptastic II following storm Frank

Not too cold, nor windy plus a clear blue sky and sunshine this morning so I made a visit to plot 1A to drop off more slug taps and have a check to see if the high winds over the last couple of days had done any damage. A few things blown around and out of place but generally all was good, then onto plot 23B.

Plot 23B had not been so lucky, the sheets I had put down were all over the place and most of the lids and squares I had cut to cover the manure in the flower boxes were gone!!. I took more square flower buckets down to 23B and set about filling them up with manure from the pile at the far gate. 

So a couple of hours of moving manure, filling one dalek, nine square flower buckets and four rubble bags I was just about to lay the large tarp over all the smaller tarps, plastic and weed membrane when I found that I hadn't brought the tent pegs down to the plot with me... Doh!

So home for lunch and me thinking it's another job for another day it would seem! 

Ok I had lunch and then said to the wife, Umm the sky is still clear out there do you think I should go back and cover up all those small bits of membrane and plastic with the large tarp before the rain that is forecast comes?. Getting a "why not it still looks good out there" reply I dashed back and just managed to get it covered before the clouds rolled over and the rain started.

Sunday 20 December 2015


Plot 1A - Drop off slug traps and pick up four more flower buckets and two 2.4m x 1.2m sheets of plastic.

Plot 23B - Strimmed the rest of the plot, Re run the line defining the boundary with my neighbour, managed to get the tarp laid just before the first rain shower. I took refuge in my neighbours green house, then as the rain stopped, I filled the four flower buckets with manure and weeded the area where the shed is to go and covered it with the plastic just before rain stopped play and I had to go home.

I bought two sacks of weeds home with me.

My wife seem to think my plot now looks like a swimming pool, what do you think?

Saturday 19 December 2015

Strimming the grass and weeds

Plot 23B - Strimmed the grass/ weed area as it has been dry and windy for a couple of days. The battery was charged about 3-4 weeks ago and I was amazed just how much I managed to get done before it died. I charged the battery up for Sunday. I also managed to fill up a number of flower buckets to assist in holding down the tarp

Sunday 13 December 2015

Moving Muck

Plot 1A - Dropped off, slug traps and compost plus some weed membrane that it flower bucket size to hold off the weeds.

Plot 23B - Dropped off, 9 Square Flower buckets and filled them all up to brim with stable manure dropped off at the far end of the allotment. The plan is a bucket each corner and mid run. Thing is I actually bought a 5.4 x 7m not 3.5m tarp so I'm going to need a few more flower buckets of manure to hold it down.

In the late afternoon I have bagged two sacks of leaves from the front garden so next trip, drop off bags of leaves at 1A, and pick up a number of square flower buckets then drop them off at 23B and fill them up with manure.

If I can make the time - spread and weight down the tarp.

Monday 7 December 2015


I've bought a 5.4 x 7m tarp to cover the middle section of plot 23B so I'm going to have to make some more soft bricks, I have a load of milk bottles so it looks like a purchase of sand may be in order over the weekend.

Plot 23B is 5.4m wide and 7m will cover nearly 8 beds and paths. So depending on how well this works I may buy another one. If the woodchips come I will cover the tarps in woodchips to help keep them down and block out any light that managed to get to the ground below.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Parsnips & Carrots

Dropped off the blue water pipe to plot 23B and it was very windy. I used the hoops to assist in holding down the tarps, membrane and plastic sheeting that I have covering parts of the allotment. I really need to strim and cover with cardboard held down with plastic membrane anchors. 

It was then off to the shelter of plot 1A which is much less open and prone to high winds. I took paper and cardboard shredding's with me and filled up dalek 4 to the top again and the foliage from the carrots and parsnips topped up dalek 3 which were watered.

As you can see in the video above and the last few the overwintering cabbage is dwindling and I have no idea what can be done to stop it, if 6 slug traps in a 1.2m x 1.2m bed can't keep the little blighters under control what can?

I will definitely do the cut and come again with cabbage looking at bed 1 which needs attention next visit saying that if I remove weeds do I just give the wildlife less to munch on and those cabbages will be stripped?

The soil is so good at Plot 1A and I have put so much work into her, (yes my plot is female) Plus the allotment is so sheltered compared to 23B, the more I think about it, I really don't want to give her up.

I'm thinking plants that need very little maintenance on Plot 1A and those that need more attention at 23B. If I use what I have learnt on Plot 1A in the last 3 years and plant thru weed membrane I can keep the weeding to a reasonable level.

I have been thinking, can I actually manage and keep on top of two plots? It's going to be hard and time consuming but enjoyable and I think managing my working life better and getting in a few extra hours  during the week will help, but only time will tell. 

Come next year I really need to focus on 23B but I can't do a great deal until the weather changes and it's less wet. Paving slabs and a shed are first on the agenda early next year.

Friday 4 December 2015

Cheap Seeds and Blue Water Pipe

My daughters informed me that the last of the packs of seeds at Wyevale were being sold off at 10p a pack so I just had to go and see what I could find, came away with £25.79 of seeds for £1.30

Rubine Brussels Sprouts 2017
Savoy January King 3 Cabbage 2016 Mr Fothergill's
Savoy January King 3 (Winter) Cabbage 2017 Tompson and Morgan
April (Spring) Cabbage 2017
Durham Early Cabbage 2017
All year Round Cauliflower 2017

Tango F1 Hybrid Celery 2017
Bedfordshire Champion Onions 2018

Lettuce Sweetheart 2017
Lettuce Tom Thumb 2018
Lettuce Maureen 2018
Lettuce Tantan 2017

Then the real prize was on the way back one I noticed that the construction site for the new ASDA is about to come to an end and eagle eyes spotted some blue water pipe up against the fence. I stopped and had a word with the site agent and came away with a large reel of 35mm dia pipe that was too large to get into the car.

Lucky I had a saw in the back and I now have 7 massive hoops for another large Sprout enclosure for plot 28B

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Sarpo Potatoes Ordered

Having seen the yields that Dan over at allotmentdiary gets over the last couple of years plus the £1.50 off a trial pack that John Harrison has arranged over at Allotment Garden my order is in for next year and will be dispatched in Mid February.

If you do order any Sarpo potatoes check out the complete order page as they provide labels free of charge and had I not already have ordered I would have bought a couple of their hessian sacks


The original Sarpo and still the most widely known. With 40 years plus heritage Sarpo Mira has the highest resistance to potato late blight (some say the highest overall of any variety). Launched in 2002 this unique variety has characteristics that make it the potato of choice for organic growers and those interested in low input spuds.

Mira is a  large, pink skinned main crop potato that has its origins in pre 1992 Hungary where the collective farm system had a need for high yielding, high dry matter potato that needed little or no chemical sprays and could be stored without the need for refrigeration or anti sprouting treatments.
Sarpo Mira develops to produce a deep rooted (and thus drought tolerant) plant that grows very tall, smothering weed competition as it does so. 

The secret to growing Sarpo Mira is to decide when to harvest.  Mira does not have any natural senescence and as such if left it will continue to grow until or if frost stops it.  As such it can develop very large tubers which have a very high dry matter making them a very floury potato.  This variety is particularly prized in the North of the UK and Irish Republic where this style is favoured.

Seed potato is supplied in sizes between 35mm and 55mm.  The average weight of a seed tuber is 75g.  So expect to receive in the order of the following amounts.  Our product is packed by weight and as such there is no guarantee of numbers which can vary depending on the seed crop harvest each year

1.5kg pack  —  approx. 20 tubers

Sarpo Trial Pack

I also decided to buy a trial pack, ideal for small gardens, beginners and container growers.  Each pack contains 3 x  500g (approx. 8 tubers of each variety) of the following varieties, the total weight of this trial pack is 1.5kg

At the bottom of the page it states seed potato is supplied in sizes between 35mm and 55mm.  The average weight of a seed tuber is 75g.  So expect to receive in the order of the following amounts.  Our product is packed by weight and as such there is no guarantee of numbers which can vary depending on the seed crop harvest each year

1.5kg pack  —  approx. 20 tubers (7 of each approx.)

So we will have to see how large the seed potatoes are and if we get 21 or 24 potatoes when they come.
  • Sarpo Axona – blight resistant, red skinned main crop.  Floury potato idea for chipping, mashing and baking
  • Sarpo Kifli – blight resistant, white skinned second early crop,  Waxy potato with anew potato flavour all year round
  • Sarpo Blue Danube – unusual blue skinned variety with strong resistance to tuber blight.  The perfect roastie!