Thursday 30 June 2016

Drying Coffee Grounds

Got dressed to drop of eldest DD to work as it was raining, then a yellow ball in the sky was trying to make an appearance and the wet stuff has stopped, straight out to decant one sack of coffee grounds into trays that will fit on the wooden shelves I added to the space saver greenhouse and around the first row of toms in the flower buckets as a fertiliser and a barrier to wondering slugs who have damaged a couple of low leafs already.

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Natural CoCo Coir and Coffee Grounds

Diabetic Eye screening first thing so I popped to the £1 shop and they have in their CoCo Coir so I picked up six blocks to replenish my stocks and a few packets of tent pegs and cable ties. Then later in the day my sister rang to say she had arranged some coffee grounds for me, and there were two sack loads waiting for me when I picked her up at the rear of the coffee shop.

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Burpless Cucumbers & Celery Seedlings

Celery seeding potted on into vending machine cups, compost taken to plot 23B along with 3 more Burpless cucumber plants. One added in the side with the others and two more added to the back of the climbing frame. two flowers but the cucumbers are not really climbing very fast at the moment.

Weeded and broke the surface of the bed in front of the shed.

The spring onions and beetroots are not growing very fast at all this year.

Decanted some coffee into containers for more drying out in the grow house fixed to the shed.

Foxes have been at my comfrey seedlings.

Monday 27 June 2016

Cucino Cucumbers and Butternut Squash

A swift visit to plant the Cucino Cucumbers that appear to want to grow at a mile a minute in the space saver greenhouse and had started attaching themselves to the shelving. Two Butter Nut Squash plants have been planted either end of Bed 10.

The comfrey pipe has been loaded and the weight installed. 

Sunday 26 June 2016

Cucumbers & Tomatoes

Little house (Shed) on the prairie (Plot 1A) extension cleared out and the Tomato doubles plotted up and put under the canopy to keep the dreaded blighty rainwater off the foliage.

Kiwano Cucumbers climbing frame erected in Bed 15 and they are now in and have somewhere to climb as they were growing so fast in the space saver greenhouse. I have never seen beetroots so slow to grow, it is really a strange year.

Some different cucumbers and butternut squash are hardening off a little until I can get them in a bed.

The Parsnip had grown so tall it could not hold itself up, so a post driven into the ground and a some cable ties joint together and we once again have a vertical plant

Meanwhile in the back garden......

The remaining flower buckets now have tomatoes and wigwams, the empty one at the end is holding the place for the pot with mint in. I'm so glad that the slabs have been levelled this year before the toms were ready to go in, it looks much neater than last year.

Fathers Day Treat - Quad Bike Adventure

Sings "Quad biking across the universe.." to the Star Trek song, yep another visit to True Grip Off Road this time for the three hour Quad Adventure with Emma & Kelly

To say that the course was wet and muddy following the recent weather would be an understatement, and what you really don't want to do is stall the quad halfway through a puddle that at it's deepest already comes over the foot rest and over the cut down Welly Boots you are wearing.

A big Thank you to Chris our instructor and guide for a smashing morning, that's him in the photograph above if you want a really enjoyable couple of hours then contact TRUE GRIP  OFF ROAD

Telephone 01233 662251
Twitter @truegrip

Thursday 23 June 2016

Tomatoes Finally in Flower Pots

Well finally a respite from the rain and a day before flash floods in the South East and I managed to pot on 12 different types of tomato into flower buckets until time and running out of coir blocks stopped play. Six of the remaining toms in the greenhouse will make their way to the lower step and the rest will be going to the allotment greenhouse and covered extension to the shed at Plot 1A.

Now they just need to grow and hopefully develop fruit before blight hits them.

Monday 20 June 2016

Fathers Day & Foxes Den

As it's fathers day I only did a swift visit to the allotment, I dropped off some compost and harvest some of the cut grass that the council had cut for the dalek.

I planted out some Ramrod and Purplette Spring Onions filling the bed directly in front of the shed.

. I added eye bolts and bungee straps to the blow away so that it doesn't
There is a sack of coffee ground drying out inside.  
Then as I was about to leave, I noticed that something had been digging a den under Adam's shed at the rear of the plot. Too large for rats, my plot neighbour wondered if it could be a badger, not that anyone has ever seen a badger around these parts!. It's also not going to be the slow worms, so we concluded it was likely a fox as there are plenty of them around here.

The decision was to flood the hole to drive out anything inside before filling it, the hole has appeared in the last couple of days so the likelihood of any young cubs being in there was highly remote. The hole was filled and flower buckets full of manure were put in front to stop another attempt until I can get down to the plot and install the next metal shelf into the ground.      

When I got home my girls bought me three gardening related signs.

I don't remember planting this! ~ Destined for the greenhouse
Grow Dammit ~ also destined for the greenhouse
Trespassers will be composted ~ which I intend to put up on the entrance to my plot.

They also did a great roast dinner for me, with all the trimmings, and a lazy afternoon all watching Deadpool

Next Saturday Emma, Kelly and I are off for a three hour Quad bike expectance, they took me for a two hour experience for my birthday
Alans Allotment: Quadbikes Vs Allotment and we had such a great time we all said we would do it again.

That's what I call Father Daughters bonding time!

Saturday 18 June 2016

10 Day update as rain stops most play

8th - 11th June - Rain stops play feeding the plants on the greenhouse with comfrey tea 

Sunday 12th June 2016 - Rain Stops play, and it's rain that has basically stopped any real progress at either allotments.

Monday 13th June - I did manage a quick visit between rain showers to plant some of the Crimson Crush experimental toms grown from the plants supplied last year. half have tomato looking leafs and the other have potato looking leafs. I know it's an F1, I know it will not run true and what I will get is the parents, but my logic is they must have some blight resistance in their own right so it's got to be worth a go and what have I go to loose.-

Tuesday 14th - More rain

Wednesday 15th June - My sister managed to get me a sack of coffee grounds which I took to plot 23B and I erected a blow away up against the shed and put the sack upon inside so that if we do get any sun it will dry out the grounds. The idea is to use eye bolts and a bungee cord to fix to the shed but I ran out of time as it was a flying visit before work.  
Thursday 16th June 2016 -  This morning I met Bill Wyatt - Assistant Parks Manager from the Parks Service on site to assist him in undertaking the plot inspections for this year, by identifying the plot numbers. I refused to take the photos on the site this year as historically I have taken photos and submitted to the council for their determination on who they send improvement notices to and I have also swapped with another site rep and we have taken the photographs of each others plots.

Unfortunately some people on the plots, and it's usually those that take exception to receiving the improvement notice, get very angry with the site reps when this happens.

One plot holder stopped talking to me and when I asked him what was wrong and what I had done to upset him, he Informed me that he though I was just a (four lettered expletive) there is no point in taking offence, I asked him to explain why he thought that, he declined and said I'm just not worth talking too, so I said he was entitled to his opinion. I always still acknowledge him and say hello and goodbye, but have yet to get a response.

Another wanted to take me out side for a punch up, as I'm guessing he saw the allotment as some kind of pub. No speaking for about 6 months, but now at least we are back on speaking terms

It's not always easy being the site rep, you can't please all of the people all of the time. I'm trying to get a drop off and pick up area arranged especially as parking is now a problem due to the developments on two sides of the allotment. Mencap are one plot holder and they come with a mini bus so somewhere to park for them and the rest of us not so local is important.

I digress on Thursday I turned up early at 8:00 with two trays of beetroots and planted them into bed 15 and was in the process of making space in the greenhouse for tomatoes when at around 8:30 Bill arrived. We were halfway through the inspections when the heavens opened up and saturated us both.

Friday 17th June - A quick visit to recover the weed membrane off bed 15 that I forgot to put away because of the rain and the rush to get home yesterday, I put down a coffee grounds barrier around the beetroots and placed a couple of slug traps in the bed.

Plot 1A - Runner Beans and Apples
Plot 1A Bed 15 - Beetroots (Coffee Grounds & Growmore)
Plot 1 - Bed 16 Over Wintered Cabbage

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Potting Up, Sealing the Greenhouse & Comfrey Pipe Cap Plate

Potted up 3 Kibitz Tomatoes, 6 Kiwano Cucumbers and 2 Cucina Cucumbers from the pop bottle propagators into vending machine cups, square pots and round pots respectively. Continued to give everything in the greenhouse that growing and needs it an infusion in the comfrey gravel tray carrying on from yesterday.

Made the drainage cap end to my comfrey pipe using my trusty soldering iron, an end from a silicon tube, a plug hole filter and some mesh from a wire calendar. 

Managed to seal the spacesaver this morning before the thunder and lightening and accompanying rain this afternoon.

Wallington High Street this afternoon not quite as bad as 2007 see

Butternut Squash, Beetroot & Coffee Grounds

A swift visit to plot 23B to plant Four Butternut squash, a tray of beetroot and put up coffee ground barriers around the cucumbers and new beets. Shredded paper added to Dalek 1.

Drop off at Plot 1A to pick up Comfrey. During the day the tomatoes in vending machine cups have been topped up with compost to the brim of the cups and they have all been given a comfrey bath, along with some of the older onions that need a boost.

Standpipe Tomatoes have finally been potted up into vending machine cups, and the spacesaver greenhouse has been re arranged such that all the toms are now on the top shelf and the spring onions on the second shelf. 

The experimental Crimson Crush from last years seed save (yes I know they are F1 etc. but it's an experiment) are now doing really well and I have a 50:50 split of tomato leaf and potato leaf plants which will go down to both allotments for growing comparison.

I went to wicks to pick up a few items, some of which they didn't have. Its got to be said the one local to me is bloody useless. They have solvent weld pipe in stock but no elbow fittings and I found the last two tees. The assistance suggestion after coming back with white elbows for black pipe from a store somewhere, was visit a larger Wicks in Merton - Doh!  
Then I wanted a stop end for my black 4" 100mm pipe that I'm going to make a short comfrey pipe for plot 23B and they only had it in terracotta colour. No coping stones for the brick wall in the garden. I used to think B&Q were bad but this new small Wicks is useless.

Sunday 5 June 2016

Sweetcorn Sprouts and Cucumbers

The weather has done a full 180 and this Sunday 24th June 2016, it's sunny and very warm 24 degrees C. The car was loaded up with the plants and I was out of the door by 7:30 and on the site with all the plants and equipment on the plot by 8:00 and set about working straight away.

The foxes who had been clambering all over the portable hoop fames as they were covered on muddy paw prints, had finally managed to bust the smaller one. I've seen them on other peoples plots using the hoop frames as trampolines.  

I took the strimmer to exhaust the battery and see how much more I could strim which was mainly the entrance and the path to the water butt. Beautiful my robin kept me company whilst I cleared beds 11 and 12 and prepped them for the sweetcorn.

Many slugs were dispatched to sluggy heaven and I wished I had brought a lid with breathing holes for one of the food storage buckets then I could have had a go at created my own DIY Nematodes

Below is a video of the progress made during the day on plot 1A and 23B

Friday 3 June 2016

Thursday 2 June 2016

Flaming June is Flaming Cold

It's been raining for the last two days, today is overcast and cold. Flaming June it feels more like flaming Autumn or early Winter out there. The temperature gauge is telling me it's 10.3 decrees C but with the wind chill factor it feels much colder and even I could only last out there without a coat for 5 minutes.

Lettuce don't normally like it too hot, and so far I have not grown any lettuce. NOTE to Self:- Get some lettuce in during March next year and sow at 3 to 4 week intervals. 

So now that the cold frame is back in play and as it's lunch time and not raining, I have filled 20 small pots that stand in a capillary matting tray with some Tantan Crisp 'romaine' lettuce with three seeds per pot. according to the back of the pack they are; "A slightly larger Little Gem with its similarly renowned taste. The leaves are more 'bubbled' giving it a distinctive appearance, Matures about 11 weeks from sowing, with delicious , crisp, 'romaine' hearts which stand well and withstand hot summer weather"

Here's hoping we do get some hot Summer weather soon for them to withstand!