Saturday 30 June 2018

Daleks, Water Butts & Comfrey Pipes!

Friday - Picked up a sack of grass from my sister and took to the allotment to feed with a combination of shredded paper and coffee grounds once again filling up Dalek 2 and bringing Dalek 3 up to 50% capacity.  

Saturday - Early morning visit to water the seedlings and plants whilst they are in the shade. there was around 10mm of much darker Comfrey water in the milk bottle, I filled another large flower bucket of Comfrey cuttings and then fed them to the new short comfrey pipe such that most of the weight is now sticking out of the pipe again. 

The water/comfrey in the milk bottle was tipped on top of the new comfrey to wet it down and to pass through the pipe again, so hopefully within the next week with the sun warming the compressed contents of the pipe up I will be harvesting pure comfrey juice from this pipe. 

Picked some Radish for lunch, no slug attack this year ! I must be doing something right.

I took the opportunity of filling the two water buts on the green house up to within 300mm of the top so that when the water ban comes I have some in the butts ready to use which means less walking with the watering cans to the standpipe and dip tank. 

I cant actually see the big blue water butt next to the shed as its covered in ivy so a job for one of the next visits is to uncover and fill that baby up as well as it looks like we have 14 days of dry hot sunny weather to come. 


Thursday 28 June 2018

Jersey Plants Direct

Following the post a few days ago about the trees and contacting Jersey Plants Direct about the two Braeburn trees that were supplied as part of the Lucky Dip Offer that didn't grow, I have heard back from them after providing them with photographs of the two dead twigs and they thanked me for providing details of the issues and are sending me a credit voucher in the post. 

So I have no idea how much the voucher will be for because the offer was £59.97 worth of six trees for the price of £19.99 which is the price that they sell combinations of two trees for. 

However much the voucher is for I will use to go towards replacing the two Braeburn trees. The only combination other than going for another six lucky dip that may possibly give me two apple trees is the Golden Delicious & Braeburn combo so that's the one I'm looking at the moment, and the Golden Delicious that I received as part of the last year luck dip is growing really nicely.  

Existing Golden Delicious awaiting its final home on the new allotment plot, I'm not sure if I should stake the tree to make sure it grown vertically? If you know then please tell me.

Sweet Tasting Fruits all Summer Long!

Imagine the delight of picking your own apples, fresh from your garden or patio. Now you can with this pair of Patio Apple Trees. Containing 2 of the most popular varieties, Braeburn and Golden Delicious, they are easy to grow, require little training or pruning and will produce an abundance of healthy delicious fruit from a single stem.
Golden Delicious: A popular variety producing a heavy crop of medium sized yellow fruit, with a sweet and tasty flavour.
Braeburn: Britain's favourite apple! Easy-to-grow with excellent yields of crisp, juicy red fruit.

Collection Varieties Golden Delicious & Braeburn
Height 1.5 - 2.5m
Spread 30 - 35cm
Harvesting October
Planting Position Full Sun to Partial Shade
Sold As 9cm Pot
Despatch Period Mid October to November

The dispatch period is Mid October - November, so I will keep and eye out for them to come back into stock and order once I have the voucher. When in stock they normally dispatch within 10 days from order.

UPDATE Saturday 30th June - A voucher arrived today for £19.99 which is the price I paid for the 6 Tree lucky dip but also the price for buying two trees from Jersey Plants Direct, I have to say I'm very please with how they dealt with my enquiry re if they had other report problems with the Braeburn Trees and I will be replacing the trees when they are back in stack and would defiantly use this company again. 

Great Customer Service what more can anyone ask ! 

Fixing the Shed

Can you guess which section of boarding has been replaced ? 

I used one of the bed slats as a stiffening plate and screwed it to the two timbers of the framework where they abut behind the top of the new cladding board. That's now nice and stiff and will not buckle at that point again.

When I can finally get into the shed property I will screw the top shelf down and that should stiffen up everything even more.  

I really do need to trim up the ivy that has grown over the shed at some time and I'm thinking the old girl could do with a lick of paint as she is looking somewhat weathered.

The diving board at the top of the post that the comfrey pipe is fixed too is actually a platform for one of the plastic owls that I bought to keep the birds off the crops, I may have to re think the bird house on the wall and move it else where.

The pop bottle weight filled with sand has disappeared into the pipe over the last 24 hours as the comfrey has been compressed by the weight and gravity, so next visit I will harvest more comfrey and top the pipe up again. 

The water that I put in to prime had filtered through and gone into the milk bottle and had a greenish tinge, not strictly what I'm after out of the pipe but waste not what not, it went on the Raspberries  

It was a fleeting visit with just enough time to water the beetroot and carrot seeds. At the moment the weather forecast is predicting two hours of rain on Friday the 6th July other than that it's Sunny and 26C daily until the 11th July which is as far as the forecast goes. 

Filling The Comfrey Pipe

A swift visit this morning to water, then I put a heavy duty cable tie around the pipe fixing it to the timber post and then cut up comfrey to filled the pipe so that the weight was about half way out of the top of the pipe. 

Half a bottle of water was emptied into the top of the pipe at each filling from the flower bucket to moisten the comfrey, and it took three full flower buckets of comfrey to fill the short pipe. With each bucket of comfrey I re wetted the comfrey with the water that has passed through.

Next visit I will empty the wetting water into the Comfrey water butt and wait for the pure comfrey liquid to start flowing and filling the milk bottle.  

I'm thinking that, shorter pipes are a lot easier to fill and I may invest in a couple more shorter pipes along the wall to increase comfrey production as I have a larger plot now, and will hopefully have more to feed next year.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Fixing The Shed & Comfrey Pipe 2

Another early watering visit this morning and then I spent some time clearing the lower shelf and cutting some additional timber bearer and fixing them and then re fitting the shelf, and then sorting out the dross and stacking things neatly on the new and level shelfs. 

I still need to replace a broken feather edge board and to strengthen the joint between the gable panel and the panel next to the door but its a lot better in there already, especially as I removed the mouse nest that I found at the back of the shed!. 

I also managed to get an angle bracket on the Comfrey Pipe to fix it plumb against the wall, so I'm going to fix the pipe to the post with a couple of cable ties for the moment until I come across the brackets as they were put away in a safe place during the move from Spencer Road to Mill Green and I can't put my finger on them at the moment.

So next visit, it will be time cut up some comfrey and start number two pipe producing neat comfrey juice, it also means I can decimate the comfrey between plot 1 and plot 1A and cut it right down to the ground. 

Monday 25 June 2018

Fixing the Chair & Shed

I was awake nice and early today, slapped the washing on and then hung it out on the washing line. Slammed the second load in the washing machine and was down on the allotment for around 7:45. The cunning plan being to water everything whilst it's in the shade. 

I also managed to cut & drill then coat with teak oil two bed slats that I had saved from being thrown away so that I could fix the chair that I use that's in front of the shed. I will when I get time replace the other three timbers but for the moment at least I have somewhere to sit again.

The shed appears to have buckled, and it appears that the top shelf has bowed dropped and pushed the door out of line, so a strengthening job was started, but not completed because clients started to ring me way before 9:00.  

So job for a future visit is to finish strengthening up the shed, re installing the shelf which I have laid out in the sun with a load of weight on it to try and straighten it up again before re installing.   

Sunday 24 June 2018

Cucumber Sunday

Three Burpless and one Marketmore Cucumber are of a size that's large enough to be planted out, so that's what I did this morning. 

The climbing frame is made out of two angles of shelving with a large dog cage panels fixed to it, the stem of the T is also from the large dog cage. Three Burpless planted along the top of the T and one Marketmore planted on the stem.

I have more Marketmore cucumbers growing in the Space Saver Greenhouse but it's going to be a while until they are ready for the Allotment

Meanwhile the long cucumber plants given to me by John are nearing the top of the framework 

I've found the ideal location for the short Comfrey Pipe and next visit I will screw it to the wall.

The two Braeburn Apples from the six I purchased from Jersey Plants as a lucky dip have not shown any indications of bursting into life and I suspect they are dead unlike the Plum tree behind them. I have contacted Jersey Plants to ask if they had reports of others having problems with their Braeburn Apple trees and they have asked me to send them a photograph which is why I thought I would take a photo of all of the new trees.  

The Golden Delicious Apple Tree is looking good and now has a feeding and watering Pop Watering Bottle & Plug. There are pin holes in the pop bottle that goes on the ground and in the cap, and the Plug is another pop bottle filled with sand which prevents evaporation and snails and slugs taking up home in the watering bottle. 

The Pear Tree (Doyenne du Comice) had some brown dots on the leafs and the end of it appears to be home for aphids and some ants were trying to harvest, so I washed off as many as I could

Top of the Pear Tree after washing off with hose.

Cherry Sylvia Tree with watering plug 

Two Walnut Trees from Gerry on Mind Your Peas & Cues Facebook Group

Today I had a new visitor to my plot, a very young Robin who Jen has named "Titch" because he is so small and still has some baby feathers

Last night I collected a sack of grass from my eldest daughter that has topped up Dalek 2 and brought Dalek 3 back up to 50% full. Added in layers with large bits of compost removed from the MPC at home and spent compost from the SoilFixer Onion Flower bucket experiment, shredded paper and coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds added around the tomatoes as well as the compost bins, and environmentally friendly slug pellets around the new cucumber and the other beds.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Spring Onions

Time to sow some more Spring Onions in cut down flower buckets as we have just finished off two buckets worth, so one bucket of Feast F1 Hybrid and one bucket of Apache (Deep Purple) later.

Sown using the 7 x 9 grid or 63 point Jig as using the other Jig the onions were a little crowded, we tend to have onions during the week with lunch and have three each so a bucket should last us about 10 days, so in 10-14 days I will sow another buckets worth of whichever one has germinated the best as Germination is normally 14 - 21 days

Sow one cut down flower bucket using the 63 point jig 

  7th July - Blood Red Spring Onions
21st July - Ishikura Spring Onions  
  4th August  - White Lisbon Winter Hardy
18th August  - White Lisbon Winter Hardy
  1st September - White Lisbon Winter Hardy
15th September - White Lisbon Winter Hardy 
29th September - White Lisbon Winter Hardy

Carrot bed

The two Daleks on the left are the ones from the Spencer Road plot that were brought over last Saturday.  

Early morning visit on site at 7:15 and spent two hours, part in tidying up, part in watering and feeding the tomatoes with comfrey mix and part in attacking the carrot bed.

Once I had cleared the weed from the bed, I could see just how few carrots had survived so

I have some Carrot seed tapes so I filled in the gaps and covered with multipurpose compost and watered them in.

Then covered up to keep out the carrot root fly, not that I'm thinking there were enough in there to actually attract them if they are around. next year I have to be more on it and sow directly early under a cloche as growing in loo rolls didn't rally pan out this year apart from those on the right hand side of the bed. 

The weed have been added to the weed drowning bucket for conversion into plant feed

Friday 22 June 2018

Early Morning Visit

An early morning visit to water the plants as it's been very sunny for the last couple of days. The way the sum comes up and goes down relative to the orientation of the plot and the surrounding building and trees, Plot 1A is in shade first thing in the morning which is ideal for watering.

I weeded the beetroots and have sown more seeds where there has been no germination. 

I showed the cucumbers the way up the netting, note to self take more plant clips with you next visit to the plot, the rate they are growing they are going to need it.

The sprout bed was cleared of weeds with the stirrup hoe  

No more destruction of the cabbages, so it looks like the environmentally friendly slug pellets appear to be working.

The onion bed is looking a little weedy, so that and the carrot beds are to be the focus of the next weeding session. 

I have used a soldering iron to make a grid of drainage holes in a short flower bucket and have put that in a deeper flower bucket and placed the weeds in short flower bucket to drown and for them to give up their nutrients to the water, basically making some weed feed for the plants and to be added to the comfrey water butt.

The foliage on the spuds in potato pots is dying off, so they will be harvested shortly, followed by the spuds in flower buckets. 

Thursday 21 June 2018

Rubbish Clearance & Shed

A visit to Spencer Road Allotment to collect a few more items from the plot and take them to Mill Green  Allotment and to pick up a load of bags of rubbish that have been in the shed to keep them dry. I had a chat with Anthea on Spencer Road who had just sown Comfrey seeds which after our chat about how invasive it is if grown from seed, she went and dug up, and she is going to help herself to some of the Bocking 14 comfrey I have at Spencer Road and take some root cuttings. 

I've taken as many Daleks as I need from Spencer Road the others are full of year old manure, and compost I have made but there is way too much to bag up and take to the new plot at Mill Green, I will just have to make more at Mill Green.

Not being able to find a man with a van or open truck to assist in the taking apart moving and dropping off the two year old Tiger Pent shed to my new plot, I have decided to offer it for sale at less than half price or near offer to plot holders on Spencer Road and put that towards a new one for the new plot.  

I ended up watering Mill Green as we have not any significant rain for the last few weeks. 

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Parsnips & Butternut Squash

My brother-in-law phoned last night to say he had a couple of butternut squash over did I want them, I said yes leave them on the seat next to the shed. So lunchtime I popped down with the two I had grown (the two vertically in line in the photo) and planted them with his two (Horizontally in line in the photo) into a year old composted manure that had been sitting in Flower Buckets.  

I dug over and weeded the soil around and will continue and perhaps cover in cardboard on later visits, I hope to keep ahead of the squash as they take over the lower area of plot 1.

At home I have once again set up Parsnip seeds to chit on damp kitchen paper in a plastic container left in the dark under the stairs, so that I can start them off in loo rolls and get some more planted. I so have to do this very much earlier next year.

A More Tidy Greenhouse

I removed the trays and modules and moved everything growing down from the second to the third level down thus allowing more light in.  Using all three levels of tray support only really works early season when you are getting things going, and there is really no mileage in leaving it in there this time of year.   

I've sown beetroots into the loo rolls where there has been no germination.

Monday 18 June 2018

View From The Greenhouse Door

Rain stops on the plot play today, so a review of the Greenhouse feels in order.

Top Shelf small dwarf and pot tomatoes Micro Tom, Red Robin, Baiconi Red and Minibel together with Burpless Cucumbers 

2nd Shelf Maskotka Tomatoes, 4 Tiny Tim Tomatoes in the Pop Bottle Propagator, Beetroots in loo rolls, Marrows, Butternut Squash, Marrow, Marketmore Cucumbers, Marigolds.  

The third shelf really needs clearing and everything on the second shelf moved down as I will have more dwarf Tomatoes to put in there once they have been potted up. 

Balconi Red Tomato, MiniBel Tomato, two tomatoes with no labels Doh! I have forgotten which ones they are! Two buckets of Leeks and two of Spring Onions.

Nearly Done Moving

Saturday Morning I spent trimming up all the tomatoes and giving them a Comfrey feed 

Saturday afternoon my future son-in-law and I removed the last of the bulky items from my allotment at Spencer Road apart from the shed. Therein lies the problem as the two guys that I knew who had large enough vans to move it no longer have large vans. 

So now I'm torn, do I find a man and van or see if I can sell the shed to someone on the plot and put the money towards a new shed on the new plot?

Friday 15 June 2018


The tomatoes in the back garden are doing incredibly well and growing at a much faster rate than those on the allotment. Looking at them I feel a tidy up and trim will be in order especially as with the flowers now coming I will need to get to the surface of the soil to feed  them, a job for the weekend me thinks. 

The Mini and Micro pot tomatoes in the Space Saver greenhouse are also doing really well and there are little toms already forming and I'm guessing that these will be in the running for first red tomato this year.

Next year I'm defiantly going to do more small pot tomatoes in the greenhouses down on the allotment. 

I've given some away to family who are growing them in pots in their kitchens. Slowly I'm turning them into gardeners they just don't know it yet

Thursday 14 June 2018

Compost Corner

Picked up a load of grass cuttings from my sister to take down to the allotment to feed Daleks 2 & 3, she just had to show me the source of the cuttings! 

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Watering Visit

A swift watering visit and John ambled up with a couple of plants in his hands, two more cucumber plants that already have flowers on them

Would you like them?  Of course I would!  I'm always happy to take excess plants when people have them, I would rather find space than have them join a compost heap. 

As recorded here, I have not had a great deal of success with my own market more and Bupless growing efforts this year and have re sown a batch of both hoping for a later and perhaps extended harvest

The side panel from the ex - dog cage was quickly added to the side of the exiting climbing frame and the two plants given a new home on Plot 1A

Something has been having a go at the Cabbage in the corner by the path

I looked but I could not find the culprit, so another sprinkle of environmentally friendly slug pellets were applied 

The Runners are slowly making their way up the framework and there were a couple of beans that had lost their way so they were unwound and redirected up the bamboo they were supposed to be climbing. 

Many more apples on the trees this year.

The Handy Tiller and Petrol Generator that I bought a few years back and have been sitting in the shed doing nothing were put up on the local Facebook selling channels over the weekend and turned back into cash that will probably go towards a new shed on the plot, something I could actually use.

Meanwhile at home the bucket of Radish are getting larger every day in in around two weeks time I should be able to harvest this batch, only one strip on the plot is still showing so give it another week and I shall sow the next flower bucket of Radish especially as the price per bag has gone up in Tesco by about 50% in the last couple of weeks

Monday 11 June 2018

Weekend Update

Saturday 9th June 2018

Committee Meeting on Spencer Road today and I moved a load more slabs and kerb stones plus items that will be useful from Spencer Road to Mill Green 

Sweetcorn beds uncovered de slugged and a sprinkle of environmental pellets applied in readiness for tomorrows plot visit 

Sunday 10th June 2018

Lark sweetcorn planted 

Normally the corns would be twice this size and look much more robust, It looks to be another disappointing year for sweetcorn at the moment, I've never known Lark sweetcorn to grow so slowly as it has the last two years. It wasn't just me that noticed it last year, I don't know if its the crazy weather we have been having the seeds or what?  


Really happy with the development of the Cucumbers that were donated to me by John, my Marketmore had germination problems and I have sown a load more seed and I also only got three Burpless germinate this year. Hopefully the re sown seed with germinate and flourish and I can set up a couple more frames for them to grow up on the new plot and get a later and longer harvest.  


Not planned this year, another gift from John as he had great germination rates and an excess, but they appear to be doing well at the moment. 


Will soon need some ties back to the wall  

Tomatoes & Radish 

Tomatoes are not doing as well as those in the back garden in the compost, so I gave then some comfrey tea to buck them up a bit, some coffee grounds and other fertilisers are in order as this bed was fallow last year and had a layer of spent MPC and coir added as a soil conditioner. In hindsight I should have applied to chicken pellets and or Blood fish and Bone as I didn't get any manure this year.

Two strips of Thompson & Morgan French Breakfast radishes seed tapes were sowed last week, one either side of the bed. That on the left was a pack with weed supressing technology and that on the right was a year older with a sow by date of 2017 and was just a standard tape. It look like the weed supressing tape is supressing germination as none were showing on the left where as many have germinated on the right  


I've been saving the small Coke bottles, I cut the bottom off then puncture all around it and the cap and use the bulb planter to make a hole for it to go into. This enables me to water at depth within the bucket as trying to water from the top with coir is not very effective. I fill another bottle with sand to use as a plug to stop slugs taking up residence and evaporation 

Soft Bricks

The sand laid in metal trays in the greenhouse had dried sufficiently that a huge number of soft bricks could be made using milk bottles. The sand from another three old ones that had weathered and cracked were emptied into the trays to dry to fill another empty bottle next visit.  I find these so useful for holding down weed membrane and netting. 

Community Spirit 

A big thank you to Wally, John for helping with clearing the weeds for one of our new plot holders who was making great progress clearing her plot until she managed to get second degree burns on the hands and arms. She can't work her plot at the moment due to risk of infection, and as the Allotment Managers are due to visit we didn't want to give them any excuse to serve her with a non cultivation notice. Thanks to Keith for lending me his strimmer and offering some weed membrane, all you guys Rock!