Tuesday 31 July 2018

Beetroot Bed

An evening visit to clear the onion bed, of weeds and sow 105 Beetroot seeds in the planting membrane completed within an hour, each seed and planting hole covered with a layer of compost to feed the soil and the seedling once they start coming up. 

Monday 30 July 2018

Ryobi R18CS-L40S Circular Saw

After borrowing Keiths' (my brother-in-law) Ryobi Circular Saw to cut some of the floor and roof joist that I were given to me by the Contractor on the building site behind the boundary wall to my plot, I've looked into the different circular saw options from Ryobi. 

Having determined from that trial with Keith's equipment that I needs a heavy duty powerful battery, the viable option was a no brainer really I had to go for the R18CS-L40S Starter Kit that comes with the Circular Saw, 4.0Ah Battery and Charger plus a carrying case. 

At the time of purchase it had been reduced to £152 but what I didn't realise was that now I'm over 60 I can get a white B&Q Over 60 card and on a Wednesday get an additional 10% off. Now I know, that is what I will be doing when I want to add any more Ryobi tools to my collection or buying anything from B&Q.

At the moment the 4Ah Battery are on offer at B&Q at £70 down £10 from the RRP of £80 but they are £58.99 at CBS Power Tools

There are six batteries of different capacities and thus longer durations, B&Q appear to only currently stock 3 sizes but all are available from CBS Power Tools and are cheaper and delivery is Free on order over £100, plus they sell twin battery packs that are further discounted. So if I need additional batteries I know where I shall be looking.  

The battery has a four stage fuel/ charge gauge that displays the remaining power at 100,75,50 & 25% at a press of the button, so you know when it's time to recharge. 

The 18V +One Fast Charger which is compatible with all ONE+ 18V Lithium ion batteries normally retails at £50 but B&Q are selling at £48 at the moment and CBS Power Tools at £44.95 

The carry case is £9.95 so that means your actually paying around £24 for the circular saw

I do have to say that I was a little disappointed that the carry case was not big enough to accommodate the batter charger as well as the power tool, the clue is in the name "Starter Kit" and it would be nice to keep everything together, as not everyone is going to mount the charger on the wall or on a bench or add to a huge collection of Ryobi tools they already have. The larger case is £27 and I'm guessing it's just keeping the cost down that stops Ryobi supplying an ample case for the job. 

If you visit the Ryobi One + web site for the UK and search for information on Ryobi batteries you find that Ryobi tools can be purchased from four outlets in the UK 

What's sad is that the same search facility to find out where you can buy and who has the item you want in stock does not operate on all product pages.  

By visiting the four outlets web sites I found that not all outlets sell all the range of products CBS Power Tools and Amazon don't appear to stock the R18CS-L40S, however Amazon did sell other similar and I'm guessing older version LCS1801 which only cuts to a depth of 45mm and appears to be supplies with a low capacity battery, as there is feedback that the battery only lasted 30 minutes. 

Looking at the shape of the bag supplied with this version this appears to be the one my brother-in-law purchased but he was lucky enough too have a few Ryobi batteries of various strengths and durations for me to try before I buy.

When I unpacked the box I nearly missed the fact that an Edge Guide is supplied with the saw as it does not appear on any of the images on the box or the web sites, and is so well packed in the cardboard packing that you could throw it away once you have unpacked and placed the Circular Saw in its supplied canvas bag, if you are not careful.

I have charged the battery and once I have visited my allotment and cut up as many joists into bed lengths as possible I will update this post and let you know just exactly how many cuts I managed to get before the battery could do no more, or how much power was still left in the battery by time I had finished. 

Starter Kits are the way to go to get your foot on the Ryobi ladder and you can add further starter kits or purchase when the company has bundles they are selling at Christmas to build your collection.

Ryobi ONE+ One Battery fits all over 50 different tools for the home and garden with the same Lithium + battery. As you may recall I recently replaced the trimmer I used on the allotment with a B&Q Own brand 18V Li ion product for £35.

I looked on the B&Q website and no ONE+ Trimmers were to be found at all, however the One battery Fits All brochure I picked up from there shows three trimmers and a bush cutter, which are just the kind of tools that Allotment Plot Holders and Gardeners look for.

I did however find the One+ Line Trimmers on the CBS Power Tools web site

I think I may just contact Ryobi and CBS Power Tools to see if they would like to send me these and perhaps some other tools for evaluation and review? Let's face it if you don't ask you don't get!

Sunday 29 July 2018

Wind Damaged Sweetcorn

My plan was to sow more Beetroots before the rain, that didn't happen this morning!

Friday 27 July 2018

Finally Rain !

Well I didn't think we were really going to get any and it has been stop start, stop start and drying out really fast but after two months some wet stuff has finally fallen from the sky. 

There is a chance of more Saturday and Sunday and if that happens I will be cursing as Sunday is my allotment day. 

I know but I want it to rain at night not during the day when I can get on the plot lol

I'm guessing the slugs will be happy and on the move again, and that I will have to sprinkle some environmentally friendly but slug killing pellets of death down on the allotment. 

Hopefully a final sowing of beetroots over this weekend. 

Roundup Weed Killer

I'm not a fan of weed killer but with bind weed and brambles on the new plot, I'm knocking everything back that is escaping the weed membrane that I have over the foliage that was trimmed under.

When you see Roundup Total being sold off at your local supermarket for £2.75 for a Litre bottle then it would be silly not to pick five up for £13.75 which still works out £2 cheaper than the 5 Litre Bottle that has also been reduced from £22 to £15  

I do like to stock up with supplies during the end of season sales. 

The Humble Bread Basket

Over a period of years since I got my allotment I have acquired a number of bread baskets. My local shop was over run with them because the people delivering his bread would not take them away and he gave me the excess he could not store down the alley on the side of his shop. 

Then when the factory estate on the access road to the allotment was being demolished fly tippers left pile after pile of them in the access road and the caretaker for the site wanted them gone, he contacted the name on them and they basically were not interested in recovering them, so again I took advantage of the situation and relived him of a few of them, now I wished I had taken many more.

I cut the sides down and use them to fence off and protect crops from fox cubs who have a knack of playing on my plot and knocking over the sweet corn when they are young. but I found that you need to remove them before the corn gets ripe or the squirrels or rats will use then to stand on and eat your corn.

Cable tied together to create cages for leaf's during Autumn 

Holding down weed membrane against blowing away over winter and this morning...…….

By drilling holes and adding cable ties at the top, but I need to add some string to tie the legs together to stop them spreading apart and …..

I will have saw horsed to support the timber joist on when I paint them with preservative!.

I'm now contemplating as double high double width 8 panel version as an A frame climbing frame for my cucumbers next year! I saw a couple more bread baskets dumped in the access road to the allotment on driving home if they are still there next visit I can see a rescue operation coming on. 

Thursday 26 July 2018

Onion Drying

I was up at silly o'clock this morning so an early morning visit to the allotment to water, erect the onion drying rack extension to the shed, harvested the onions and hung them on said rack. 

All in all a good but very hot couple of hours on the plot this morning, on a day that's so far has been the hottest day of the year at 35C

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Met Office Weather Warning

Please God let it 

Tomato Update

The tomatoes are looking a little shaggy and with the hottest day forecast for Thursday a haircut is in order me thinks. And so a bucket of off cuts later and …..

A bit more space and exposure to the sun and room for air to circulate and for me to get to the row of 11 tomatoes behind those that that you can see in the front.

During the trim I found more red toms than I thought I had 

The Rossella Toms are prolific

As are the Vitorino Tomatoes that have been grown from seeds taken from toms from Tesco, so these could be F1 but they look to be very much like the original tomato the seeds were taken from.

Meanwhile in the Space Saver Greenhouse the Micro Tomatoes are doing incredibly well and I will defiantly be saving seeds and growing next year.

Sunday 22 July 2018

Shed & Joists / Bed Edging

It's another sunny hot sticky 27C day that started off overcast, I watered the crops and then got on with the task of painting the outside of the shed, and fitting in the shelf supports and screwing the shelf on the left hand side into place. There are still wasps going in and out of the crack in the wall despite a number of applications of wasp killer into the entrance, so for the moment the left flank wall of the shed is only half painted. Another application of wasp dust was applied into the crack.  

The wheelie bins that are used for storage of things like the pop bottle slug traps and the wheel barrow have made their way behind the shed which will be their ultimate home. 

My brother-in-Law Keith brought his Ryobi Circular Saw to site and I attacked the pile of timber roof joists and started cutting them to length to form 2.4 x 1.2m beds. 

I managed two cuts with his small battery before it gave up the ghost, being a bit of a Ryobi junkie he had more powerful larger battery that did quite a few cuts before it ran out. So that proved to me that if I want to cut 50mm roof joists then I will need a more powerful battery than the one that came with the kit in a bag with a power supply that he bought. I was suitably impressed with the saw that I will buy one but it has to have the more powerful battery to make it worth while due to cutting 50mm joists with it. 

Gradually things are coming together, the push mower and long handle tools now have a homes and are hanging in the second shed. I need to get the extension to the shed erected so that the onions can be harvested and dried out. So that's my focus for the next visit with an adequate duration of time. 

Saturday 21 July 2018

Timber Joists & Shed Erection

The nice pile of roof joists next to the shed that John kindly helped me to erect this morning came from the building site directly behind my plot and the wall you can see in the background.

I have not sweated so much in my life humping the 4m joist around, but they will be turned into bed edging, now all I need to do is decide if I should buy a Ryobi battery circular saw or not to make my life a little easier ? 

The shed will get painted inside and out when I get time.

There was no rain yesterday and the next rain forecast is the 29th July 

Friday 20 July 2018

Shed Works

Thursday saw the moving of the shed from Spencer Road to Mill Green it took all of an hour and the walls of the shed was stacked up against the boundary wall, the base placed where it's going to be erected and the roof placed on the ground beside the floor. 

I gave Terry a nice drink plus some courgettes and cucumbers for his time and the use of his flatbed.

Friday Morning I spent painting the base and all of the parts that get covered once it is reassembled. To me it makes sense to do this as it's apart anyway, and we have a 25% change of rain later today starting around 5pm if we are really lucky so it should all be dry by then.

More touching up paintwork on the edges Saturday morning and then if I can find a willing body to assist hopefully it will be erected as well. I have also been offered some more timber from the building site and will collect that in the morning as well. 

Bugger I took my eye off the courgettes and they turned into marrows, but three nice sized cucumbers today. 

Looking at the weather update and additional 1% chance of rain taking it to 26% chance between 9-10 pm but rain starting an hour later now at 6pm  

I will believe it when it happens, so far every time we have received a weather warning re rain from the met office bugger all has happened. 

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Shed Base Goes In

As it was overcast this afternoon due to some cloud cover and as a treat to myself I went over to the allotment to continue levelling out the corner where the shed is going so that when I go to collect and bring it to Mill Green it can go straight on the base.

I'm happy with the slope down from shed towards what will be a path that will link up with the central path on Plot 1A. 

So the 3 x 5 white/ light grey slabs will be the shed and the darker grey will go around the shed. There will be a path in front that will line up with the central path from Plot 1A. I plan to have a semi covered storage area behind the shed and will use what slabs I have scattered around to fill in the row behind the shed that currently has two slabs laid the rest will be covered in woodchips 

Monday 16 July 2018

Levelling The Land

The wasp nest got another dose of powder tonight as there are still wasps going in and out of the crack in the wall. But there were so few wasps and plot 1 was in shade as it was around 7:30 when I got there that I managed to uncover the area where the shed is going and I started raking out the heap in the corner, spreading and leveling ready for the slabs for the shed to go in. It's going to take a little time and I am going to have to consolidate once I have it level-ish.  I see a few hours work in front of me here yet.

Large comfrey pipe milk bottle was overflowing so replaced with a new one tonight. 

Harvested a couple of nice cucumbers.   

Scorching Shed Sunday

This Sunday in the morning I wanted to get the area where the shed is going cleared, but there was a little problem, in fact 100s of little problems in the form or wasps that have taken up residence in the crack in the boundary wall where the shed is to be erected.

The other problem was the intense sun, heat and lack of any cloud cover. I tried clearing and cutting up some of the joist but once the sweat started dripping off my head and face and onto my glasses I knew it was time to spend most of my time up on Plot 1A in the shade and not Plot 1 in the sun. 

My last job in the Sun was fitting the tap to the water barrel. I started to fill it only to find that I had made a great job of making the tap water tight but there is a leak in the bottom of the barrel, so that's why it was freecycled !. I'm guessing I can always use it as a potato tower or for growing long carrots. So the tap will come out and go into the other water butt and hopefully that one will not leak. 

The comfrey pipe was re loaded as the weight had dropped again in the two days since the new bottle was installed, the sun and heat is really assisting in comfrey production this year.  

I cut the grass in the back garden yesterday and came to the plot with sacks and buckets of fallen apples and leaf's off the trees, as they are falling early as the trees are thirsty as we have not had any significant rain for weeks. Daleks 2 & 3 were both topped up to the brim again and Dalek 5 the acidic compost received the apples.   

Whilst the obligatory watering at depth took place, I sorted out loads of dross from the shed and amazed myself just how much room there is in there once the build up of rubbish is removed, I also started clearing up the area in the shade until it was time to leave the allotment.

I went home for lunch via the hardware store and bought some wasp killer as they are too near the shed and where I need to work, otherwise I would have left them.

On the agenda for early evening was a visit to Spencer Road with my future son-in-law to take down the shed ready for transporting to Mill Green when I have the base ready and can arrange it with Terry. We stacked the shed in a nice pile to the side of its location and then loaded the 15 paving slabs it had been sitting on into the boot and transported them to Mill Green.

I'm hoping that Terry's car transporter will be able to reverse down to plot 23B which is at the bottom of the access road on the left, If not then Floor, four walls and roof will need to be carried up to the gate. Before dismantling I took the plot numbers off the shed and screwed them to a post at the corner of the plot ready for the next tenant of plot 23B 

Once back at Mill Green the slabs were unloaded and stacked and as the wall was now in shade and the wasps a little less active the entrance to the nest was treated with the white powder of death. 

I have not posted a picture of the beetroot bed in a while, they are coming on and I really must get another bed load sown before this month is done. 

Saturday 14 July 2018

Working On Shed

This morning I went to Spencer Road and was shocked just how the weeds have taken over, I did give them a treatment of weed killer last time I was down there. 

The task for this morning was to remove the shelving from the shed and as many screws as possible ready for my future son-in-law to give me a hand to disassemble it ready for me to arrange pick up and transportation the less than a mile between Spencer Road and Mill Green Allotment.

Most of the screws come out but there are always a couple and it would happen to be the two on the threshold that the heads have rusted away, so options tomorrow are cut the timber and add a new bit for transporting and carrying or take a crow bar and try and leaver out the screws and re fix else where when it is re assembled.

The shelving and other items that are useful were transported in the car from one plot to another so there was no time for watering today. 

Friday 13 July 2018

New Shed Roof

This morning the Corex sheets were stapled to the roof and it was made water tight again so all I need now is some RAIN. The Corex is actually long enough to butt the wall behind the shed providing me with a covered storage area.

Photo taken before I swept up all the cuttings and junk that was swept off the roof. 

I also treated all the bindweed and weeds that are poking their head up on plot 1 with weed killer in between the watering at depth via the pop bottles.  

Thursday 12 July 2018

How Much in 7 Days?

For those of you that wonder how much pure comfrey liquid you get out of a 4ft or 1.2m Comfrey pipe that is 4" or 100mm in diameter in 7 Days it's this much, and it looks like another bucket load of cut up comfrey needs to be stuffed in the pipe to bring the weight outside again.

Showing Vacant Plot

This morning I met with the next person on our waiting list for an Allotment Plot and showed him our last vacant plot. He is as keen as mustard and I will let the Allotment Administrator at idverde know so she can send the paperwork.

Some watering at depth took place and whilst this was happening, the sheets of Corex were sorted out and three nearly new with no damage sheets found within the pile given to me yesterday and these have been slid on the shed roof ready for me to bring the staple gun down and fix on my next visit. 

This means the polycarbonate that I had plans for can now go back to that project. Getting up on a ladder and cleaning off the roof I saw the real damage to the roof and I was staggered how little felt was actually left on the apex of the roof. 

A shallow narrow trench was excavated for the hose pipe as it means I don't have to keep moving it from the corner of the plot to the tank and back again every time I want to water and it will no longer be a trip hazard, I saw a fellow plot holder trip over it this morning and that made me do this earlier than I had anticipated.  

Just the section from the right to the water tank to do before idverde come to cut the grass and muller the hose. 

More Water Butts

Morning visit to ask the contractor if I could have the sheets of corex that they have been using to protect floors and have finished with and I spied in their skip during my evening visit last night. I would not just help myself without asking that's stealing even if it' in a skip.

The contractor said yes and pulled them out for me and I took them to the paved area between the shed and greenhouse and put some soft bricks on them to hold them down. I have a cunning plan for these and I will let you know what that is shortly.  

I watered the plot and my one thing a visit today was to clear the area where the two rubbish bin comfrey and nettle water butts are ready for another.

It's one of the butts that will go on the new greenhouse I filled it up to the tap hole to stop it getting blown off it's stand now all I need to do is find the tap I bought for it. I put it in a safe place and can't remember where that safe place is at the moment