Sunday 31 March 2019

Free Paving Slabs & Hospital Visit

What I didn't say on my post about last Sunday on the plot was that one of the 8 foot long 9 x 2 timbers fell off a saw horse and landed on my lower shin, cutting the skin and bruising my leg. There was some blood that had dried and I showered and washed the wound and it was fine until Wednesday when I put some Savlon Antiseptic Cream around an on the wound as it was getting inflamed. I was informed by the diabetic nurse that diabetics should not use Savlon or iodine on wounds.  

By Thursday my leg was so red and painful that I went to the doctor who prescribed Flucloxacillin and the wound was dressed and as there were no appointment available on Saturday I was told to come back Monday.

Freecycle Gold 

Sunday Moring I went with my future son-in-law who has a van to pick up 32 number 450 x450mm slabs and seven cut slabs. He took the bulk in his van and I took the rest in my car. He laid the slabs on the weed membrane that goes from the edge of the plot up to the shed just to stop the wear and tear on the weed membrane and its somewhere to stack them. 

You may note that he has laid them out battenberg cake style, I just love his OCD tendency 

There are also two piles to the right of the path 

I also managed to get some kerb edgings off Freecycle just a mile down the road from where we picked up the paving slabs. 

Sunday morning the leg flared up again as the photo at the top of this post and was extremely tender so I didn't do any more on the allotment and when I showed SWMBO I was advised not to wait until Monday lunchtime for the nurse appointment and to get up to A&E and she was right it spread real fast and I ended up being pumped fill of more antibiotics to combat the Cellulitis

Here is a photo following the afternoon in A&E and before the cleaned the wound again and re dressed it with bandages from foot to knee  

Looking up Cellulitis on the internet It says "is a common bacterial skin infection and may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch. The redness and swelling often spread rapidly. Cellulitis is usually painful." 

Bloody right its painful and for a type 2 diabetic it can be very dangerous. The hospital doubled the antibiotics prescribed by the doctor that I was taking 4 times a day and gave me another antibiotic to take at double dose three times a day, and I'm back up the hospital Tuesday for more blood test and perhaps more intravenous antibiotics in addition to the medication I have been taking based on a blood test. 

So make sure you clean any wounds you get on the allotment and cover them up, but don't use Savlon Antiseptic Cream especially if your diabetic 

On a nicer note the tulips are all showing on the plot now.

Because of the leg I never got around to burning the last of the rotten timber and Hawthorne and it looks like it may be a fair few weeks until I can kneel down to plant anything and I'm going to have to be so very careful in the future re cuts on the plot. 

Sunday 24 March 2019

Full Day on the Plot

As a carer it does not happen very often that I get a Full Day on the allotment, but my daughters have taken their Mum out to Brighton for a day of pampering, she is having a facial and being made up and shopping so I bought a meal deal from Tesco on the way to the plot and I was working from 9:00 - 6:30

I cut up so much rotten timber that I used up the who charge of the 4Au Ryobi battery on my circular saw for the first time ever. It has to be said there is no way I could have cut up that amount of timber and Hawthorne and kept two incinerators burning for most of the day without it. There was not a lot of smoke once I had the fires going as the wood that was previously cut had been allowed to dry out. 

With the rotting wood gradually disappearing I was able to start laying out the timbers in their approximate locations and moved the bread basket saw horses into the beds. It's very satisfying to see everything starting to come together and finally getting rid of the junk that has been used to hold down the weed membrane.

I managed just before leaving the plot to get some first early potatoes in to 5 Potato Pots and 1 Elho Potato Pot.

As can be seen in the photo the grass paths is quite high and has not been cut yet and now we are in March something really needed to be done so the trusty battery stimmer came out.

I first cleared the long grass from the main footpath to the edge of the plot, which this morning because of the heavy dew on it had made my trainers nice and wet and meant that I had no option but to put on my winter boots.

I strimmed the end of the plot and then the side of the plot. I have concrete kerb stones laying on the edge of the weed membrane. The kerb stones will eventually placed upright which will tidy up the plot and give me a solid edge to stim too, but there is no hurry to get them in quite yet

The biting and annoying insects started coming out as the sun was slowly disappearing behind the trees and it was time to leave before I got bitten to death and it got too dark. 

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Onions In Modules

Onion sets in modules in my Norfolk SpaceSaver Greenhouse this morning when I went to open the door before the sun comes around and the temperature gets too high. Nice to see some growth starting to show, It does not take long for them to realise they are in moist rich compost.

This year one of the new composts I'm trying out is Marshalls GROWERS BLEND Vegetable Growers Compost as it will feed the onions for at least six weeks, which is about how long it will be before I get them in the ground. I'm very impressed with the quality of the compost, it's not full of dross like B&Q Verve and didn't need sieving before use as the structure and texture was so good straight out of the sack. I'm hoping for robust and healthy onions for transplanting after the last frost date. At the moment two 50L sacks Cost £13.98 delivered to your door which is useful if you don't have a car.  

It's good to see the greenhouse gradually start to fill up at this time of year, and I'm looking forward to getting my second greenhouse erected on my new plot to take the overflow from home and to start off my spuds in buckets. 

Monday 18 March 2019

Mushroom Trays

Mushroom Trays - Dimensions (mm) 400 x 300 x 110 are widely used in pack houses, and for transporting fresh produce to supermarkets, wholesalers, restaurants and fast food outlets. These don't tend to get collected and recycled within the industry, they tend to get dumped in the rubbish and hopefully ultimately get recycled.

They are however a great resource for the allotment holder, who can line the bottom with cardboard egg trays from the local café to be used for chitin potatoes.

This year I didn't get the egg trays and I've used seed tray modules for my spuds but have lined the mushroom trays with bubble wrap to protect my spuds from low temperatures whilst in the unheated Norfolk SpaceSaver greenhouse that I've had since 2014.

The Norfolk Space Saver Greenhouse is great when you have restricted space in the garden, however early on in the season when growing space is a premium and you are getting lots of things started, you could really do with a little more space for trays.  

Perhaps of there was a way of getting another shelf in the sloping section at the top of the greenhouse as indicated in the photo above, you could fit another two trays in there?

Thus taking my soldering iron to a few mushroom trays to remove the base and the side panels to let in light to the tray on the bottom, I have a mushroom tray extension system that will give me additional storage space for two additional trays of chitin spuds.

I've picked up another tray from the local pizza shop and will be taking the soldering iron to make another extension to lift up the tray on the right. 

Sunday 17 March 2019

Woodchips Arrive

Finally one of the plot holders "Michelle" has found a reliable source for Woodchips for our allotment she kindly phoned me and told me it had arrived during the week and it look like some of the plot holders have already attacked the pile. The high winds over the last week had moved a few things around the plot and these items were recovered and reinstated where they should be.  

I cleared the wheelie bins and other debris from the back and side of the shed and applied a generous thickness of woodchips before putting the wheelie bins and blue water pipe hoops back. 

I was hoping for some Daffodils to take home for the wife but from the looks of things a large proportion of these have come up blind for some reason?. I'm going to have to find out why and I'm also going to decide of I'm going to leave them in this bed and just mulch over the weed membrane or move the daffs between now and next year. What would you do?


The paths adjacent to beds 12 & 13 have now both had weed membrane and a layer of woodchips applied. The timber for the new beds have been stacked to indicate the size of the beds. I will ultimately pull back the weed membrane and dig and weed these beds and the 600mm path behind indicated by the paving slab, before installing the timber. 

The paving slabs have been moved so that I can work on installing the path from the shed to the path that can be seen on plot 1A. At the moment the ground goes up and down quite a lot and the plan is to flatten it out and lay a bed of woodchips for the slabs to bed onto.

Then I realised that the slabs for the path were still covered in Hawthorne and that I needed to attack the Hawthorne as it need to be burnt by the end of March. We had sunshine and halestones on three occasions during the morning and at 1pm it was time to make my way home via the supermarket to get some shopping for lunch. 

Note to self, don't ever go supermarket shopping on a Sunday again!   

Sunday 10 March 2019

High Winds - Greenhouse Clearance.

The forecast for this Sunday was high winds and locally we did have structural damage to buildings, indeed some of the materials from the building site behind our allotment had made it over the eight foot brick wall and onto our allotment plots, especially the eight foot by four foot sheets of foil covered insulation.

One Daff has flowered and others are on their way, but they are much shorter than I was hoping for, perhaps next week there will be enough to bring a bunch home for my good lady wife. 

Due to the rain in the morning I didn't get down to the allotment until 9:15am and I came away about 12:40pm when the hailstones started. In between I cleared two sack loads of rubbish that had been accumulating in the greenhouse and actually got to the point where I could see the floor of the greenhouse! 

I manged to create a load of milk bottle soft bricks with the sand that had dried off in the greenhouse and to empty the sand from a number of old split milk bottles that had gone brittle and degraded in the sunlight into the now empty drying tins and containers.  

I have three sacks of sand in the greenhouse which need drying out and a number of square flower buckets with empty milk bottles ready for filling so that I have the smooth bricks ready to hold down the planting weed membrane and blank sheets that will be required for the new beds.

Saturday 9 March 2019

Quad Biking

Time again for my Birthday / Fathers Day treat, the annual trip down to TRUE GRIP OFF ROAD and to go play in the quarry, the wind swept hill sides with fantastic views over the great British landscape and then into the woods and tracks that because of the time of year had some really deep puddles to navigate. A tree blocked the path in the woods and we made a new path around the obstruction as there was no way of moving the tree out of he way.  

My Railway PPE had been sitting in the shed doing nothing for far too long and I guessed it was going to be a little muddy, so I decided that I would give it an outing today. We followed Paul around the course and I picked up the rear spot as I like to keep an eye on the girls and for some reason Paul found it easy to spot me, I can't understand why can you? 

A big Thank you to Paul 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

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Funny Nature

 For a moment there I thought 

my wife had turned into a Tree !

Monday 4 March 2019

Onion Sets

I took a trip into the local pound shop & Wilko and picked up the Onion Sets, Red Baron, Silver Moon & Setton and when my free sample of Grower's Blend Vegetable Growing Compost arrives from Marshalls I will be getting the sets off to an early start by planting them in modules indoors and then placing them out in the greenhouse, as the ground is still too cold and wet to plant them outside directly in the ground and there is still talk of snow between now and mid April after the last frost. They should root well in the modules and be ready to be transplanted once the soil has warmed up, giving them a longer growing season, and less time in the soil on the allotment so hopefully less chance of them being attacked by white rot.

I only grew a 100 bulbs last year and we ran out just before Christmas so hopefully an additional 50 bulbs will mean we have onions for much longer in 2019/2020  

Sunday 3 March 2019

Planning and Reviewing March in Previous Years

It's raining and no allotment for me today so lets review the diary over the last six years for March 

2013 - Infrastructure works, picked up 17 paving slabs off Freecycle, met my plot neighbour for the first time, finally after clearing I started on digging and weeding, Comfrey roots purchased and grown in toilet rolls.   
2014Infrastructure works continue, Erected the green house on plot 1A, lighter nights and a few extended lunch time visits from work and early evening visits, Spuds sown and solar tents to warm up the soil on beds. Sowing seeds and a hard frost at the end of March 

2015 -  Infrastructure Works, the very last two beds and paths on Plot 1A were formed, Greenhouse clearance ready for using, Collecting and drying Coffee Grounds, Grass cuttings and composting starts, Spuds in buckets and sowing mad March.  

2016 - Infrastructure works on Spencer Road Plot 23B, Comfrey beds dug and weeded, Daleks Composting compound started, Lots of Paving Slabs off Freecycle, First two beds weeded and formed, Timber scrounged from roofing works, Spuds planted, Tomatoes sown.

2017 - Infrastructure works, Grow Stations created, walking Onions Bed and Comfrey pipe for Plot 23B, seeds sown and Grow house at home full, Onions and Beetroots sown on allotment.

2018 - The Beast from the East and snow early March this year, Infrastructure works, Woodchipped the paths on plot 1A, Catawissa Walking Onion Bed installed,  Catawissa Onion Planting Membrane made, Sowing in Grow Stations from the 9th March, Onions and Beetroots sown on allotment, The Agralan Compact Plug Plant Trainer purchased and used for the first time, Raspberries purchased and planted, Soilfixer over Winter Experiment concludes, Sprout Sowing, Mr Fothergill's Optigrow®  Leeks Experiment.   

Planned for 2019 

was very wet, so I'm still playing catch up with a lot of items that were scheduled to happen last month. So if the weather permits I have to undertake more Infrastructure works, and removing and burning the Hawthorne, and getting ready for the growing season.

To Do List

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in February and what has slipped. 

Mill Green - Plot 1

  • As much infrastructure works as the weather will allow 
  • Water Butts - Fix taps 
  • Guttering to Shed - TBD
  • Extension to shed - rear - built minor modification required   
  • Cut Roof Joists to bed sizes - Nearly all done 
  • Paint Joist cut to bed sizes - Ongoing nearing the end thank God !
  • Lay the paving for the greenhouse - TBD 
  • Erect the greenhouse - Timbers Cut for base need to be treated  
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing and looking better all the time
  • Remove Hawthorne bushes from the wall - Last push this month as no Fires next month!
  • Install Kerb Edging all around the plot - TBD
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Ongoing
  • Bury the Hose pipe to the Water Butt before the grass path is cut - TBD This Month

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Weeding - Never ending job   
  • Clear the greenhouse - To Be Done 
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - clearance of weeds in current location and move when ready
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing and looking better all the time 
  • Clear area behind the Greenhouse - TBD
  • Clear Seating Area - TBD
  • Plant Raspberries - Awaiting Collection from fellow plot holders
  • Planning
  • Catalogue Seeds 
  • Purchase vent opener for new greenhouse.- This Month
Sowing & Planting Plan


Infrastructure works on Mill Green Allotment Plot 1
Greenhouse on Mill Green Plot 1 to be erected
Apple - prune trees - Last chance if I still have not managed it.
Week 1
Asparagus - sow seeds inside
Week 1
Week 1
Week 1 - 2
Spring Onions - start to sow fortnightly - Feast F1
Brussel Sprouts - First sowing  Breast F1  
Week 1 - 2
Week 1 - 2
Week 1
Squash / pumpkins - prepare soil
Week 2
Week 2
Lettice - sow fortnightly
Radish  - French Breakfast 3 
Week 2
Week 2
Week 2 -3
Spring Onions - start to sow fortnightly - Ishikura
Week 3
Week 3
Peppers - Sow Summer Salad Mix
Week 3
Week 3
Brussel Sprouts - 2nd sowing Breast F1  
Cabbage (summer) - sow outdoors
Week 3
Week 3
Spring Onions - start to sow fortnightly - Arrow
Week 4
Week 4
Week 4
Week 4
Week 4
Week 4