Sunday 28 April 2019

Potatoes, Onions & Help!

I love my family, my eldest daughter Emma and future son-in-law Andy came in the afternoon to help me on the allotment as I have to be very careful not to injure my leg which is still red and inflamed but thankfully is not as raw and painful as it was. They know I could not get down on my knees to plant onions or deal with the spuds.  Andy did a great job of weeding the beds along the paths between plot 1A and plot 2 and between the Daleks 

Dad & Daughter bonding time, Andy is not in the photo as he had gone home as they had someone coming to their property at 4:00 but Emma and I stayed to complete the second bed of spuds. 

I visited the allotment early in the morning on my own and topped up one of the Daleks. The photo on the left is how much the compost had dropped in a week with the topping layer being cut cardboard. It was good to see a number of worms on the top doing their thing. The middle photo is a bucket of kitchen scraps and flowers which was watered in and a layer of coffee grounds was added. The right hand photo is another topping layer of shredded paper. Each layer was watered in and made a nice damp environment for the worms and bacteria to do these thing.    

I managed to clear the onion bed and lay the onion weed membrane that I finished making Saturday night. Then it was up to the hospital for a blood test, as I have an appointment Monday and it saves waiting 2-3 hours for the result to come back and see the doctor again.

In the afternoon with Emma's help Beds 5 & 6 planted up with Rooster and Desire potatoes, I still have two trays of other varieties of spuds to go in but that will have to be work for next weekend and again Emma & Andy have offered to help me.  

I topped up the first early spuds in buckets and placed the fireguard and dog cage mesh panel around them to put off the foxes from digging them out in search or worms to eat. 

Emma did a great job of putting in the onions in Bed 12 making sure that the stems which had been growing towards the light in the Space Saver Greenhouse at home were facing away from the sun so they will be encouraged to stand upright now they are out of the modules and in the ground. Note to self I need to pop down before next weekend and get hoops and netting over the onions ASAP

 Emma put the overspill onions into bed 14 that Andy had cleared of weeds 

Emma watering the apple, plum and pear trees in pots which will eventually go on Plot 1 along the wall 

The raspberries have really come back quickly but there is some bind weed in there that I need to deal with next visit, the comfrey pipes also need clearing from last year ready for filling with this years crop of comfrey  

The comfrey in a matter of a week is now dwarfing the bluebells that have been giving me a splash of colour and providing the bees with some food. We now have two bee keepers on the allotment site one at either end.  

We worked from 1pm to 5pm and managed to get a lot done and I'm hopeful that now the Space Saver Greenhouse at home is empty I can get some more seeds sown and hopefully get back on track and play catch up.

John of plot 10 has grown me some cucumbers that will be ready to go out in a few weeks and Pauline my sister-in-law has given me some excess brassicas she had that will now go in next weekend. 

Friday 26 April 2019

Allotment Security Is Slacking

My niece Kirsty and sister in law Pauline visited their plot yesterday which is on the same site and sent me a photo of my security guard on my plot laying down on the job with the title "Allotment security is slacking" He is laying on the timbers that slid off the bread basket saw horses and damaged my leg bless him. And it is set up in what will ultimately be a bed I guess.

The did put him back on duty when they left but left him in a more relaxed pose ;)

Meanwhile back at the ranch and at my wife's suggestion I set up a scaffold boards between two tables in the lounge, got the trusty soldering iron out and spent a couple of hours of cutting/ welding weed membrane sheets off the 2m wide roll into 2.4m x 1.2m Bed sheets and 2.4m x 800 path sheets.

Next will be setting out the hole pattern for burning out and welding the holes for 3 x 3 row potato and 3 x onion planting membrane bed sheets.

Thursday 25 April 2019

Alliance Sweetcorn - New from Marshalls

Historically I have grown Lark and Swift sweetcorn, this year I'm giving the New Marshalls Alliance F1 Hybrid seeds a go. The Packs are £2.79 for 40x Sweetcorn Seeds and the write up from Marshalls says that this New variety is particularly hardy to varying weather conditions and temperature changes that we now experience in a typical UK Summer, and that every cob fills completely with juicy kernels from the base to the tip. 

Last year due to the weather myself and other plot holders found that our sweetcorn didn't grow as tall as in previous years, so it's going to be interesting to see how Marshalls New Alliance F1 Sweetcorn compares with Lark & Swift for taste and kernel coverage. 

For those too lazy to buy and grow from seed Marshalls Sweetcorn Alliance Plants can be purchased for £6.99 for a pack of 16 x plants and buy 2 or more and the packs reduce to £5.99

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Spear and Jackson Razorsharp

I've seen this set on the internet selling for £24.99 Tesco at the moment £10 It just had to be done

Spear and Jackson Razorsharp
Anvil Secateur and Bypass Secateur Twin Set


Anvil action minimises stem twisting on woody stems
Bypass action minimises stem bruising on green stems
High carbon steel blades for lasting sharpness
PTFE coated upper blades for rust resistance and smooth cutting
Hard chromed lower blades for rust resistance
Ergonomic soft feel handles for increased comfort
Adjustable cutting width
15mm Maximum cutting diameter

Monday 22 April 2019

Making More Compost

The weather has been great, but with the leg still not 100% I keep being warned not to do too much and not to knock or injure my leg again by the wife and kids. My youngest daughter cut my grass yesterday and I was only allowed to empty the lawn mower and not strim incase something hit my leg, but they could not complain about me taking my grass cuttings and picking up my sisters grass cuttings and taking them down to the allotment to feed my Daleks today. 

These two Daleks were filled to the brim time and time again last year and today they have been filled with alternative layers of grass, shredded paper, dried coffee grounds and each layer has been watered in. The  final layer was a food bucket of cardboard from Christmas that has been cut into strips and then into squares. 

The potatoes in buckets are showing and will need topping up next weekend. The tulips have dried up and most of the flowers have gone but they were beautiful whilst they lasted and I may ultimately transplant them around the edge of the plot in a margin. 

The two Raspberries that I bought a few weeks ago before I had my injury to the leg were soaked in water and planted in buckets, they have two chances they will grow or they will die if they aren't already dead, but the roots looked good and I gave them half normal compost and half of the acidic apple compost that I have been making for the last couple of years. 

A dash around the paths with some weed killer as I don't have the time to deal with the weeds at the moment by just digging them out and that was it for todays visit which lasted a couple of hours in the midday sun which quite frankly was long enough on my feet after yesterday and our walk in Bedding park after a great Sunday Easter roast dinner.


That Fin loves his Grandad but he has a soft spot for his Nan-nan who now has an awsome mobility scooter and gives rides to little lads.

He also found out that the scooter has a red horn button and knows what to press to make it work! 

Popped into Lidl for the cordless soldering iron but they didn't have any, but I did pick up a florabest folding tree saw £4.99 and a florabest Ratchet Secateurs £3.99 that according to the blurb are Power-enhancing 4-stage ratchet system for cutting green wood up to 20mm dia. so ideal for the apple tree and for the rest or the Hawthone on the allotment.   

I'm a little sick of using the cheap supermarket secateurs that the nut gradually unscrews as you use them or the locking mechanism screw unscrews and becomes loose as you use them, they are cheap but they are nasty and don't really last or stay sharp very long, their only saving grace is that I usually buy them when discounted at the end of season sale.

Thursday 18 April 2019

New Security Guard

So as you know I have not spent a lot of time on the plot since my little accident, however my leg is healing up nicely and the infection appears to be getting better slowly 

As I have not been down on the plot as often I need someone to keep an eye on things for me so I have a new security guard on duty day and night on the plot.

Another Freecycle win and I think he is going to be a real asset on the plot.

I sat him on the passengers seat of the car and put the seat belt around him, and I did get a few looks as I drove from where I collected him to drop him off at the allotment.  

Sunday 14 April 2019

More Freecycle Treasure

The leg is gradually getting better, but it's still not good enough to risk working on the allotment at the moment, and I still need to elevate it to aid in the healing process. 

As a result I didn't visit the plot to work on it this Sunday morning, but then I manage to win a load of polycarbonate offcuts on Freecycle!. 

The two largest are 1.5m x 0.6m and still have their protective plastic on. I can use one for making a canopy and covered in area cold frame porch area to the front of the shed and the small strips can be used to construct a few cloches. 

I picked them up and dropped them off at the plot in the evening and then it was back on the settee with the leg up on the poof. 

I'm really hoping my bloods are normal and the infection is gone on the 24th when I go back a AEU for a review, I need to catch up down the plot.  

Sunday 7 April 2019

Blackwall Tumbler Aerobic Compost Maker

I may not be able to dig and need to let my leg heal before getting back on the plot at the moment, but I can keep a watchful eye on Freecycle for things that may be useful.

A Blackwall Products Tumbler Aerobic Compost Maker came up and I was lucky enough to get it. I sent my Daughter and her partner to pick it up for me in their van and they delivered to the allotment which meant I was allowed to visit my allotment to let them in so they could deposit the tumbler on the plot. I was not allowed to carry it encase I hit my leg!

I have read a lot about tumblers and have always fancied having a play but it appears from Which Magazine Research that an ordinary cheap compost bin makes compost quicker.

So why you may ask did I go after the tumbler? Well my plan is to use it exclusively for drying out and composting weeds. I have tried drowning them and that is way to stinky and messy so I thought I would give this a go. They will be off the ground and can bake away nicely in the tumbler perhaps even making it into a conventional Dalek once dried to a crisp.  

The instruction label on the Tumbler is very weather warn and faint and I could not read it so I took a photo and here is what it says:- 

Tumbler Hints 

1. To load the Tumbler, steady the frame with one foot and the barrel with your knee and unscrew the lid. 

2 Load the Tumbler and turn to mix the ingredients. Make your first load as large as possible it holds up to 8 cubic feet. 

3 Leave in the upright position for 3 days after the first load, to allow compost temperature to increase.  

4. after the third day turn the tumbler once each day (At least one or two complete revolutions ) The tumbler will produce compost within 3 weeks. 

5. To empty the Tumbler place a plastic sheet underneath, remove the lid and turn the Tumbler to empty your compost on to the sheet. The Tumbler is ready work again.

Good Composting 

1. make sure you have a good mixture of organic materials. e.g. vegetable peelings , grass cuttings, garden weeds, dead flowers, tea leaves etc. 

2 Materials can be added to the Tumbler during each cycle, but leave at least 10 days free from addition before emptying. In the summer grass cuttings can be added each week with a good mix compost will be produced every 3 weeks.  

3 Keep your materials chapped small to help decomposition. Use an activator to start the process (Available from your garden shop) 

4 Shake your weeds and plants to remove most of the soil from the roots, soil will reduce temperature increase.

My aim is not to make compost in this fast but to use more weeds as I don't compost weeds at the moment as much as I should  

It was nice to see the splash of colour & flowers 

Discretion Is The Better Part of Valour.

Update on the leg since the last post goes a little like this, after the cannular plumbing was installed in my hand I went for an IV of Ceftriaxone from Tuesday through to Thursday, and on Thursday my body reacted to the IV and I came out with a red itchy rash all over! 

That put a stop to having any more IV treatment, it had however helped with killing off the bacteria that was feasting in the sugars in my skin and the inflammation had dramatically reduced. 

The bruise and swelling associated with the impact damage of the 2.4m or 8ft length of 225x50mm or 9"x2" timber is now much more visible. So the plan is now a course of Clindamycin capsules four times a day and something the itchy allergic reaction to the IV.

A blood test on Tuesday as if you have it on the day its at least a 2hour waiting for the results to come back and an appointment back at the hospital on Wednesday morning to review the situation. 

Today Sunday I have soreness around the ankle but no more heat and I can actually touch the leg without going through the roof. I had arranged for assistance this Sunday to erect the 2nd greenhouse but Discretion Being The Better Part of Valour, I have cancelled it as the last thing I need to do is knock, scrape or damage the leg again at the moment. 

I hate that I'm falling behind on my plan but now that the cannular is out of my hand I can at least get some seeds going  

The onions are doing really well in the SpaceSaver greenhouse, and they need rotating 180 degrees to they straighten up a little, but I'm hoping they will slow down a little as It's going to be a while until I can get down on the ground to plant them on the plot. I may have to rope in my eldest daughter who uses most of the onions to assist me.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Gardening Can be Dangerous!

Update on the Allotment injury, so as directed I have been taking the additional antibiotics and went to the hospital today to see what needs to happen next. 

The red swelling has gone beyond the line drawn Sunday, due to gravity I'm informed and the bottom by the ankle and side is extremely tender and sore. The doctor was not impressed with how the fast the medication is taking to deal with the situation, so the answer was...... 

Antibiotics by IV for the next three days and then review to see if I need more. As Sunday they had a great time trying to actually get the needle in me again. 

But this time the plumbing is left in and I get to take it home with me and keep it until the course of IV is at an end, which will save time and numerous wadds of dressing over failed attempts and brusing up both hands and arms.

I have been warned that now this has happened to me I have to be extra careful of small cuts and insect bites in the future, as I'm likely to flair up again, Oh joy of joys!

It has been suggested by my Cuz Jackie that I take up knitting, I have pointed out that I would likely stab myself with a needle.