Wednesday 31 July 2019

Ban on Metaldehyde Slug Pellets Overturned

A High Court order has overturned the decision to ban metaldehyde slug pellet products, with immediate effect.

The High Court has approved an order, agreed this week by the company that challenged the legality of the ban, that formally overturns the December 2018 Defra ruling to withdraw all products containing metaldehyde, with immediate effect.

Source Farmers Guardian 

Friday 26 July 2019

The Other End Of The Seesaw

Well here we go again from one extreme to the other again and warnings of possible flooding. I was hoping to get some time in on the allotment over the weekend, it does not look like that's likely to happen this weekend, and the Garden BBQ for my daughters Birthday looks doubtful.  

Saturday 27th July 2019

Issued: 05:25 (UTC+1) on Sat 27 Jul 2019

Further details

An area of heavy rain which has developed overnight has become slow moving across this area. 10-20mm of rain has fallen over the past few hours, with a further 10-15, locally 20mm expected over the next 2-3 hours. This has the potential to cause some localised travel disruption and make driving conditions difficult this morning.

Sunday 28th July 2019 

Monday 22 July 2019

Extreme Weather

Here we go again it's either a months rain in a day that floods the allotments or high temperatures that make working in the sun unbearable and increases the need for visits and watering. I'm just going to have to visit every other day to keep a close eye on things, and water the plants. 

Sunday 21 July 2019

Sunday Visits Resume

After a few weeks of bad weather an injury to my leg last weekend, I managed to get down to the allotment for a few hours Sunday afternoon. It's a little disheartening to see the bind weed covering the rhubarb and the weeds in the footpaths and bed but I had some harvesting to get done, there was no time for weeding!

The view above is the corner of the plot after I had strimmed the edges as idverde finally came and cut the grass but made a shite job of strimming the edges, they left two clumps along the bottom that I had to remove. My little battery strimmer did a better job than they did with their professional petrol equipment. I need to get the kurb edgings installed as it will give them and me an edge to trim too. 


The onions were harvested from the full bed there were a few that were starting to show sign of white rot attack and they didn't end up on the rack they have been taken home to be sliced and frozen for adding to stews etc.  The overflow bed of whites have not really grown much larger than the sets so I have left them in place for the moment. 

Next on the agenda for the day was to harvest my first early spuds from the buckets 

It's satisfying to brush the compost away and reveal the spuds 

Had I been growing in the back garden then I could have lifted and harvest the spuds from the inner liner of the Echo Green Basic Potato Pot 330cm. I like this over the others I have  as there is nowhere for snails and slugs to lurk like they do in the curved strengthening ribs of the ones in the other photos of spuds in buckets.   

Again it's nice to see the spuds tight against the sides of the buckets 

Not the best results I have had from six buckets of first early potatoes but they do look nice and tasty and will go down nice with a salad. My daughter Emma likes the very little ones so I will let her have them. 

The sweet corn is really taking off and looking good. All six butternut squash plants are looking healthy, the 2nd early spuds have flowered and fruited and it will not be too long before they need to be dug up. The cucumbers are climbing the framework and are at the top and I can see small cucumber growing. I need to extend the netting on the gherkins and the Kiwano.

The foxes have been having a great time digging out the woodchips along the paths. There is a wasp nest in the greenhouse that needs clearing at some point in the future.  

I managed to straighten up the pear tree that the fox had dug up and pushed over, and then it was time to go home to my good lady wife having accomplished at least a little today 

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Grass, Freebies and Update

On Saturday morning I responded to an offer on Freecycle for Approximately 30 metres of 25 mm diameter and 5 metres of 30 mm Blue MDPE underground cold water pipe. Saturday lunch time I fell over and hurt my leg again see post It's One Of Those Years!    

After four days of having my leg up and iced and now being able to hobble along without too much pain I went to collect the blue water pipe from Garry who had kindly agreed to hold it for me after I explained my predicament after falling over the kerb. Bless him he had even rolled it up nice and tight so it went into the car easily. 

I noticed that idverde had been to strim the blind bend corner tee junction that we have to turn into to get to the allotment and though smashing that means they must have finally after 3 months cut the grass they were supposed to be cutting monthly.

No such luck as you can see we have grass going to seed which is something we never had when the council used to be responsible for maintaining the paths on the allotments. Last year cutting the grass on a regular basis was the only thing idverde actually manged to do. 

I made a complaint about the grass some weeks ago and I have heard that other sites are finally getting cut so hopefully they will come back and run the sit on lawn mower up and down the path, ot takes then 10 minutes and they could have done that why the guy was strimming the bank on the blind corner at the entrance. But I guess joint up thinking as saving money is something idverde are just no good at. 

The foxes have been having a field day digging out the woodchips and covering the paving on the plot. 

The sweet corn and thickening up but still are short compared with previous years. The marrows are looking healthy and there are flowers. 

 All six butternut squash plants are looking healthy in the bed in the back ground and the Gherkins and Kiwano are looking healthy and the pumpkin has flowers on it. I'm just hoping we have enough summer left to get fruit. 

Marketmore and Burpless cucumbers on the sides seem to have stalled or have been eaten by slugs where as the ones on the front from John are growing nicely up the framework and have flowers on, again I just hope there is sufficient time to get a harvest  

First Early spud are done and need harvesting this weekend 

And looking at it so do the second batch of first early spuds grown in buckets. 

  Looks like the fox has pushed over the pear tree when digging and looking for worms and I need to re pot this tree when I visit on the weekend. Hopefully I will be more mobile by then but I'm going to have to take things slow and put in a few coffee breaks. 

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Flying Ants

The light blue currently showing up on radars isn't rain, but instead swarms of flying ants!

I saw a swarm of these taking off from the allotment last Saturday, always after a long dry and warm period. 

Sunday 14 July 2019

It's One Of Those Years

Following my cellulitis and the delay it caused me with regards getting everything ready and in the ground, I was looking forward to getting down on the allotment to play catch up this weekend when I tripped over the kerb margin around the petrol pump and as I went forward I felt the muscles in my calf, the back of my knee and thigh rip & burn and go twang! 

A pain shot up into my buttock as I launched forward and managed to somehow glide and then gain support off the bonnet of the car on the other side of the pump which was to the owners and my surprise!.

After hobbling into the station to pay for the petrol and getting home my calf was nearly twice the size it should have been and there was a lot of pain! 

Needless to say I was not unhappy on Sunday when it rained in the morning as I could not hardly walk and could not have gone to the plot anyway. I found a crutch my sister had donated to our growing medical equipment store from when she did a similar thing on holiday a couple of years ago to help me get around and reduce the pain for a couple of days .

The Doctor says ice packs and anti inflammatory tablets over the next 10 - 15 working days are going to help apparently. I do hope so as I have my son in laws stag do to attend and we are on these bad boys soon.

Saturday 6 July 2019

77L Shallow Long-Life Propagation Tray

If you follow my blog then you will have read on the post Heavy Duty Plastic Tray Modules, that I have been looking for alternatives to the weak plastic tray modules that I have been using and that I have to replace on a regular basis in order to reduce the amount of non recyclable plastic I use, and I found a company called CMH Containerwise Materials Handling who make heavy duty robust plastic modules that will last at least 10 years and they have customers still using their products 15 years or more after purchase.

The tray above is their 77L Shallow Long-Life Propagation Tray it has 7 rows of 11 cells that are 30mm x 30mm and the tray depth is 50mm and for me as I have a Norfolk Space Saver Greenhouse it's important that the module is 350mm x 215mm or a normal tray size and will fit inside a standard tray.     

Originally I only bought one of this tray size, but having now received all my trays from CMH and thinking a little more about how I want to grow next year, I have purchased a few more.   

As hopefully you can see from the photographs above these trays are engineered and made to last and as I have had a Beetroot crop failure this year either because this year I sowed directly or the quality of the seed, the slugs and snail or the extreme weather we have had I'm reverting to starting the beets off in modules. Historically I sowed into vending machine cups but I'm using these modules to start off plug plants that I can move up to bigger containers or perhaps just sow directly.  

As you can see the module is a snug fit in the standard tray 

And here it is once watered in and placed in the Norfolk Space Saver Greenhouse seed tray racking system.

If you visit CMH Containerwise Materials Handling and make an enquiry then please do tell them where you heard about them, this gives them and myself some ideal of how many people are visiting their web site as a result of my article. I have not been paid to write these articles about their company and I'm not on commission. I have to say I'm quite honoured to be listed with Charles Dowding and Huw Richards 

Hopefully I may get discount on future purchases if enough of you find them via my blog, but if the modules last as long as I think they are going to, I don't think I will be buying too many more of their trays. That being said I have got another half plot now and an additional greenhouse that is half constructed so who knows what next year might bring.  

As I will have a number of this type of tray I will be making an extraction tool to remove the plug plants easily and that will be a subject of a future post on the blog.  

Thursday 4 July 2019

Watering Visit

I popped in to the allotment on my way back from the doctors to water between 5pm - 6pm. 

The sun was still on both plots and the temperature was between 25C - 26C and only the area in front to the wall as you walk onto plot 1 was in shade, so I started pruning back the Hawthorne whilst leaving the watering system on the plum tree and two of the potato beds.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Wednesday Night Visit

The potatoes in buckets have not done well in the sun despite being watered on Saturday and Sunday. I've gave them another deep watering and hopefully they will buck up but I need to come at least every other day to water these as they are not buried in the soil for the roots to search out additional water.

It's been well over two months since idverde have been to cut the grass on the maim path, plot holders are starting to complain so I've emailed them about it.

I can understand the plot holders getting upset especially when they take the time to strim there paths between plots. The plot on the right has been given a non cultivation notice and has 11 more days to run before it becomes a termination notice and they get another 28 days to remove anything of value, which on this plot is the 3 trees she planted two years ago. 

What you can't see is the the half plot behind this one is so well cultivated but he has all this lot going to seed next door.