Wednesday 28 April 2021

Sowing Aubergines


I've never grown Aubergine before but assume they will need heat for as long as possible. I'm still a long way off from having the Solar Tunnel bed ready for Aubergines but lets get the plants sown.

15 x Long Purple from Kings Seeds (from a Magazine) 

15 x Black Beauty from Seed Parade 

10 x Green Knight F1 New! variety from Mr Fothergill's

Currently sitting on top of the fridge freeze in the Kitchen in the warmth of the house awaiting germination. Then by time they are ready to be potted up we will be beyond the last frost date for the greenhouse.  

Sunday 25 April 2021

Second Early & Maincrop Spuds

A great morning on the allotment which started a little chilly 7:30 but by 1pm the fleece was off and tied around my waist to keep my lower back warm. I actually caught a sun tan on my face and arms so it looks like its time to start putting on some sun tan lotion.

Mayan Rose - Main Crop - D.T.Brown put into a bed, covered with hoops and debris netting to hold the frost off a little. Excess given to John on plot 10.

New! McCain Shepody - Early Main Crop - Dobies into 30 litre buckets. New! Stemster - Main Crop - Dobies into 30 litre buckets. Covered with the bottom of a bread basket to keep the foxes off and stop them digging.
I learnt that hydrating coir on the plot is a very long drawn out process using a color gas cooker and 1 litre kettle.
New! Sarpo Kifli - Main Crop - D.T.Brown to go into buckets on a future visit once I have hydrated some coir at home and taken to the plot.

I used compost from one of my Daleks up on plot 1A which looked smelt and felt wonderful. Anthea & Bill are dropping me off some great quality compost from their trading hut this afternoon which I will use if I don't have enough of my own compost.

Two green manure beds strimmed one broken up with the claw then covered with weed membrane for the worms to take down into the ground for me. I may move the potatoes in buckets over to that bed to assist in withholding light.
One panel on the plot 1A Greenhouse bodge repaired using bulldog clips until I can find the fixing tool for the plastic strips.
New spuds watered in and raspberries watered again today. Pressure is really low in the system and I can't quite work out why at the moment.

Saturday 24 April 2021

Lets Get Sowing (At Last)

I've been holding off from sowing anything and ignoring my plan as I've had far too much going on at home and I don't have the portable growing stations set up this year. It's been a very cold April and many nights of sub zero temperatures, but now I have removed the two shelves of chitting potatoes to the plot and have some in and other waiting in the greenhouse, I have the space to get sowing. 

wilko Beetroot Cylindra - 25p a pack normally bought in the end of season sale for 10p for 150 seeds. I these are just right for slicing and pickling 4 seeds per cell x 40 cells so 160 seeds good job I have four packs of these seeds. 

With 105 cell planting membrane I will fill just over third of a bed and will sow another trays worth in four weeks time so I have longer harvesting period and less pickling to do all at once.  

Two number 28 cell module trays of Marshalls Tyson F1 Sweetcorn 30 seed per pack at £2.99 each sown. These were a new variety in 2019 when I grew the Marshalls Alliance sweetcorn which were also a new variety that year and grew so well (Read Review here). 

Tyson F1 are a super sweet 20 kernel thick cob circumference variety that are said to be delicious straight from the plant or grilled on a barbecue. I can't say I have ever eaten sweetcorn raw straight from harvesting, now there is something to try this year. 

With lockdown in 2020 I didn't get to grow any sweetcorn so I'm hoping Marshalls Tyson F1 are as good if not better than Alliance, check back in late August early September 2021 to see.

Friday 23 April 2021

Freecycle Find

Freecycle has provided another Allotment gift in the form of a 25m Hozelock wind up hose, which would have made life easier when I cleaned the greenhouse on plot 1A.

Next time I need to source water from that end of the site I now have the means to do so very easily.

Also if I get a blockage in the system I have installed I have a way of bypassing the affected area.

Happy St Georges Day


Tuesday 20 April 2021

Morning Tidying Visit

On the allotment this morning between 8:00 - 10:00 sorting out the timber behind the shed on plot 1 into the same lengths and then cable tie the ends in bundles of six to go up to the timber storage rack on plot 1A.

Decanting square flower buckets of around 110 half paving blocks that I got from freecycle for holding down netting and planting membrane from the bed halfway up plot 1A to around the timber base of the greenhouse. I still have about another 40 blocks to move and they will go on the back face of the plot 1A greenhouse. This way the blocks are tidy and out of the way until I need them on a bed.

I love to see the bluebells making an appearance on the comfrey bed, looks like they are just going to beat the comfrey this year. I must weed that bed before the comfrey starts taking over.

Monday 19 April 2021

Swift Monday Visit

Allotment visit between 7:30 and 10:00 this morning and I noticed that the woodchip pile in the drop off and pick up area is going down so I decided to move a few barrow loads into the corner of the plot ready to go on the paths around the rhubarb and between the Rhubarb and the Raspberries once dug and weeded.

I also topped up the first 3 paths between raspberry beds to line up with the top of the slabs.

I gave half of the slabs on the main path a once over with the WORX Hydroshot to see what difference it would make, and I have to say I'm impressed with the results. Next job for the Hydroshot will be washing down the planting membrane when they come off the beds so that they are nice and clean before going back into storage for Winter.

The table got two coats of teak oil brushed into the top at either end of todays visit.
I watered the Raspberries and the onions as there is no significant rain forecast in the next 10 days.

Sunday 18 April 2021

Cleaning Plot 1A Greenhouse


A good mornings work on the allotment this morning clearing out the Plot1A Greenhouse, removing the debris netting and using the WORX Hydroshot pressure cleaner inside and out.

Plot 1A Greenhouse with everything removed

Plot 1A Greenhouse after the jet wash inside and out and the staging put back in

Sand from the soft bricks used to level the floor and the rubber garden matting installed inside

I have to say the battery lasted a long time, I went over greenhouse inside and out with a wide jet. Then I used the brush and then used a narrow setting in some stubborn areas and still had juice to give it another once over inside and out.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Table Finally Assembled

Thanks to many small metal angle brackets and straps the table that my son-in-law Andy rescued from the dump because he thought it might be useful on my allotment has been reassembled this morning during a very early visit to the allotment for an hour and a half of allotment therapy.

A jet-wash with my battery Worx Hydroshot and a coat or two of teak oil and she will be good to go and water resistant again.

The apple tree is bursting into blossom and make feel happy when you take the time to notice such things.
The plots gets a little better with each visit and I'm loving it! Still a long way to go but I'm enjoying the journey.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Clearing behind Plot 1 Greenhouse

On the allotment by 7:45 after clearing frost on the windscreen of the car to find that the Greenhouse on Plot 1 was covered in frost. temperature inside 1.2C but the water in the hose and the gun had frozen overnight.

I cleared the area behind the Plot 1 greenhouse and woodchipped and laid two of the rubber mats, then leveled everything off with the top of the paving slabs.

I moved the Rhubarb beds, cut the yellow tarp and relocated in the corner of the plot and then started to bring in woodchips so that I have a supply for the paths once I get the weeds extracted as the chips are going way too fast and if I don't get some on my plot now I will end up with dross if anything.

Monday 12 April 2021

Let it Snow!

So glad I didn't get up at 6am to go to the allotment this morning and decided to have an extra hour and a half in bed.

The snow was heavy, it was covering the roofs because they and the top of the cars already had a layer of frost on them from the early hours.

My grass and timber decking in the back garden were covered but the concrete path resisted the settlement of the snow.

By mid morning after the sun came out and by 12 ish there was no sign of the snow of the morning.

Sunday 11 April 2021

Free - Water Butt & Paving Blocks


Up early and out at 7:30 to pick up my latest Freecycle win a "Water Butt" for the plot 1 greenhouse.

Then to the allotment to clear the shed on plot 1 looking for the galvanised nails to re re roof the shed on plot 1A but I must have put them in a safe place, so safe that I can't find the buggers but I did clear a sack load of rubbish in the cleaning process and the cooker is now exposed again in all it's glory and coffee making facilities and kettle boiling services are resumed.

I fixed the automatic vent opener to the greenhouse on Plot 1.

I have installed the water butt to the right of the Plot 1 Greenhouse.

I had just started to clear and weed the area behind the plot 1 Greenhouse. Once the weeds have been removed additional wood chip and two of the rubber matting squares will be installed and the table will be assembled and located in its final position.

Weeds have been removed from the walking onion beds.

Bed cleared and covered with potato planting membrane ready for main crop spuds to be planted next weekend. Now we have more blocks there are additional blocks holding the planting membrane down against the wind.

Planting membrane removed bed raked level and recovered with a pre season black sheet and some blue water pipe hoops. More bricks have been added to this bed later this evening to help better hold the weed membrane in place.

Later this afternoon Kelly and I went to pick up 150 half paving blocks from Ewell to use as weights for holding down nets and planting membrane. Emma turned up at the plot to assist in unloading which we did just before the skies went black and it started to snow!

Saturday 10 April 2021

Water System Extended

Early morning visit from 7:30 - 10:00, emptying six buckets of spent compost on the beds and topping up the two Daleks with grass from the back garden. 

Then I set about finding the hose pipe fitting and lengths of hose and started to piece together the watering system from the corner of plot 1 opposite the tap and dip tank up plot 1 with an outlet every other bed and then along to plot 1A joining onto the existing watering system on plot 1A. 

I had already removed the hose going to the water tank at the plot 1A end of the allotment, as using it had caused so much trouble with the site arse hole. Yep every site has one and at the end of the day it was just easier to source my water from the other end of the plot now I have plots 1 & 1A. I don't have to interact with the numb scull at all.

The hoses are all out in the open at the moment, but the pipes will be lost in the wood chip paths eventually. 

It looks like I may need a few more ends to get the coverage I want around the whole plot, but at least I now have water for the full length of plot 1 and 1A and I'm ready for the growing season.  

Although we are supposed to have a couple of rain showers today I watered the Raspberries, the potatoes in buckets and the onion sets this morning because I can without using the watering cans.

Friday 9 April 2021

Free - Pipe for Hoops?

Freecycle is doing me proud at the moment, I managed to pick up a coil of black pipe that I can use for hoops and netting on the allotment. I may have enough blue pipe, and this black pipe may end up lining my 1.8m x 1.8m Greenhouse frames that are going to become vegetable climbing frames in the corner of the plot. 

Dangerous Hedgehog House



This product went on sale yesterday on Thursday 8th October in Aldi stores. These igloo houses have been the cause of death for many Hedgehogs, Wildlife Warriors are calling for their ban. Hedgehog rescues report that Hedgehogs spines get caught up in the inside where they become stuck and literally starve to death or at least suffer construction injuries. They are poorly made and blow over in the wind. They should be removed from the market. If you want to make a good Hedgehog house check out:

Thursday 8 April 2021

Free Stuff - Rubber Garden Matting

Todays Freecycle find was 11 square metres of outdoor play area rubber garden matting. I was not expecting 9 mats 1m x 1m and two mats that had been cut into path width strips! I emptied the boot to the car and luckily enough they just fitted and I managed to stack them in the boot flat. I unloaded them and took to the plot.

Two number 1m x 1m mats placed in front of the Plot 1A Greenhouse on the paving to flatten out in the sun, if and when we get some.

I have temporally laid the cut sections down as paths between the Raspberries but I'm thinking of pulling the yellow tarp back laying the weed membrane path strips I have made and putting the mats on as a temporary path that will not attract bees and wasps looking for a drink.

Stack of 7 number 1m x 1m outdoor play area rubber garden mats in front of the shed. I could use 4 to make a patio area in front of the shed, or I may use them as paths behind the two sheds. I'm not quite sure yet and have not made my mind up.

Old netting hoops on the left which have a more straight leg as the have taken the form because they have been warmed by the sun and the same length newly cut hoops on the right that need persuading into the desired shape as those on the left.

Longer Diagonal Hoops that will be used in the 1.2m x 1.2m square foot gardening beds with debris netting to keep Mr Fox off the beds. Again installed on a bed just to get their desired profile.

New 25mm diameter sprout cage hoop cut to length and cable tied to one of the originals to help it adopt the desired profile. It will need drilling and additional struts added at a later visit.

It's not modern art just getting the hoops into the profiles we want and help straighten the legs up so they are easier to install into the beds later when they are needed. It also makes it easy for me to see how many sets I have and how many others need completing.

Modern Art from a different perspective 20mm diameter set and a slightly higher 25mm diameter set in the same bed ready for the sun and its heat to do its magic on the legs.

So tempting to use four or six of those mats as a patio area in front of the shed.

What do you think shall I ?