Sunday 29 May 2022

Frog at a bar waiting for a beer ..


A frog at a bar waiting for a beer ... well that what it looks like according to my son-in-law who took the photo, and chased and finally caught and relocated said frog away from the bed we were working on. near a water source.

Emma and Andy came over for a Sunday Roast and then Andy and I went to the allotment whilst Emma kept the wife company.

Cabbages covered with black hoops cut a couple of days ago and new 2m wide mesh donated by Emma & Andy as they never got around to using it in their garden. This will do to protect the plants from cabbage whites until my 3m Mesh arrives and I can put the larger hoop cage over. 

These 600mm radius hoops will be ideal for protecting the beetroots and other vegetables that don't get very tall from the birds and squirrels. 

Heath Robinson cover using two pieces of debris netting on the brassica to protect them against cabbage whites until the 3m wide roll of debris netting arrives. There a a few gaps in the runner beans and I will sow in the gaps next visit. 

Small apples already forming on the apple trees. 

View from the back of Greenhouse 1, looking up towards Greenhouse 1A and Andy cleared the path of weeds on front of the Weed Feed & Comfrey Feed water butts and laid a new woodchip path.

Andy weeded and cleared the end of the path and then placed and tamped the woodchip path in place. Red Grape working its way up and left and right along the wires. Some bind weed in the grapevine bed needs to be dug out on a future visit.

From the looks of things I need to make a couple of 105 hole planting sheets in addition to a couple of 4ft x 4ft winter cover sheets for the Square Foot Gardening beds. 

The remaining three brassica beds need clearing or debris and weeds. 

When I went shopping at Lidl, I had to treat myself to a set of these brushes for washing the Quadgrows, Heavy Duty plastic modules, seed trays and vending machine cups on the plot. I had already bought a set for use at home. 

Saturday 28 May 2022

HD Spring Clamps & Debris Netting

The additional Spring Clamps to fix the Debris netting to the hoops arrived today and I have ordered some more 3m wide debris netting for the higher hoops I now have for the Brassicas. 

Friday 27 May 2022

Cutting Hoops for Debris Netting.

Late afternoon a visit to drop off kitchen scraps to the Dalek and to cut up black tube into 2.3m lengths to give 600mm diameter hoops for the 2m wide Debris netting given to me by Emma & Andy. A little watering in the greenhouse and on the plot some training of the red grapevine. An evening visit to take the brassicas and other plants to the plot to harden off ready for planting on Sunday afternoon now I have some debris netting and hoops.

Watered and trained the Red Grapevine along the wires.

Having brought a 50m x 2m roll of debris netting with me I measured 2.3m length of black pipe which will produce a 600mm radius low hoop frame to cover produce in the beds and protect them from the birds, squirrels and foxes. I placed the first four on the bed that already had holes in the ground from larger hoops.

The next four I stood up in one of the next beds.

I could not find the rebar I normally use to make the pilot holes, so the remaining three beds worth of 600mm radius hoops I just placed over the potatoes in buckets to warm up and take the profile and so that the sprinkler could wash off the hoops as the pipes have been stored behind my shed for a couple of years waiting for me to get around to cutting them, now I have the additional half plot and beds to play with.

So a total of 5 beds worth of shallow 600mm high hoops to cover beds, I've ordered a load more clips to hold the netting down.

Home for evening meal and then back to the allotment with tray loads of brassica plants and aubergines which I have stored safe from the cabbage whites under the netting in Square foot gardening Bed 1.

Cucumbers looking in good health and spring onions looking good and happier in the square foot gardening bed.

Monday 23 May 2022

More Sweetcorn sown


40 more Marshalls Moonshine F1 sweetcorn sown as the germination rate of the first pack was so diabolical. This time I've used one module rather than four larger modules. This will stay in the house for the next 7-14 Days.

In hindsight I should have perhaps germinated the sweetcorn on damp kitchen paper before sowing, lets just hope for a better germination rate.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Sunday Afternoon Visit


Kelly got back early from her weekend away, and suggested I get in a couple of hors down the allotment this afternoon. I started by weeding the mares tail from the path next to the last Raspberry bed, I also extracted half and dozen Raspberry canes, and donated them to one of the new allotment holders on the plot.

It was very sunny and warm, so once I managed to clear the path for the length of the bed I decided to move to the walking onion bed as it has a little shade.

I tied up the apple tree branch that was touching the ground because of the weight of the apples already on it, and had bind weed growing up it. The bind weed was choking some of the walking onions that had self seeded, these were cleared and some needed to be replanted. 

SGB Bed 1 watered spring onions not quite recovered from being transplanting yet. 

Collecting up and cutting Blue Water Pipes to length for the the Brassica Beds. One high sprout hoop assembled another 3 to be assembled,  and four more hoops made for the bed in front of the plot 1A greenhouse. I do have some black water pipe and I may do some 600mm diameter radius small hoops for the beds on the right of the main path to keep the birds and cats off.

I collected and many plastic lateral braces and ties that I use in building the hoop frames structures and where they had become deformed I've laid them on the framing to the beds and used the spring clamps to hold them straight in both directions so that the sun can heat them and re educate them into a straight profile along their length. 

Later in the evening I ended up watering everything in the home Space Saver Greenhouse, so many things need to be transported and planted on the allotment, and at the moment I just don't have the time to get down there and get on with it all.

Hopefully next year once the last of the infrastructure works is completed over this Winter it will be some smoother sailing, as long as my wife's health remains at it's current level and I continue to get the support of my girls allowing me to get down to the plot.

Saturday 21 May 2022

Potting Up and SFG Bed 1

The morning started with potting the Celery that came last evening up into vending machine cups

12 Celery to remain at home and the rest went to the allotment greenhouse to live.

A couple of hours spent on the allotment this afternoon as daughter Emma came to look after Jen. John on the plot gave me 3 external Cucumbers and I gave him one of my greenhouse cucumbers. So my focus moved to Square Foot Gardening Bed  1 with weeds.

John's 3 cucumber plants went in along the mesh at the back of the bed.

Using my template to mark where to plant the spring onions.

Watered in after planting

Covered up to stop Basil Brush

Grapevine doing really well and spreading and growing fast

Runner bean cleared of bind weed and many Runner Bean plants already showing.

There is some trouble with the watering system and I think it's the naff splitter that replaced the one I fixed last year. I need to test out a better splitter when Sandra is on the plot. 

10 Amish Walking Onions sown directly into vending machine cups this evening. 

Friday 20 May 2022

Celery Tango

18 peat -free Postiplug plants from Suttons KC3132 £9,29 arrived today 

Celery Tango is an RHS AGM variety with good resistance to bolting and copes well during hot weather to produce a reliable crop.

A self-blanching variety of celery, it produces lovely, smooth green stems with good flavour and texture for that well-loved celery crunch.

Height: 45cm (18"). Spread: 30cm (12").

How To Grow 

Grow plugs on in frost free conditions. When all risk of frost is passed gradually acclimatise celery plants to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days prior to planting outdoors. Grow celery plants in moist, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted garden compost to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. A week before planting, apply a general fertiliser to the soil surface and rake it in.

Plant celery at a distance of 25cm (10") apart, making sure that the crown of the plant sits at ground level. Plant self blanching celery in a grid formation to promote self blanching. Water the plants in well after planting.

More Information 

Celery requires a moist soil at all times to avoid the stems becoming tough and stringy. Water celery plants frequently, particularly during hot dry periods. Provide a thick mulch of organic matter around the base of the plants to help conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. Celery can be harvested from August onwards, or when the stems reach around 30cm (12"), by lifting the plants with a garden fork. Lift all plants before the first frosts.

OK so looking at the packaging which way is upright? 

Thursday 19 May 2022

Father & Daughter Weeding

Two hours with my Daughter Emma on the allotment this afternoon, taking grass from my sisters back garden in a rubber tug and filling the Dalek in layers, watering it in with layers of spent woodchip paths cleared this week, and shredded paper. Weeding the mares tail and weeds from the Asparagus beds and the path next to the Asparagus beds, then knocking up some fox protection.

Emma cleared the weeds from the onion beds and planted some onions in modules, and then recovered the beds. A quick water and then our time was up.

Plan Layout for 2022 before moving the Asparagus Bed next to the Raspberries

Filled with grass from my sisters back garden that has been in a rubber tug for a couple of days waiting for me to bring it down to the allotment and feed the Dalek. Watering it in with layers of spent woodchip paths cleared this week, and shredded paper.

New KT Thermo Compost Thermometer was built into the latest top up, the dial went straight to the top end of "Steady" which means the beneficial bacteria (micro-organisms,) are already breaking down the grass that was cut a couple of days ago and has been in a rubber tug and was already generating heat before it got into the Dalek.

Asparagus Bed half weeded, and a Heath Robinson solution to keeping Basil and his mates off the bed.

Emma and the three onion beds that she uncovered, weeded and transplanted sets in modules into the beds at vacant holes in the planting membrane, covered back up and then watered for me.  

Thank you Emma for your help this afternoon, when I'm dead and gone, and perhaps you look at this blog you will see how much I value your company, and your help with the plot when you have time, and want some father daughter bonding time.  

Weed free onion Beds, but some of the onions had started to go to seed and Emma lopped the tops off for me, but I should have told her to leave them as once onions produce a flower stem and start to set seed they won't grow any more, and they don't store well either. So next visit I will see which ones had the seed heads cut off and harvest them.

Onions that have bolted are still edible and will taste fine, and should be dug up first and eaten, leaving the others to mature in the ground..

It's common for onions to bolt (run to seed suddenly) when there is a cold snap – it's as if the plant thinks winter is setting in and quickly throws out some seeds.

They can also bolt in very hot weather – they get dry, panic and run to seed. 

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Walking Onions Arrive


These arrived today, I purchased 5 of each but happily there were 10 Amish Walking Onions bulbils

Botanical Name: Allium cepa proliferum

Common Names: Tree Onions, Top Onions, Topset Onions, Top Setting Onions, Walking Onions, Egyptian Walking Onions, Air Onions


The tree onion is a biennial plant meaning it should usually flower in its second year. However, you will find it produces small onion bulbs at the base of the plants and a multitude of small top sets where a flower should be. The number and size of bulbils can vary significantly between about 3 large top set onions and 15 smaller sets.

The parent onion behaves as a multiplier or shallot and can split to produce several small tender onions that can be eaten or regrown.

Edible Uses:

The top sets or bulbils are an ideal size for pickling or chopping into salads. The onion greens can be used just like spring onions The mature onions are tender and can be used raw or cooked like normal onions.

Planting in the UK:

Planting Period: May to December. The tree onion is quite hardy but can certainly benefit from a top mulch or growing in an unheated greenhouse to protect from frosts until it becomes established

Depth: Plant about 25mm (1 inch) deep

Spacing: Allow about 15 to 20cm between plants (6 to 8 inches)

Soil – Growing Medium: If growing in the ground, try and prepare the area in advance to produce a rich, free draining loam with a slow release, low nitrogen fertiliser. Tree onions can be grown in most composts but ensure they don't remain waterlogged or rotting of the bulb can occur. Pot grown plants can benefit from a full spectrum fertiliser that contains calcium, magnesium and sulphur.


Onions have a natural cycle and the onion stems will tend to dry and die back as the goodness is transferred to the onion bulb. Collect the bulbils and replant those you are using for propagation. Collect the base bulbs and allow to air dry, preferably on a mesh to avoid damp areas that may encourage mould growth. Store in a cool, dry area.

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Renewing Woodchip Paths


Sandra a plot neighbour who lives in the block of flats behind Mill Green allotment site sent me two photos that I've turned into a Panorama of my plots. 

When Sandra took the photos of the plot this afternoon I was on it, as my daughter Kelly was working from home and could keep an eye on my good lady wife. 

This means you can play Where's Wally and find me!  Technically Wally has plot 4 on our allotment. 

The chap we were getting woodchip from, well more a mulch than path quality has not been able to supply us for a while. I got contact details of two tree surgeons from the Allotment administrator, and asked the plot holders who live two doors down from the entrance gate to contact them and ask for some woodchips. 

Again what we have received is more leafy mulch quality rather than good solid woodchips, but beggars can't be choosers and anything is better than nothing for the moment. 

Old woodchip on 3 of the paths has turning into soil and is now supporting weed growth. I shoveled up the woodchip and swept it up off the weed membrane and put into flower buckets to be used as brown material in the Daleks when more greens arrive.

Closer view of the rotted woodchip, and the weed membrane that was cut with a soldering iron so that it dose not fray and allows me to remove and sweep up easily and forms a barrier between the underlying soil and the woodchip. 

On taking the first of 3 square flower plots full of rotted woodchip paving to the Dalek army, I spotted that the First Early spuds are in the process of lifting the lids off that I put there to stop the foxes and cats digging in the buckets. 

Woodchip Path being re-laid with the new woodchips.

Close view of the woodchip path that is spread and then compacted with the rake to between 50 - 75mm.

Completed woodchip path. The paving slabs at the ends originally held down the weed membrane against the wind before the woodchips went down, now I'm just waiting for paving slabs to come up on Freecycle so I can infill the path with saving slabs so the woodchips are only a margin. 

Clearing the path next to the Dalek Army.

Completed path between bed 6 and the Dalek Army. 

There are other areas that need topping up, and I'm thinking of filling one of the Daleks with this mulch like woodchips to use as browns until the next rot down and path replacement. 

If you did play Where's Wally, then the answer is setting up the sprinkler on the asparagus beds whist on the way back to the car park to get another load of woodchips. I also ran another top wire on the fist bed of spring Raspberries and clipped back some of the canes that were growing over the path between the them and the Asparagus bed.