Monday 3 April 2023

Sometimes The Universe Sends You A Curve Ball

Posted on the 31st October 2023

OK when I uploaded the last post my intention was to catch up with updating the blog, within a month to six weeks, but the universe had other ideas and took me on a journey that I was not expecting and really didn't want to go on! 

As John Lennon said "Life is what happens whilst your busy making other plans" 

I have a lot to post and catch up with, but as I'm in the last few days of Radiotherapy for a growth in my jaw at the Royal Marsden in Sutton and I'm fairly knackered and sleeping a whole lot, it's still going to be a little while, until I can manage to get Man V Slug back on track and up to date. 

So if you have been visiting and waiting for me to catch up, it will happen but it's going to take a little time yet. 

Life is a rollercoaster and for a little while its been one hell of a ride, and I really needed my allotment for my mental well being but could not physically get to it on my own. I will explain in greater detail, as I start updating from the start of April.

For a couple of months I was in a really dark place, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and I even have over winter plants in the potting shed, a huge list of things that I need to achieve on the allotment over the Winter months once the side effects of the radiotherapy and my other mobility issues have reduced. 

I'm planning for next year and optimistic about the future and buying even more seeds to make next year a bumper year on the allotment to catch up for this year.  

1 in 2 of us will get cancer that's 50% and those figures and percentage were much less when I was a kid. The Big C needs to be talked about and acknowledged for how prevalent it is these days.    

Sunday 2 April 2023

Not fallen off the Edge of the Planet

Posted on the 10th April 2023. 

Its been non stop work on the allotment since Sunday 2nd April and the day I started erecting the potting shed and getting the Greenhouse Climbing Frame in the corner dug and weeded because after the wettest March for many years, we have finally had some decent weather. Thus I have not had time to document what I have been doing on the blog. 

I have all the photos and the records for what happened when and will update the Journal / Blog when it rains and I have time. 

A little taster of what's to come... 

Saturday 1 April 2023

Planning and Reviewing April in Previous Years

 Reviewing the diary over the last Ten years for April 

2013 - After Burning everything that could be burnt in March, I finally started digging and weeding the first four beds on Mill Green Allotment, installing the woodchip paths and establishing the comfrey bed.

2014 - Potatoes in buckets, Potatoes in the ground, Sowing Tomatoes, Beetroots, Spring Onions, weeding and fertilising beds, potting on tomatoes into vending machine cups. a cold snap and fleece over the spuds.

2015 -  New edging to beds, Planting potatoes in buckets, Potatoes in the ground, Brassicas into vending machine cups, Sowing Tomatoes,  

2016 - Daffs in Comfrey bed 1, Digging and weeding new beds, Freecycle Slabs, planting Potatoes

2017 Infrastructure works, paths desperately need replacing Neglecting Mill Green in favour of Spencer Road site as access is just so difficult due to construction traffic and no where to park. Jen in hospital with pneumonia so huge reduction in anything associated with the allotment, finally discharged and turns into Hell boy and re admitted. Constructed runner bean cantilever brackets and the extension to the shed at Spencer Road. Construction and erection of the comfrey pipe at Spencer Road. Kerb edgings and a double Dalek picked up from Freecycle. 

2018 - Plot 1 covered with weed membrane, Still on Spencer Road allotment at this stage, Plant Spuds in Buckets, Sacks of grass from Ron, Tomatoes potted on into vending machine cups, Allium Trays and planted onions, Spuds planted in the ground, Bought new B&Q Strimmer, Sowing Cucumbers, Butternut Squash and Marrows, Apple Trees in Blossom, Bluebells flowering in the Comfrey Bed, Cabbages and cauliflowers planted donated by Keith & Pauline, Onions in modules planted out,   

2019 - A lot of time was spent going backwards and forwards to the hospital due to the injury I had at the end of March and the Cellulitis that had flared up on my leg. Because of the pain and the infection gardening was really out of the question. My daughter and future son-in-law did what they could to help me get plants in the ground on the plot and I was only allowed to attend in a purely supervising role. I did make onion bed planting membrane and I was allowed to visit on my own to fill up the compost Dalek. First Early spuds in buckets, Obtained Tumbling Composter off Freecycle.  

2020 - April 2020 was the sunniest on record according to the met office, rain finally came on the 28th April. Due to lockdown many people started taking more care of their gardens, and National Gardening Week was 27th April - 3rd May. As shielding my wife most of my growing activities were confined to the back garden although those with allotments were allowed to visit for exercise purposes. The normal amount of tomatoes in buckets was reduced and I had the Bio Green City Jungle and the Quadgrow on the decking to grow tomatoes in. My WORK Hydroshot arrived but I could not trial it on the allotment. Growing Tomatoes and Radishes in the Space Saver Greenhouse. Cutting more path weed membrane for plot 1. Reviewed the City Jungle and made unboxing and assembly video. Won a couple of competitions, for a Compost Caddy and a hanging basket gadget.

2021 - Green Manure Cut and dropped then dug in. Paving blocks taken from the back garden down to the allotment to replace the milk bottle soft bricks. First Early potatoes in buckets planted. Onion sets put in the ground. 2 Plastic Dustbins off Freecycle, Cutting blue water pipe to length. Freecycle rubber matting and black pipe for hoops. Watering System Extended. Picked up Freecycle water butt for the plot 1 greenhouse. 12th Snow in the morning gone by the afternoon. Clearing behind the plot 1 greenhouse and erecting the timber table. Cleaning and Jet Washing the Plot 1A Greenhouse. Jet Washing the paving slabs and setting up and teak oil the table behind the Plot 1 Greenhouse. Sowing Beetroots and Sweetcorn in modules. First year trying to grow Aubergines, I didn't manage to get the area for them to live on the plot and the plants took an age to grow. I gave up on them this year. 

2022 - Major work this month getting the asparagus beds ready. Sowing and potting on brassicas and tomatoes. My Daughter caught Covid and moved out to protect my wife, Asparagus beds made and when crowns arrive they were planted. Grow With Me 2022 Tomatoes into pots. Sowing Melons and Spring Onions. Sowing Moonshine Sweetcorn that had really poor germination rates. Sowing Little Gem Cos Lettuce & French Dwarf Beans.

To Do List   

March has been a complete wash out, with my wife passing away in January and the funeral in February I've had the time to do work on the allotment but not the weather and now I'm behind on where I was hoping to be at the end of March when I reviewed and planned in February. I still need a whole lot of allotment therapy for my mental wellbeing, I'm just hoping April is kinder with the weather, than March has been.   

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Re Add additional supporting timbers to the roof of the shed - TBD
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing but getting so much better 
  • Weeding - Completed the weeding of plot 1A
  • Greenhouse 1A - Get ready for early spring sowings and perhaps some hydroponics
  • Greenhouse 1A - Constructed a dormer window with twin solar fans to replace the vent like the one on Plot 1 Fans arrived and fitted in March.

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • Potting Shed  - Finally arrived and is stacked up against the wall and covered in a tarp, plan is to get it erected at the first good weather opportunity when Andy and my girls can help me erect it. 
  • Potatoes in Buckets - Were a dead duck, spuds removed and soil used as soil conditioned on beds 
  • Greenhouse Cage - The plan has been for some time to build a greenhouse frame in the corner of Plot 1 on the main path and secondary path with plot 2. The frame will be lined with mesh panels so that climbing plants can be grown over it and I can enter the greenhouse and just pick vegetables that are hanging.
  • Beds and Paths - The area that the greenhouse cage in the corner needs to be turned over weeded and beds and paths installed during April.
  • Water - System needs modifying water tuned on 30th March.

  • Planning - Ongoing
  • Cut Planting Membrane - Made more full bed blanks some will be turned into planting membrane
  • Space Saver Greenhouse - Clear and Cleaned and ready for action as thw weather improves.