Thursday 20 July 2023

Alys Fowler’s guide to laid-back gardening

A very interesting article by Alys Fowler, however I don't think I can live with mares tail on my allotment!

Read Article Here 

Sunday 16 July 2023

Cucumber Harvest

Crystal Lemon Cucumbers, Four4 slices covered the sandwich

I saved the seeds so I can grow them again next year.

Crystal Apple Cucumbers

Crystal Apple Cucumbers seed came from Seed To Suit

Also harvested but not photographed were Raspberries, Karmen (Red), Pink Panther (Pink) and Snowball (white) Onions and Lazy Housewife Runner Beans. I have to say I really like the taste of the Crystal Lemon Cucumbers and have saved seeds to grow again next year.

Bio Char Kiln

An interesting video from Charles Dowding on the subject see his notes on the YouTube posting for much more information. I've been looking into how to make my own kiln to make biochar and have posted this here so I can find it again. 

There is no way I would buy what they have created for my allotment, but I'm not opposed to learning and getting ideas for making my own kiln. 

Thursday 13 July 2023

Watch Your Back - General Sun Sense

General sun sense



Time flies when you are preoccupied, so add a timer on your phone or watch to remind you to reapply sunscreen every few hours, and to seek shade during the hottest part of the da



Drink often and preferably with water as this is the best way to hydrate. Keep a reusable bottle topped up and at hand



If you are gardening or working in an area which receives full sun, why not put up a makeshift umbrella/parasol, sun tent/gazebo or choose a spot in the shade instead?



The UV Index scale is a great tool to tell you how quickly sunburn can occur. When the UV index hits 3, use sun protection and watch out for surfaces like sand which can reflect UV light



Greenhouses and polytunnels can protect skin against UVB rays which cause burning, however not UVA ray which causes premature ageing, so take the same precautions as if you were gardening outside.


A tan is a great way to prematurely age your skin, encourage age spots and thread veins, as well as heightening the possibility of developing something more serious.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Watch Your Back - Protective Clothing

Protective clothing


Clothing should always be the first line of defence when it comes to sun protection.


Always wear a protective hat; your forehead, scalp and ears are high risk areas for skin cancers, and even more so if you are bald or have thinning hair, so wear something with a legionnaire flap at the back.


Wear clothing that protects arms and legs; ideally choose garments with a tight weave as these offer the best protection.


When the day heats up, it is a natural impulse to remove clothing, which can mean you are exposing skin that has not been sun protected. Keep a light top on and protected exposed areas.


There has been an increase in the early formation of cataracts linked to prolonged sun exposure over recent years. Wear wraparound sunglasses which offer all round protection.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Watch Your Back - Sun Time

Sun Time


Sun protection is recommended from March until October, with the early days of spring a prime time for sunburn.


UV rays penetrate cloud and haze, and the weather can also fluctuate and catch you out, so be sun prepared in the morning



Remember that the sun moves during the day. What was the shade in the early morning will not be a few hours later so keep an eye on the shade, and if possible plan around it.


Remember that the sun moves during the day. What was the shade in the early morning will not be a few hours later so keep an eye on the shade, and if possible plan around it



Avoid the sun at its strongest between 11am and 3pm. On particularly hot days, plan shade-based gardening activities around these times.

Monday 10 July 2023

Watch Your Back - Sunscreen



Apply a broad-spectrum SPF30+ product paying special attention to your ears, nose other areas which are especially sensitive, and prone to burning.


Once applied to the skin, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, and less if you are prone to excessive sweating or simply working hard!


If you find it difficult to reach those tricky places, get someone else to do the honours and follow suit, or simply wear protective clothing.


Hands are vulnerable to the sun and are a common place for all types of skin cancer, ageing and age spots. Reapply sunscreen after washing hands.


Most sunscreens have a three-year shelf life, but the more the bottle is opened and closed and handled with grubby hands, the more contamination can enter and hasten degradation.


To avoid degradation, store sunscreen out of direct sunlight, and away from extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Setting Up Worm Farm

Todays visit was primarily to install a new worm farm that I'm trialing but cant post any photos about yet until the trial is over. whilst there I took some photos   

Nice to see the sweet peas showing a bit of colour on the climbing frame, the French beans and cucumbers are really going for it in the beds in the climbing frame greenhouse 

Grapes growing really well, I should trim some of these back

Grapes growing really well

Grapes growing really well

Hard to see the grapes from a distance which is good as the birds have not noticed them 

As usual plumbs at the moment but they will be eaten my the cocker tills. This tree my go next year as I never get any fruit from it.  

Sunday 2 July 2023

Doing Odds & Sods

A visit to the allotment this afternoon to trim the path only to find out that the strimmer line is naff and breaks every couple of minutes. So I gave up on that.

Ended up processing Coffee Grounds and filling the tins with fresh grounds to dry out in the plot 1A greenhouse.

Harvested Raspberries

Untangled Lazy Housewife climbing beans on the frame.
Tied up climbing cucumbers

Fertilised the coffee grounds & Watered the greenhouse climbing frame

Filled the bottles with water for watering the micro & Mini Toms in the Plotting shed.

Unnetted the courgette & Butternut squash beds now large enough to resist the foxes.

Clipped back the climbing tomatoes

Clipped back the climbing tomatoes

Onions growing well

Grapevine needs pruning

Uncovered the courgettes & Butternut squash as getting to big for the shallow hoops and netting.

Onions growing well

Greenhouse Climbing Frame

Spotted cucumbers in the Greenhouse Climbing Frame

Crystal Apple & Crystal Lemon Cucumbers not climbing very high and getting bushy

Sweet peas growing up the gable of the Greenhouse Climbing Frame

Cucumbers climbing well on the side of the Greenhouse Climbing Frame

Charlotte Potatoes in flower & harvested Raspberries.

Mini & Micro tomatoes doing well and in flower.

Re sealed the tap on the Quadgrow water butt for the plot 1 greenhouse 

Saturday 1 July 2023

Planning and Reviewing July In Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last ten years for July

2013 - Infrastructure works, harvest of first early and cucumbers and the best cabbages I have ever grown ! Beginners luck   
2014 - A really good year with plentiful harvests .  

2015 -  Great year for beetroots, Wrens in the bird box .   

2016 - Lots of coffee grounds, drying coffee, Building a replacement door for the outbuilding from decking timber.

Mill Green - Onion White Rot, Runner Beans,     

Spencer Road - Comfrey Bed 2 completed, Four Beds, Butternut squash, Beetroots, spuds and spring onions. Onions, Potatoes, Beetroots and infrastructure works. Burpless Cucumbers go manic  

Home - Tomatoes finally get transplanted into flower buckets.  

2017 - Really behind on growing and keeping the plot weed free, especially the paths on Mill Green as the woodchip had finally rotted down into good growing medium. Absent neighbour meaning weeds encroaching from plot 1.  11th July first red tomato, Meeting with Redrow and Council to agree the formation of the Drop off and Pick Up area, SF60 Potatoes in Buckets experiments, 5 Beds productive at Spencer Road, 30th July harvest of First Early Spuds & Onions

2018 - Extend the watering system, 10th July Cucumbers Planted, 12th Comfrey Pipe fill up and hose across path to dip tank and tap, 13th July temporary roof on shed plot 1A, 16th Dismantle the shed at Spencer Road and levelling the land  on plot 1 17th July Shed Base Goes In, harvesting Cucumbers and Marrows, 20th July Shed Erection, 25th July First Red Tomatoes, Onion Drying the the rack on the side of the shed, Bread Basket fence to protect sweetcorn, 27th July finally rain, High winds damaged the sweetcorn .Bought a Ryobi Circular saw for cutting the floor joist for the new beds, 31st July sow a bed of Beetroot seeds.  

2019 - Onions and New Potatoes in Buckets harvested. Leg injury & cellulitis meant fewer visits to the allotment this month. Extreme weather and heat wave with a temperature of 31.8C ended followed by heavy rain and flooding this month. High Court order overturned the decision to ban metaldehyde slug pellet products, with immediate effect. 

2020 - July marked a return to the allotment after shielding my wife since the start of Covid-19 .Article re cordless mowers started but Greenworks could not supply information about their products and after a lot of preparation works it was not possible to complete the trial and the blog posting. Butternut & Mash and Roast Potato Squash planted. Hydroponics desk study. Unboxing the Quadgrow and setting up in the back garden. Due to shielding the wife from Covid the Bindweed had taken over parts of the plot again after 7 years of keeping it at bay, lots of weeding required.  Mentioned in Despatches by Thompson & Morgan. Weed identification Facebook post. 

2021 - Cucumbers planted, new potatoes harvested. Rhubarb bed 2 gets installed. Scaffolding frame built around the Quadgrows. Moving Pauline to her new allotment. Watering visits required. 19th July the Met Ofice issued its first ever extreme hear warning as the UK experiences sweltering conditions in parts of the country. Plot 1A shed roof finally re covered. Potatoes Dalefoot Vs Westland Bio3 Compost.  Pauline's Progress written.  25th July ASDA End of season gardening sale . In excess of 28 day No Cults and termination notices issued   . Cucumbers and Gherkins making their way up the mesh panels. First year for the Raspberries. Onions getting to the point where they needed to be harvested. Hot and humid weather this year, with some rain showers at the end of the month. Quadgrows taking way too much time to top up using 2litre water bottles so I decided to buy a water butt 

2022 - Harvesting Onions and potting up tomatoes. Adding more Daleks off Freecycle. Buying Seeds and gardening stuff in the End Of Season Sales. Broccoli bolting due to the heat. Hottest Day in YK 41C. Celery growing really well.  Possible hosepipe ban. Making planting membrane for the narrow beds, and the 1200 x 1200 beds

To Do List   

Trying to get everything up to date because of the proposed reconstruction of my jaw. I have cut back on sowing new vegetables as my girls will want to come and see me in hospital and not be down the allotment planting out watering and weeding. 

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

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • Potting Shed  - Such a game changer and a hive of activity.

  • Planning - Ongoing