Wednesday 22 May 2024

#nakedgardening Facebook Group

You may be excused for thinking that this might have something to do with the annual Naked Gardening Day normally held on the first Saturday of May, however it's a facebook group set up by Guy Grieve

Those of you that are regular readers of my recall that name because I wrote an article about Guy and introduced him and his awesome compost and new company Atlantic Garden back in April.

Guy is a former scallop-diver launched the UK’s first ever peat-free, organic seaweed compost that is sold in 100% compostable or ‘naked’ packaging in later 2023. His mission is to eradicate the 100 million single-use compost bags that are sold to UK gardeners each year.

#NakedGardening movement

The term ‘naked gardening’ was first used by Atlantic Garden’s founder, Guy Grieve, during a meeting with his fellow allotment owners at his plot in Edinburgh. He comments:

“Introducing seaweed to the soil was a big step, but as soon as I presented my fellow gardeners with a fully ‘naked compost’ - no plastic bag - the naked gardening movement truly took off.

“We want to get the #nakedgardening movement trending throughout UK gardens. By sharing and innovating the ‘naked’ no-nasties products and solutions, we can help gardeners do their bit and strip the bad stuff out while letting the good stuff grow.”

As can be seen from the areal view of my plots "Avalon" and the amount of different types of compost bins, I'm very much into making as much as my own compost as possible.

Guy and Atlantic Garden’s commendable ethos is to promote and encourage home composting first and foremost and invite people to purchase its sustainable seaweed-enriched compost to top-up or give that extra special treat to a prize vegetable patch or flourishing flower bed 

Atlantic Garden is working closely with partners on the West coast of Scotland to grow seaweed. They have already established a 3km sugar kelp farm on the Isle of Mull from which they hope to harvest 30 tonnes of gorgeous kelp this summer.  

They also bring in sustainably hand gathered seaweed and seaweed from other farmers in Scotland.

By buying a bag of beautiful seaweed enriched compost from Atlantic Garden you are helping them to play a small part in repaying our great debt to the sea.

Without the sea, Atlantic Garden is nothing. So they decided that every bag they sell will lead to a contribution to The Scottish Coastal Clean-Up which is an incredible charity which is profoundly dedicated to clearing marine plastic waste from beaches in Scotland.

 Atlantic Garden hope that you will be proud to know that you help them, to help this great charity with every purchase you make.

Atlantic Garden Organic Peat Free Seaweed Enriched Compost (40 Litres) Cost £13.99 and that price includes the shipping costs. If you order two of more boxes then there is a 10% Discount applied to your order.

Your order for each 40 litres will be packed into two bags of 20 litres each, and placed in a single box.  The bags, box, tape and label are all 100% home compostable.  thus Zero waste.  Atlantic Garden are not interested in flashy packaging or shiny plastic.  It’s what is in the bag that counts.

In fact Atlantic Garden are one of the only compost suppliers who has taken the time to ensure that you can compost your bags.  

However you need to help them too.  When your beautiful Atlantic Garden compost arrives you have one week to keep it in the bag…  Any longer and it will actually start to compost I had one of the first batches of their compost to trial and didn't know about how environmentally friendly the bags were as can be seen in the photo above !!  

If you don’t plan to use it straight away just pour the contents into a holding bag or container and cover it.  Atlantic Gardens compost packaging will home compost in 180 days.  Please do tell them how it goes as they are somewhat obsessed by the subject!

To get your feedback Guy has created a #nakedgardening Facebook Group to help gardeners and home composting heroes ‘start stripping’ and sharing their naked gardening experiences here:

If you are already sold on buying some of Atlantic Garden’s compost Click Here

I love to see an ethical, newly formed UK based companies launch and thrive and as someone who formed his own company ten years before I retired, I’m always happy to assist in promoting new UK companies that have a great service or product, and I wish Guy and Atlantic Garden every success.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Dig For Victory


Only an Englishman would build a vegetable plot in a bomb crater in the grounds of Westminster Cathedral

For more of the same see HERE

Monday 20 May 2024

Follow Up Appointment With Hematologist


Another visit to St Georges Hospital today to get the result of the PET scan. 

The scan shows that there is still inflammation in the cancer & radiation zone of my jaw, however  this could also be from when the jaw was mending and the needles of new bone was coming through my gum and digging into my tongue as that would show as inflammation

At the moment no additional treatment for the cancer, but another PET scan at the Royal Marsden will be taken in 3 months time, so next PET Scan will be late August and the appointment will hematology will be early September. 

They will also requests bloods about the time I have the PET Scan so they will have all the information they need for that early September appointment. 

The hot spot might never get cold but they will keep testing and as long as it doesn't get hotter again then they are happy... Just need it to stay the same, or get colder.

Hopefully after a few 3 monthly checks it will turn into annual checks.

If the Rheumatologist department wants me to go on steroids for the arthritis the Haematology department don't have a problem with that. But before they make any sweeping changes to my medication all departments talk about it anyway.

As off the 16th May my Kidney function stable so the naproxen isn't doing any damage at the moment.  

As they took 9 little bottles of blood on Friday for the Rheumatologist they only took one bottle of blood today and yet another water sample. 

Sunday 19 May 2024

Last of the Java Spuds in Buckets

As the sky was so clear of clouds and it was so sunny I went to the allotment between 4pm and 7pm today as Plot 1 and the potting shed would be in the shade.

I completed mixing up the compost Coir and fertiliser with the 600mm Power Planter and the Ryobi Drill and placed 4 Main Crop Java seed potatoes in each bucket.

Two Java main crop spuds at a 1/3 depth

Then two more added at 90 degrees to the first two at 2/3 depth finally topped up and then taken to bed 1 which is where I'm placing them this year. As the potatoes are harvested the contents of the buckets will be placed on Bed 1.

Bed 1 with the main crop java spuds in buckets, I really need my sister to cut her grass next weekend and donate the grass to me for mulch on top of the spuds in buckets.

I emptied some compost and course coir into the Square Foot Garden Bed 2 and watered it in and watered in the spuds in buckets and the four Red Baron onion beds and parsnip bed.

Red Baron Onion Bed 3

3 Red Baron Onion Beds on the right, Parsnip bed in the middle on the left and Asparagus bed at the back left.

Red Baron Onion Bed

Way too much invasive Bindweed growing in the onion beds. I may need to ask a plot neighbour or two for a little help next time I see them.

Red Baron Onion Bed

Parsnip bed with so many seedlings that have been eaten, its quite gutting after going to all that trouble to germinate and start off so many in loo rolls. But I have never seen so many slugs and snails on the allotment as we have this year. 

The Asparagus bed really needs attention, there could be asparagus in there but it's too full of weeds to see. I'm going to have to hit and clear this bed, but that's not going to be easy with my current mobility issues. 

Caught up with some plot neighbours that I have not seen since before starting my treatment for cancer last year, which was nice, lots of people over on the plot once the sun was going down and shaded areas were creeping across the plots, but a reduction in water pressure as everyone was watering.

Saturday 18 May 2024

Saturday Afternoon Visit


Square Foot Garden Bed 2 with the last of the weathered woodchip donated by Wally added. I round the large weed killer I bought a couple of weeks ago and went around the plot spraying the bindweed where its not in amongst anything eatable. 

Re sown Brassica on the top of the benches, and I have filled more self watering pop bottles with compost to sow more seeds on future visit.

Re sown Brassica Cabbage Marquis F1, Cabbage Romanov F1 & Brussels Sprouts Marle F1, I lmpw they are now a month late but I might as well try. 

Re sown Broccoli Broccoltto and Purple Rain

Lazy Housewife French Climbing Beans turned 180 degrees I have no idea why the row that was nearest the window and light has not germinated apart from one bean.

Four varieties of Cucumbers need to be potted on shortly

The Potting shed has been erected just over a year and the loss of colour between the inside and outside due to the bleaching effect of the sun is quite evident

Mels Mix in sacks around the potting shed to go back into Square Foot Garden Bed 2 once the levels are higher. As can be seen the amount of bleaching of the timber on the front of the potting shed is quite a lot, and I really need to find something that will treat the timber and last. 

Idverde have been and have cut the main path, but did not trim all around the carpark. It's just pure laziness on their part 

Idverde did not trim all around the carpark or the ski[ and we are still waiting for a woodchip delivery.

Idverde did not trim all along the Main pathway next to the composting WC

This is a major trip hazard and is a problem for idverde's lawn mower which is why normally the grass behind the tree root gets left when they cut the grass. The tree root needs attention and removing, of soil needs to be added to the path to bury the tree root. 

Friday 17 May 2024

Buying Plants Delivered by Mail


It's not been a good year for receiving plants from gardening companies, I've received sweet potatoes that were mullered by the delivery courier and the packaging was ripped to shreds and the foliage was torn off, and now I've received this Tomato Black Moon that the courier decided in his infinite wisdom that placing the box on its back in the plastic recycle box in the sun would be a good idea. 

It might have been if they had left a card saying they had delivered and where they had put the package as no one answered the door to receive it, that's if they even bothered to ring the door bell in the first place. 

The companies that send these plants don't water them before they are dispatched as the additional weight would increase the cost of shipping. I did report the sweet potatoes and they said they would re send and I've not received a replacement. I've informed the company that sent the Black Moon Tomato plant and I'm waiting for a reply.

That's me done buying plants via mail delivery, thank God that I'm gradually getting my mobility back and will be able to go to garden centres to select what I want to buy again soon.  

Hedgehog Awareness

I just had to ring the RSPCA hot line as

l found a suitcase full of hedgehogs by the side of the road......

They asked me, "Are they moving"....

I said, "I don't know but it would explain the suitcase".....

Thursday 16 May 2024

Arthritis & Cancer

So today there was yet another visit to St Georges Hospital this time with my eldest daughter to see the Rheumatologist to further investigate the problems that started with my hips and knees during the investigations into my cancer last May/ June which has developed into polyarthropathy which is a diagnosis that means five or more of your joints have arthritis at the same time. It can be caused by lots of conditions, including autoimmune diseases and infections.

The PET scan back in February 2024 showed evidence of inflammation of many joints including the shoulders, sternoclavicular joint, elbows, wrists, small joints of the hands, hips, knees and ankles. This was not present in the PET Scan and number of MRI's I had in 2023 before the radiotherapy for the cancer.  

A lot of blood samples were taken and a lot of specialist tests requested in order to try and find out just what is causing the problems I'm having and how best to treat the problem. 

Regular readers will know that I looked after my wife for many years working from home before she passed away in January 2023 who had an autoimmune diseases called Lupus which is one they will be checking me for. 

Because of my wife's condition I do know about treatments for autoimmune disorders and how they can flair up and down, and the medications that may be prescribed and their side effects.    

I can no longer make a fist in both hands and have very weak wrist, and mobility issues which mean I can no longer climb into and out of my greenhouses as I raised them up on timber frames. I have three options:- 

  1. Make steps into and out of the greenhouses 
  2. Modify the greenhouses and the door as above 
  3. Replace the two greenhouse with one larger greenhouse with a level entry. 

Being blunt, the last option really depends on the results of the various tests and what my prognosis is for the next few years. My current level of mobility also means I can't get down on my knees to weed my plots, and my answer to that is to gradually raise the beds up.

In addition to all the blood test, I also had x-rays taken of all my joints and I have been referred for Ultrasound scans of my joints and have a follow up appointment booked with the Rheumatologist in late June.  

I have an appointment with the Hematologist next week to review the last PET Scan from a couple of weeks ago at the Royal Marsden to see how effective the radiotherapy has been on the cancer, because it was still showing as a hot spot, on the February PET Scan, and to discuss the way forward regarding ongoing surveillance and or further treatment.

All I can say is god bless the NHS, and thank god I don't live in the USA.

I really don't want to consider giving up even half of my plot, as it is my happy place. Getting back down to my plot is what has been keeping me going throughout last year and the first half of this year. 

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Bamboo For The Raspberries


Todays mission was to take the 2.4m (8f) Bamboo that arrived yesterday afternoon down to the allotment and look into getting some installed to hold back the spreading Raspberries and to keep the paths between them open this year. 

The grass in the Hotbin has gone down really fast, need to add some comfrey and brassicas from last year on a next visit. I sprinkled crushed and ground egg shells for the worm on top of the grass.

Trimmed more of the plum tree that is looking a little lopsided at the moment. I love using the mini chainsaw. 

The remaining self seeded trees to be chopped down near the plot 1A patio and first bed.

The Comfrey has gone bonkers and needs cutting back, and the sheds need a coat of red cedar paint.

Comfrey bed attracting bees, I need to start harvesting some comfrey for the comfrey pipe and the Hotbin.

Path with Plot 2 trimmed up and broken Dalek put in the skip. 

This compost was made with acidic apples and cut grass so the compost should be OK for the raspberry beds. I have a replacement Dalek to go in its place once I have dug out the compost and removed the bindweed.

Plot 1 & 1A Panorama from the path between plots 2 & 3

Plot 1 from Plot 2/3 Path, my son in law and sin in law didn't do a great job of re stacking the timber as they left out the spacers, so that's another job for another day.

Plot 1A from the Plot 2 - 3 Path. The two small beds need weeding at a future visit.

Looking down the main path, I trimmed along the boundary beds, from the main path to the Plot 1 entrance and along the path with plot 2 and from the corner to the water tank and tap.

Bamboo Canes added to Boundary Bed and mares tail and bindweed removed. All Gold Raspberries are multiplying nicely in the boundary beds. There is a stack of plum tree branches that need processing on a future visit half way up the path.

Entrance to plot 1 from Main Path, Black bag of weeds from the boundary bed went into the skip that is still in the car park.

Looking down the main path to the back of the site. I trimmed from the corner of my plot to the water tank and tap.

Bamboo holding back the Raspberries. Just placed not yet fixed to the uprights.