I will TRY to be a bit more active on this page during 2015. We visited the allotment for the first time this year on Thursday 12th March. Although the weather has been kind over the last few weeks we have both been very busy at home. I love the allotment but I have never got over that initial "Oh no, do I have to go there?" feeling when a trip to the plot is planned. It is totally stupid because I know I thoroughly enjoy being there! Thought of hard work I suppose.
- we cleared the dead leaves from the Crocosmia patch. These have done really well and I plan to dig some up to give to my niece and move a few onto the lane. I have more than enough in my garden but I like to have these at the allotment for cutting.
- There are about 10 pink shoots in the Peony patch. I'm hoping these will do better this year now they have settled in. I can make much better use of the space by growing some delphiniums in the gaps. I have some seedlings in the greenhouse and a tray of freshly planted seeds.
- The Irises are all showing fresh shoots but I only got a couple of flowers last year so these might end up in the garden next Spring if they don't improve too!
- The mixed cutting patch is doing well. There are a few tiny self seeded lupins but the more mature plants have all survived. Must keep some soapy water bottles up there for the first sign of aphids this year though. The Hollyhocks have returned and the Achillea. I dug up some of the Aquilegia to move onto the lane and the front garden - I LOVE this flower!I left the Blue Geranium where it was but it will need dividing this year.
- I finished pruning the Lavender and Andy hoed round the roses.
- We stood admiring the raspberry buds, search (and found) life on the gooseberries and decided more strawberries are needed even though the ones we have are doing well. Our neighbours have forty plants in neat rows (but all the fruit was stolen last year so perhaps our little patch doesn't look as appetising!). I didn't force the rhubarb this year but it is growing. One plant bolted last year so I saved, and planted, the seed - twelve small rhubarb seedlings doing well. Apparently they bolt through stress - possibly lack of water last year as we had a bit of a water problem for a few weeks. The book says to dig the plant up and divide it but it looks okay so I'm going to see what happens - I can divide it at the end of the season if needs be.
- I began digging the one of the empty beds but stopped when I felt ill! Slowly does it!
There is a pot of Dill seeds and another of Basil. I use the Dill on food and in vases but I have never used basil - I need to find a recipe this year!
Well that is as far as we have got so far. The next allotment visit will involve digging a small new bed to accommodate some sunflowers, then there are the carrot, radish and spring onion seeds to sow and the turnips and parsnips, oh and the onions and potatoes to get in! "Hell, do I have to go up there again?!"
Here's a quick look at some of our crop from this year. For the second year running the potatoes did really well as did the onions. We grew Red Rooster and Marie Piper spuds but not sure of the names of the onions off hand (do have them written down but the book is in the greenhouse!). Beans were a disappointment - tried three sowings but only a few plants produced and the beans were very stringy. The peas were excellent this year though. Freezer full of them! Didn't manage any other veg this year .... must do better!
We concentrated on flowers. Half a bed of tulips meant the house had cut flowers from late Spring onwards. We grew a bed of Roses which was a brilliant idea. They look and smell gorgeous and they will return next year! Peonies have been disappointing but they need a year to settle so I'm hopefull for 2015. We got 12 plants in leaf but only 2 flowers this year! The Breaded Irises didn't flower as well as expected either - only a couple of blooms on them - but I moved them and that might have been the problem. They have multiplied so they have obviously settled. The clumping irises did much better - lots of flowers and beautiful orange seed pods. We have had to move two of them to stop them putting the Bearded ones in shade. We also grew some Lupins, Achillea, Crocosmia, Aquilegia and Hollyhocks - all did well. I had 48 free lavender plants from Gardens' World Magazine so they filled half a bed. The bees loved them and I got masses of scented vases in every room and dried flowers to do something with in the future (perhaps!!). I'm thinking a lavender edge for one of the garden borders might be nice but we will see.
The old plastic greenhouse was moved up to the allotment and turned into a small fruit cage. Half the raspberry bushes cropped well but the ones inside the cage just grew tall with no fruit at all! Hardly any fruit appeared on the gooseberry bush but we don't really like gooseberries anyway! We had a good strawberry crop. I used the raspberries and the strawberries with the garden apples to make some jam but we have eaten it all already ... must remember not to nibble the fruit before we get it home! Rhubarb did well and flowered while we were away on holiday so I let it go to seed and I have grown some more plants for next year.
From a wildlife point of view we did mean to go up there one evening top see what showed up but we didn't get round to it. while we were up there we saw buzzards most days as well as the expected bird life - crows, starlings, partridges, kestrels .... rabbits and hares were around and our sweetcorn was destroyed by something large - muntjac deer perhaps ... it knocked over four pretty large plants and left a large hole full of dung anyway!
Phil didn't tend to his side this year and Bob had to spray the resulting weeds! Might ask him about taking over a couple of his beds next year.
THURSDAY 13th JUNE 2013
The weather was AWFUL at the beginning of the year and I kept meaning to visit the allotment but I never did! I wanted to dig the beds and plant the seeds but couldn't motivate myself and before I knew it June had arrived! I was considering giving the allotment up but couldn't decide so one Friday evening I drove across to see what it looked like.
Weeds, weeds everywhere ....
There was a VERY large rhubarb that had gone to seed and the iris plants had just disappeared in the grass.
Time for drastic action. I spent all day hacking, chopping and digging my way through one and a half beds and I was hooked again.
I'm glad I didn't give up. I was determined to work my way from one side to the other but in the end I didn't have to .... Andy fired up the lawn mower and came to the rescue!
He removed all the old wood from round the beds and created proper raised beds .... with enough space between them to fit the lawn mower this time ... much better idea!
I didn't want them all in a straight line so we staggered them a bit and now all I have to do is dig them out!
I'm planting a few veg in one bed - I have some onions but according to the veg mags I'm not too late to grow beetroots, late carrots and spring onions. My main focus this season will be biennials - wallflowers, delphiniums, lupins, hollyhocks .... I'm visiting a Peony Roses nursery this weekend hoping to pick out a few to buy later in the year and I intend to pinch all the peonies from mum's garden now we have sold her house! I have lots of Crocosia and, of course, the irises to cultivate. By autumn it will be ready for the winter veg crops .... I just have to keep on top of it this time!
THURSDAY 12th JULY 2012
I am SO proud of these potatoes!! We dug one up today and got a good haul even if some of them were a bit small. Have to leave the rest another week I think.
The sweet corn have got flowers poking through now. I bought these three plants from a nursery. I might grow some from seed next year if I like the corn.
Today planted some Irises, Lupins and Aquilegia. The Irises I intend to farm by dividing them in a couple of years and selling the tubers. The Lupins and Aquilegia are being grown for the seeds - I will be able to keep the garden tidy but cutting the plants down when the flowers die rather than having to keep them for the seed pods.
I also planted a couple of rows of Crocosmia Lucifer - I took a trip to the tip with some garden waste and someone before me had tipped a whole load of bulbs into the skip so I emptied my sack of green waste then filled it again - there were so many I couldn't save them all as I couldn't pick the bag up to get it back to the car! I saw pots of four or five bulbs selling for £3 at the Street market last weekend so I got a real bargain!
Andy came to help strim the tall grass at the allotment today - he saw Kestral, Sparrowhawk and Peregrin while he was there- I was busy weeding and planting so I only saw the Peregrin.
THURSDAY 24th MAY 2012
The potatoes have pushed their heads up and the onions are also doing well. We have some very small lettuces and cabbages but I can't see anything else! Lots of clover and small leaves but nothing appears to be growing in lines! Just have to wait and see!
Phil (my allotment buddy) visited our plot at 7am one morning and watched a Muntjac Deer wandering across the field. He nearly stepped on a large Hare that was hunkered down near the bench. When I went up to water the veg this week a large Hare jumped out of the grass near the bench. That would explain the nibbled cabbage leaves.
My only disappointment so far is my bean crop. I planted some straight into the ground. Unfortunately I didn't protect them with nets and something has dug them all up and enjoyed the treat. I suspect a couple of Red-legged Partridges that made a rapid exit when we arrived the other day. Well, I have grown Runner and Kidney Beans at home and planted them out this week. It took some time to wrap pea netting all over the canes but I hope it is enough to keep the wildlife away from my dinner.
A couple of new neighbours have arrived. Andy seems to know exactly what he is doing. He has had an allotment before. He has built sturdy frames, planted neat rows of fruit and veg and labelled everything. I think he will be a useful source of information!
Our other new neighbour is Mike. He has a white van filled with his worldly possessions. He has spent quite a lot of time there but hasn't actually planted anything yet ,,, then again neither has Phil!
WEDNESDAY 25th APRIL 2012
We planted more broccoli, beetroot, cauliflower
and spring onions. The third bed is now full.
We finished digging over the fourth bed ready for the greenhouse plants and discussed where to grow the sunflowers. A Swallow flew by - our first for the year. By the time we left I was pleased with the way it all looked which was just as well as we had visitors today ....
Radio Nottingham came to talk to Johnny the owner live on air and he had asked me to join him. Shame it went out live as I would have liked to have heard my Three Minutes of Fame!!
SUNDAY 22nd APRIL 2012
Made a quick visit this morning. Phil brought the bench but didn't stay. Andy completed the fourth bed and erected another set of canes while I cleared some more weeds. Planted cabbages, sprouts and broccoli then the rain came.
Whilst digging the second bed a few days ago I unearthed the amputated hind leg of a young fox. Rather a horrible, grisly find! Today something had come back to collect it I think ... one of the potatoes was unearthed and a bird had pecked it.
Hope I don't find the rest of the fox!
SATURDAY 21st APRIL 2012
Planted the potatoes yesterday.
There are two lots of Second Earlies (Charlotte and Nicola) and one Main Crop (Rooster).
The weather forecast was not good. I had one window of sunshine yesterday morning then it said Heavy Showers in the afternoon and all weekend. I got up to the allotment and had a lovely peaceful time. Andy went for a walk and came back two hours later to find one row planted and the other beds weeded. He took the car home and I carried on ... then the black clouds arrived ... then the hail ... then the thunder! I was in the middle of a field holding an unbrella!! He eventually got back to me, by which time the sun was shining again!
I went home then returned and finished planting potatoes and a row of onions.
The greenhouse lettuces and cauliflowers are doing very well. The runner beans are beginning to sprout but slowly. Nothing seems to be happening with the cabbages, spring onions, aubergines, carrots, cucumbers or tomatoes!! I'm not very patient!
I bought some peas and more beans but there is no more room in the greenhouse. The cat is squashed into a tiny corner and keeps curling up in my seed trays ... perhaps that explains the lack of seedlings!
|Sunday 1st April 2012|
We chose a middle plot to cut down on growing rabbit food ... hopefully the bunnies will feast on
the outer crops and won't need to eat ours!
|11th April 2012|
Having never grown vegetables before I didn't realise just what I was taking on until I started reading and researching. Don't think I will be saving money on the food bill this year!
First job was to create the beds. It is recommended that these should be about four feet wide with a path either side for ease of access for weeding etc.
We demolished an old shed last year and saved the wood to burn over winter. Luckily we haven't used it all. It won't look very pretty but it will do the job!
|12th April 2012|
We had a flask of tea and a sunny afternoon ... until the hail storm. LARGE, hard lumps of ice bouncing off our heads. It didn't last long though and I drove home with one bed finished. Five to go.
I have 20 potatoes chitting (growing shoots) in the greenhouse. See, I am learning Allotment Speak already! Apparently I missed the First Earlies this year so I opted for Second Earlies and Main Crop (Roosters). Once they are in the ground (tomorrow hopefully) we should be harvesting salad potatoes in 11 weeks.
The books recommend four beds so the crops can be rotated. We also had to consider the direction the plot faces when siting the canes for taller crops ... you have to avoid shadows.
The canes are erected so it feels like a real allotment! Just need to plant a few vegetables now.
Buzzard; Pied Wagtail; Yellowhammer; Chaffinch; Skylark; Green Woodpecker; Pheasant and Mallard so far.
Crow, Rook, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Swallow.