Thursday, April 19, 2007

Starting work on the onion bed, hoeing out the potato harvesting ridges, nicely weathered by the frost.

Here it is planted out and with the transplanted garlic, just after being watered.

Also a long shot showing the four potato rows and the nicely cultivated area between them and the onions.

The Herb Patch, Dalek sanctuary and shed after the squash plot carpet had been gathered up.

The Fruit Terrace , nicely weeded.

My skip winnings.

How to insert a fence post.
First you twists the auger in the ground eight twists,

then you pull's it out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Garlic Post

Yet again I forgot the camera.
But, anyway, aren't the longer evenings useful?
Re-planted the garlic I had left soaking in water a couple of days ago, used the leek technique with a trowel rather than a dibber and watered in well.
Hoed with a Wolf three-claw hoe amongst the black and red currents, hmm, some difficulty here, the soil has packed down and smoothed off over the winter and the hoe barely scratched the surface of the clay. I think a session with a spade and a lot of manure may be needed.
Finished the evenings outdoor post work activity by planting another fencepost, hit a root two foot down and had to sledge it in a bit, again.
Hopefully I'll be away from these larger trees by the next fencepost, mostly dead or dying field maples.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Community Service and Potatoes

Went up the allotment and cut up the half a tree I cut down yesterday, met a prospective tenant and let 2a to her. Noticed a Jack Russell wandering far away from any people.
Kathy and co were having problems with the clods on their three rod plot, she had asked a couple of days ago if I would rotovate it for her, I think she thought I wasn't serious with the offer, anyway I went home, came back with the Merry Tiller rotovated the plot with that and was half mugged as I went to leave, said "I haven't finished yet" and left some puzzled looking people. Jack Russell on his twentieth circuit of the park.
Who looked a bit less puzzled when I re-appeared with the Howard 350 and comprehensively minced the plot. Got given £5 for petrol and a bottle of sloe gin and a promise of help with stringing the wire on the new fence. Jack Russell still there.
Too the Howard up to my plot and fitted it with the ridger, then took my ill gotten gains back home and got my four trays of chitted potatoes and some dog biscuits.
At the allotment gate four teenagers were worried about the Jack Russell and a chap with a small dog on a lead asked me if he was my dog. So I went dog catching with the help of this chap, Mr JR was not susceptible to dog biscuits, but was susceptible to other dogs bum's and while having a good sniff, the other dog's owner got him by the collar.
Then I picked him up, one frightened nice little doggie tried half heartedly to chew my hand, then gave up when he realised the size difference and that I meant him no harm.
No tag on the collar, no sign of owner, so we went home, to be greeted with disgust by my dog, delight by my daughter and "What have you got that for?" by my wife. Who then hit the phone while I offered our little guest a drink. Great things Bank Holidays, no council dog warden available, no police interest at the county control room and the only person at our cop-shop was out getting a sarnie! Cut out the middle man and tried the Vets, who advised our local animal rescue charity, who were most helpful and took the little chap in.
After this hour or so interlude, had to retrieve stuff from empty allotment site before driving Mr JR, I resumed gardening, drew four nice furrows with the Howard and was making for the chitted spuds when my mobile went off, the wife.
Our mystery guest had been unmasked as "Gus" from about half a mile, several roads and alot of twists and turns away. The charity had spoken to the police who had already been contacted by Gus's distraught owner after his escape from their property. They were now re-united.
Satisfied with that outcome I planted two 30' rows of Charlotte and two 30' rows of Nicola, then earthed them up, removed the ridger and rotovated between the drawn up ridges, then re-rotovated the other days area, still won't break down to tilth as set hard by the sun.
Back home, mowed the lawns, ran out of petrol after one full bucket and had to go and buy some, "Doh!", re-packed everything back in the shed, had tea and finished the day off with a nice roaring hot after dark wood and perennial herb detritus bonfire.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Civil Engineering

Noticed earlier in the weekend that my neighbour across the road was ripping out his wooden deck from his back garden, preparatory to some building works, so I had asked if I could do a bit of skip diving. Went over today with my little trolley and collected three good loads of timber, proper deck planks, structural bits from underneath, some concrete edging and a two person iron and timber garden seat. Lugged the whole lot up to the allotment, where a severe screw removal session will have to occur before I can use my booty.
After that I decided to continue with the northen fence. Managed to insert four fence posts during the afternoon. Doesn't sound like much and indeed the first two did not take long. However number three I hit a big root two foot down and could not use my auger any deeper. So I ended up banging the post down using the sledge hammer, I had no option as I could not go to either side due to obstructions.
Number four was even worse, hit a root one foot down, so moved the auger away a bit, then hit another root at just under two foot, so went to sledge it and hit a third root after another six inches. Number four is a bit high and will have to have some straining wire holes drilled in it. Grrrr.
Finished off by weeding and harvesting asparagus on the only vacant plot on the site, must contact next off my list to try and let it tomorrow.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Heavy Plant

Plot seventeen has now had the heavy plant treatment. The middle five rod section, comprising two and a half rod covered in carpet, where last years Squash plot was, a narrow grass path and the everything else section from last year, was given a thorough going over.
Carpet and woven black plastic, gathered up and stacked up above the herb area on top of a couple of pallets. This is the utility area and Dalek Sanctuary and that work took a good couple of hours.
The remaining Bright Lights Swiss chard cut off at ground level by spade and the tops popped on an unused bit of plot eighteen to wilt. I rescued some nicely sprouting Garlic, last years planting, which had not grown due to being overshadowed by the Blackcurrent bushes and popped them in a tub of water prior to re-planting. Said Blackcurrent bushes are now no more, well they are, but elsewhere, nice when someone does the heavy uprooting for you and they get the bushes they wanted. also some Onion Sets from last years sowing had sprouted, must have been the hot dry weather last year, then this spring the dormant bulbs had enough water to burst out.
Then fetched Hacken-Slash and his friend Slicen-Dice out of the shed for their first outing of the year.
Hacken-Slash is a Merry Tiller and quite good company, though inclined to wobble a bit. Anyway he slowly hacked and slashed his way through the five rods leaving a lumpy tilth behind.
Then Slicen-Dice took over and thoroughly minced the clods. Slicen-Dice is a Howard 350 and is a very noisy chap who works very hard, very fast.
A quite noticable difference in the tilth on the dug area, the top half that was exposed is fine and seed beddy, while the bit that was covered in carpet is much lumpier as it was so much damper.
So now ready to re-do in a few days, once the lumps have dried a little bit, if I use the ridger then the spuds can go straight in.
After that lot I was knackered and my back was protesting gently, so I wne thome and had a hot bath.