Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Catch that summer sun.

And those damm pesky summer mothy-midges that creep on and leave blood running down your arms and legs,

Plot 23 a gave up and I hacked down the 50% of its 5 rods that was covered with ; bramble, hawthorn, blackthorn, dogwood and stuff. Took three evening sessions from home till dusk.
Finally burnt the results on Monday night when there was buggerall wind.
Had let it by then, with the understanding a bonfire was pending, and the chap had been hard at work with the pickaxe on the bramble stumps and a couple of blackthorns, I did leave decent lengths of the trees for leverage.

Louise has given up after ten years, her formerly well tended plot had not been visibly touched this year and she is busy with other stuff. Sad to see her go, but hopeful one of the twelve on the waiting list will power through the weeds.

Two "laxish" plotholders started to get on with it , one with a prod and one without, and two haven't got on with it yet........

Me, well not a good year for crops, too much going on with the extension and lack of access to the garden due to it. I have four rows of spuds and have planted out ten squash, two cukes, some courgettes, a block of Pigletwilles banana shallots to seed, six (all that made it out of the seedtray!) sweetcorn and have sown leeks, pak-choi, kale and carrots in the coldframe, all up and sprouting.

The weedkiller has done a good job and I have spent the last three evenings digging on plot 18 from the herbs towards the site path and have managed about 4m x 10m.

Last weekend I netted my fruit bushes as the blackbirds were paying it too much attentions although it was only ripening.
Fruit picking has taken about an hour a day since Sunday when I first went plucking and got about 2lb of razzies and a carrier bag full to the brim of strawbs, plus a 1lb of redcurrants.
Today made a summer pudding with all three berries.
Everyone has so many strawbs they cannot give them to other plotholders.

Plot judging on the 2nd July, my plot is an embarrassment, but it will be a tidy embarrassment.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Spray and be dammed.

Went to the DIY sheds to get a hose and a small tool, came away with replacement chemical proof gloves, riggers leather gloves, both keenly priced, a special offer hose on a portable reel which was cheaper than the same hose, 5m longer and a magnificent White Jasmine.

Used some Roundup 3000 on weed infested Plot 18, some naughty Dandelions on 18 and the redundant strawberry plot on the fruit terrace, which was heavily colonised by Dandelions and other stuff. Found myself wishing the bindweed was doing better so I could kill it.

Took the dog for a walk and then tried a really agressive policy on the sulphur candle with the small tool, BLOWTORCH time, this made everything glow nicely, but the blue flame then seemed to go out, due to lots of fumes from what had burnt a-la blowtorch I declined the dogs order to investigate and will look again tomorrow.

Potted the Jasmine into the last og Mondays glazed pots, was too dark to disentabgle it from its cane tripod and attach it to the trellis panel edging the terrace, so will do that tomorrow with a large G-n-T.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Invade the strawbs!

Not a command, a complaint.

Weeded the front, path end, of plot 17, which is a 3'x4' fcut flower bed, a cold frame and inbetween strawberries, guess what the damm couch was doing?

Yup, two foot straight in from the path before sprouting.

Left that nice and tidy, and took the supervisor for a walk, throwing her ball en route.

Tried a more agressive policy with the Sulphur candle, half a box of matches instead of the useless paper wick. They burnt down to the sulphur and went out. GRRRRR.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Non-moving Traffic

Spent over an hour going from the Saxon Inn roundabout in Harlow to the other side of the M11 junction, no visible cause for the congestion, came away with some rather expensive cast aluminium garden furniture, four chairs, one table and a parasol. Also three glazed pots and a couple of decorative plants for the terrace.

Had intended to do alot more, but coming home via Ongar to avoid the congestion caused more delays, but the queue in the opposite direction went a mile or so towards Ongar itself, so avoided a mobile domestic!

Potted up the plants and tried to fumigate the greenhouse with a seemingly non-flammable Sulphur Candle.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Tremendous fun on Sunday.

Spent Saturday helping at the rugby club for a TourAID tournament with teams from Botswana, India and West of Scotland.

Sunday, after an abortive two hours trying to start Slice-n-Dice I put him back in the shed and took Hacken-Slash for a spin. Mowed all of the main path with a Hayter Harrier, which means I collected the trimmings, so that took a while as it was only the second cut of the year.

Then went to work with Hacken-Slash, planting potatoes, managed four rows, still have to do my maincrop. Driving a computer does not prepare the arms for drawing out and earthing up.

Planted out my stored PigletWillie Banana Shallots to either divide up or go to seed, whichever.

Cut a good feed of Purple Sprouting Broccolli, which went down a treat with roast pork and roast potatoes with gravy.

The builders doing the terrace, different lot from those who did the extension, had finished the heavy stuff, so I was finally this weekend able to get into the greenhouse, possessing as I now do a terrace, with steps down to the lawn and no longer hosting a portaloo in front of the greenhouse door.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

April Redneck

Spent nine to five at the allotment yesterday and ghave a red neck to prove it.
So what did I do, well no actual personal allotment gardening.
As three plotholders had given up I showed four prospective tenants vacant plots, splitting one into two, all are signing up this week, including one fit and active youngster of eighty three.
Mowed the main path and some side paths.
Admired the cowslips I planted last year flowering away in the car park / eco-meadow.
Cleared the Site Agent (my) Shed of all the crap the previous site agent had accumulated, he being one of the people who had given up this year. It is amazing just how many supermarket plastic bags were in there, I mean when did Sainsburys stop doing beige bags? This clearance took the best part of four hours and I now have a good concrete shed with some roof repairs needed, but I picked up appropriate stuff off freecycle on Friday.
Shared out everything of any use between the eight or so plotholders on site at the time as a present from my predecessor.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The power!

Of a rotovator should not be underestimated.
Got Hackenslash out today, most of his vital fluids had leaked out, so I refilled his chain case and topped up his engine with good oil and we set out to rotovate.
Did most of plot 17 and by rpior arrangement did a rod of Gaynor's plot for her.
My soil was rotovatable and Gaynor's was superbly so, on there Hackenslash almost swam, rotors out of sight except at the top of their rotation, just went six to eight inches down on 17.

The supervisor gave her grudging approval.

Two shots of the fruit terrace, showing how cold it is on the site, it sits in shade, in a frost pocket with an open east/west tunnel park which funnels the prevailing wind through.
I walked through Green Park in central London on Wednesday and their daffodils were in full bloom, not eight to ten inch high sprouts like mine.

Went home just as it started to rain.......

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Got there.

After the rhino played for the "B"s today at London Welsh, with a similar result to the national teams, he got two tries though, little high speed battering ram, anyway, I went up the allotment.

Damm cold, so I finished one side of the fruit terrace and left it at that before I got too cold.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Creme brulee.

Yesterday I hit the sales.
Bought a bag of 25mm fencing staples and four chesnut fence posts from my local fencing supplier.
Four bags of seed potatoes, a canister of Bordeaux powder for dilution and a 75% off nice candle for her indoors from Van Hagues.
Some packets of onion seeds and a Sulphur Candle for the greenhouse from Harlow Garden Centre.

Then I went and fitted the four posts to my fruit terrace for the original raspberry row and for a new as yet unplanted row. Used some of the staples to fit a second higher wire to the existing posts and a pair of wires to the new posts.

Rhino is still barred from contact sports following his broken arm on 3rd November, cast now off, but today I went, sans Rhino, to watch the B team play Welwyn at home, they lost 22 - 5.

Back at home I weeded, de-suckered and dug over another inter-raspberry-row area, so I have now done 5/8ths of my fruit terrace.

Why creme brulee, well that was the ground conditions today, a thin crisp frost over the sticky mud, which is what defeated me today by sticking to the spade like limpets.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Two years in forty-eight hours.

Went to the allotment again today!

It's ok blog readers, pick yourselves up and have a cup of tea.

Cut out last years canes on the three remaining rows of last years raspberry planting, just leaves the original row from three years ago which is a bit strawberry infested with some weeds also.

Removed the suckers between the rows, that is two gaps, then use some to fill in blanks in the rows, heeled the rest in in my raised bed, good friable soil in there.

Dug the gaps over,found some bindweed roots in four places so will need to have a glyphosate hand spray available next year, unwind bindweed, lay bindweed on ground, spray bindweed.

Dog preferred sitting on the damp grass the other side of Karl's allotment to watch the playground, over sitting on the cunningly constructed insulated doggy perch with less of a viewty 100L plastic bag, doubled over brillopadtype carpet underlay.

Now what will be the best way to dispose of the now unwanted strawberry bed? I have one established down in the sunlight and want to remove the one on the fruit terrace to acommodate another row of raspberries. Problem is the terrace is very heavy clay, I had to scrape the spade clean every three spits or so as otherwise the fourth spit stayed stuck to the spade. Can't beat an old handleless cheapo pressed sheet steel hoe for this job.