Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Peas planted

An absolute corker of a day today, the temperature was up to 23C at the plot.

I planted the peas, I was going to separate the plants and spread them out over the full length of the bed
But the roots were all entangled in each other and I would have caused more damage separating them, so I left them alone.  They all just slid out in a piece straight into the little trench I made for them. They are a bit too crowded but it's that versus damaged roots, I had to choose.  We'll see how it goes.

It was so nice, I did a bit of weeding, a bit of pruning the 15 foot high privet hedge, a bit of nail pulling.  I've got down to the bottom of the woodpile, but I don't know what to do with the big pieces and it irks me that the garden is untidy.

Monday, 28 April 2014

After the rains

Phew! Got the water butts back just in time, it has rained solidly ever since.  I checked and the new gutter has collected half a tub full in 2 days. Also the roof didn't leak either, which is a result, for the first time I have somewhere dry on the plot to put things.

But today turned into a lovely afternoon and evening

I brought the peas to the plot as they are needing to be moved out of their gutters soon.  I think there is space beside the currant bushes to put them in.  There is frost forecast from Friday for a few nights, so I will throw some fleece over them if necessary.

I spent the time pulling nails out of the planks of the old hut.  A lot of it has gone, thank goodness, to other plots as bed borders, but there is enough left to be useful. Some splintered planks have been broken up for firewood, I haven't got an open fire, but plenty plotholders do.

 I had a pot full of seedling sunflowers a couple of days ago, now I have a pot full of stumps,  Snails I think, more blue pellets of death needed, I think.  Too late for the sunflower competition, though.

 The asparagus has made an appearance, along with quite a few weedlings

 The potatoes too are showing their first leaves, but that one in the middle is a dock leaf and will not be with us for much longer.

 The pond has filled up and the kingcups are looking very vigorous.

Friday, 25 April 2014

water butts back

Its a miserable old day, drizzly, cold struggling to get to 10C.  A good day to put up the new gutter.

The photo doesn't show it very well as is such a gloomy day the camera was struggling.  But it was very easy to put up, the only thing was that the joint in the gutter is a bit higher than the rest and so the water might pool at the end. I tried different things but the ends always sagged away from the joint.  Tomorrow, I will try putting a screw in the shed wall above the joint to keep it down.
In the meantime the water butts have been re-installed in their new position behind the shed.

Lots of tidying to do now, but it is cold and wet so it is home for me.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


 Peeling the protective film off the perspex windows has left annoying raggy bits of plastic in the frames, which are really awkward to remove
 And the window catch doesn't work properly, it won't screw down properly
Otherwise all is good.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

First rain for a while

Raining today so I will do some pricking out of foxgloves, nemesia etc. The gherkins and spag squash are growing apace too, so they'll probably need a bigger pot.

Braved the hailstones (well, actually I didn't, I hid in a bus shelter till it went over, but it sounds good) and bought some brackets and a door latch (for, guess where? Yes, the shed) at my local DIY shop Blacketts
The door on the new shed has a padbolt and a turnbuckle for the outside, but no way of closing it from the inside, which is strange as it is very possible that I might want to do a little potting in my potting shed, without getting rained on or frozen.
Just got to swot up on how to install the door catch, I don't even know what it is properly called.

(I just looked it up and it is called a Suffolk Latch .  There's something I've learned today, isn't the internet wonderful? Oh, and I didn't any pricking out done, my specs broke so I had to take them in to the shop)

Monday, 21 April 2014

Painted shed

Nearly done....getting a bit bored with shed bulletins now.
 Part painted with the wood treatment that came with the shed.  Not pushing any boundaries here, it is a nice middle-of-the-road light brown.
Blimey! It's untidy already!
Did a deal with New Dave, half a roll of heavy duty roofing felt, (I spotted a trading opportunity when I was up top of the stepladders and saw that all the felt had blown off his shed) for a barrow of gravel which I can use for filling in between paving stones.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

shed complete!

James finished the shed today, Yey!....

....apart from coat of wood treatment, and some guttering that needs installing. Fortuitously there was a length of guttering on the free shelf only a day ago, so I nabbed it. But on second thoughts, I have bought some shed mini guttering (it isn't a big roof) which has these nifty brackets which screw on when there is no fascia board. Must bring this spending spree to an end soon.

Friday, 18 April 2014

new shed pix

Since there was a sudden absence of volunteers, other half Keith (who never normally comes near the plot) volunteered to help, gammy leg and all. Noble by name and noble by nature.

We were fastening the hinges for the shed door, and I was beginning to think that I had bitten off more than I could chew, when I heard, in the distance, some very competent sawing going on.  It was James on the next plot but one.  I had been considering asking for his help, as I knew he did joinery, but had put it off because I don't like admitting defeat, but this was a gift I couldn't refuse.  He happily accepted the job, which was child's play to him (said it was like a big jigsaw puzzle) and 3 hours later it was 99% finished.
James working well

Window panel ready to add

Keith and I did the door!

measuring roofing felt

 Windows in, roof on!
Keith and I helped, it was definitely a two and sometimes three man job, and James is good, but even he hasn't got three pairs of arms.

Almost complete, just a few bits of trim and fascia to do. Wow! It looks like a proper shed! Wonderful!

I think I will have to have an open day, there has been so much interest and shed envy from fellow plotholders.

I am making this an early 70th birthday present to myself.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

No new shed news

Progress on the new shed has stalled. It is too windy today to manouvre large wind resistant panels of wood.
Besides that, both my erstwhile helpers have found something more interesting to do and I can't do it on my own.  I think I am going to have to buy in some professional help.

Wet and windy so I faffed about levelling and filling gaps.  Altogether unsatisfactory.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

new new shed news

It was off down to the plot early to tidy up the old wood.

Tidied some, but that got very boring, so started on lifting the old shed floor.  It was made of really solid floorboard planks, and every nail didn't give up without a struggle.

But by lunchtime it was up and in pieces, some of which went to Beverley's plot as bed borders.

Home for the last of the celeriac soup, and a cheese and chutney sandwich.

Pat the Destroyer joined me for the afternoon and turned into Pat the Paviour as she moved and levelled an extra row of four really, really heavy paving slabs, while I applied a coat of wood treament to the underside of the new shed floor.

The base for the old shed was 6ft wide by 8ft long, just like the new shed, but unfortunately because I want the windows to face the sun, it means the orientation of the new shed is the other way.  So the old base was 3 x 4 paving stones, but for the new shed it needs to be 4 x 4 paving stones.

MGG appeared later to give us the benefit of his experience and the four extra paving stones (pinched from another part of the garden) were successfully manoevred into their final resting place.

The new shed floor in situ.
It will come up again while I fill that gap in the flagstones with whatever gravel or bricks I can find. (The chipboard at the back is the old shed roof, just parked, while I figure out what to do with it)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

new shed, old shed

5.50 am.  Phone call from delivery driver to say he would be at the allotments in 20/25 minutes.
6.10 am I am waiting at the allotment gate
6.40 delivery arrives - he has been waiting for me at Fenham Model, but eventually twigs that he might be in the wrong place.
The driver very obligingly took the flatbed truck up the narrow path and offloaded at the crossroads the new shed near my plot.
Fortuitously (for me) John arrived on the scene just at the right time and we and the driver manhandled the panels of the hut into the plot for safekeeping until I could get the old hut disassembled.
two of the panels, the rest are distributed around the plot
 7.30 am Driver departs taking several lumps of shrubbery with him, I hope he won't get into trouble for any scratches on his truck.
8.00 am Back home to get a bacon sandwich, which I feel I deserved.
9.30 am Back to the plot to start deconstructing the old hut, joined by Pat the Destroyer with crowbar, to help.

Back refreshed in the afternoon after a break for celeriac soup and bread and brie.
While I was away Pat had stripped the hut of its plank walls and it was left like a rustic gazebo.

 And the we huffed and puffed and pushed the remaining structure over.
 H&S would have kittens!

The last bit to succumb to the power of Pat the Destroyer and The Annhililator

The shedless plot.
For an old decrepit shed it was remarkably resistant to disassembly. I feel quite sad, my first shed, it had character.
Anybody want some timber? The shed is dead, long live the shed.

Tomorrow is a day.for clearing up some of the mess and levelling the new shed floor.

Monday, 14 April 2014

new shed news

Got the call this morning, the new hut is to be delivered to the allotments tomorrow, woo hoo!

I better bustle about sorting the old one out.

 still lots left
I don't need to clear it all out now, the main thing is that I am at the gate to let the delivery in.   I'm hoping that they will be able to deliver it to the plot, but if they can't then I have volunteers waiting to help carry the parts up the hill. Once it is in, I can take my time about assembling it.
Just had a phone call on a very bad mobile connection, I get the idea that it could be delivered anytime from 6 o'clock! They are coming from Nottingham and it could be early...
I gave up 6 o'clocks when I retired!

Friday, 11 April 2014

not growing brassicas this year?

Who said that?
I pricked these purple sprouting broccoli out today.
I don't know where I am going to put them, they might fit into the bed where the winter onions are when they are finished.  I have already started to use them as salad onions. Or I could maybe grow the psb on the hugelkultur bed. That's a thought...
But the plot seems to have filled up all of a sudden and I only seem to have 2 beds (last year's runner bean bed and the leek bed) left apart from the new lasagne bed which still needs time to rot down.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

New Shed!

In a mad moment on t'internet I bought a new shed!

I have long thought I would like a greenhouse at the plot and the existing shed has been leaking like a sieve since I took over the plot.  So I've been looking at this type of shed for a while, it is a cross between a hut and a greenhouse, which might work for me and the space I have available. It is a bit pricey but it is made of wood, not metal or plastic.

I just have to get it passed by the committee, which, unfortunately I hadn't thought of until after I had ordered it, so fingers crossed it is an acceptable replacement for the old shed.

After that it will be a matter of finding volunteers to help me get it onto the plot and to erect it. The website says that clear instructions come with the shed and it is simple to assemble.  We'll see!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

avocado update

The seam has widened and is on both sides of the seed.

I'm changing the water every 2 or 3 days.

Monday, 7 April 2014

a splishy, sploshy asparagus day!

The asparagus crowns came today in the post, Yey!
Unfortunately it is a rainy, drizzly, damp old day and the plants need to go in asap.
On the same day, I had an offer from friend Pat of some pond/pondside plants she had spare and, having a pond/pondside in want of some furniture, I accepted readily.

So, after putting the asparagus crowns in the scullery sink to soak, off we went in the rain with Pram to collect the plants from Pat's allotment on the other site nearby. We sploshed around in the mud and wet grass with the carelessness of one who embraces the concept of getting soaked, willingly.

One good thing about pond plants, they don't take any digging up, you just get a good grip and pull and a whole load of smelly gunk comes up. So, in no time at all, we got an unidentified mini-bullrush type plant, a kingcup and a pot of flag iris rhizomes, plus a large pondside plant, which Pat had conveniently already dug up, and I could swear was creeping buttercup, but which she assures me is Ligularia.

Then on to my plot, with Pram ably bearing the load of wet soil and plants, to deposit the fruits of our labours in a temporary home, and to show off a bit to Pat, who hasn't seen my plot for a while.

After that it was lunchtime and home for some refreshments and a partial dry out.

Down to the plot again with a bucket of 10 wet Guelph Millennium asparagus crowns, which look very healthy and have nice buds on the tops.
I have my wellies on this time as the weather isn't getting any drier.

I have read all the instructions and the bed has been prepared as well as I can.  I made trenches with a mound down the middle, on each side of the bed...

..and placed the crowns on the mounds (just like it says in the book) and covered them over.

Sit back and wait for two years.

 The pond plants were dropped in to the babybath and the ligularia planted nearby.

 Done...  It is still looking a bit like a sunken babybath but with some more plants and a bit of time, I'm sure it will be a pretty little corner of the plot. Thank you, Pat!

Home to get dried out, and then the sun came out!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Upsides and downsides

A fine Sunday morning, not sunny but warm at 14C, a good day to go get the newspaper and on the way back, call in at the allotment trading hut for the latest goss.  Along with the latest news, I picked up a few shallots, replacements for the failed ones on the plot and put them in.

I pulled the first rhubarb of the year, a lovely ruby red.  That is the pudding sorted!
Mmmm!  Rhubarb, gently stewed in its own syrup served with a large dollop of vanilla ice cream melting over it, can't be beaten (except maybe by rhubarb crumble and custard, but which I am too lazy to make)

 That is one of the many up-sides to spring, another one is all the spring flowers and blossom  I can see from the window.

The downside is that the grass needs cutting....

Friday, 4 April 2014

taties in.. 2014

It has been not quite so wet for the last couple of days and the puddles in the plot have receded.

So the taties went in. Yey! A seasonal landmark.


Wilja-13/15 weeks to harvest(4 /18 July)

Desiree-15/22 weeks to harvest.(18 July/5 Sept)

I was hoping to get them all in two beds, and I could've if I had crowded them a bit more, but I needed to leave room to ridge them up in the ordinary beds, so I only did two rows.
The maincrop should have a bit more space than the earlies, so they have spread over 2 beds instead of the expected one.
One of the new raised beds which I filled with soil improver, is now planted up with Desiree, fairly closely planted as I am led to believe crops can be grown more intensively in raised beds.

(The bed nearest is filling up with vegetable waste, with a view to making a lasagne bed eventually.)
 I went around the plot pulling out some weeds, there are surprisingly few at the moment, most of them are hairy bittercress (below) which come out suspiciously easily, but if you leave them they scatter their seed all over the place.  No doubt the weeds will catch up with me by June.
Hairy bittercress

 In my travels around the plot I came across this lovely clump of aubretia.  The original plant was from some plant scheme seed which didn't do at all well, wasn't sellable and looked as if it would die quite soon.  So I shoved the two surviving plants at the edge of the path last autumn and even though it is the wet end of the plot, they have loved it.

Aubretia "Spring Falls"