Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: December 2006

Sunday, December 31, 2006 photos!
We went this afternoon to try to finish the shed but the wind and rain beat us. We did manage to get the roof fixed firmly on, the window in permanently, the hasp and staple properly fixed, and the sides screwed down to the floor. But when it came to the felting we chickened out and put the tarp back over and battened it down. Tomorrow hopefully will see it finished...then Tuesday I will slosh the wood preserver all over it.

I planted the raspberry canes.....10 of them.....actually 11 were delivered so I planted them all.....Autumn Bliss.

Saw one of the other plotholders....the one with the scarecrow on her plot....and told her about my new plot. "Steptoe's Yard!" she called it!!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

This morning was fine so we went to the plot to prepare to put up the shed. He finished levelling whilst I trimmed back the scruffy hedge a good foot so that we could get round the back of where it is going. That way I don't have to paint the back panel before erecting the shed.
At 11 we went home for the loo and an early lunch....leaving a long afternoon for putting up the shed.

We made a very good start at it but two things conspired against us........the two electric screwdrivers both ran out of power!....and it started to pour with rain when we had barely got the floor down. We carried on with the walls, but some of the screws holding the walls to the base still aren't in. We bodged the roof on with some temporary nails, and put a tarp all over it, battened it to the shed walls...and fled. (DH wears a hearing aid and if it gets wet we have days of fun and games with it!!!!!)

I was disappointed not to get it finished...but never mind...tomorrow is another day.

And I forgot to take the raspberry canes with me.......those will have to wait until tomorrow now. I hope they won't spoil!

Hope to do some pictures permitting!

NB I bought a paperback on the 2007 dates for planting by the wasn't cheap (ie not discounted!) so I was very miffed to find that there is a free calendar on the net....
I have printed it off and will laminate it and use it!!!!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

After a miserably wet morning the shed was delivered at 2pm. No chance of doing anything with it today after all, so we laid it on a tarpaulin, and covered it with another and lots of kerbstones against the fierce wind. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will make a start on putting it up.

I went to buy some hedge shears this afternoon as I really do need to trim back the hedge before we erect the shed.

One of the delivery men mentioned that he has a plot at Cowes. Apparently they have a big site shed with a rotovator, ride on lawn mower etc. No such luck on our site unfortunately.....!

I intend to plant the raspberries tomorrow as well!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My new shed is coming tomorrow so we went to the plot to prepare the spot for it. We have now levelled a big enough area to take it and then came away because he was feeling a bit rough...pulled a muscle in his chest.
Tomorrow I will go down early to check the levels and lay the slabs as a foundation.
When it comes I am going to paint the back of it (which will go against the hedge) before we put it up as I wont be able to get round the back of it comfortably until I have trimmed the hedge back somewhat!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Success at last!
Here is how it looked when I arrived yesterday afternoon.

This is the bit I wanted to clear.

This is my collection some of the intact items I have dug up so far!

This is how it looked when I'd finished. Note the pile of white weeds and general rubbish.....time for a fire!

A close up.....I have covered the bath with an old fence panel as I haven't emptied it yet.

Thought you'd like to see my view of the Solent! You can see Portsmouth in the background....the Spinnaker Tower is quite clear (you can enlarge the photo for more detail) and the faithful Isle of Wight ferry.
The odd shaped building is the Sports Club, and the floodlights are over the tennis court.
The exotic bush in the foreground is on my plot.....does anyone think I can move it safely? It is about 5 feet tall. It is not part of my planting plan!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I took my camera to the plot today and got some good photos.....but Blogger isn't letting me load them tonight.........! So, it'll have to be tomorrow.

We had a glorious day here after a very chilly start. I gather from the news that the rest of the UK suffered with fog! Not here. I was at the plot for an hour and a half and finished digging the bit I need cleared for the raspberries in glorious sunshine! There was a lot more rubbish to dig out. Today's haul was similar to yesterdays but without the interesting items. And there were stacks of plastic compost bags etc.
I also cleared off the nettles by the "pond"...the old bath...and made it safe with a fence panel across the top. I'll let the water out at a later date when I have time to bale a bit out first. I didn't fancy getting wet today.

When I first arrived I saw the man who had the plot next to the one I was "helping" with and told him my good news. He was delighted, but also had some interesting news about the plot. Apparently he was told that it was his 6 years ago when he asked for an allotment. He dug and manured the whole plot...then the council told him it was really someone elses after all!!!!!! So he then took on the one he has now. He was very annoyed at the time...especially as the people who took it on really neglected it. Anyway...he was pleased that I've got it now but encouraged me to make sure to fill in the contract soon and send it back to the council!

The afternoon was perfect....sunny, tennis courts occupied by a more sedate pair than yesterday's lot...a really pleasant time.

And in Tesco's I saw a bargain little MP3 player for £9.97. I'll download some talking books from the net and be able to have "company" sometimes on the plot. Bliss!

NB Just tried again to load photos and still no I'm off to bed! Goodnight everyone!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Today's haul included a rake with a long metal handle, a scythe, some corrugated iron, baler twine....three colours, chicken wire.....all in a ball, bones (thought I might find a body there were so many!), two iron bars, rusty secateurs, a knife, and lots of plastic netting. Also....5 buckets of white roots. I know I said this yesterday but another two days should finish this bit.
I've bid for and won some fruit bushes on eBay. 8 "Autumn Bliss" Raspberries, an "Invicta" Gooseberry and two crowns of "Timperly Early" Rhubarb. I'll soon be ready to plant them, but I don't think they'll be here until late next week.

It was foggy today. The allotments are high up so I got the sun, but the ships in the Solent were in the fog and their mournful foghorns were loud.
There were some women playing tennis on the courts next door and it sounded like they were having a whale of a time.

I forgot the camera today, but really the photos would be much the same as before......!

It was beautiful this afternoon so I went to do some more digging. It was hard work. I seemed to be digging up an old dump! I found three spade heads, three kerb stones, two iron bars, a piece of angle iron, bones, plastic, netting, baler twine....lots, least three lots, and the remains of lots of wood bits...probably once fence posts. And....five buckets of white roots! It took two hours to do about two sq metres! Another two goes like that and I'll be ready for the raspberry canes.

The bonfire pile of white roots is chest high now!

It was very quiet there today....only me there. As I left though there was another plotter backing his car down the incline to as near his plot as possible. He was tipping all his buckets of tomato compost from last summer to condition his soil. He has one of the neatest plots at the allotment site. One of the ones along the bottom where the mare's tail is such a plague. (Fortunately I think I won't suffer with that where I am).

I had a sore back afterwards, but I hope to go again today. I find if I nurse my back it doesn't get any better than if I carry on!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

All in all a fruitful weekend at the plot. The pile in the foreground shows the results of my weeding and clearing marathon on the bank in the background. I will have to burn this pile as most of it is white roots from bindweed, couch grass, nettles and ivy....none of which I want back again.

This piece of ground is where I will put the raspberries and rhubarb. I have properly cleared and dug about 12 sq metres so far...lots more to do though.

In the picture you can see the baths that we have to get rid of (the second one is top left), and some of the very heavy blocks which litter the plot. I have moved about a dozen so far....they'll be good for a shed foundation.

It was pure joy digging this afternoon. The Solent was stretched out before me in all its sunny glory; they were playing tennis on the courts next to the plots; the sun was shining; there was little wind; and the soil was so friable it was a pleasure to dig. I ended up in shirtsleeves as it was so warm.

Tomorrow I am off to the panto at my next visit to the plot will be permitting.

Friday, December 15, 2006

This afternoon was dry again, if a little windy, so I decided to go and carry on the good work at the plot. I have to weed more of the bank in order to make a patch of soil clean enough to put in some shrubs etc from the rest of the site. I spent an hour and a half and made a pile of weeds and other rubbish weeded out. I'll burn it next time I go....possibly tomorrow afternoon. The pile was 3 ft high...all rubbish and weeds from about 4 sq yards. And that is only a small proportion of what needs doing.

I took pictures with my camera phone but still don't know how to download them.....!

Spent an hour and a half at the plot moving the tool store. I started out thinking I was going to be preparing the spot for the shed. I pulled out all the greenhouse bits from the bramble patch and stacked them ready for the other plotholders to take away. Picked up loads and loads of broken glass. Dug out the bramble roots. Disposed of a stack of rubbish that was in with it all. Then decided that the space would be ideal for the big green tool store which was in a pretty silly spot up a bank, so I levelled off the soil.
I hauled the huge plastic monstrosity to the new spot, swept it out, repaired it, threw a load of rusty tools away....and put all the good ones back in.
Now it is easy to get my tools when I need them and I'll feel much more like working when the tools are properly stored

In Tesco's today I spotted an ideal me present for the allotment. A wind-up radio. It was under £8 and is ideal. It goes for 20 minutes after a one minute wind. It also has a flashlight which runs off the wind-up battery.......! Perfect! I might get another one for the polytunnel!

I'll move the flower bushes tomorrow....then I'll be a bit nearer the big dig! The soil is in lovely condition at the moment....not too soggy to dig. The Allotments are named "Sandilands" for good reason....they drain well. The white roots just slip out when I turn every spit. It is a joy to dig and weed it.

I was driven home by the need for the loo! I'll be glad to get my shed up so that I can hide away and deal with that without coming home. An hour and a half seems to be my limit!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I suppose these could officially be called "before" still looks much like it did on the 5th when I photographed it before. But we have done a lot that doesn't really show....!
This picture shows where the bonfire was. It was 5ft tall before burning! Now I have to move and sift the remains before the big dig!
You can also see my manure heap...on a tarp ready to be moved when I have dug this first bit. It is on a un-dug area and I didn't want it full of weeds.....hence the tarp!

Here you can see the "bed" (the blocks were already in place so I have decided to utilise this spot for the herb bed) which I cleaned yesterday. The plants are the very healthy herbs I moved from all over the plot.

I finally cleared the old plot yesterday. I moved all my pieces of timber, the tools from the shed, and my beanpoles. I sent a card of thanks to the plotholder with the key to the shed so that chapter is all the brassicas which I will harvest in spring!
After dark I went to B&Q to order my shed....a 6'x4' apex roof, rough shiplap....£99 plus £20 delivery. It is coming on the 29th direct to the allotment. I bought some "Forest Brown" preservative to treat it with before assembling. I don't like the ginger colour it is at the moment...and the assistant said it should be treated soon after assembly.
I will erect it just behind the hedge as the winds can tip sheds over on these plots.
I have a padlock already.
Next job....moving all the flowering plants to a new bed. Then I will start the big dig! Hopefully I will get some time in permitting!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Moved 12 more barrowloads this afternoon so the manure is now on the new plot. I just have to shift a few bits of wood, and my tools from the shed, then I will inform the plotholder that apart from harvesting my cabbages I have finished with her plot. I think the friend who was with her the other week will be glad as she was a bit put out by the small size of what she'd been given.

I took photos with my phone of what I have achieved this weekend, but when I got home they weren't there! So they are probably in cyberspace. I really need to carry the phone instructions with me as I don't remember what I have to do to keep the pictures!

I won't be at the plot now until at least Wednesday as I am off to Kent to see my mother. Hopefully it will be fine Wednesday so I can do a bit more clearing.

I've worked my socks off at the plot this afternoon.
Firstly we built a pile of all the rubbish and set light to it. Then I cut down loads of the nettles and pulled up all the dead bindweed stems (I was a bit optimistic thinking there wasn't any on the plot....!) and threw them on the fire. Then I found piles of twigs from the hedge under a load of plastic....they went on the fire.
Then DH reminded me that the dogs needed walking, so I left him minding the fire and went home, got them , walked them and then delivered them to him at the plot and he went home with them while I took over fire watching.
It was still very much blazing so I realised I was going to be there until dark and decided to start moving the manure. I borrowed a barrow and managed to move 6 loads (of an estimated 20) before my back said stop. The loads had to be pushed uphill for 25yds, then 100yds on the flat, the uphill another 25 yards. I thought I'd die moving the last two loads so I called it a day....more tomorrow.
The winds have been really fierce at the allotments the last few days. An apple tree had gone over, and a shed. Mine is the last plot when the wind blows that way and I seem to have acquired 3 watering cans!

I am happy with what I have accomplished today. Tomorrow I'll shift more manure and start to dig along the fence where I want to put the raspberry canes. If I put them there I'll not have to worry about posts and wire.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I am such a dope. I have been wondering why no-one posted any comments on my good news...then it came to me whilst I was sewing.....I hadn't enabled comments. So...I have now done it!

We went to the plot this morning to see how the sun was then. At 11 am the site was almost all in the sun. We poked about a bit more and decided that it would be a good one to take on in spite of the work.
When we got home I e-mailed the Allotment Officer with my decision and asked for an agreement that it would be rent free for the first year (not a big deal as the rent is only £11.60 anyway) and for some kind of guarantee that if I found within a few weeks that it is too much for me then I wouldn't forfeit the deposit, given that the site is such a mess now! I also asked for a skip for all the broken glass, the bath, the rusty stuff, the old mowers, the piles of old plastic containers that won't be any use to me, .....etc!
I had an answer this afternoon....yes, rent free for first year; yes , I can have my deposit back if I can't get on with it; and yes...the inspector will have a look and see whether I can have a skip.

After lunch and walking the dogs I went to start the clear up. Oh my is it a mess! But I have made a big start on piling the rubbish up in one corner, moving all the paving slabs and pallets onto the bank, pulling up the acres of plastic, pulling up the tarpaulin covering the bonfire, trimming the hedge away from the pathway in, picking up the broken glass, moving the composter (looks new!), pulling up bean stakes and cleaning them, dismantling a plastic net frame, throwing away the packet of "Huggies (!) with the woodlice colony that was feasting on them...etc. I didn't take a photo as quite honestly it looks worse than before! But I promise one in a day or two if we get a chance to get down there again.

I also spoke to the "King" of the allotments and told him I'd decided to go ahead. He said he was greatly relieved as he had had second thoughts about what he'd said about the plot and felt that, after having had a mooch around yesterday, it would be a goodish plot given a fair amount of work . I asked him if anyone would want the ali greenhouse frame and the intact pieces of glass. He said that a few of them had been talking about setting up a communal greenhouse so he'd have a look and if they liked it they'd move it, and the glass, off the plot for me. It is no use to me....I have a perfectly good polytunnel here at home for raising seeds etc.

So....things are happening. Tomorrow we will have a big bonfire for all the burnable rubbish. Then we'll carry on putting the non-burnable rubbish in the corner waiting for the skip. I prepared a spot to put the tarpaulin to move my manure onto and I'll start the shovelling and barrowing tomorrow permitting.

So......At last.....I've got my plot!!!!!!!!!

Still cogitating over whether to go for plot 58 or not.
I had an e-mail from the Allotments Officer who said that they had done an inspection of the plots and had written to a number of plotholders and might have news of some vacant plots in a month's time...! As this was a bit of a mismatch of information given that I was supposedly no 4 on the list I thought I'd phone to have a chat. I needed to clear up a few points....such as who would remove the grass from plot many had turned it down before I was offered it....etc.
It turns out that I am now top of the any that come up in the next few weeks would be mine! Apparently no 58 was only given up this week! They will send out an inspector to see what to do about the glass....and the two baths (if I do take the plot I might keep one...but not two!) I do get the bank (3 metres deep sloping up to the fence). The rent is only £11.60 per year!!!!! I get the first year free as it is such a mess. I have until the 17th to make my mind up.

My husband says go for it and he'll help me out with the clear up. But I am still worried about the shade problem there. He says not to worry but he is not a gardener!

I am veering toward accepting it as it is sheltered from E winds and more sheltered than the other plots on the slope from westerlies. I am also sold on the view....which is not so good from anywhere else. Also, the plot which I have heard may soon be given up is slightly sloping towards the N so would take longer to warm up in the mornings.

So...I am afraid it is still a case of "watch this space"!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Had a chat with the "King" of the plots who said that 58 is one of the worst to sun ...and never been worked properly by anyone. Got a bit despondent. Then the sun came out and I went to the old plot to weed around my brassicas. It was hellishly one ear and out the other stuff.
So I decided to go and look at plot 58. It was sunny, sheltered, dry (the soil didn't stick to my boots) and I turned a few spadefuls of soil. It was easy. It was a bit full of couch, but no bindweed! And when I stood up to ease my back I saw the view. The Solent in all its glory! I hadn't realised it had a view!
I had a good poke round the plot and saw some more surprises......
a hose point on the corner!
a wormery!
the mower looks like it might work!
the herbs are really healthy (might mean it's a bit dry in summer but it also means it isn't too wet in winter).
The place for the shed is a little sun trap in the afternoons!

So.....I think I'll not turn it down straight away. I might do a couple of weeks work on it then make my mind up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good news! I had a phone call from the Allotments Officer today offering me plot 58. Having already taken photos of this plot when I was thinking of bullying the council I had a pretty good idea of the state of it, but I still went along to have a look.
I am inclined to accept this one for many is near the water supply, it looks fertile, there is some bindweed but it is not overrun, it is square (not long and thin like the one I have been tending), it is next but one to the hauling road, it had a nice brick foundation already there for a shed, it has a very sturdy post that I can tie the dogs to, it is on the upper flat section of the allotments so doesn't suffer quite so much from the prevailing south/westerlies as the one I was helping out with.
There are some major bad points.....there is a huge tree to the south/east of the plot which shades it in the morning, but it has lost its leaves now so it wont shade it in the winter or early spring. Also it is alongside the three story flats which are to the east/ south of the plot.
My husband says to go for it and he will help me clear the rubbish off it (buckled greenhouse frame and loads and loads of other rubbish). He has also promised me a new shed! However I am seeing one of the other plotholders tomorrow (the one who is always there and gets the seeds for us) and I will ask him for his thoughts before finally accepting. As I am number 4 on the list I should think the others ahead of me have already said no to this one and I'd like to know why! this space. Tomorrow I may be able to really say "At last I have got my plot!"