Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: February 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Photo a day....13th February.

Walking the dogs today along the "wall walk" as we call it, I saw this sandcastle...with its mote. Then I noticed the additional circle nearer the path. I took this photo with my phone so the quality is not good....but I thought the whole thing rather unearthly.

This time last year I was at Stonehenge and Avebury on a trip with a friend from the US. Those stone circles were spooky! These circles made me think about that trip again.

Anyway....I thought this made an interesting picture.....! And who would be making sand castles at this time of year......?
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Monday, February 12, 2007

I am really buzzing around this week getting ready to go away on Thursday for a fortnight, and to leave the house fit for the dog sitters to stay in!!!!! As the weather is awful....rainy and very windy...I am unable to go to the plot anyway. And there is no point starting seeds off that we won't be here to look after. So gardening is at a standstill except for tunnel watering.
Service will resume in early March!

Photo a day......12th February.

I love this photo of the kids (mine and my sister's, now all flown, and married) from one of our holidays here in the 90s. It was on a beach towards Yarmouth, at the other end of the Island, looking towards the mainland. I think that bit is called Hurst Castle.

They were watching the QE2 (I think) go out. Some of the cruise ships did used to go out of the Solent westwards in those days. They all seem to come past Seaview now.....eastwards.

This photo...almost a silhouette....came out this good by accident. I couldn't repeat it if I tried!
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Photo a day....11th February.

Horestone Point.

If we walk down our road, through the little alleyway, down the short road to the sea and look right, this is the view. If you then pass through the break in the rocks (at the end of the wooden stakes) you get to Priory Bay....the best beach on the Island. Summer and winter it is beautiful.

We are going to try getting razor shells here the way Ray Mears described on Wild Food the other week. We have seen the telltale dimples in the sand, and some cast off shell cases from razor shells, so we feel there is the chance of a meal here!

Just past this point the beach goes out for a long way. If we put out long nets when the tide is out in the evening (100 yards long...staked at the ends with anchors) and go back at the next low tide early the next morning, we find lots of good fish in the net. Once there were 12 Sea Bass!

We don't do this at weekends or in the very busy holiday times because the beach is popular with swimmers who'd get cross (rightly) with us! But out of season it is a great pleasure to catch fish this way. Some people who live on the bay have helped DH haul in the nets a couple of times and carried off armfuls of fish as a reward. I can't cope with 12 in my freezer so they are helping us out really!

Since his last hip op he hasn't been fit or strong enough to do it, but is looking forward to when he can again....not long now we hope!
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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Photo a day.....10th February.

The young man in this photo, my cousin's son, is now out at he won't mind me posting this on here.

This old fire engine is an exhibit at Calbourne Mill, Isle of Wight. We adults were lagging behind the kids a bit and caught up with them and found they were all over it. We had to excuse them as they were too young to read. Needless to say they were hustled off it pretty quick......but I had to have a photo first!!!!
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Friday, February 09, 2007

Photo a day...9th February.

Here is a view of the house itself (from yesterday). Morton Manor at Brading on the Isle of Wight. It is a beautiful little home ..... the family actually live in the whole house and just tidy up when they are open for visitors. It has quite a history, which I have forgotten.....!
I took this photo in 1994 but have been there many times since. The garden bears visiting in all seasons of the year.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Photo a day....8th February.

At Morton Manor, Brading there is this delightful corner of the garden.....the herb bed and the old beehive shelves. In the past there would have been "skeps" in the spaces. For more on skeps see

Morton Manor is maintained by the family that have had it since the 40's. The gardens and house are beautiful.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A really beautiful afternoon spent digging! I did three rows...and three tubtrugs of weeds. This took two hours as usual.

I took the footpump to inflate the tyre on the barrow left behind by the previous plotholders. We'll see if it stays up!!!

There were lots of other plotters there and I had a couple of natters whilst my back eased.

I think I am nearing the halfway mark for the digging. Hooray!

Bought some seeds at Lidl this morning.....
nasturtiums....because I love them.....!
little yellow patty pan squash seeds...."Sunburst"
black salsify "Duplex" experiment
broad beans "The Sutton"
water melon "Sugar Baby"....another experiment
cauliflower "Snowball"
Another few days and I'll start some seeds off in the tunnel. I don't want to leave loads for our dog sitter friends to do so they will be able to ignore the seeds until we get home.

Photo a day.....7th February.

This morning I did a shopping trip to Shanklin (we have a brand new Lidl shop and I hadn't been's huge!) and back via the Farm shop. I love the Downs that run through the middle of the Island. This road is a favourite. I wouldn't want to do it on a bike though!

I don't think this photo would look a lot different in the summer.....apart from the trees being greener! Today it was beautiful as you can see!
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Three hours spent digging this afternoon and the second swathe is now done. As this last corner of the bit I've done was where I had the heap and the bonfire there was a lot of rubbish. I had the fire here because that is where the previous plot holders had had their fire. I found lots more carpet, umpteen plastic compost bags, lots of metal bits and pieces, and loads and loads of small bits of a green plastic net. It took all that time to get the rubbish is done now.

I estimate that I have done over a third of the digging now.....and that includes the worst from now on should be plain sailing!

I intend to get it all dug once, removing as much weed root as I can, then I will use our little Mantis cultivator on it to reduce it to a "fine tilth"! Then I will mark up the permanent beds and begin my no dig experiment. The beds will be 3'6" deep and about 14' long....six of them altogether. I will just loosen the soil when I weed in future and not step on the soil at all.

I am a bit puzzled as to how I am going to do "firm" conditions for the brassicas. I expect walking on the beds will be required for that. I will have to research a bit more.

I'm thinking of doing straw paths between the beds...if I can get some that is.

Hopefully we will get a fine day with a north wind soon. Then I will be able to start burning all that rubbish shown in the second picture. Any other wind direction sends smoke all over either the Sports Club or the flats. I know if I lived there I'd get annoyed if there were lots of I am hoping to be able to do it without upsetting anyone.....! Probably a tall order!

Photo a day....6th February.

This shows where the hotel is situated in Seaview. As you can see, the photo was taken in Wisteria time. The house next to the hotel has the most wonderful old wisteria growing round the window of the delights of Seaview! This house used to be a Bank and there are still brass letters on the windows stating that they deal with investments and other things which I have forgotten.

"Shore Things" is now a cafe...The Copper Kettle.

Out in the Solent you can see one of the Forts.
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Last weekend I was in Kent to visit family, and on the way I went to Wisley, and Costco....! At Costco I got the water butt Pump. This will be a real boon for shifting water around the garden from my 5 water butts.
The other stuff was from Wisley. Another weeding trug, some new garden gloves (x 2! They were only £3.99 a pair and so comfortable), Roundup for the bindweed if it dares to come back (there will be some I have missed. I have a cunning plan for getting rid of the rest involving canes placed near where they sprout and weedkiller!), kneelers.....the strap on kind.....(because!), a new set of rootrainers as my old ones are on their last legs and I need them for sweet peas (free seeds with the rootrainers), some gladioli bulbs which were a bargain (actually they were from Costco too......70 bulbs for £5.79 plus Vat), and some seeds....globe artichoke (because I have lots of room for this kind of thing now), and sweet peas...two kinds.

I also bought a very inspirational book......."All-in-one garden" by Graham Rice. It is about growing flowers and veg together for both horticultural advantage and because it can be aesthetically pleasing. I am slowly reading and absorbing it and hope to put some of it into practice this year in my home kitchen garden. It is probably a bit cissy for the allotment!!!!!!!!!

Today I went to do my usual three buckets of weeds....but it didn't work out that way. I came across some buried carpet and getting all of that out meant that after two buckets I was exhausted. But I have left it in a good state of readiness for finishing digging the second swathe right across the plot.....tomorrow! We are going away for a fortnight as from next Thursday and I want to be able to start some planting in early March when we get I have to get more dug before we go.

My next door neighbours here at home walked through and spotted me digging. They oohed and aahed, and very kindly admired what I have done so far. I think they think I'm mad.....they can't understand why I need an allotment as well as a kitchen garden when there are only two of us to feed. It may seem really daft, but I don't have room for spuds and bulk crops, like onions, here at home, nor room for fruit. I also want to freeze beans etc for next winter, and tomatoes for soup. And besides...the soil at the plot is infinitely nicer than what we have here, so it is a real pleasure to work. And just being up there..... with others solidly working around me, the glorious view of the Solent, the languid sound of the tennis (men playing today!), and the balmy sunlight....where else would I rather be? Nowhere!
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Photo a day.....5th February.

This is the Seaview Hotel. Many say it is the best hotel on the Island. It is certainly expensive! I have been in once for coffee. You get "free" homemade cookies with your coffee. However the coffee isn't cheap. But it was very good coffee....!.....and very good cookies!

If you have plenty of money and fancy staying there you might check out this link
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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Photo a day....4th February.
(Back from Kent later than expected due to fog on the M25.)

Here is a view of the Seaview Yacht Club from the sea wall pathway. The sea is full of "parked" small yachts all summer long just here, as you can see. In the winter there are none!
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Photo a day.....1st February.

Here is the Isle of Wight Fishbourne...just docking.

When holidaying here the kids would really perk up when we saw the sea....and all loved the ferry. Somehow it seems more like going on holiday if you cross water to get there.

Some lads that came to stay with us last summer wondered if they needed their passports to come here!!!!!

I will be catching this ferry tomorrow en route to visiting family in Kent (where we used to live). Since living here I've become a bit sorry to leave when I do go over....and my heart really lifts when I catch the return ferry.

BTW I won't be near a computer for three days no photo a day until Sunday....if I'm lucky!!!!!
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This morning I did my usual three buckets of white weeds. Then, as I'd remembered to take the camera , and although it was dull I thought I'd do an update and a comparison with how the plot looked when I took it on........!

The first picture shows how much I've dug so far. I reckon I am almost a third of the way there! At the fence end of this bit is the fruit.....raspberry canes, a gooseberry bush and some rhubarb crowns. The green bit with the bricks round is the herb bed....where I have moved herbs from all over the plot.

The bit I have dug today had a bath in it last month filled with plants....!

This next picture shows how the rest of the plot looks. It shows where I have moved the rubbish heap to, and the "incinerator", the manure pile (under the blue tarp), the greenhouse piled in bits on the manure pile (waiting for the other plotters to take it to where they will be putting it up for communal use), and my new shed!
This is how the plot looked from the same corner when I took it over...... on the 10th December.....just over 6 weeks ago.....!
This is how the top of the plot looked then. It has come a long way, and even though I don't seem to do much when I go I think this approach is manageable for me.....with my iffy back!

It was warm there this morning even though it was dull. I almost stripped down to shirt layer and would have if I'd had a long sleeved shirt on!

I won't get to the plot til Monday now as I am off to the mainland tomorrow to see my mother, and to go to a patchwork show at Ardingly on Saturday with my sister. (Pictures from that will go on my Patchwork Blog next week!)