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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Autumn clear up contuniues

To show what I have been doing at the plot recently.

This is the bank area which I had not cleared at all since taking on the plot. I have spent hours this week clearing the nettles and rubbish from here and have started digging and sieving the soil to get out the weed roots. The cleaned soil is going on the no-dig beds. Today I did two barrow loads of weed roots, and 15 tub-trugs of sieved soil was added to the beds. (next picture).

To get an idea of what this area looked like a week ago there is a
before picture on my October 19th post.

I did want to have a bonfire today as there is still so much rubbish to burn, but the people whose flat is behind the fence, who live in London and use the flat at weekend (like most of the fats in the block) came out fussing when I lit it. So I let it go out. They go home tomorrow evening so I can have a fire on Thursday.....hopefully it won't rain.

Tomorrow I must take the broad bean seeds to the plot to sow them . Malcolm's broad beans are 6 inches tall already! And I must remember to take the broken earthenware flower pot to add to my insect hotel area under the big bay bush in the corner.
(I do hope this post takes this time. I just posted it once and the pictures came out as red xs...!)


Animals love kitchens!

Animals and kitchens....!

Here is the scene which greeted me in the kitchen this evening. My husband called me through to see. Scoobydoo was actually sitting right in the m'wave when DH saw him, but got out before I could get the camera ready.
This picture came to me in an e-mail....!

My dogs "help" me load my d'washer, but so far they haven't been in it like this puppy......isn't he great?
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Half way through watching the X Factor this evening I suddenly remembered that I hadn't been back to the plot to check my fire....! DH said not to bother, but I knew that I'd not sleep if I didn't go down. So we put the telly on hold, got in the car, drove to the Allotment gate. I ran down the path with my torch on (it is very spooky there in the dark) and checked my fire. It was out!
So now I can sleep. As I was awake all but 3 hours last night I'll be glad not to have the fire on my mind tonight!
Tomorrow is predicted to be it'll be work in the tunnel instead of at the plot if they're right.

Boy am I tired! I decided to take advantage of the fine weather and the wind direction ( away from the flats next door!) and start burning the rubbish at the plot. I have cleared over half of the scruffy area of the bank near the shed, and the fire has been burning now since 11am....5 hours. I had to leave it as I needed to walk the dogs. We went through the allotments and it was behaving nicely. (Someone had put a load of stuff on as soon as my back was turned....I'd only been gone half an hour!)
I feel much better about the plot now it is beginning to look tidier.

Pulling out all the nettle roots I found that the soil on the bank is as good as Martin( neighbour to the south) predicted. He said a previous plotholder had skimmed all the top soil off along with the weeds from the whole plot and just dumped it on the bank. When I have cleared the rubbish I am going to sieve that soil and move it back onto the flat part of the plot. When I have excavated it out somewhat I will probably move the new compost heaps to the ex-bank and build another bay . Three bays will be enough....two for compost, one for manure.

Pulling out some old carpet from the rubbish pile I disturbed a toad. I rescued him and took him to next doors pond.

Malcolm brought along a load of old bamboo pole segments to put on the fire. I snapped them up, bundled them, and shoved them under the bay tree on the corner of the plot. The ends are buried in the soil. This is the first section of my "bug hotel" done. Hopefully I am in time this autumn to tempt some friendly insects to become my guests.

I have a broken earthenware flowerpot which I want to take to the plot next time I go, filled with straw, which I will half bury, with the drainage hole facing out and down. Hopefully some bumblebees will find it to be a des res! When I took the plot on last year I disturbed an underground bumblebee this will be a way of making amends.

Sorry no photos. I took the camera but it was just too dull. It threatened rain at one point but it didn't come to anything.

After dinner I'll have to pop down and check the fire, or I'll not sleep tonight.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I suddenly remembered this "Viking Weather station" I saw in some one's front garden whilst on holiday in Germany at the beginning of the month.
We read and attempted to translate it and had a good laugh!

Here is my attempt at translating it.....

Stone wet....rain
Stone dry.....sun
Stone white....snow
Stone invisible.....fog
Stone swinging....storm
Stone on the ground....earthquake
Stone steaming....heat after rain

The last bit I can't translate.......if anyone else can please tell me....!

Finally managed to have some time in the garden today. I planted out some yellow chard and red kale in the back Kitchen Garden beds. These will be handy for salads early in the winter when the leaves are young, and later in the winter for cooked vegetables.

This afternoon I went to the plot for just an hour and a half. I had to trim the hedge as Martin on the next plot asked me very nicely (I was calling him Brian, but it's Martin!). This took all the time I had available.

I checked the cabbage plants put in before we went on holiday.....these are really sad looking. I think they have hated being put into a bed which had had the green manure dug in only a day before. I think I am going to follow what Charles Dowding (Organic Gardening The Natural No-Dig Way.....a really good book for those who like the no-dig bed method which I am converting to at the plot now that I have the weeds under control) said about green manure and not bother in future. He suggests just mustard, which gives up the fight at the first hint of frost and just crumbles away, or field beans which can be just pulled out, or cut off leaving the roots in the soil. I had used Phacelia which required digging in. I think it must be giving off a gas which the cabbages don't like.

Yesterday I spent all afternoon clearing out the shed. I was delighted to find my favourite gardening gloves (see here the ones at the bottom of the page) which I got at Chelsea. I had thought I'd lost them. They are almost as sensitive as the thin plastic examination gloves which I wear all the time whilst gardening because I hate mud behind my nails....but much stronger. The shed is easier to navigate now. It had got to the state where the floor was completely covered. Not now! I can get to everything I need at short notice.

This evening I am going to hole up by the fire. I have a sore throat and don't wish to go anywhere. I think I got it from Mum on Monday. She has just had her flu and pneumonia jabs....and as all who have them seem to....has got a sore throat and cold. I think one day these jabs will be discontinued because they seem to cause illnesses. Perhaps they ward off greater problems, but one wonders why they have such a reaction in the recipients. It can't be a good thing....!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Here is the 3x3 veg plot on 22nd October. There are still plenty of pickings to be had....although I'm not sure the sweetcorn would be worth eating now....probably gone woody!
From the other direction.....!
The potager was looking very lush for a change. I have been a bit disappointed by it on my last few visits, hence no photos of it recently, but on Monday it looked good.
I was interested to see that their asparagus was turning yellow. Mine is still really green, and I'm waiting for it to look like this before I cut it down and mulch it for the winter. Truly we are much warmer here on the Island than Wisley is.

This morning in Kent I had to scrape the car windscreen before leaving Mum's. I remembered we used to do it most Autumn and Winter mornings when we lived there. But there was no frost here on the Island this morning, nor is there likely to be for months. I think we scraped our windscreen twice last winter.
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As usual on my trips to Kent to visit my mother, I stopped at Wisley. I like their cake and coffee, and I love their shop! The cards are well chosen and I always stock up, and browse the books....and never come away empty handed (this time I was seduced by a Sudoku propelling pencil...which is wonderful....and a book about planting by the moon etc for 2008).

I usually run quickly up to the veg garden compound to keep an eye on the 3x3 veg plot, the model allotment, and the potager. Photos of these in the next post.

My eye was taken this time by an apple display on the bit that is usually taken up by very intricate mosaic type planting. This tractor was bright and eye catching. The next picture was the explanation of which apples went where.

I had a little longer than usual here and decided to find the new glasshouse. On the way I walked through this bit I hadn't seen before.....I'd love to copy it in my garden.
And in the plant shop was this display of pumpkins and squashes. This was nothing like the displays we saw in New England when we were lucky enough to go there to see the Fall colours in 1992, but it was cheerful, and cheered me up.

I got some seeds I couldn't find here on the Island...some Cavolo Nero type kale, and some weird and wonderful squash seeds...all vacuum packed so they'll be ok next summer to plant.

I also got a gigantic Hippeastrum bulb (Amaryllis) in my favourite colourway....Apple Blossom. I'll start that off tomorrow and look forward to its delights in December.
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Friday, October 19, 2007

OK ....I've loaded them through you'll possibly get red xs!!!!

I am getting on nicely with the Autumn clear up at the plot. The weather was soooooo lovely today that it was bliss to be working there.
Looking up the plot from the shed door you can see the progress I've made so far.
I have decided that I need a central path so I'm installing it as I clear and manure the beds.
I don't think I'll actually lose much growing space this way as I'll probably not run the crosswise paths right to the grass paths along the LH edge of the plot. My mind sees a long row of marigolds right up the LH edge of the plot.....colourful and good companion plants.

I meant to sow some broad beans today but forgot to take them with me. Perhaps tomorrow.
Looking from the other direction you can see the cabbages under the nets in the foreground. They are beginning to show signs of growth. They have been in 3 weeks now. My neighbours plants, from the same order, planted the same day, are twice the size of mine! I think mine would have been happier if I hadn't used green manure on the bed so recently. Oh live and learn...!

You can see the messy corner which I'll be getting to when the plot has had its complete Autumn clear up.
The broccoli under the nets on the right here is very healthy. I'm looking forward to that this winter.

I have just done my order for next year's seeds, to be added to the Allotment holders' order from Van Hage. They offer a 40% discount for allotment associations if the order is more than £100. As most of their seeds are 99p a packet (from the printed catalogue.......thus only 60p when you take the discount into consideration) we save an enormous amount when compared with T&M or the other well known ones. If you are interested the Van Hage website is here
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Blogger is absolutely driving me mad this evening. I have tried loading photos but this was the only one that "took"! It does show some of what I have spent the day doing.
Earlier today I got an answer to my IW Freecycle ad asking for free pallets to mak compost heaps with. Someone replied that they are free at Hursts in Newport for the taking. I went and got them then we built the bays this afternoon.
In the LH one is what is left of my manure from last autumn. It is beautifully rotted down now and I'm gradually spreading it over my cleared beds.
The RH one now holds all the stuff from the Dalek, on top of what was in the Dalek up til last week. It needs a blanket or carpet over the top.....I'll take some old carpet down there tomorrow.
I am very pleased to have got this done at last. I have produced a mountain of weed and plant waste this week, most of which was sitting in the barrow until this morning. Then a neighbouring plotholder had a bonfire and he kindly burnt mine too. I should have kept it for my heap, but the info on the pallets came after the deed was done.
The Dalek will now come home to my K Garden to add to my 4 Daleks which I have here.
On the subject of is the season for deliveries at the plots. I have ordered a I will have to spread last years a.s.a.p. so that the bay will be empty when it comes. Then I'll store the new stuff for a year....I like using it much better when it is well rotted.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where has this week gone? I have been taking advantage of every moment to get the garden and the plot straight for the winter.

In the Kitchen Garden, at home, I have cleaned up 7 of the beds. I trimmed off the strawberry bushes and weeded the bed. I weeded the asparagus bed. I cleared all of the beans, runner and borlotti. (I have a good number of seeds for next year....a bonus as my catalogue charges £1.69 for 60 seeds.) The courgettes at home were past their best so that bed, along with the sweetcorn stalks and the beans which had after all climbed some of the stems, but after harvesting the cobs.

The erstwhile runner bean bed now has broad beans and garlic (Marco) and a few surplus onion sets. The Borlotti bean bed now has the main lot of onion sets (Radar). The sweetcorn/courgette bed has field beans (green manure) and a heavy mulch of grass clippings.
Two beds left to sort out in the KG, but they can wait. They are not too awful.

Today I spent 3 hours at the plot. I cleared a huge pile of debris (courgette and squash plants, fennel which had self seeded all over, nasturtiums etc and a host of weeds) and remarked out the beds nearer the shed. One is now completely cleared and now has field beans in to help with the fertility.

I hope to get there tomorrow to have a go at further beds and to spread my now well rotted manure.

I have also requested some palettes from IOW Freecycle....we'll see if they come up with any. I need a vast amount of compost space at the plot as the Dalek is nowhere near enough.

Today was so warm at the plot I kept hiding in the shed taking off layers!!! The view of the Solent was mesmerising.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I spent two sunny hours at the plot this afternoon , harvesting the crops and having a good tidy up. It is nowhere near done.....I have a lot of Autumn clearing to do, and then I want to start on the as yet untouched parts of the plot.

When we got home on Monday evening from holiday I found a reminder for my Plot Fee on the mat. This year it is £15....not bad but quite a jump from £11.60...!

I have been reading "Digger's Diary" by Victor Osborne. It is a very good read about looking after an allotment....much above all the others I've read.

Friday, October 12, 2007

But this was the one that shrieked to me..."Be mine!" I love it. It needs a bit of attention, and the hut needs some paint, but basically it is my taste exactly and it seems to be meant for vegetables.........
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This one was beautiful....and very well kept...
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And this one....
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And another....
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Here is another one

During our recent holiday in East Germany, the bit that was Communist for so long, I frequently fuelled my Allotment addiction by walking through the E German version....the Schreber Garten site in Neu Oelsnitz, near Chemnitz, Saxony.
These are very interesting plots which have similarities to our Allotment system. Their history is described here at this link....

The site I visited had upwards of 60 of these gardens, all either fenced and gated or with hedges and gates. The "huts" are substantial enough for the plotholders (usually local apartment dwellers but sometimes people from nearby cities) to stay in overnight in the summer. They have running water and electricity, and most had TV aerials.....a lot even had satellite dishes!

Mostly they were laid out as flower gardens, but many also had a vegetable section. All were well kept. I'll be posting a few of my photos of them for your 'delectation'!

I'll do them one at a time so I don't risk getting those red xs....!
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

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And here is the one from the second one! This is the unfinished one in my friends garden....!
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This is the one my friends are in the process of building in their garden. It already has lodgers! I think they might have been attracted by the tasteful decor!

Whilst on holiday in E Germany staying with frends, we visited their friends who have this in their garden. The label says "Insectenhotel"! (I took the photo in the dark hence the poor quality.)

We had a very good holiday and I'll post just a few of the photos I took in a few days.

I have started on the polytunnel tidy up and re-vamp. I am doing away with the deep, wood-edged beds and reverting to digging the soil at ground level. I have 3 Daleks of Compost to add to the soil and will be installing a gravity watering system from the rainwater butts direct to the soil to obviate a lot of hose holding.