Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: June 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

IOW Round the Island Yacht Race

This took place today, and we thought we'd go and watch it from Culver Down. You can see both North and South from there, so we thought it'd be good.
When we got there it was almost all over. Whilst we were there we saw the last few going round the headland.

There is a goodish space to walk the dogs up there so we took them alonng too.

It was very very windy.....attested to by the fact that the record was broken by 12 minutes. They started off at 6am this morning and by 10am the winner was in. The stragglers were still going by our beach at 3.15pm, with still about 8 miles (sorry...don't do Knots!) left to go to reach Cowes and the finishing line.

Over 1700 yachts took part.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Great article

A friend in the US sent me this link to an article in their press today about UK allotments
I thought others might enjoy it too.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh what a beautiful morning.....!

I have been at the plot for hours today, generally tidying up, watering and weeding. I hoed all the paths, cleared out all the dead broad beans, cleaned and dug and made a fine tilth of the bed, and then put in some tiny leek plants I had started off at home. I've put them 4 inches apart in rows 8 inches apart as I don't expect them to be huge.

Here you see the new leek bed. They say every cloud has a silver lining....well this was the bed with the broad beans in that I poisoned. I didn't have room for these leeks anywhere....but now I have!!!
The corn is as high knees, but is very sturdy and already showing its tassels in the middle of the leaves. Hopefully they will not grow too tall....the wind at the plot today was ferocious and I'm hoping they don't fall over. These ones are Sweet Nugget. They look really healthy and I'm pleased with them.

The ones in the other bed, photo 2, are not so tall, nor so sturdy. I've forgotten what type they are. Hope they go on to get big.

Today's harvest....a half tub trug of Kestrel second early potatoes, one globe artichoke, a huge bundle of rhubarb.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

Seed sowing

Managed an hour in the tunnel this morning before it got too hot in there. I sowed some seeds which I should have done weeks ago.
They were
Kale redbor
Westphalian Kale
Broccoli Spike
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Lettuce Mixed
Lettuce red and green
Peas Kelvedon Wonder (in the fake guttering method from the Rootrainers people. I was a bit disappointed with these as they don't seem to drain very well. I might be tempted to make some holes in them.)

I also planted the Physalis plant I bought at Wisley into the tunnel bed.

This evening I went to the plot with a builders' rubble bag full of weeds and potato haulms etc. I have to unload this from the car out on the road and then pull it 250 yds, down hill then uphill to my plot. I have put all that on the compost heap....which I also watered from the hose to get it going.
Then I watered (really soaked) the whole plot, paying particular attention to the courgettes, squashes and sweetcorn. Some of the corn plants are 2 ft tall already, and some of the squashes are going to need wigwams very soon as they are beginning to sprawl.

The rest of the plot (except for the broad beans which still look disgraceful) is flourishing too. The cabbages and other crucifers look really healthy. I started these from seed myself so I am doubly proud of them this year....last year the plants came from my plot neighbour.

I was delighted to see that the plot next to mine that was/is such a mess has had some work done on it in the last week. Hopefully they will soon stop all the weed seed drift.

We are due some rain on Thursday evening (I think)....hopefully!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chelsea: The Cadogan Garden

This one, although a long way from any garden I might make for myself, had great appeal. It was a series of square planting beds with beautiful trees...lots of them....and very little colour other than green. The canals and the white paths all added to the classic charm.

The RHS website describes it this way....
"The Cadogan Estate includes some of London’s most famous streets and garden squares, including Sloane Street and Cadogan Square. A Cadogan Garden reflects the history and the future of the Cadogan Estate. It is a contemporary space, inspired by elements of the modern courtyards and squares of the Estate, while also referencing elements from its history.
A Cadogan Garden is conceived as part of a larger, shared, private courtyard off a residential street, for sitting and quiet relaxation, somewhere within the Cadogan Estate. The garden is set in a Chelsea of the future, and assumes a somewhat hotter and sometimes wetter London than today, so incorporates lush planting and cooling water canals under dappled shade.
The garden is assumed to be largely enclosed to the sides and rear by buildings, and visible from the street through implied railings at the front. The ‘buildings’ are represented by planted green walls divided into panels by strips of pre-cast stone. This references the emerging possibilities of the green architecture of the future.
A space at the rear of the garden is used for informal seating, and is paved with sawn York stone slabs. To one side of the terrace is a statue of Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the Cadogan Estate. Seen through overhanging trees, this statue forms a distant focal point along the main path. The terrace is surrounded by a shallow canal, fed by a water wall. The canal leads to two shallow rills that flow through the planting, creating narrow vistas and informal irrigation channels.
From the terrace, stepping stones lead across the canal into other parts of the garden. A stone path runs from the canal along the side of the garden, where a long solid timber seat allows residents to view the garden in both sun and shade.
To the front of the garden is a small piazza area, paved with sawn York stone. The two water rills emerge at this point from the planting to join to form a small pool.
The planting is ornamental and designed mainly for semi-shade, with a high proportion of evergreens for year-round use and reasonable ease of maintenance. There is a double-layered tree canopy, created with tall palms, and smaller sculptural trees. The centre of the garden is occupied by a panel of low shrubs, ferns and herbaceous plants, creating a woodland atmosphere, using plants selected for foliage as well as flowers. The colour of this planting will be predominantly green and white."


Today I
  • weeded all the kitchen garden beds...starting with the asparagus bed.
  • picked the sweet peas and some marigolds .
  • harvested the rest of the peas and the broad beans and some broccoli. Also the courgettes from the tunnel.
  • pulled up all the haulms from the broad beans and the peas.
  • planted out the cucumbers in the ploytunnel and some outside.
  • planted out the outdoor tomatoes.
  • picked all the strawberries.
  • gave everything a good drink as I'll be away all day tomorrow from very early.

All this work produced a builder's rubble bag full of compostable rubbish which will go to the plot compost bay on Monday.

Picture that didn't stick on yesterday's post

Here are my poisoned broad beans to go with yesterday's post.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What a colossal dope!

This is how my broad beans looked today when I arrived at the plot. Oh oh! They don't look too happy since I sprayed them with the bug gun....! Then it hit me. I had filled that bug gun with weedkiller to have a go at the bindweed.....! What a colossal dope I am.......!!!!

My only excuse is that I am very distracted by some bad news about a friend at the moment.

We went to the plot this afternoon to strim down all the nettles and tidy up the paths. It does look better now.
I also put some replacement seeds in with the Borlotti beans, Cosse Violette beans, Sugar Snap Peas; and another two rows of Greenshaft peas. And all through the sweetcorn and squash beds I have sown French Dwarf Beans Cropper version of a three sisters bed. I find using climbing beans doesn't work if you want the sweetcorn and the beans fresh. The climbing beans wrap themselves all round the sweetcorn and you can't snap the cobs off without sacrificing the beans.

As well as that short visit to the plot I spent hours on tidying the front garden. I have done just under half of what needed doing, so tomorrow I hope to do a bit more. The soil is so dry you wouldn't believe we'd had so much rain the last few days.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A productive morning

Two and a half hours of hoeing, weeding and soaking everything have resulted in a tidy plot....for a while.I felt it was time to water it all as according to the Metcheck website we are not due for rain until Sunday. Anyway it made the soil a dream to hoe.The cabbages, caulis and brussels have had a good weed round with the onion hoe and can be left to get on with it for a while.I also sprayed the blackfly on the broad beans.....little beggars!

The potatoes are flowering....Charlotte are the best so far. As they are a maincrop I am surprised that they are first to flower. The Kestrel (second early)haven't many flowers yet, nor the you'd expect.

I still have lots to do on the bank bit, and I chickened out of weeding around the raspberries and rhubarb because there were a few nettles there and I'd rather tackle that area when I'm wearing trousers and long sleeves....not a sundress like today.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wisley:The Potager

This was looking so good last Monday. I am tempted to do some of my Kitchen Garden beds here at home like this next year. It is too fussy to do at the allotment as it must take a lot of planning. But the look makes it worth it.

You do wonder though how it will look when some of the veg are taken to eat....!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Wisley last Monday:The 3x3 Vegetable Beds

Firstly...the little bridge wth the wisteria trained over it. I had never seen this in bloom but this year I had high hopes. I hit lucky....but was is white! I loooove blue or lilacy wisteria. This is a disappointment.
This is the current state of the Oriental Veg 3x3 bed.
And this is the state of the 3x3 conventional veg bed.

Looking closely at the plan tells me that this is really Square Foot Gardening but a bit bigger. The squares of veg are more than a foot. I think they are 60 cm square. This size seems to produce a better result, perhaps because veg growing in our climate need a bit more room and light than where Mel Bartholomew gardens. If I try sq ft gardening again I will make the squares larger too.
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Polytunnel update

This was the state of the tunnel this afternoon. The tomatoes on the left are thriving. The potatoes, although they are not flowering, are flopping over very annoyingly so I decided to see what they had produced. I dug a half a tub trug load out from the 6 not good but not bad. They are now sitting out hardening their skins til tomorrow.

The bed on the left is needing attention too. The courgettes have been a complete success this year inside. Last year they were a disaster. But the close up here in the second photo shows that we are almost harvesting these.
After dinner this evening I completely cleared the beds of weeds, fed the toms and the strawberry plants, watered everything copiously; and prepared the bit where the cucumbers are going to be planted tomorrow evening (can't work in there during the day if it is sunny. I drip and can't see through my glasses!) all along the left hand side behind the courgettes.

I also moved the lemon tree outside. I hope for a good crop this year as it had a lot of blossom last week. It fills the tunnel with a divine perfume.

The fig at the back end of the tunnel really should be put in the ground outside, but I really don't know where to put it. It needs to be south facing, but all my south facing walls have windows which shouldn't be blocked. So it is still sitting in here waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

My back is now very stiff so I have given up for the day. It all looks a lot different to this now.....! Gardener's World will soon be on and I can't miss that. Last week Carol made a comment about "ploog plunts" and my husband nearly choked. Every time she says "plunts" my DH repeats it.....which is very irritating. But she got him with "ploog plunts"! He was actually speechless! (NB My spellchecker has just got excited!!)
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Kitchen Garden update

A very productive day in the kitchen garden today. DH did another trip to the tip with the last load of branches and old wood. Also a stack of cardboard that had built up. Meanwhile I got on with continuing the tidy up.

The first two pictures show all the beds I weeded yesterday. Plus today I started on the gravel paths between the beds. The weeds were beginning to gain hold so they got their marching orders.
The far left bed here is next in line for attention. The yellow flowers are on the salsify that I sowed last year. I dug some of the roots up today and steamed them for dinner this evening. I have never had them before and quite honestly I wonder what all the fuss is about. When I clear up that bed (broad beans have a little bit left to do here) I will out them and not bother again.

I am beginning to realise that if very few people bother to grow certain things there is usually a good reason!

The strawberry bed got some attention, and then I "strawed" the bed with shredded post from my husband's shredder. I needed a bit more but it will be available very soon.

I can't find a reliable supply of non seedy straw and so have had to improvise.

I also netted against the birds.....

Just look at my asparagus bed behind the strawberries. We should be able to take some of the shoots next year. I sowed the seeds two years ago about three years is the length of time to let them grow a decent root run.
In the white balcony pots here are my new strawberry plants. These will take over from the old bed, in a new position next year.
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Thursday, June 05, 2008


Today my new strawberry plants arrived from Ken Muir. I paid for these at the Chelsea Flower Show and hoped they wouldn't come just yet as the bed that will be their home isn't empty. So I have put them into three long "balcony pots" from Lidl (last year). These have a reservoir underneath and therefore the strawberries won't die from lack of they do when I try to grow them in growbags. They hate to stand in water so these pots seem to be the answer.

The varieties are
Early midsummer....Honeoye 6 plants
Midsummer...Tenira 6 plants
Late Summer...Chelsea Pensioner....6 plants.

I will put them into the bed later in the year, after fruiting, ready for next year.

More photos tomorrow when I have restored order to the back Kitchen Garden. We did a run to the tip today with a carload of branches, and the old wood which edged the tunnel deep beds. We debated whether to keep these bits for the living room open fire but the chimney is already starting to tar up from some wood we burnt on it, and we have decided to stick to coal in future. The wood was full of woodlice I wouldn't have wanted it indoors. (The car now has a resident squad of woodlice....til the next time I hoover it out!)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

At last I got to the plot!!

After a busy 10 days of distractions I finally got to the plot for a couple of hours this afternoon. I managed to do a holding operation there. I hoed all the paths and the veg...carrots, beetroot, onions, shallots, beans and peas, sweetcorn and squashes, and courgettes.I also planted out a courgette plant I got at Wisley on Monday...a yellow fruiting one. I had given up waiting for the ones I had sown direct at the plot to germinate, and the ones at Wisley were good value and looked healthy. Needless to say, when I got to the plot three of the four courgette plants had grown (actually only three out of twelve seeds....!) and the ones that hadn't germinated were the yellow ones (Jemma) so I did well to get a yellow one.

On my knees I clipped the path between my plot and next door.

I spread a whole load of lawn mowings as mulch over the spuds I earthed up this morning.

There is still an awful lot to do at the plot...b beans to spray, weedy bank to clear.

I am so pleased at the spurt in growth of my brassicas. Since the rain they have doubled in size and their colour has improved. Tap water just isn't the it? They sulked for a while after planting out but are away now. Wish I could say the same for the squashes and sweetcorn...they still appear to be sulking.

And the germination of the peas and beans has been very patchy. I think next year I will raise all those type of seeds in modules sowing just is not so successful at the plot. It worked at home but not at the plot.

This evening I made a good start at tidying the back kitchen garden. It was growing a great deal of weeds. I have totally cleaned up 7 of the 8 beds and made a start on the strawberry bed. I must also weed out the asparagus bed and the one with the broad beans in, and the gravel paths between the beds are getting a bit overrun with weeds too. I am tempted to use a weedkiller on them.

There is a lot more to do out there so I'll be busy tomorrow.
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Chelsea; La Cucina

This was in the great Pavilion. It was a trade stand really, but set out as a kitchen garden. It was really eye catching.
In the middle was an oven arrangement, picturesque and practical. Around it was a paved area with some pots of herbs etc. Then round the edges were lots of raised beds with veg, fruit and fruit trees.

It was very inspiring.

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