Allotment update August – part 1

Everything is growing ! We have been harvesting and watering for weeks, it’s fantastic.

I’ve grown lots of new veggies and had good fun learning along the way.

The ponds have really settled now and both ponds have fish, and they all seem very happy. The planting around the ponds is continuing, its looking pretty and colourful. Next year when the plants fill out and the bulbs come through it should be lovely.

The tomatoes and chilli plants in the greenhouse have gone crazy, even growing out of the windows and roof ! We have beef and cherry tomatoes at the allotment and plum tomatoes at home. We have hundreds of red and brown onions, although the shallots didn’t do well and we lost 3 patches of garlic to a greedy fox but I don’t think we’ll go hungry any time soon.

The courgettes are ridiculous, I’ve never had so many. I’ve stopped picking them and now have huge ‘marrows’ instead, but finally they’ve stopped producing new smaller ones. The pumpkins are getting bigger and I noticed a tiny butternut squash on one of the plants.

The plans are beginning for next year as I want to get a lot more fruit bushes planted and fill some of the empty beds with permanent crops, also I’m looking at getting some asparagus, artichoke and many more brassica plants in next year. The Brussels sprouts and broccoli I was given by my neighbour have done really well and I’m looking forward to planting many different ones next year. The joy of having so much space is the freedom to ‘play’ and try new things.

 

Advertisements

June on the allotment

The weather has been crazy, it’s hot, hot, hot and apart from about an hour of pathetic drizzly rain that soaks humans but dries before it hits soil around three weeks ago, we’ve had no rain for a couple of months and the dreaded hosepipe ban is being mentioned.

The allotment has stalled a little as it’s too hot to be digging, so the areas that I’ve not yet cleared have been covered and left until the weather cools down. The ponds have been very welcome. I used a cheap trellis, held down with a couple of tent pegs and bricks to make a ‘wildlife escape route’ and the little birds, coal tits and sparrows mostly, are using it as a ladder to drink, its lovely to see them enjoy it. I had great plans of planting around the ponds and creating a flower, shrub area but that’s on hold until the weather eases up.

The plants are loving the heat and everything has been growing well, including the weeds. We had a slight issue with pigeons pinching all the pak choi so I’ve sown some new seeds and will make sure to keep it covered.

I was given three broccoli plants and two Brussels sprouts, neither of which I have ever grown before and this week we’ve harvested from 2 of the broccoli plants and the other isn’t too far behind. The netting has kept most of the butterflies away although now the sprouts are getting bigger it will need to be moved soon. Another job for another day.

The second peas (after the pigeon raid) never grew very high but we’ve had plenty of pods already and still plenty to fatten up. It’s been the similar with the broad beans. The french beans are slowly making their way up the frame.

The courgettes are producing really well, we’ve had 3 and I’ve given a few away to neighbouring plot-holders. I have planted two pumpkins and two butternut squash, I’ve never grown these before, and all have gained new growth and the pumpkins are flowering.

The greenhouse is a nightmarish place to be as it’s ridiculously hot in there. I have opened the roof, both side windows and the door vent but it gets super hot inside, however the tomatoes and peppers are loving it and have grown really well and are fruiting nicely.

Thankfully before the very hot weather really started we managed to sort out around half of the plot and those are the beds which are being used and grown in. I’m looking forward to get the rest sorted and growing some new things next year. I would like to get some more fruit growing, raspberries, strawberries, and gooseberries.

 

Whilst I was busy weeding and watering my mum was working hard making repairs and beautifying the shed and the ‘bath’ pond.

Have you grown anything new this year ? Any suggestions, tips or ideas welcomed.

Enjoy the sunshine.

 

Allotment update June 2018

It’s been a little while since my last post but the weather at the beginning of the year meant that not very much happened. Thankfully since April the weather has been hot and dry meaning finally we could get things planted outside and get the plot organised and sorted out.

Here’s how it looked earlier in the year ….

After a good few days sorting out and several trips to the tip it looked much better, especially the greenhouse and shed.

Next it was time to start organising the beds and planting. I started all my seedlings at home, but the weather this year decided to do strange things. From snow in March to blazing temperatures in April/May. I had dug over and covered a few beds so managed to get them planted up with red and white onions, shallots, garlic, potatoes, peas and beans. I lost a couple of beans to pigeons (I assume)  and the fox decided to dig up both patches of garlic I planted (both times) so I gave up on that.

Whilst waiting for seedlings to be ready to plant out we got started on the ‘wildlife’ area and installed a couple of ponds and fixed up a couple of new gates.

Thanks to the previous owner we’ve had tons of rhubarb, and made lots of people very happy, including trading with other allotment holders.

Now I have a few more beds dug over and planted with courgettes, pumpkins, butternut squash, pak choi, turnips, beetroot, sweetcorn, radish, broccoli and sprouts. I already had a very well established plum and pear tree and have added some gooseberry bushes and red and black currants. In the greenhouse I have beef tomatoes and cherry tomatoes on one side and sweet and hot chilli peppers on the other. Everything has grown well so far.

I still have about a quarter of the plot to finish but I’ve managed to get all the wood I need to build the new beds later in the year, ready for the new growing season.

A good start, and the harvesting has begun …

 

Here’s to the next six months of growing. Any tips or advise are always welcomed.

Allotment week 2

Well the weather isn’t being very helpful at the moment ! I was hoping to get a little bit of digging started and possibly the greenhouse/shed cleared out, but the rain and hailstone this week changed my mind.

Instead I decided to do some research and proper planning. I’m lucky that I know what has been previously planted so know what to avoid/change as needed.

IMG_8558

My mum and I have measured the full plot and even broken it down to each individual bed and path sizes. I am planning to keep most of the beds as they are, however I’m going to split the biggest bed down the middle and make a small path as it’s too big to reach the middle from the current path, also the big bed nearest the shed I’m going to change into a seating area with a wildlife/pond area. I know we have a family of foxes that live on or near the allotments so have been advised not to use any bone meal as they will dig everything up.

Until the weather clears up I’ll continue planning and sourcing seeds, tools and other materials.

Happy growing.

Allotment Week 1

I got the email I was waiting for, the previous owner had handed over the keys for the shed and greenhouse.

IMG_8556

So I went to collect them and have a good look at what was inside.

It was a pleasant surprise, the previous owner was an elderly gentleman so everything is usable and useful although not very organised or tidy. The first job will be to de-clutter and clean up then we can see exactly what needs replacing or repairing. I did notice he’s left an old welly boot so I think I might plant in it so he’s still with us.

The greenhouse is in a good condition, just a clean up required.

It’s lovely to have a workable plot and to start planning what I want to plant and where. This year I’m keeping things simple. Vegetables I’ve grown before and we use on a regular basis, get plants established and sort out the fundamentals of the plot. I’d like to have a flowered seating area and a wildlife/pond area. Lots of planning and digging ahead.

Here’s to a good growing year.

An update

In October we decided to take a short break away to Blackpool, it’s always been one our favourite ‘guilty pleasures’.

We did all our usual activities, saw the lights, into the tower for a dance around the ballroom and a laugh at the circus, made a wax hand at Madame Tussaud’s, a day of swimming at the sandcastle and the highlight….. getting soaked and terrified (mostly me) on the rides at the pleasure beach.

It was a very cold week but good to spend some quality time together.

November arrived with a couple of surprises, a permanent job (in a place I enjoy working with lovely staff) and a new allotment.

As you can see it’s been well looked after and is in a decent condition, unlike the last one. This one is a family affair, myself and my mum. So you can look forward to some allotment blogging in 2018.

A day out in Liverpool for a look at the Grayson Perry dresses in the Walker Art Gallery.

I attempted a little craft project with a few balls of wool I had kept (after my clear out – Bye-Bye knitting needles) and created  a huge pile of pom-poms and created a bedroom rug, it looked pretty good for about two weeks but the constant foot-fall soon took it’s toll and some of them started to ‘shed’ so I’ve moved it to a different part of the room, where it will get less wear. I will replace a couple of the worst affected.

December arrived, busy as December always is. A few birthdays, a night out with friends and Christmas with the family.

A hope you’ve had a lovely time and 2018 is a happy and healthy year for you.

xx