Spring has sprung

The sun is shining and the weather is really warming up now. Everything is starting to bloom, including the weeds !

The Easter weekend was perfect weather, dry and hot, to finally get stuck in and get planting some of the huge seedlings.

I arrived at the allotment to find a gift from a neighbour of 6 broccoli plants and 4 cabbages, as I already had plenty of these I passed them on to another plot holder who was very grateful.

I decided to plant up the six, newly created, box patches. One has sweetcorn, the second has broccoli, third has kale, spring onion and two rows of multi-coloured heritage carrots, the fourth has leeks, the fifth has cabbage and cauliflower and the last has courgettes.

 

I have also planted 4 rows of Paris market carrots alongside the onions and garlic, both of which are doing really well. I finally managed to get the main crop potatoes in (after a lot of weeding), the earlies went in a month ago and have started sprouting and these have been earthed up.

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The peas are doing well, however the beans haven’t done so well since being planted out and I’ve put some more seeds in, so hopefully they will grow.

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The strawberries are flowering as are the raspberries, they have settled well after being moved to a new spot and are growing well, although it’ll be another year or so before we get any to eat. Likewise the gooseberries, red and black currants are also starting to fruit.

The pond area needed a lot of work and after many hours is only about half weeded, however the bulbs planted have all started sprouting and the colours are lovely. There’s still a lot to do but the fish seem happy enough and we’ve got a few water snails to try and keep the green algae down. The wood chip man brought us some large logs and I’ve used some around this area to create more places for the wildlife to perch and hide and it’s working.

 

In the greenhouse we have aubergines, two types of tomatoes, chilli peppers and 3 varieties of sweet peppers.

 

It’s lovely to finally have things planted and growing but still plenty to do, mostly weeding !

Happy growing everyone.

 

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An insignificant thing

Do you ever have one of those moments when something little happens but it’s the tipping point. That happened to me a few days ago, everything seemed fine, life was busy but that was nothing new and I opened the drawer in my bedside table and the front came off. The tears fell and my first thought was ‘why this one, it’s my favourite’ and that’s when I started laughing at the stupidity.

Let me explain, a few years ago I needed a new, to me, bedside cabinet. I wanted something high enough to see the time on my alarm clock, with drawers to hold my essential junk and my usual glass of water/cup of coffee. I found one in a charity shop, the right size, colour and with three drawers, cheap and cheerful. Just what I needed.

The top drawer holds the important ‘things’, the bottom has toiletries and the middle has my stationary, pens and notebooks I use for recording allotment and blog notes. It’s just a cabinet, nothing special. So why did the middle drawer front coming off mean so much. Thinking about it later, as I was repairing the drawer, made me realise it was the feeling that this drawer gives me. I enjoy opening this drawer, it symbolises happiness. Recording notes in my books, planning for the future with allotment plans, the joy of growing, these are all happy things and the drawer breaking was a sad thing to happen to my ‘happy place’

Stupid I know, but sometimes you need the sad times to remember or see the happiness around you. Everywhere in life we are surrounded by sadness and fear, but look just beyond it and you will always find a ray of hope and sunshine. The media is full of crime, shootings, knife crime, unemployment, dysfunctional youth, terrorism. The world is terrifying, if you believe the media. So then why do we still travel, explore, leave our safe homes. Because the world isn’t just this and by being ‘in the big, bad world’ we see the good things. People being shot/stabbed, whilst strangers run towards them to help, give first aid, tackle the ‘bad guy’. Buildings destroyed but communities coming together to rebuild. The media don’t always tell both sides of the story, so remember this when reading or watching something.

I’ve started doing this with Oscar, when something bad is reported, or an event didn’t go to plan, find the good things that occurred from it. People supporting each other and how to find the positive when things don’t go well. I think it’s something we all need to do once in a while.

And all this from a broken drawer.

Community time

Our allotment association has had a community plot for a long time, before I arrived on the site. In the year I have been there nothing much has been done, other than an occasional mowing and it’s not been used.

This year we elected a few new people on to the committee and the decision was made to try and build the community on-site before doing any off-site events. It didn’t go down with some of the previous committee members but the numbers of people coming to the meetings has been reducing every meeting.

Our new chair-person came up with an idea to have a ‘community day’ once a month we come together to get the community plot up and running and build the social side. It started a month ago when a few of us turned up and made a plan of what the plot should be used for and the best way to accomplish this. We decided to create two different spaces in different places, the first would be an enclosed space, easy maintenance, grassed over with seating and a barbecue area. We can use this space for the allotment children to have a safe space to play and mix if they don’t want stay on their own plots, parents and grand parents will know they are safe too also it will be used for once a month afternoon tea’s and our yearly summer party.

This weekend we had our first ‘community working day’, six of us turned up, one I’ve never met before, and got stuck in. Two people started clearing rubbish from around the whole site, two clearing rubbish from the plot and two started clearing a space to create compost, wood-chip and soil bins.

I was one of the people working on the plot, after half an hour we had filled 8 rubbish bags and a bucket full of glass. The plot was very overgrown, mostly grass but also the previous owners crops, we started pulling these up, removing the weeds and digging over the beds. The idea is to level the plot, it’s very uneven and then cover with grass seed. Whilst working more people arrived and commented on the progress, unfortunately the weather started to turn but we took lots of photo’s and posted them to our allotment group to show the progress we made and it has encouraged more people to help, the people who can’t make it at weekend are going to do whatever they can, sometimes people need to see something happening before they get involved.

Progress is going slowly but steadily and I made a new allotment buddy. It was a win-win weekend.

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.

I’m back (I think)

Sorry for the silence but my days and weeks have consisted of the same old boring nothingness. They essentially went like this…

Alarm goes off at 6.50am, get up, wake and feed child, take him to school, sit at computer applying for jobs, return to school to collect child, homework, food, bathe, bed. Rinse and repeat. Dull, dreary and mind numbing.

Well it was until last week, finally a change from the normal routine and very much needed boost. And what was this change, my brothers wedding.

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A wonderful, fabulously clear, bright day with a stunning bride and a very handsome bridegroom. Surrounded by family from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Liverpool, Wirral and beyond, they made their vows and we partied hard. It was a much needed jolt from the day to day routine and a catch up with family, old and new. An amazing day with lovely people and I can now officially call her my sister-in-law (even though I have for a long time already), the only sadness was my missing plus one, but wherever Phil may be I know he would be very happy for the happy couple.

Anyway, this week saw even more changes and bright horizons, I finally have a job !! Woo hoo, I went for an interview on Monday and got a phone call an hour or so later to offer me the position and start next week. It’s a part-time position so it will still allow me time with Oscar and some of the school drop-offs/collections, it has meant a re-jig of some after school activities but nothing that can’t be altered and a happier, less stressed out mum for Oscar.

The last 10 days has been a big shake-up and change that I needed.

Onward and upwards.