Monday, 18 May 2020

Another week getting the plot looking nice

Finally finished round the back of the pond, a new woodchip path between pond, bug hotel & apple trees. 
Jo took up the old path, over run with ground elder roots & marsh grass roots (they were the worst!).
I laid the new path with weed suppresant fabric underneath 
Sadly a cool night and frosty morning meant the Borlotti Beans didn't make it, but we have more started off at home, so will plant out when ready.
The lavender opposite the fruit area needed new boxes. 
So I made them from decking planks and gave 2 coats of dark oak fence/shed paint.
Jo planted out the last of the Sunflowers, no egg shells this time, but trying bottles on the canes, that rattle in the wind & hanging CD's that shine as they spin. 
Hoping this will help to keep the Pheasants off them! 
Lovely self seeded Calendulas in our salad bed!
Lovely self seeded Foxgloves, in our Herb bed.
Despite the cold nights and a morning frost, most of our Potatoes survived. These are the Maris Piper, all made it and look healthy.
The King Edwards, nearest in photo, are just poking through, so missed the frost. But the International Kidney & Charlotte didn't do so well, but will survive, will only put them back a week or so.
So our plot is looking really good now all the major projects are completed. 

Still have more crops to plant out when ready, so keep checking back for updates.
Another look round the back of the Bug house & pond, the woodchip path looks really good. 
I made a planter box just to the right, Jo put a mix of flowers in it so will show progress soon.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian & Jo

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Mid-week Allotment update

 All my Potatoes survived the cold nights, every day we come down I have to earth them up as they are growing fast. 
Even the King Edwards I put a few weeks ago are starting to break through.
In this patch we have Garlic, Shallots, Carrots, Broad Beans,  Borlotti Beans, Peas, Spinach & Swedes. 
But there is still space to put more in, Dwarf Beans & Courgettes. 
The Strawberries in the fruit area are full of flowers, the bees have been busy and some strawberries are forming, so we have put straw beneath & netted them all.
More Strawberries, these are a later variety, but we have put straw beneath & netted them, to protect them from the birds!
We have finished the pond refurb. 
A new rockery with spaces between the rocks for the Frogs to discover.
Harvested the winter Garlic, now that the leaves have started to wither and dry. The garlic bulbs seem quite plump and the scent of garlic is quite strong too.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian & Jo

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Allotment Pond Life

 Been tidying up around the pond, it was very overgrown & choked with ground elder, marginal grasses & comfrey!  Now we have cleared it and put a few large rocks around the back with plenty of gaps for the frogs to explore. I'm hoping snails will move in as they like cool dark/damp places, then the frogs can feast on them!
We love the chives in flower and the Bees love it too. 

In the background we have a Laburnum tree, with bright yellow flowers, its also buzzing with hundreds of Bees.
Jo has been busy again on the brassica patch and planted the last net tunnel up with Purple sprouting Broccoli.
This patch is filling up fast too!
Put another wig-wam up with 6ft canes & netting then planted Shiraz Peas. 
We have more peas starting off at home & will put them in when ready. In the foreground we have left a space to plant out Dwarf French Beans also starting off at home.
Giant Sunflowers are planted along the back, Jo also sprinkled plenty of crushed egg shells all around each one, to stop the slugs & snails munching on the tender stems & leaves!
So tomorrow is supposed to be a bit cooler, not a frost we hope, but I still earthed up all the Potatoes just in case.
The Frogs seem to like the new style pond surround, this big one popped out to see. 
We have spotted at least 8 of different sizes, so we know they stay to spawn each year. We also have a Hedgehog, it was sleeping around the back of the pond, not where we were clearing luckily and it stayed a few days after we finished the upgrade.
This patch I also earthed up, not because of the cooler night, but because all the spuds have come through, we are just waiting for the King Edwards to show now.

Just a few things left to put in, mainly Squashes & Pumpkins, so keep checking back for news on these.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian & Jo

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Another week during isolation & we got busy.

Earlier in the week Jo was busy digging out the old paths of grass and weeds, around the Herb bed and Victoria Rhubarb. 
Yesterday and today (Sat/Sun) I levelled it all, put down weed suppressant fabric & put about 9 barrows full of woodchips to make a new path system & we both think it looks much better.
All the sunshine and rain we have had over the last 5 days have helped the Potatoes, we have noticed daily, more and more have broken through the soil. 

These are the Charlotte 2nd early, but the International Kidney & even some of the mains Picasso have also popped up. I planted each a week apart.
So using my draw hoe, I earthed them all up. 
A draw hoe also cuts the weeds so makes a good job of it.
Jo noticed lots of tiny weeds popping up all over the new Asparagus bed, so knowing the roots are very fragile she did very light weeding with her fingers. 
I noticed it ended up with a Zen type pattern!
Jo has also been busy sowing rows of Brassicas, all under netting tunnels, to protect them from the Pheasants & Pigeons!
These Strawberries in the fruit area, are full of flowers, each flower turns into a fruit, so we are hoping to get a bumper harvest this year.
Even this patch, by the greenhouse, of Strawberries, is full of flowers, we are hoping to make ice cream this year as well as jam & flans etc.
In the green house, the Tomatoes are still growing well, the Cucumber is also thriving. 
We will start to feed them with Comfrey water as soon as the flowers set fruit.
We also have some Tomatoes in pots outside the greenhouse. 
Today Jo wanted to see if some will grow well in open soil, so she planted 2x 'Plum', 1x 'Strawberry' & a 'Sungold' to see how they do.
All the Broad Beans Jo planted out a few weeks ago are in flower, so the beans will form soon. 
You cant beat fresh Broad Beans for taste.
This patch is filling up fast, my Carrot experiment, in the green tub, is doing well, Jo also sowed Carrot seed in rows & the Peas on the frame are doing well.
The Victoria Rhubarb is getting bigger, a more tart variety & makes lovely pies.
I fixed the sides of the bed so I could get the woodchip path in place.  Looks very neat now. 

 So a very busy week, I think we have done over 20 hours on the plot this week and done lots, including planting up these fence planters I made, Jo planted Nasturtiums so they tumble down over the fence.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian & Jo.

Monday, 27 April 2020

More isolation hours on the plot

The front of our plot looks a lot better now (ignore the bags of weeds) I used free paving slabs to make a hard area, to store stuff & park the car on, although we dont come down in the car much. The bags are full of weeds & roots, as we dont burn them anymore and waiting for the local tip to re-open when Covid-19 lockdown ends, so we can dump them for turning into compost. 
Earlier in the week, Jo started clearing the paths in the fruit area, was the cage before the storms in January flattened it! 
Our site got a surprise delivery of woodchips, so Jo & I barrowed quite a lot to our plot & I started re-newing the fruit area paths, see below to see more.
This patch now has 2 rows of Chard, a row of Brussel Sprouts & a row of Kale. The foreground shows the Cauliflowers we put in a few weeks ago, Jo weeded them and they are looking good.
We are so excited as all the Asparagus that we only started a few weeks ago have come through. 

We cant harvest this year while it gets established, but next year we will get our 1st harvest.
Jo planted out 4 lots of Peas on the frame she put up last week. 
Oregon Sugarpod, Hurst Greenshaft, Meteor & Avola.
Everytime we come down, its almost daily at the moment, the Tomatoes in the Greenhouse have grown taller, but as we have been down regularly, we do water them every time.
Today, Monday. 
I put in the last of the main crop Potatoes, these are King Edward, a good one for chips etc.
So thats now 12 rows of Potatoes planted, if they all produce well we will be good for spuds well into 2021!
So today I finished the fruit area paths & made a new well head using the wood from the old front fence wood, so cost nothing.
So with all this free time, due to Covid-19, we have been isolating most days for about 5 hours down on our plot and its looking rather good.

Thanks for reading/returning. Jo & Ian

Monday, 20 April 2020

Sunny weekend & week ahead

Such a busy weekend, isolation is easy on our plot. 

Jo got busy putting up a wig-wam for Sweet Peas. The cardboard is to stop the weeds popping up in the middle where its hard to reach once the Sweet Peas have climbed up the canes & strings.
Then Jo decided to empty a couple of our compost bins, she managed to fill 16 sacks with well rotted compost! 
She transfered some of the contents with lots of worms to get the now empty bin started.
I got busy planting out the next lot of 'chitted' main crop potatoes 'Maris Piper'
Three rows with 9 in each row now in the ground. 
I planted them just the same as the others I planted last week
In between the other things I have done, I've been busy changing the front of our plot, to give a hard area, with a new fence  
and gate. 
But its now full of bags of weeds and rubbish to take to the recycling centre when it re-opens after the Covid-19 lock-down.
Jo ended up sorting all the compost bins, the two on the right (with black/yellow tape) are now sealed for use next year, the three on the left are now empty and we will be filling them up over the year.
The blossom on the Cox's Orange Pippin looks lovely, we expect a good crop again this year.

Latest harvests: 
Rhubarb & Leeks.

Not in this pic:
Spring Onions.




Well we have been down to our plot almost every day so far and its looking much better. 
Who would have thought a few months ago we would have all this spare time!

Our good friend & fellow allotment holders daughter made this lovely rainbow pic for our shed window. Thanks Emma x

Keep safe, stay well & observe distancing.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian & Jo