Sunday 30 June 2013

Busy weekend weeding

The sun shone, the Birds were in full song, the Frogs were sunbathing and we were weeding.
Lots of Ground Elder & Nettles to pull up, but I didn't pull all the Nettles as they are beneficial to Bees & Butterflies, in fact some Butterflies lay their eggs only on Nettles, so its good to keep some.

Did so much weeding, had to have a Bonfire! But didn't plant much, just some more Spinach & Asparagus Peas, I have done an Allotment Walkabout video as its the end of the month and so much has changed since the last one.

Our Chickens came too, they feature on the video, so I'll stop now so you can watch it.

Thanks for reading, returning & viewing. Ian.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Very windy day, so just a crop update.

So as the title says, a very windy day, rain showers too, so all we did today was to water the Greenhouse. Because of heavy overnight rain no need to water anything else. So I thought I would treat you to a crop update. 

Here are the Mange Tout Peas that we put the netting up for last weekend, they are already climbing so expect a crop soon.
Here is the salad raised bed. We packed a lot into it: Rocket, cut & come again Lettuce, Cos Lettuce, Radish, Spring Onions, Borecole, Ruby Chard & round Carrots too.
It's netted to keep the birds, especially Pigeons & Pheasants off!
Here are the Mammoth Leeks a Twitter friend sent me to see how large I could grow them, they are a variety that is grown for the show bench, I don't ever show my veg, but it could be the start!
Here is the  'Red Cross' Onion bed, they are doing well now that the weather has been warmer & wetter too. 
Beyond the Onions are Broad Beans, they are cropping well and we have had quite a few meals with them. 
I put these Sweetcorn in a few days ago, they have taken well, we will plant another 12 soon, so we get a follow on crop, we also planted 2 Courgettes in between, good use of the space.
And finally my lovely Potatoes, the ones in the foreground are the 'Picasso' a main crop and the last to be harvested. Beyond those, passed the Sweetcorn, are the 'Valour' main crop, they are already starting to flower. The 'Anya', 'Charlotte' & 'Foremost' earlies are all in flower (or at least showing signs of flowering) so I expect to dig some of these up very soon.

Next weekend I plan to do another Video walkabout, so will show more of what's growing. 

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 16 June 2013

Fathers Day weeding the plot

Lovely sunny day for Fathers Day. 
So we decided to go to the Allotment and why not. Mostly did weeding, the rain & warmth we have experienced the last few weeks has made the weeds grow faster than ever!
Here are the Radar white  Onions, alongside the Runner Beans, they needed weeding as they are getting bigger now and don't need the competition from the weeds for nutrients in the soil. Weeded the Red Cross red Onions too.
It was time to put the netting up for the Mange Tout Peas, they have shot up since the warm weather & rain. Simple frame made from 8 x 5ft & 1 x 6ft canes, then Pea netting attached.
All the potatoes are through now, earthed up the last to be planted 'Picasso' again today. We spotted flowers coming on the early 'Foremost' so expect to have the 1st crop in early July, the warmth & rain has helped these too, such a difference to last years weather!
Another day trip for the Chickens, here you can see Maud, Matilda & Flo, Freda was busy foraging under the fruit bushes, again.
They love their trips to the plot, they are so content we don't hear a sound from them, except when they are laying, as Matilda did again. So lovely to bring an Egg home as well as Rhubarb, Lettuce & Radishes!
So a very productive day, all the weeding produced another pile to burn, left for a few days the pile will dry enough so I can have another big bonfire. There was alot of interesting wildlife too, so I made a video for you, link below.

Thanks for reading/returning & viewing. Ian

Sunday 9 June 2013

Building a Pallet fence

Just for a change I thought you would like a crash course in putting up a Pallet Fence, it's so quick and easy. 
You can see here the broken pallet fence even some missing up to the fruit cage, but next doors plot has fruit bushes there to fill the gap. Considering we have had our Allotment 13 years now, I dont think the fence has been replaced until now, pallets do make a good quick fence.
First you need to dig post holes, this can be done with a narrow spade, but I invested in a Post Hole Auger quite some years ago, they are available in different widths, this one digs a 6" diam hole, ideal for the reclaimed 3 x 2.5" timber I have  acquired from several house renovations in our village.
I marked the shaft with a black line at 20" (50cm).
Other tools needed: Hammer, Spirit Level, Trowel, Grips and lots of 5" nails.
Here you can see the post hole auger in use, you simply screw it into the soil where the post needs to go, approx 10 turns will lift about 6" (15cm) of soil, best to lift the soil out regularly. You can see the black line I marked is level with the soil surface, as most pallets are 40" (1mtr) wide its best to dig your post holes depth equal to half the height of your pallets. This makes the posts when in place and firmed in good and solid.
I was lucky to have 2 x 8ft (2.4mtr) pallets from some building work I had done at home.
I put the 1st post in measured the width of the pallet and put another post in, with my wife's help we lifted a pallet between the posts I nailed through the pallet wood into the 1st post, checked the level, then nailed into the other post, using the spirit level again to make sure the posts are level vertically, I filled & firmed the soil around the post bases.
So this 16ft+ length of fence only took us 2.5 hours, there was some weeding (mostly Ground Elder) to be done in that time too. 
The next sections will be made from 2 x 1mtr pallets nailed together and suspended between posts, as I did last time.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian   

Sunday 2 June 2013

Long Sunday in the Sun

What a fantastic warm sunny day today, good excuse to get some more digging & weeding done. 
If you look back to last weeks Blog where I put the new pallet fence in, the ground in front of the fence was still full of weeds, so today I finished digging over it and removed all the grass, weeds & roots. We will plant mostly Brassicas here.
 On this patch along side the Broad Beans, where I planted Beetroots last week, we also added some sown flower seeds & Dwarf French Beans. 
The flowers are Cornflowers & Nigella as they are good for Bees.
Here is the Potato patch. 
Quite a large area but I'm growing 5 varieties again this year, 3 rows of 1st early 'Foremost' these have been 100% successful & I have earthed them up regularly, will be in flower soon, so ready to lift. The 2nd early 'Charlottes' have also done well, as have the salad 'Anyas'. The main crop 'Valour' have just started to show above the soil, no show on the 'Picasso' yet, but I only planted them last week, so in a few weeks will have more news on them. 
As it was such a lovely day we thought it would be nice to give our Chickens a day out too, so as you can see here, they got busy scratching & pecking around, the Fruit Cage where they are safe is a bit overgrown at the moment, but it didn't stop them having fun. 
They are so settled on the Allotment that even Matilda didn't mind making herself a nest under a Blackcurrant bush and laying an egg! We knew she was about to lay as she was making laying sounds (yes they do make a particular sound).    
Other things planted:
Kale, Borecole, Spinach, Red Pak Choi & 3 types of Dwarf Beans. 

Other good news:
We have seen at least 4 Frogs in the pond, 3 were sunbathing on the pond edge & a small one was peeping out of the water. 
You may be able to see them in my monthly Allotment walkabout video below.

 Thanks for reading/returning (and viewing) Ian