Allotment… day 11

Slugs! Buggers I say. I caught them nibbling, nay feasting on our poor bedraggled cauliflower today. More pellets dispersed and slugs slugged.

I also dug out two more spade-widths of the plot – about half a metre.The ground is lovely to dig through at the moment – just like a rich chocolate cake. There seem to be fewer weeds in the middle, and I’m hoping it stays that way!

I picked out some of the weeds that are around the radish and courgette and then made sure the tomatoes are happy. I still don’t know what the tomato bush is…all I know is that it doesn’t look like a tomato plant!

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Allotment… day 10

I went to re-plant the new courgette/squash last night, and to water the tomatoes. I’m still amazed at quite how well the vegetables I thought had failed are doing.

I have tried to look up the different veg that I planted in pots right at the start – as I forgot to keep the seeds packets. I found the box online and they are:

Bright Lights Chard: these are growing well, and from reading up on them it looks like they’ll grow to about a foot tall

Red Delicious Sprouts: I’m a tad hit-and-miss on sprouts, but these red ones look cool. As with all of these original veg, I split them out when planting in the ground, one plant looks okay, the other a bit tired! These look very cool – but won’t be ready until December, just in time for Christmas.

Courgette Orelia: Yellow courgettes. These were the ones I thought were most under threat of not making it after replanting, but seem so have made a recovery. 

Purple Haze Carrots: Purple carrots. Apparently orange carrots (according to the Carrot Museum, for there is such a thing) were cultivated for the House of Orange. The original carrot came from Afghanistan and Iran, and the colours were many and varied.

Tigerella Tomato: So far so good. This one is a bit odd in that all the images that I can see around the web are of traditional tomato plants. Mine is more bush-like. So what we get is a mystery.

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Allotment… day 9

The vegetables are growing!!! 

As you can tell, I’m verging on over-excited. We only popped down for five minutes to water the tomatoes, and then got distracted by two very cool things.

Number 1: Rob, our next door allotment neighbour, had left us some funky courgettes. He’d mentioned them to me about a fortnight ago and he then went and left us three to plant. They are ‘Tromba Albenga’ which is a cross between a courgette and a squash from Italy. I read up on ‘how to grow‘, but unfortunately after I planted…so it is possible I planted them too closely together! I’ll go and re-space them tomorrow. Thank you Rob, you are fab!

Number 2: vegetables are growing! And I mean really growing. The carrots are going for it, the original courgettes that I thought had not mad it are going strong, the spring onions are upright and the radish are all looking happy! Woo, and I say hoo! The only thing that we have an issue is with slugs…so pellet time, sorry slugs.

The only thing I wish I did was to check the type of tomato that I put in the trough. It is growing like a bush, rather than on stalks, so I’m a tad confused. I’ll have to go and research.

Thank you for reading!

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Allotment… day 8

I say ‘dig’, you say ‘ow’… just me then.

I measured how much more digging there is to do on the current side last night, and there was 30ft in length. Today I dug 2ft. 28 to go (see, I can even do maths after digging!) Essentially it is all the darker soil at the front of the photo below.

Fewer weeds again today than yesterday, I’m hoping this trend continues. There do seem to be a heck of a lot of stones though…

The allotment was graced with a visit from Jet and Elizabeth and Elizabeth played with the dog from the next door allotment. It was very funny to watch, she was so happy.

I have a feeling that a few of the things I have planted won’t make it. Ironically, it appears the carrots will do well, it is the courgettes and chard that look knackered. We’ll see.

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Allotment… day 7

I only spent a short amount of time at the allotment today, but got a lot done. I dug out one more row, finishing a second bed off. I have now dug 25% of one side of the allotment! I hesitate to say it, but it really isn’t taking that much time to dig now. I seem to have a rhythm going and I’m not sure there’s as many weeds as there were on the edges. Now I’ve said that I’m going to hit the worlds largest weed the next time I go up. 

I also watered the vegetables, especially the tomatoes as they wouldn’t have seen much if any of the rain that we’ve had recently. The problem with having so many vegetables planted is they need a lot of water, and the rain we have had hasn’t been enough to fill the water butt. I have enough for the next couple of days, but after that it is ration time.

It looks as though the carrots are happy, although I am not sure I could say the same for the courgettes and chard, but who knows? It may well be that they are taking time to wake up or the rain has beaten them down. Elizabeth and I put some slug pellets down yesterday to try and protect them as much as possible, so hopefully they’ll spring to life soon enough.

Finally, I have planned my raised bed for the asparagus. The wonderful design is in my head, I just need to make it a reality. No rush at all for this, which is lucky, as I have a heck of a lot of digging to get through first!

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Allotment… day 6

 It is a lesser-known fact that there is a missing verse to the Coldplay song ‘Yellow’. It goes like this:

Look at your hands,

Look how they glow for you,

And everything the gloves touched,

Yeah, they are all yellow.

The one where they had inadvertently worn yellow gloves in the rain and it hilariously turned their hands, you got it, yellow. Well, I did exactly the same thing today. Just think, if they had included this verse in their song, I’d have forewarning!

Yesterday was very rainy, so I stayed away from the allotment; today was less so, so I ended up there for three or four hours. And thanks to only one rain shower, I managed to get a heck of a lot done.

I mended the fence which had nearly fallen down again and moved the tomatoes down along with their sauna and attached them to the outside of the shed (this may be a good, or a very bad idea…we’ll see), They need the sun, and they are not getting it from our garden, so hopefully it’ll work.

I finished digging out the second bed, which was relatively easy apart from being a bit heavy due to the rain. This also gave me a chance to use my shiny new spade which worked well, but then it is an inanimate object and other than a couple of minor differences between spades it largely comes down to how hard you dig. I mean, really, unless they come up with an automatic spade, or reintroduce slaves, it is down to you.

After that, I planted the vegetables I’d been growing in pots, so the chard and sprouts were pretty easy to put in; and then we come to carrots. I’ve been told by more than one person that moving carrots is a bad idea, but here’s the thing. I had about 25 carrots in one very small pot, which meant each root was the size of a pin. The choice was this… if I leave them in the pot they’ll be carrots for the Borrowers; if I take them out they may die, OR they may be actually grow. I chose the latter, sorry Borrowers.

If you haven’t been keeping up, then this is what I have planted so far…

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Courgette
  • Radish
  • Spring onion
  • Sprouts

I think that’ll be it for planting, unless I can find another vegetable beginning with ‘c’ or the allotment neighbour donates a squash or two. I’ll spend the rest of the year digging over the rest of the plot ready for next year.

Now, in the style of an annoying film that feels like it should have ended ten-minutes ago, I’m going to add a second ending. As I forgot that I had also done some trenching! Yes indeed, the most satisfying digging since the spade was invented. I needed to sort out the dangerous drainage gulleys that were in front of the shed. I also can report that the guttering is doing a fine job as the water butt is about half-full!

Right, I’m off to update the Coldplay section of Wikipedia…ImageImageImage

Allotment…day 5

Rain, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely…quite a lot actually

(with huge apologies to Edwin Starr)

Today I ‘popped down’ to the allotment to see what the little bit of rain had done to the soil. The problem so far was that the top inch or two was rock-hard; with a bit of rain I was hoping that it would have loosened it up a bit. And it really had!

Here starts the good-news, bad-news story:  

  • good news, soil so easy to cut through. Bad news, it started to rain hard.
  • Good news, I have a shed! Bad news, I’d left the door open and it was soaking inside.
  • Good news, the rain abated and I managed, in 30-minutes to dig the same amount as I did in two hours on day 3. Bad news, the rain properly lashed down, I’m a wimp and fled home!

In other news, I now have a compost bin, I seemed to break my spade when the ground was doing an impression of granite and I seem to have uncovered a potato (just the one)

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Allotment…day 4

Today, I have been at the allotment for half an hour. No digging, and my back is thanking me for that in spades.

I did, however, manage to get the courgettes in before it rained, and Dad helped add a second water butt, so I now have the grand total of 400 litres of capacity (and about 2 litres of water).

Elizabeth came with us, and we met our allotment neighbour (Rob) who introduced us to his dog (Kim) who were both very nice. Elizabeth fell in love with the dog (not ’til you’re a teenager…and have moved out) and Rob has offered us some Italian squash. He also told me about the way the water drains, and luckily it heads towards where I want to put a raised bed.

That is all!

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Allotment…day 3

Two and a bit hours at the allotment today, and I’ve finished digging the weeds from the first bed, and then some. Although it was still hard to get through the first inch, the rest was relatively easy-going. The ground hasn’t been dug for a long while, so there are some pretty large clumps to break up, and as you’ll see from the photo I didn’t manage to do them all! I did, however, find an old, rusted hand fork which looked scarily like an old skeleton hand when I started to dig it up!

I’ve planted the spring onions and radishes that Mum and Dad brought over yesterday, and will try to plant the courgettes tomorrow. Then I think one more bed will get in the chard and sprouts before I’ve run out of things to put in. Hopefully that will be before the weekend, but who knows?!

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Allotment…day 2

Sunburn! Tomorrow is going to be bad. 

Anyway, other than sunburn, it was great; with huge thanks to Mum and Dad and Elizabeth, we strimmed, collected trimmings, added a water butt, dug, weeded, and… wait for it… planted! 

Met an allotment neighbour who said the plot hadn’t been worked for five years and once in a while someone takes pity and strims the weeds. Apparently it was rotivated five years ago; and to be fair, the soil underneath the rock hard crust is pretty amazing – seeing as we haven’t had rain for ten days, it was pretty moist!

There is so much more to do, but plenty of time to do it. And did I mention the sunburn? Ow! ImageImageImage