Tag Archives: allotment

Continuing with change and progress

June 2010

June 2010

This week I gave notice on my allotment plots.

I think it is time to move on from them for a few different reasons; life is still busy especially with starting a new job. I now have a better grasp of living in a two person household and the much smaller mountains of food that so few people get through and mostly it seems a little be of a waste of resources to pay rent and travel for my allotment plots when I have a large enough garden that is just a step outside my door in the mornings and is included in the rent for my house; I think the money saved will be much better off going into my ‘hobbit-hole’ fund.

It will also relieve me of the stress, restraints and compromise of working in a communal area which although has its upside seems to be getting more in the way of me succeeding at how I would like to grow food than helping me too at the moment.

July 2010

July 2010

What little bits I have grown this year are mostly in my garden at home so it will just be a case of collecting my things from my plots before handing them back for someone else to take on.

In some ways it feels like I am yet again starting from square one but I have been making plans for my garden since I moved and this will free me up to go forward with them and I have already put my first raised bed in with a spare hour I had one evening.

A Day in the Month – October

FOR TODAY

Outside… It is hot, almost too hot but I’m not complaining

I am thinking or plotting… A new chapter; as of today I am unemployed and although there are some big negatives to that it is a chance for a change and I’m sure that can be a change for the better if I embrace it and make it so.

From the kitchen… I need to look up a chilli jam recipe as I now have a fridge draw full of ‘reduced to clear’ chillies.

I am wearing… Leggings with shorts over the top and a sleeveless black and white top

I am creating… This month I am hoping to get the allotment sorted a little more; put up the new chicken pen, move their house

I am going… TOO BIG A QUESTION

I am reading… Nothing really, I haven’t even opened last months Grow Your Own magazine yet

Here is a picture I want to sharing and why… I found this lovely big frog whilst clearing some ground at the allotment the other day

Allotment frog - 22nd September 2011

Allotment frog - 22nd September 2011

Mostly of things growing

It feels like I haven’t blogged in a long time but really it is just a week or so. So much is happening at the moment and at the same time nothing at all…

The weather has made it feel like we should be in the depths of summer but really it is still only spring and only just time to sow many things. My patio is filled with trays and pots of differing plants and plantlets at different stages of growth and the heat seems to have had a knock on effect in growth even with the tiny little plants which are watered every other day or some; they have shot up since the recent rain started.

Work at the allotment seems to have been on hold for a while for no really reason but last weekend I finally managed to start making an impact, even though it is only one that I will notice. Still the sea of green that my allotment has turned into has pleased me;

Allotment; before the weekend - 7th May 2011

Allotment; before the weekend - 7th May 2011Allotment; after the weekend - 8th May 2011

 Above the allotments on Saturday and then below the allotments on Sunday evening

Allotment; after the weekend - 8th May 2011

Allotment; after the weekend - 8th May 2011

It is so healthy looking. Ok it looks unloved and unruly and has been making my heart sink a little when I walk in through the gates but if you look probably, and maybe screw your eyes up just enough so as the nettles aren’t instantly identifiable as nettles, it is a little slice of green and lushness in amongst old pasture land. This plot down from mine is a path away and has been vacant and uncared for since the beginning of winter;

Next allotment over (with my potato bed in front)

Next allotment over (with my potato bed in front)

There is such a difference in the two, even covered in weeds there are still pickings to be had on my plots; wild salad leaves and nettles.

Rainbow over stormy skies - 8th May 2011

Rainbow over stormy skies - 8th May 2011

I am pleased with the difference my no-dig system is having too, I can tell the difference between the top layer of soil, which is dark, crumbly and lovely to handle, to that underneath which is clay like and until this weekend one dry lump. Oh, and the worms!! In one of the gardening books mother was given for her birthday there is a soil fertility test; if you have 4 worms in a spades depths of soil then you are working with good stuff, I have loads morn then that!

At home the  back garden defies me. It is in two parts; part a is a dry, dusty and old bonfire heap, part b is covered in brambles, ivy and bind weed. I want to level the bottom part off to have somewhere we can sit out and then have my greenhouse and vegetable beds higher up… It is going to take hard work and some time to get it to that stage. I have bought some chickens home to clear the weeds and they are doing their job ok. If all I get done this year is a few veg beds for winter ‘stuff’ back there I will be happy.

The front garden, which is mostly concerted over, now has a final plan to it for this year since I had an inspired day during the week. I had a sort of idea of what I wanted it to be and had been collecting bits and piece as I saw them, mostly about to be thrown away. Now it is all laided out and just needs to be planted up with the right things on the right day. Hopefully it is going to be beautiful, and I know it is going to be productive.

The weather this weekend was beautiful; sunny and warm.

I was at a conference on Saturday but on Sunday I managed to get lots done even though I was on the ‘4am shift’. We finished sorting and burning the pile of hawthorn that was cut down at the end of last year as it was shading to much of the vegetable patch – all before 11.30am.

Then in the afternoon I finally got to spend some time at the allotment, mostly tidying and moving manure but also sowed the first beetroot. MYS has moved into a house with a much bigger garden and an old vegetable patch so I am taking on her plot on the understanding that if her house doesn’t work out she can have it back so I have so rethinking to do. I did start turning over a bed to sow so carrots but then couldn’t decide if I should use it for carrots or garlic…

At home I have sown salad, cabbage, leeks, parsnips, sweetpeas and cauliflowers although the chicks have learned how to get out of their brooder and may have eaten the sweetpeas and caulies, Grr… I still have plenty more seeds that need using up.

I am still trying to work out when to start things like beans and tomatoes lots of people of forums seem to have already started or be starting theres off but I have very limited indoor space and there are still a fair few cold or frosty nights happening. I have exactly the right amount of bobby bean (otherwise known as French beans) seed and so don’t want to risk any of them. I have some dwarf bean seeds though so I may start those off and see what happens

Allotment plan 2011

The trailer being off the road has held up work on the allotment, I had hoped to have almost finished covering the beds that are being manured by now but as it stands there is still four still to do. I will get there though and in the mean time I have finalised a growing plan.

Plot one (starting from the bottom of the plot nearest the car park);

Bed 1: Garlic. Bed 2: Parsnips. Bed 3: Leeks and beetroot. Bed 4: Courgettes and sweetcorn. Bed 5: Peas. Bed 6: Cabbages

Plot two;

Bed 1: Broccoli. Bed 2: Winter squash and sweetcorn. Bed 3: Cauliflower. Bed 4: Winter squash and sweetcorn. Bed 5: Potatoes. Bed 6: Potatoes

Middle-younger-sister is going to grow all the beans and carrots and more beetroot and at home I am going to grow sprouts, tomatos, kale, strawberries, raspberries and salad.

Left to buy are seed potato, International Kidney (or Jersey Royals if grown in Jersey although I think they have their own variation which has been bred on the island) and Kestrel, beetroot, sweetcorn and parsnip seeds.

Minus 12 days until sowing starts!

Hen tea party - 9th January 2011

Hen tea party - 9th January 2011

Everything feels a little crazy right now. I am still not into a routine after moving and I seem to be starting one of those busy times at work were at least one of my weekend days is taken up with something extra.

One of the tyres on our trailer has gone; which has called a halt to our mass clean out. Not a big problem shouldn’t be that hard to sort out and get going again… If only it were that simple. After trying one garage without the tyre and not getting very far I took the whole wheel into another tyre place to get a replacement. It turns out that our trailer has been made out of a base of an original original Mini and a replacement tyre will cost at least £50, each.

When I say the ‘original original’ Mini what I mean is when Mini’s first came out they had one size of tyre, then a little later they changed the size to a more standard one so it isn’t even like all the original Mini’s take the same size and there are very few that take the original original size now as they were the very first Minis.

The halt on the mass clean out has resulted in a halt to covering allotment beds ready for growing later this year. I’d hoped that if I managed to get at least most of it done last month then there would be about three months for it to rot down before anything was ready to plant out. I know that doesn’t sound long enough by ‘book’ standard but we have such a good eco-system (I think that is what I mean) thing rot down mega fast.

Allotment at sun set - 30th August 2010

Allotment at sun set - 30th August 2010

I have managed to go through my seed collection and work out what I haven’t got, only parsnips, sweetcorn, beetroot and seed potatoes, and now I just have to work out how I am going to fit in all the things I want to grow into the space I have.

I can’t wait to start sowing but I decided at the start of the year not to start growing anything until the 1st of March. Which will give me time to sort out everything out and also mean I don’t lose so many seedlings to leggy-ness or frost. It is a good plan… 22 days and counting.

Last week I was given some Maran hatching eggs so I have the incubator on. It is the first time I’ve used my new one. Yesterday the Beanie Babies went to their new home, after so many false starts. But they have gone to a lovely family where they will join their other goats to provide milk for making goats cheese once they have kidded.

Allotment up-date; The news we have been waiting for

Runner bean - 16th July 2010

This morning was a very important time for the future of our allotment site, after months of work we voted to form our own allotment society and signed a tenancy agreement which takes effect from the 1st of January 2011.

Since the beginning of the year the site has been in a positive but uncertain state as the person who originally set up the site, held the lease with the land owner and had all the tenancy agreements with plot holders; well, did a runner basically and it has taken us until now to pick up the piece and plan away forward for our site.

We technically formed our own society back in August but todays meeting was to put forward the plans that the committee have come up with to the other plot holders so if there wasn’t enough agreement then by lunchtime today there would have been no point in our society and no more allotments but the plans were agreed!

Summer growings; my allotment plots - 24th July 2010

We now have the job of encouraging new plot holders to the site, our site was never full and sadly we have lost some plot holders though the uncertain times, and making some improvements to the site; we would like some sort of water, most likely some sort of water collection system, some better fencing along at least one side of the site and drainage. 

My role in all this is publicity and events; the aim of both is to encourage more plot holders to the site so if anyone has any ideas or tricks they have learned please do share them with me.

A short catch up

Well, I have now finished my course and handed in my final essay and am just awaiting the results before I decide what to do next. Fingers crossed they will be good, I got 72% on my first one so am holding out hope that they will be. 

Whilst I’ve been busy with my course lots of little things have happened that I have wanted to blog about but not had time to, things like our TB tests went clear about six weeks ago which was a big relief after our last test. Chloe was disbudded at the same time and hardly even seemed to notice. 

I have been away twice last month, once to Rhys’s brothers wedding and then away for a weekend to mark my birthday. Both weekends were lovely but my birthday weekend especially, we camped near to a beach in South Wales and spent the whole of my birthday walking along the coast in glorious sunshine, with quite literally not a cloud in the sky, then cooked Mexican wraps on a BBQ. I got some lovely presents, almost all of them were off of my wish list so I am now the proud owner of a number of cloches, a head torch and a lovely wax jacket (which I still haven’t had any need to wear yet, but winter will be here all to soon I’m sure.) 

Last years leek bed with what was left - 3rd of May 2010

  

At the end of the day; weeded and planted with onion sets - 3rd May 2010

I spent the Bank holiday at the allotment which is going along slowly but getting there, I turned one of the beds from this (left) to this (right).

 
Other than the onions, garlic and carrots there is not much planted up there, other than the potatoes that still haven’t appeared but are still there as I dug down to find one to check they hadn’t rotted, but at home there are leeks, parsnips, red and green cabbages, red and green sprouts, broccoli, two types of squashes, sweetcorn, tomatoes, sweet peppers, french and runner beans.
 
The weather is looking good for Sunday so I’m planning on spending a couple of hours up there. I made some soft cheese out of the milk from the freezer the other evening and I’m hoping to make a cheesecake out of it over the weekend too.

Allotment 19/04/2010 – A tale of three rabbits

It started to rain when I got to the allotment, which pretty much sums up how the rest of my day went yesterday. Everything I tried to start to get done went wrong, I tried starting to convert an old trailer into a chicken house and found the wood I needed wouldn’t fit into the car to take to the field, me and mother went to trim some goats feet and they got out, three times. Me and Rhys went to get the right sized bolts for the new chicken house and got to the shop just as they had locked up. And so on…

It wasn’t an unpleasent rain, and no where never heavy enough to send me home and the visit turned the day around as I managed to cardboard and manure one and a half beds whilst  there. I got something done!

Baby rabbit hiding away at the allotment - 19th April 2010

Whilst moving wheelbarrows full of manure I saw a young rabbit appear from somewhere when my back was turned and run off up the site, I stopped and watched it for a while and then carried on. A few wheelbarrows later and another one appeared, this one seemed to have come from under the plastic sheet we had put down over the top of the muck heap. It didn’t run far and hide under some empty sacks that were on the ground not far away, so I went to have a look.

Looking around to see what has happened - 19th April 2010

I had a look at where it seemed to have come from and found a nest with another dead one in. It was an ideal place for a nest, kept dry by the sheeting and warm from the rotting down manure all around. I moved the dead one to the hedge and the other rabbit went back to see what was happening, before going off up the site like the other one had.

It was a nice little find but I’m sort of glad that they are no longer living on our plots, snacking on our growings just outside their home. I used most of the heap on the beds that I made and then most of the sacks that were up there already as well.

Lastly I watered everything, the onions and garlic are coming up nicely but no sign of the carrots yet, although it was getting dark by that point.

Allotment – 04/04/2010

Deciding what to plant; my 99p store haul, chitted potatoes and my plastic bag mat - 4th April 2010

I spent some time at the allotment this afternoon with mother and middle-younger-sister. We have had the plots since a year ago last Friday, the soil on the beds that were manured last year is so nice now.

Whilst we were there I planted out some garlic, onion sets (Setton) and sowed some carrots (two rows of Chantenay Red Cored 2 and one of Early Nantes 5) and planted the first potatoes, Mimi and Charlottes. I used a plastic bag peg loom mat to kneel on, it is one of the biggest mats I have made and was very comfy folded over a few times.