16 February 2007

A busy week

It was my birthday last week, so I celebrated by shovelling manure in the first of several visits! We now have a small pile of manure that needs to rot dow before being used. As well as claiming the remains of the free manure on our row, I was thoroughly spoilt with far more fruit plants and asparagus than I have land cleared and dug to plant in! Still most of them arrive in the next month or so, which gives me time to plan where everything is going to and to prepare the ground. No pressure there then!

In an allotment themed birthday, I was lucky enough to be bought the following:

    10 Asparagus crowns (Amarus or Wild)
    3 Rhubarb crowns (Victoria)
    1 Dibber
    1 packet of Nemaslug (biological slug killer)
    24 Strawberry plants (12 Gariguette and 12 Chelsea Pensioner)
    25kg seaweed meal

As I said thoroughly spoilt!

The Jerusalem Artichokes also arrived this week, which is something else I needed to figure out where to plant.

Amazingly I met someone on the site who has just taken on 4 (yes, four!) allotments on our row with a group of friends. And if you thought our allotment was bad when we took it on, at least we didn't have the forest to cut down that they have - check out their new blog 47-50 An Allotment Journey. A friend has just taken on a couple of plots on the row below as well, so even in the midst of 'winter' the site is continuing to fill up.

In the several visits this week, the main accomplishment was in moving most of the cut down hedge to the top of the allotment over the rubbish. This allowed me to cut down the remaining hedge at the top of the allotment which means you can see into the allotment from the row at the top for the first time. To celebrate I made a small 'gate' to go across the entrance.

You can also see just how little of the hedge is now remaining, just one solitary 'trunk' of the ash tree remaining after Vicki and I convinced Tim that it wasn't meant to be there! Since the picture was taken this too has been felled.

Given the arrival of the Jerusalem Artichokes, thought I'd best get them in the ground ASAP, which meant planting the Loganberry as well. In order to speed up the process a bit I cheated a little by buying 5 bags of well rotted manure from the local garden centre to add to the ground for the plants. After digging out more blackberry roots and nettles - that I thought I'd already done - and moving the bath further up the allotment, the loganberry is now in as seen here:

The plan is this will add to the security along the relatively small stonewall along this side of the plot. Watch this space to see if it works. After passing 5 of the tubers to Vicki (in return for some potatoes later on), the Jerusalem Artichokes are also in the ground. No picture here as it's just mud!

Followed this up by more digging, and adding the bagged manure and seaweed meal to the dug soil. I reckon about 10-12 square metres have been dug over thoroughly now, and my back still aches in recognition of this. Less said about the top end of the allotment the better at the moment, but the bottom half is coming along quite well, even if I say so myself ;>)

I've been tagged
Which apparently means I have to tell you five things you don't know about me (although this being about the family allotment I've widened it to include info about all of us), so...

  1. I was born on Valentine's Day, at home in the house my parents still live in. Despite having just given birth with no pain relief, when asked by the midwife if I was going to be called Valentine my mother said no. Thank you Mum.

  2. 'Gardening' in the loosest sense of the word should be in my blood. All of my Dad's side of the family from late 1700s right up to the 1940s worked as agricultural labourers. My Dad had an allotment when we were kids, that I used to hate to be dragged down to. My grand parents have a 3 acre field with their house and have grown strawberries, potatoes and fruit trees on it, that we all used to go and help out with. Whilst this has been scaled back since they are now both in their 90s the family still decends on the orchard in the autumn to stock up on apples.

  3. I came to Sheffield as a student on 2 October 1988. This was exactly the same day as my future wife, although we went to separate universities and didn't meeting until 1996.

  4. My son is qualified to play rugby - whether he likes it or not ;>) - for half of Europe and Canada. But it'll be over my dead body that he ever plays for Wales!

  5. And coming full circle (kind of), my daughter was born at home on the lounge floor. It wasn't planned that way, and we do only live 5 minutes drive from the maternity hospital, but when she decided the time was right she didn't want to hang about!

6 February 2007

A nice warm, sunny day...

... for some more digging. Only I got down to the allotments and found them still covered in frost. Bit disappointing, but cut down quite a bit of the hedge with Vicky from the neighbouring plot so we now have more light! Cut up some of the branches for pea/bean sticks so there is less to burn.

Tidied out a bit of the greenhouse area of (yet more) glass and rubbish and discovered the soil is unlikely to support any growth without some serious interventions. Read the info from 'allotment school' and discovered I'd not put anywhere near enough lime on the beds I'd created the other day. Still better that way than adding too much! I also ordered 25kg of seaweed meal from Garden Direct, which strictly speaking is an early birthday present.

Was offered some manure on Sunday evening from Vicky in no 17, although I think most of the site wants some of what is left. I think we'll be getting through a lot between us all so probably won't be the last delivery...