31 January 2007
The (late planted) daffodils are beginning to make an appearance, as too are the tulips next to them. The garlic continues to grow well and I now have a loganberry, red currant, gooseberry and hazelnut to plant somewhere - all courtesy of 'allotment school'. The loganberry will be grown along part of the stone wall on the border to act as 'security, not sure yet about the red currant and gooseberry, and no idea at all about the hazelnut! It seemed like a good idea at the time to ask for one...
The birdfeeder was empty (well it had been two weeks!) and there were no signs that the squirrels had raided it, so obviously there is some birdlife on the site. The robin made a brief appearance shortly after lunch, but nothing else was spotted. I filled up the bird feeder and we'll see how it is by the weekend.
A depressing site
A friend came along to have a look for an allotment on the site, complete with map from the allotment office. We had a look at what was available and found very little worth considering. One allotment was relatively clear of trees but was a complete bog, and all of the others had some quite substantial trees in them. Not something anyone wants to take on. Not sure if he is brave/mad enough to take on any of the remaining plots. Another plot holder found some pictures of the site less than 30 years ago and it was completely thiving with what looks like all plots taken, sheds, greenhouses everywhere, and no trees anywhere to be see. It's all very depressing compared to now, if a photo was taken from the same spot it would be very difficult to see it was an allotment site (with about 170 plots) at all. And this is with about 90 of them taken now.
Given the state of the site and apparent enthusiasm amongst new plot holders, and the need to decide how to spend the recent £300 award, I've been making enquires about how to start an association on the site. Currently a few of us have drafted a letter which will eventually be send on to the council to send out to all plot holders to see if there is sufficient interest in forming an association. Have to see how this one develops...
16 January 2007
Mrs D remains fairly immobile with her knee getting no better, so been a busy start to the year looking after the family. However, I am usually 'rewarded' with a couple of hours down on the allotment to unwind on the weekend. There are of course plenty of 'off site' activities to keep me busy as well, such as ordering lots of seeds. And a propagator. And some mini polytunnels/cloches. And a bird feeder. And a bird box...
Well the last two were partly for the kids and partly to encourage some more birds (possibly regret this at a later date!) around the site, as the only bird I've ever seen on site is a robin.
Anyway, I ordered the following seeds from Garden Organics:
Celeriac - Prinz
Globe Artichokes - Green Globe
Hot Peppers - Hungarian Hot Wax
Hot Peppers - Ring of Fire
Jerusalem Artichokes - Fuseau
Spinach - Matador
Sunflowers - Russian Mammoth
Sweet Peas - Old Fashioned Mix
Sweetcorn - Kelvedon Glory
Brussels Sprouts - Groninger
Brussels Sprouts - Seven Hills
Carrots - Amsterdam Forcing
Carrots - Long Red Surrey
Leeks - Pandora
Leeks - Bandit
Onions (Sets) - Jet Set
Onions (Sets) - Red Baron
Shallots - Longor
Spring Onions - Ramrod
Spring Onions - White Lisbon
Basil - Sweet Genovese
Coriander - Cilantro
Parsley - Italian Giant
Broad Beans - Witkiem Manita
French Beans - Canadian Wonder
Runner Beans - Desiree
Courgettes - Albaretto di Sarzana
This doesn't include the ones I already had in and those I got as Christmas presents! I also order a few packets of salad leaves from Plants of Distinction:
- Bulls Blood
Red Stemmed Leaf Radish
Red Veined Sorrel
Dan in the neighbouring plot kindly offer to take the surplus seeds off my hands.
It was too good to miss!
"Honest love, we really do need those polytunnels I've just bought off Ebay!" They're only little ones (3m long x 45cm wide) and I sold the ones we don't want to Vicky next door. I'm hoping they'll allow us to get an early start on things and give protection to those crops that need it. Far too windy of late to consider putting them up, so at the moment they remain in the outhouse/shed at home.
Glass, glass and more glass
Decided on the days when it has been too wet and/or fed up with digging to clear out the remains of the old greenhouse. Two bags and two barrow loads of glass later (not to mention all the rotten wood), I'm about two thirds of the way through. That's just removing the larger pieces of glass. Still eventually it will provide a nice sheltered spot for hardening off plants and hopefully growing the tomatoes when it gets a bit warmer.
Remains of old greenhouse
Amazingly despite all the rain, the allotment has not been too wet to dig - the bonus of trying to grow things on the side of a mountain! So steadily making progress up the plot, digging out the blackberry roots and nettles. There is now a huge pile of 'hedge cuttings' and roots to be burned at some point. Bonfires are proving very popular on the site at the moment, which is why after a couple of hours a week ago I returned home well and truly smoked, and was sent straight to the shower!
Signs of Life
The mild winter to date has resulted in the garlic coming up very well, the blackcurrants have started to sprout and the Rhubarb is showing signs of life as well - which is a shame as I still haven't moved it to it's final position. Hopefully these will all survive should the weather eventually turn cold.
Is that light I see?
Vicky in the neighbouring plot cut down some more of the monster (aka hedge) that separates our plots. There is now a small section where we can actually talk to one another over the hedge instead of through it. We both need to have serious bonfires to get rid of all the hedge we have cut down, as well as using the sticks for beans, fences and a leaf basket - sadly that would be Vicky's not mine.
Started the organic gardening course (otherwise know as allotment school by my son) on Monday. About 15 of us on it, with a range of ages and experience of gardening. It was good to meet some fellow enthusiasts. Lot of free seeds on offer via the course as well, which is of course just what I need...
Some pictures will appear in the relevant places once I can upload them without them timing out all of the time...