17 November 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

1.22pm on Tuesday afternoon up on plot no. 2

15 November 2010

New bed!

The front of plot no. 2 has always been a bit of a mess and despite having other intentions I ended up sorting this out. Which was probably no bad thing!

It all started when I took the kids to Wildlife Watch Group on Saturday morning. One of their tasks for the morning was to clear the leaves from the path. To be honest it was never going to be a goer with just 4 kids this month and that many leaves, but not one to miss trick like this I acquired a dozen bags of leaves.

So after taking the kids home and picking up the car to take the leaves to the plot, I needed somewhere to put them. Which was how I started tidying up the front of the plot. Anyhow, many roots of bind weed later, the remains of what appeared to be a compost heap (bonus find!), some carpet and edging the bed this is what it ended up like:

Spot the leaves in plastic bags by the hedge

I then covered this over with some weed fabric whilst I think what to put there. At the moment I'm thinking the rhubarb may go in there as I think it's looking a bit tired where it is and desperately needs dividing.

Further up the plot, this is the sorry state on an apple tree that is suffering from not having been staked when it was planted and then having fruited very heavily this year.

I think it's going to have to have a serious prune this year at the very least to see if it can be salvaged.

As an interesting side note after much discussion about what variety the tree is, Bob from the plot opposite bumped into the people who originally planted it. According to them, they bought it as a Bramley...

9 November 2010

Out with the old, in with the new

It's that time of year when there are plenty of leaves around on the ground, so time to stock up and start making next years leaf mould! Now many garden writers obviously live in the leafy countryside and never see a car. I only the other hand live in a city so inevitably end up picking them up from the side of a road that has many, many cars passing along it each day - completely against the advice of these rural-based writers. I figure any leaf mould is better than none, and it's probably nothing compared to the crap kicked out here in the days when we had industry (and no clean air act) - there's a reason why the stone on our house is black!

So after collecting 10 bin bags full I figured I'd better empty out the old stuff:

Black Gold!
It's not fully rotted down, but it's great to add as a mulch to the beds, and I put it over the bed where the old blackcurrants were and then covered it over with weed fabric. I can't decide what to put in this new bed at the moment so covering it over will give me more time to decide. Maybe some more strawberries?
All tucked up for winter
Having emptied out the remainder of last years leaves, it was time to put in this years. Only after emptying the builder sacks I put them in, I discovered they'd excluded the light very well from the soil they were on. So I dug out the remaining roots (mainly nettles) and added a couple of buckets of compost from the compost heap to this area.
Blackcurrants here?
I'm thinking I might put some blackcurrants in here, maybe some Titania? Any recommendations?

I moved the leaf sacks to the other side of the  bath and put the leaves I have gathered in them. I also use Biotal Compost Maker with them which is supposed to help them break down quicker. And whilst it looks like a complete mess here at the top of the plot, this is a vast improvement to how it was at the start of the day! The plot slopes quite steeply here so is quite difficult to walk along here so I have leveled this part of the path past the leaves and generally got rid of a lot of the weeds

There's a path here, honest!

Finally the first Brussels of the 'season' were ready and eaten for tea, the first Brussels I've successfully grown:
And very nice they were too!

1 November 2010

There's a buzz about allotments

I popped down to plot no. 1 this week to plant some garlic, tulips and alliums. Having ordered the tulips and alliums a while back I'd been putting off planting them as I wasn't sure where to put them. A quick inspection of the bulbs showed why keeping them in the warmest room in the house isn't the best idea ever... It also helped to sort out where they were going pretty quickly!

I also arranged to meet Gary, a fellow plot holder, down there to hand over some apples and the Association hedge cutters. Gary's also the bee keeper down on site, and when I wandered over to his plot he was inspecting his hives having treated them for varroa mites.

Now I've been around the hives a fair bit, and even seen them when they were swarming earlier in the year so I wasn't too bothered about being around a few metres away. Well until he got to the new hive he'd been given after it had been abandoned...       

Opening up

Not looking great

They're not happy!

What you, the reader, can not see if that (a) only one of us is suited and booted for bee inspections - and it's not me! - and (b) I'm getting further away as I take these photos. They weren't a happy bunch in this new hive and the inspection didn't last long before we both ended up at the other end of the plot with angry bees following. Only one of us got stung though and it just goes to show that wearing the full bee suit, veil and gloves doesn't always help!