Can I come?

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My Black Rock hen, Rusty.

Do you think she wants to join me down on the allotment?

Or is she more interested in the handful of dandelion greens & hedge garlic that I’m holding…?

(I’m quite sure she would be happy with both!)

p.s… see the shed walls acting as carport walls? That’s my shed that is. Waiting to be put into good use down the allotment again!

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Bed One is Dug!

Yesterday I put 8 potatoes in the ground & this morning I spent 2 and a half hours finishing the bed!

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seed potatoes are between the rocks in two rows

Now I’ve only got about 15 more to go!

I also rode my bike to the allotment this morning. Here’s the proof…

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I was completely shattered when I got home after all that digging and bike riding! I’m going to be fit in no time 😉

after the rain

Went down to the plot today to find the couch, bramble & dock highly approved of the rain and mild temperatures. Also found where the previous owner had their potatoes last as there are plenty for me to remove!

Did a bit of weed removal while balanced on planks so I wouldn’t compact the wet soil. I need to empty the recycling bin I’m using to put the weeds in as it’s getting full!
I’ve cleared nearly one ‘bed’. Next I’ll clear where the first path will go and part of bed two before putting some patio slabs down. After that I can get my tatties in bed one finally!

The Small One helped for a bit until he got bored, played with a toy digger then took some photos with my phone before playing some games.

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Little fingers & a bit of mud

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Mostly little fingers & more mud/plank/stones

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“Smile mummy!”

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Argh! Who stepped off the plank?!
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Abandoned digger, left to fend off the couch & dock…

Back at home I’ve had more kale germinating, as well as one PSB, a few leeks (they’re in airing cupboard, need to get them out!) and some pea sprouts! Hooray!

too much rain, not enough digging

The rain has stopped any progress down the plot for the past few days. Which is a bit of a bother as I really need to finish digging the potato patch to get my seed potatoes in! Also got a pile of red onion sets waiting to be put in. I tried to do a sunny weather dance but it didn’t work and The Small One said it was silly…

So instead, I got those leek seeds in the bigger litter tray. Couldn’t find a smaller one but it turned out that the big one was just right anyway. I sowed 80 leek seeds! The seed packet’s sow by date was last year so I’m not expecting full germination but they will probably all sprout! I asked JJ if he thought 80 leeks was too much. He said yes, but he doesn’t like them so I’m ignoring his opinion 😉
At least I know I have space for them all, and if it’s a bit tight I’m sure I’ll find homes for some of them.

I’ve been drawing out a rough idea of how I want the plot to eventually end up as. The lowest end of the plot (from top corner of shed and down) is quite wet so I don’t plan on putting any veg beds in there. Instead I’ll plant fruit bushes, flowers & herbs. I’ll also take my elder and apple trees down to go in the gap just behind the shed. Hopefully I can use chamomile as a ground cover inbetween stepping stones. There will also be a bench and compost bins. I’m going to build a permanent bean pole ‘tunnel’ over a path leading to the shed door. The rest of my plot will be 4x14ft beds with patio slabs or flat stones inbetween. I don’t plan on building raised beds at this stage. Well, here’s a picture of my drawing. It’s not quite what I’ve got in my head and it’s definitely not to scale, but you get the idea!

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One of my ‘Black Tuscany’ kale seeds have germinated, in just the past couple of hours in fact!

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This is what I have sowed so far

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Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ (no sow by date on them)
Leek ‘Autumn Mammoth 2 Tornado’ (sow by Jan 2012… hmmmm)
Dwarf French Bean ‘Castandel’ (best before on these for July 2015)
Cabbage ‘Ormskirk 1 Late’ (sow by Dec 2012)
Broccoli mixed Purple Sprouting (sow by Dec 2011… oh dear. Keeping my fingers crossed, really do love this veg)
Kale ‘Black Tuscany’ (sow by Aug 2011. Ha ha! The oldest of the lot and the first to germinate!!!)

What I hope to sow this year if I can get the allotment ready in time

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Red Pointed Cabbage ‘Kalibos’ (sow by Aug 2012) would love to make a sauerkraut out of this cabbage!
Mixed Leaf Salad (sow by Jun 2013) will sow this in the greenhouse most of the year
Beetroot ‘Boltardy’ (no sow by date) only 12 seeds left 😦
Calabrese ‘Aquiles F1’ (sow by Dec 2012) if I don’t get these sowed by May then I’ll make sure to in September for harvest May 2014
Carrot ‘Autumn King 2’ (sow by Jun 2013) The Small One really wants to grow carrots, hopefully get them in at some point
Lettuce ‘Winter Density’ (sow by Dec 2011) Another hmmmm
Spring Onion ‘White Lisbon Winter Hardy’ (sow by Dec 2012) One for the end of the year
Cucumber ‘Fatum’ (sow by Dec 2013) And again for the greenhouse. This is a mini cuc that I thought I’d try as I haven’t got much room in the greenhouse – it’s a walk-in plastic one. This was before I got the plot but would still be fun for The Small One to have mini cucs (mind you, he’d get through a whole one if you gave him a chance!)

All the DT Brown seeds and some others were bought when I had my last allotment plot! So glad I kept them, just hope they come to something now!

There’s also various herb seeds, such as coriander, basil, oregano and lemon grass that I’ll keep back for now until I’ve done the flower, fruit & herb patch.

Oh, here’s my collection of flowers. I would LOVE to finally get these going!

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Cottage garden mix, Sunflowers, Delphinium, Geum, Aquilegia, Aster, Cornflower, Hollyhock and Lupin. I’ve never really grown flowers so I’m looking forward to a splash of colour!

Wow, I am chatty today! You can tell it’s a rainy Sunday!

my bicycle

I have been getting my bike in some sort of working order.
It was my sister’s bike, which was sort of given to me and I never gave it back. (~sorry little sister!~)
I peeled all the stickers and logos off yesterday – my fingernails are in pain now! And I put a basket on the front with a bit of help from JJ. The basket is from our old veg rack and the frame it’s sitting on is part of The Small One’s old Wee Ride child bike seat. All it needs now is a respray, a new seat or cover and new handle-bars.
There’s a really nice cycle track behind our town. I can get on it in about five minutes from home and one of the various paths that veer off in many directions comes out right by the allotments! There are a few big hills at the start and end of course, these are the Welsh valleys! But inbetween it’s mostly flat. I’m really looking forward to seeing how long it will take me to ride there. Walking by myself is roughly 20 minutes but that’s going the town route. Walking with The Small One takes at least half hour! I’ll only be able to ride over when JJ is home to stay with The Small One, at least I’ll be saving diesel by not taking the van and getting some exercise too 🙂

I wanted to take it out today but it’s non-stop downpours so I’ll have to make do with an indoor photo…

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It’s not a posh Pashley but it will do for getting back and forth the allotment!

Well I did it…

I have taken on the lower plot!

Turns out the upper and lower plots used to be one whole plot so I’ve brought them back together ^_^

I have pretty much planned what I’m going to do with it all, really looking forward to putting it in to action!
The Small One & I had a good couple of hours there today. Digging was done, weed removing, more measuring with a hand from my helper and lots of visualising.

It’s started to rain now, and apparently is set to continue until next week. I’m really disappointed as I was looking forward to spending more time down there, also, the rain is just what the weeds want! AND! I’ve nearly dug enough to get my potatoes in. That shall have to wait until the rain stops. At least it is warmer now. I’ll put another photo on now, it’s pretty much the same as before but with the added knowledge that the lower plot is mine!

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You can just about make out the recycling tub I’m using to chuck the weeds in right at the top. That’s where my plot ends. Of course, to the left at the top is my mum’s patch, but the rest is all mine! See the wooden frame just at the bottom left? That’s a base to put a shed on. I had a shed on my old plot which we brought back and housed the hens in for a while. At the moment it’s being used to wall up our carport where we’ve put the hens’ coop, so they have a nice dry area when it’s raining. I don’t know whether I’ll be taking my old shed back down. It will cause quite a bit of havoc and the hens won’t have a shelter. The other options are 1, buy a new shed. Which is impossible due to tight budgets, or 2, buy fence panels. That’s a cheaper option but still out of my meagre budget… If I could get a shed for free then that would be fantastic but also near impossible!

Still. I have plenty to do and plenty more planned! I haven’t got my leeks sowed yet. Still looking for the right seed tray. The litter tray (clean) I wanted to use is a bit too big really. I’ll keep looking. I have sowed some Leo’s Dried Peas for pea sprout cuttings. I did this a couple of years ago, a really tasty addition to a salad!

Photos from the plot

I’ve been down to my little patch two days in a row!

Yesterday all I had a chance to do was measure up. I spent more time chatting with Mr. R and checking out JJ’s uncle’s chickens (he also has a (HUGE) plot on the allotments) than I spent on 28b! But it’s ok, there’s plenty of time!

Today I did some more measuring and placing string to divide the plot and to section off where my centre path is going.

I also dug a tiny patch to remove couch grass, bramble and bindweed roots. Oh yes, I have plenty of couch grass, bramble and bindweed! You can’t really see much of it on the surface as they ‘cleared’ it before I took it on. It’s going to take a lot of work but I’ll get there.

Here are the photos…

IMG_0174 This pic is pretty self-explanatory! I don’t know how much space my mum wants yet, or what she plans to do with it so I’m leaving it until she’s able to come up and decide.
I’ve got patio slabs from the garden to take down to the plot and use on my centre path. Lots of digging to do before that can happen though!

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Those two blue barrels were here before I got the plot. There’s also two wheelie bins that I need to bring up. Need plenty of containers to catch rain water!

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That’s the tiny patch I dug up today. See. Tiny! Realised as I was pulling up loads of roots that I need to take a bag down to stick them in.

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And here’s the view from the access lane. JJ asked why I don’t take on the plot just below as well, sorely tempted…. I really, really am….

Off plot today I bought some seed potatoes and red onion sets from poundland! Oh, and some gardening gloves, that I forgot to take with me!
At home I started some sowing! In paper pots I sowed – purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cabbage, dwarf french beans & courgette. Tomorrow after I’ve done a different type of sewing I plan on getting some leeks on the go!

It’s all starting to come together!