Thursday, 1 March 2012

Diary of a Bad Allotment (Week 3)

Today is the first of March , and Spring is finally upon us , so a perfect day to spend on the plot . I am still doing the mundane stuff such as repairs to the shed and general tidying , as well as the relentless task of getting rid of weeds . I kept my wormery inside my shed over the winter , but when I went to move it back outside today , I noticed that the bottom tray has been cracked . Yet another repair for me to do , but at least the worms are thriving , and have produced loads of vermicompost for me.

In the recent storms , the guttering around the shed for my water butt came down (along with my full water butt mysteriously vanishing) , so I decided to use some of it to create a herb garden . I took a length (app. 6ft.) and fitted it to my fence , then filled it with compost . Later on this month I'll sow some herb seed and hopefully it will look good and smell nice soon.

I bought a garlic bulb ( Solent Wight) , and planted a few rows next to my onions . My garlic was really good last year , so here's hoping for another good crop.

I cleared the weeds out of my strawberry patch and was pleasantly surprised to discover several young strawberry plants , but still I planted a new strawberry crown alongside them.

My plot is beginning to look semi-respectable , and I'm quite happy with it now . I just hope it stays that way and my crops thrive . As I was turning the soil this year , it was a pleasure to work as it was so soft and the weeds seemed to come out woithout too much difficulty.

I'll be back next week , but in the meantime - happy gardening.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Diary of a bad allotment (Week 2)

It was a pretty depressing visit to theplot this week . All of last week's hard work has been undone . The early potatoes I've planted have been uprooted by something (although there are still about 5 in the ground I reckon) . And my beans have been targetted by slugs .

The lesson I've learnt this week is if you don't cover it you don't get it . I had toyed with the idea of laying fleece , but thought I'd do it next week as the winds are still quite strong , and knowing my luck , the fleece would blow away . So I'll be laying fleece soon , and I've just bought organic slug bait to control that problem .

This week's main job was an attempt at repositioning and straightening the shed , which had been blown over in the recent gales . Done a pretty good job at it too .Inside it I have positioned some large stones at the corner which will hopefully act as a counterweight next time .

There was not too much that I could sow this week , but I planted some nasturtiums alongside the remainder of my broad beans , as apparently they act as a natural pest control for beans . Nasturtiums are edible too , so hopefully they will add colour to some salads this year . Also I sowed a row of parsnips (Student ) and two rows of cauliflower (Alpha T Jubro).

At home I am making the best use of my windowsill and propagators and have sown some seed that will eventually go on the plot . I am trying aubergines (Black Beauty) this year , and I've also made early indoor sowings of cucumber (Marketmore 76) and leek (Levis) . This year I amgoing to find room for a pumpkin patch , and my dream goal this year is to grow a giant pumpkin , so I 've started off some Atlantic Giant . Also , I am going to use some old guttering to make a raised herb garden , so I've sown some basil and parsley to begin with.

I have an old shower door that I've been trying to find a use for , so sometime soon I'll be taking the hinges off and constructing cold frames with it .

I have a wormery on the go . I got it last June and the worms are thriving , but they're inn the shed still , but hopefully they'll be back outside in the next few weeks.

Til next time


Friday, 17 February 2012

Plot 151 - Diary of a Bad Allotment (Week 1)

I took on my plot last year with the intention of keeping our family in fruit and veg and being as self-sufficient as possible , but last years' resuts were somewhat disappointing . We got plenty of salad leaves and a fair few potatoes , but not much else . But I refuse to be disheartened and that dream of self-sufficiency will soon be realised , or at leat I hope it will . I have learnt a lot from my mistakes last year and hope to use that experience to build a solid foundation on which I can improve my plot , and share my experiences and advice with other allotment keepers. More than anything else , however , I want a fully organic plot .

This week was the first time I had been on the allotment site since Christmas , and I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the plot . The soil was nice and soft , and although there are quite a few weeds , there are not so many that the thought of endless hoeing seems disparaging . My main concern about the plot is that my shed has become somewhat weather damaged due to the recent gale force winds . Over the next week or so , we will get the shed rebalanced , and hopefully improve its foundation .

Anita set about laying paths using bark , and defining boundaries on the allotment by using stones to create sqaure and rectangular borders to mark my growing beds .

Not much remains from last year , although I planted some Senshu onions in October , and they are doing quite nicely now , and there are still a couple of strawberry plants in the ground as well as a blueberry bush.

There is not too much to plant at this time , but I have made an early start and planted some Vales Emerald early potatoes . Next I put in some broad beans (Aguadulce) and two rows of carrots (Early Nantes 5) . The last things I put in the ground were two rhubarb crowns .

At home I have started some plants in containers on my window sill - tomato , pepper and parsley . They will be planted on the plot as soon as conditions allow .

I'll be back again on Thursday , and give another update , but feel free to add comments and advice.