Plot 36


The End
November 17, 2013, 9:28 pm
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We’ve cleared out the shed, uprooted the fruitcage and harvested some bay leaves. I’m nostalgic for the times when I could get out to the allotment and battle nettles. Sadly I haven’t done that for months. As allotment plots are rare I’ve given this one up.

I’ve learned so much about growing but also about patience. You have to take this one step at a time. There are no shortcuts. The effort you put in is rewarded in what you get back which is a combination of great tasting fruit and veg but also a sense of satisfaction of a job well done.

I hope it’s not long before I can have another go at gardening but in the short term I’ll be adventuring on the high seas.

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Weed suppressant
March 3, 2013, 10:44 pm
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Today we rolled out the black carpet. Learning a lesson from laster year we decide to cover the areas of the plot that we don’t intend to use. The woven nylon means water gets light stays out. This should suppress the weed action and mean that we’re not constantly fighting nature.

Helping with the war on weeds we’ve resorted to chemicals. We have two different glycophosphate products – roll on and spray weed killer. The ‘benefit’ of glycophosphates is that they go to the roots via the leaves of the weed and aren’t supposed to affect the soil around it. Wikipedia isn’t clear on the life of the weedkiller – it could be 3 days or over 2 years… I’m inclined only to use the chemicals on the persistent weeds such as the blackberry, bindweed and nettles; provided they aren’t close to the fruit and veggies.

We were about to leave when our neighbours came armed with saws and asked whether we’d be happy to cut down an elder tree that borders both our plots. It’s attractive and seems to be holding up our shed but we weren’t going to argue. Down it came. The neighbours were kind enough to patch up our shed with an old kitchen door.

The finally weeding was the old school variety – down on hands and knees with a fork and I weeded around the tulips and the herbs.

In the herb bed we’ve replaced the feverfew which died last year with a second rosemary plant and one of the thyme plants with a new plant.

weed suppressant

weed suppressant

Tree surgery

Tree surgery

New Herbs

New Herbs



February 2013
February 17, 2013, 7:28 pm
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After a sporadic year of allotmenteering ¬†we’re back at the plot, renewed, refreshed and all of that. Last year’s weather was so rubbish that there didn’t seem to be much point to gardening and the only plants that thrived were the dandelions, nettles and brambles which are now overrunning and smothering everything else including the brave tulips and daffodils.

Towards the end of last year the council decided to trim the bordering Cyprus trees and their approach was to let the branches fall where they may. After a reccy a couple of weeks ago we decided to implement a two stage plan and stage 1 took place today.

Clearing up

We hired a strimmer and got through 7 blades hacking back the brambles and woodier bits of old weeds. Now that the weeds are at ground level the plan is to cover the areas we don’t want to use immediately to suppress re-growth and concentrate on gardening on a smaller plot initially. The other ambition for the year is to get rid of the bed system that I’d initially put in and move to a larger, free-form, gardening area. The aim is to establish a sort of peak and trough system to enable irrigation for more effective trapping of rain water and efficient summer watering. Apparently this plan requires more heavy machinery than HSS has in stock to flatten and level the plot so as to create the peak/trough system. I’m planning on a more artisanal trial and error approach using fork, spade and rake.

I rescued some bulbs from the weeds and strimmer attack and have replanted them in a cleared patch of ground. It was tough work, the soil is heavy and with the large amounts of rain waterlogged so about double the weight. I doubt you’re supposed to move bulbs at this time of year but thought to try it out and we’ll see next week whether we have happy bulbs or dead green/brown shoots.

It’s not quite back to scratch as the fruit patch is doing very nicely. The year off has meant that all the fruit is nicely established and I’m hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries.

Stage 2 starts next week…

Blackcurrent buds

Blackcurrent buds

Rhubarb 2013

Rhubarb 2013

Allotment before the strimmer attack

Before strimming

After strimming

After strimming



Weeding
May 13, 2012, 8:05 pm
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The punishment for an unkempt plot is weeding. I am being punished… After the recent “drought” I now have giant weed chard (weed because it’s cropping up in the flower bed) along with 5′ high nettles, bindweed and the revenge of the dandelions.

After two and half hours the interior of the fruit cage is entirely weed free along with half of the two flower beds which gives the iris and gladioli some space to grow.

The strawberry bed is flourishing and most plants now have a good set of flowers so we put the strawberry net on in case fruit start to form in the next two weeks.

The rhubarb, blackberries and raspberries are all doing well so there’ll be stewed rhubarb and ice-cream for pudding this evening; I’m not entirely sure what will precede it…

Dandelion root

Dandelion sprawl

Weedy allotment

5′ weeds



Back!!
April 15, 2012, 6:19 pm
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It’s been almost a year since the last blog update and it’s been almost a year since I’ve done any meaningful digging ahem gardening.

The plot was looking particularly shabby last Thursday and we were missing both our water butts along with their interconnecting hose and the stands. Everything else in the shed was still there so we couldn’t work out why the water butts had disappeared – particularly as both were full…

Aside from the missing water butts everything in the garden was looking lush with no sign yet of the impact of the drought. The first asparagus spears were out of the ground and the strawberries are flowering and the blackcurrant and raspberries flourishing with lots of new leaves. We cut back the autumn raspberry canes and weeded around the asparagus which was inundated with dandelions.

Today, Sunday, we went back for another round of gardening and it turns out our neighbour had moved our water butts out of sight to stop them being stolen. So the water butts are reinstated and the weeding resumed. I tidied up the herb beds and started to dig over the failed flower bed in order to turn it into the herb extension. The veg beds will be next but I think some will lie fallow this year as I haven’t chitted potatoes nor planted broad beans or any garlic. In the meantime the weeds in the beds are proving to be a haven for insects I saw bees, butterflies and ladybirds and it’s still only early April.



Deary me
July 11, 2011, 9:57 pm
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Three weeks away from the allotment and it’s turned into a jungle! The weeds have relished the lack of attention and the nettles win in the, who’s tallest competition.

Sadly the potatoes have not done so well this year. Just a couple of decent tubers from each plant. All very sad.

There is a little hope with the autumn raspberries which are just about to flower and the tomatoes are flowering and fruiting.



Catching up
June 20, 2011, 8:57 pm
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I’ve been negligent on the blog and the allotment. May and June have disappeared and I’ve only managed to visit the allotment about four times. The planting for this year is now so far behind that there will be a hungry gap of about 6 months as I’ve not managed to plant any brassicas or root vegetables.

The allotment has suffered, like every garden in the south east, from drought like conditions for about 2 months. This has been fine for the established plants such as the raspberries and strawberries but not fantastic for the annuals such as the peas and beans and potatoes.

Luckily the rain over the last two weeks has ensured that every plant is looking happy.

The strawberry season has already finished and we had a bumper crop of 9kg of strawberries that have now been turned into jam. The raspberries have ripened early so we’ve had, so far, about 1kg from the summer raspberries. The blackcurrant bush has finally produced blackcurrants but only a handful and the gooseberry plant blessed us with two sad little gooseberries.

I’ve planted sweetcorn, tomatoes, aubergines and chillipeppers. There’s probably still time to plan carrots, parsnips and beetroot so I’ll try to sow some seeds this weekend and, well, if they do anything then it will be a bonus.

pictures to follow.