Tuesday, 29 May 2007

It's time to face the final curtain

There was a momentus event at the lottie today ... finally, after 19 very long and very hard months of digging, I looked up from my weed sifting and realised that I'd reached the bottom of the plot !!! I thought it might kill me, but I'm still here, weary and war torn.

There was nobody around to celebrate with, so it was a very low key celebration - improved by the first strawberry of the season ... a little small, but a mouthful of sunshine nonetheless and more importantly, all mine.

Planted 20 sweet potato slips under black landscape material behind the greenhouse - had to move the tree first. (I'll probably find out I'm nurturing some fruitless, nutless, pointless monstrosity in a few years time - it's not flowered yet, so I can still only presume that it is an apple tree. I use the term nurturing loosely of course as this is actually the third time its been moved this year). It is so cold up at the lottie that I have covered the slips with fleece to give them a bit of extra warmth. Some of the newest slips may not survive - I've got another 6 in the potting shed just in case.

Next job was to plant the yin yang beans, but I've only got 15 canes, so will need yet another trip to B&Q (I should buy shares in B&Q and Wilkies). I'll plant a butternut through them and put another one alongside the sweet potatoes - thats 5 taken care of so far.

Now that the left side is completely dug, I realise that I should have room for almost everything now - I've still got courgettes, a pumpkin and a couple more squashes and some leeks to squeeze in. I do have half a bed further up the plot, just in front of the potting shed and the garlic and winter onions will be lifted soon, so may transplant some to those beds. I think the leeks will go in after the potatoes or perhaps the broadbeans. In fact at this rate I'll have spare beds ... wonder if Jenny still has those spare outdoor tomatoes ...

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

May Daze Photos

The melon bed and bean frame (potato beds behind)
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turks turban supports, in between peas (and a rather handsome black bucket). Cabbages behind under green net:
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the carrot jungle:
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Greenhouse testing out it's new base:
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Sunday, 20 May 2007

Don't faint ...

I almost couldn't believe my eyes - OH appeared at the lottie before midday and finished cementing the breeze blocks for the greenhouse base. With a bit of luck (and no wind) we might even be able to get it glazed next week ... am definitely off to Wilkies this week to invest in some more plastic boxes.

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Saturday, 19 May 2007

May Daze

Tonight I had my first lottie tea of the season - stir fried cabbage, broadbeans, peas (munched as mange tout) with last seasons garlic and onion. Yum, yum, yum.

May has brought with it the April weather that we've been waiting for - finally my waterbutts are full again and even the pond has filled up.

My melons are now planted outside in the new melon bed ... worrying about them already - will the slugs eat them, will it be too cold for them, will the wind finish them off, will the pigeons think I've put dessert out ... cor sometimes I have to really stop myself from taking the tent up there and camping out !

I've also set up my bean frame and planted out my Scarlet Emperor Beans - so no frost please Mr Weather man. Under the beans I've put one of my butternut squashes, hopefully it'll run in the right direction.

The peas looked to be suffering under the net cloche, so I've set them free. Fingers crossed that the pigeons don't look down as they fly over. In between the two rows of peas I've set up four x three cane wigwams for my turks turbans. I am so out of space - really need to reclaim some of the jungle. I've got around 12 squash (1 pumpkin), 20 leeks, 22 sweetpotatoes, 7 sweetcorn (who made by heading for the compost heap) and 20 yin yang dwarf beans still to find space for ... gulp.

Couldn't believe it when I looked at the tomatoes today - a couple of them are already in flower. Transferred two of them to final pots and potted on the rest into larger pots, along with the aubergines and peppers. Need to have a trip to Wilkies to get some more of their plastic tubs and sort out the rest. OH has promised to visit the lottie tomorrow to finish laying the breeze blocks for the base of the greenhouse (which has almost disappeared in the jungle).

Transferred the Crystal Lemon Cucumbers to their final ring culture pots in the brick greenhouse.

The pots I sowed with purple basil, green basil, lemon coriander, mint and lettuce now all have seedlings appearing - the purple basil is gorgeous, the colour is really intense.

There are lots of strawberries forming, but I don't think I'll have enough for the jam that OH keeps talking about dreamily ...

My carrots look as if they are trying to start a jungle of their own - if the greenery is anything to go by I'm going to have a fantastic crop. Pulled one out (to check progress you understand) and it was a delicious lilac colour (must be one of the dragons). OH looked horrified when I wiped the dirt off it and started to eat it (he thought I should have replanted it)

First earlies have started to flower (Rocket) so I think in a couple of weeks we'll be having new potatoes with butter (and hopefully mint).

The foxgloves at the end of the bean bed are just beginning to colour up - one pink and one yellow / cream one.

I'll have to resow my beetroot and parsnip - only have around 10 seedlings of both from a full bed - I think its just been too dry for them.

I've finally advertised my spare plants (peppers, aubergines, squashs & pumpkins, beans, cucumbers) on freecycle as I just can't bring myself to put them on the compost heap and hopefully they'll be going to a new home tomorrow (responses in double figures and yet I've not been able to give them away).

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Well it survived ...

here are the Yin Yang beans as promised - they are so gorgeous that I almost didn't want to plant them:

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OH remembered to go to the lottie and water the potting shed plants (phew) and took some more photos - the growth in one week is astounding. Intend to plant out the squashes and pumpkins this weekend. Courgettes may well be following them. Need to get the tomatoes into their final pots ASAP, but unfortunately the greenhouse is nowhere near ready - doesn't look like I'll be able to use it this season.

Sweet potato
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Jerusalem Artichoke (please grow V-E-R-Y slowly until the peas are finished): 2007-05-05  [Meiche] Allotment S70  020 copy

Pepper - Tasty Grill Red. My peppers are very slow away this year, have also got Gypsy, Tasty Grill Yellow, Big Banana & Redskin.
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Here are my Rocket one week ago:
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and yesterday:
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Peas in flower: 2007-05-05  [Meiche] Allotment S70  022 copy

Garlic has gone really rusty, must be the wet weather we had at the end of last year - it's been like the Sahara up there recently: 2007-05-05  [Meiche] Allotment S70  025 copy

Here is my Blueberry bush - Sunshine. Seems very happy since it's been repotted.
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The flowers are so delicate - might need to think about netting though to protect from the birds:
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Ken's gooseberry bush which grows on our border - neither he nor I like them. The bush is bursting with fruit:
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We'll be eating our first beans at the weekend ... yum ! Will definitely plant them in November again - the ones that have survived the mouse look great:
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Tomatoes, squashs and pumkins are desperate to be planted out / put into final pots:
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Unfortunately the bluebell keeps having an accident, once its finished flowering I'm going to move it to a safer place:
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My foxgloves look like they are going to be as spectacular as last years:
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Thursday, 10 May 2007

Oooooo ... it's actually a damselfly nymph, not a lavae. Turns out the 3 feathered tail thingy is actually its gills. See, allotments are very educational.

Pretty certain I've got dragonfly nymphs too - and the good news is that they like to eat boatmen !!!! Thank goodness I don't need to rely on the dippy tadpoles.

OH put some rocks into the pond last week to help anything that falls into the pond get out. I popped up last night to water the plants in the potting shed and disturbed the local sparrow population, who were queing up around the pond, waiting for their turn to have a bath on the rock. It was so funny - wish I'd had the camera.

Got a water lily from Morrisons (complete with basket, fertilizer and stones for £3.50) and put it into the pond (thought the taddies had eaten the other one, but it was alive after all). They go bananas when anything new is added to the pond and were soon swimming excitedly around it. Unfortunately they were last seen having a nibble - wonder how long it'll last.

OH is in charge of watering this w/e ... hope he remembers. Maybe my beans will have appeared by next week - planted some Scarlet Emperor and some Yin Yang (black and white kidney beans) - they look amazing, will post picture.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Pond Life

Spent a very enjoyable afternoon gazing into the pond - I did do a tiny bit of work , but the ground is so dry and hard that it didn't take long to give in to temptation

Saw our first damsel fly visitors today - 3 red ones in total:

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Think this may be one of their lavae - we seem to have several at different stages of development. Sometimes the bigger ones 'tails' seem to glimmer red in the sunlight.

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There are now 4 frogs living in the pond, three are very small and one is absolutely tiny. OH has been very envious of the leg stroking incident and was nearly beside himself when he was able to stroke the braver of the frogs on its head.

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They seem to be getting used to us - we were able to lift one of them out of the water for a picture.

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Spotted this little fella swimming around just as we were leaving. He is tiny and extremely cute. In the pictures he looks a similar size due to cropping, but you'll notice he's the length of a fingernail, whereas the others are at least half a finger.

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The tadpoles haven't changed much at all

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here's one of the skaters during a more mellow moment

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Getting lots of thirsty bees and wasps visiting the pond for a drink. Had to rescue one of the bees which was too heavy for the bit of duckweed it tried to land on and ended up sinking

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