Thursday, 23 April 2009

ooooooooooo its so exciting

my freshly sown seeds have started to germinate !! I love this time of year, its so exciting going to the lottie to see what else has arrived.

yin yang:


Squash (I think LOL .. gone an done my usual fabulous labelling job !!):

Borlotti Beans



French Marigolds:

Greenhouse Strawberry:

Brambly Apple ... mmmmm, blackberry & apple crumble !!! slurp:

The beetroot bed and Jenny's peas:
Beetroot & pea bed

The red cabbage & kohl rabi bed ... with pigeon protection !

The salad bed - the Rocket that I sowed at the weekend (wasn't it only Sunday) has already arrived :)

Nick has given me some spare herbs that have self seeded on his plot:

Lemon Balm:

his mum's fabulous non-flowering purple sage ... ie everlasting !!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Finally ... Day 10 !

Well today was the last day of my holiday and its been a scorcher all day.

Nick was back from his hols, so we've actually spent most of the day chatting over the hedge and wandering around each others plots admiring all of our hard work and weeds ! He was very impressed with my newly repaired greenhouse and has decided that he is going to do the same with some spare perspex that he has sitting around.

In between chatting, I've managed to sow some salad leaves, spinach, rocket and some butternut squash. Nick has given me some tomatoes and I planted the Alicante, Ox Heart & Marmande into the greenhouse borders today. There are also 4 Yellow Pefection which need to grow a little bit more before being planted - and I don't have any space yet, 'cos my seeds are all germinating in the the greenhouse.

I tidied up the herb path and planted up the green sage, purple sage and rosemary plants. The Bay tree, which has been looking a little sad of late, has been repotted and so has the Fatsia Japonica - which is definitely looking rather worse for wear ... mainly due to operator error (I forgot to take it inside over winter). Both have had a seaweed feed, so hopefully they'll perk up shortly.

The crab apple tree's blossom has started to open - I hope we don't have any late frosts or terrible winds - I'm really looking forward to crab apple jelly this summer :

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Day 9

I popped in to see Jenny this morning and found her on her hands and knees starting to plant hundreds of peas. I'm always intrigued by what other people plant. Feeling inspired by her success of sowing them into trays, in the greenhouse, I've also popped my last packet of Kelvedon Wonder into trays. Hopefully they will be safe from the meeces.

I didn't do much today, a bit of pottering, digging and watering. The broccoli is the first of my recently sown seeds to germinate, no sign of anything else appearing yet. I've finally managed to plant my King Edwards - I've put them into the old Jerusalem Artichoke bed.

Jenny arrived with some spare peas which were welcomed with open arms - they are now snugly tucked up next to the beetroot. I've netted them and also the red cabbages to keep away the pesky pigeons .. Ken made me laugh when he told me that he intends to sow / plant out his stuff 2 weeks after I've planted mine, so that the pigeons dine out on my plot and leave his alone ... ha ha .. hmm, actually, doesn't sound like a bad plan

... I called in to see Jenny on my way home to find she had just finished planting her fabulous peas! She has hundreds :) I think she will be aching tomorrow.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Day 6, Day 7 and Day 8 !!

Well Day 6 & 7 were a bit cold and horrid, so not much action at the lottie. Feeling tired and not needing much of an excuse to do absolutely nothing I went shopping instead ... and nearly bought myself a greenhouse. This is the beauty I've been eyeing up ... I'm sorely tempted to replace the potting shed with it - but the solid concrete base that is currently in place is making me think twice.

Day 8 started very unpromisingly, with drizzle and grey skies. The BBC weather, rather optimistically in my opinion, stated that at 1pm today the sun would break forth from the clouds and shine down on Sheffield. Somewhat skeptically, a couple of cups of tea and a couple of brownies later I decided to shift my ass off the sofa and have a wander up to the lottie. Sure enough at 1pm the sun did indeed appear over Sheffield ... I'm still not over the shock !

I finally managed to find some cabbage collars - they have proved to be very elusive items ... or maybe I just don't shop in the right places. My red cabbages are now snugly fitted with collars ... well the bits of the plants that the bloody pigeons have left behind. Hmm, may need to net the dratted things.


I'm pleased to report that my onions are starting to show and they look very healthy so far.


Even my red ones are poking their way through the soil - maybe my new planting technique is paying off.

red onion


With the sun shining, I decided to sow some more seeds. I've filled the remaining space in Bed 1 with Chantenay & Nantes 2 Carrots. I've also sown some Yellowstone & Early Nantes into a square pot to see how they do - although just after I'd sown them, I read that they don't like being planted in compost ... hmm, guess we'll soon find out.


I was surprised to find that I've managed to accumulate 7 packets of beetroot ! I've sown 6 - I've got an Italian one, Globe, Boltardy and Detroit.


The Jerusalem Artichokes have started to grow again and I haven't managed to harvest them yet - so I finally got around to digging them up. I've moved them to the opposite side of the plot, they are now at the end of bed 3.


Here is my rhubarb, its not growing particularly fast, but is looking nice and healthy:


The tadpoles are growing really quickly, they are now swimming all over the pond - I wish I'd taken some of the weed out over winter, the pond is looking a little choked by it:



The King Cup is in full bloom, it looks absolutely stunning:


I think this pretty little thing is Coltsfoot - its growing in the wild flower garden, but will soon be consumed by the Ox Eye Daisies - I'm in half a mind as to whether to pull up the daisies - they do look so beautiful when they are in bloom, but they engulf everything once they get going.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Day 5 ...

err, have worn myself out, so had a day off today - what delights have I done instead ? a day out somewhere nice, eating icecreams on a river bank, a days pampering having my nails manicured, a day spent relaxing with lots of Michelle time ... err, no .. I've been cleaning and washing all day !!! I'm off to the lottie tomorrow for a rest.

According to the weather forecast it should have rained today (is the BBC weather ever right?) but at least the weather man on the news last night stated that we will not have any frost this week. Hang on, didn't Michael Fish once say ...

I've been catching up on lots of blogs today and an idea for growing carrots in old compost bags caught my eye. The bags will be moveable and should be easy to protect from carrot fly. Its helped me to decide to empty the carrot bath, which has been a dismal failure to date. Hmm, what to do with the bath once its empty ..

Something is nibbling me ! I have my suspicious eyes on the kitties and suspect that they'll be enjoying a bath of their own very soon before being defleaed once again :) Yesterday, the naughty kitten, Loki (who is very much a grown cat now) escaped and was missing for over half an hour ... after a frantic search, he was found cowering in one of the genels (or alleyways for those less northern) from the noise of the constantly circling helicopter and roar of the crowd from the Sheffield United ground. He is currently snoozing on the sofa, looking very sweet :)


Monday, 13 April 2009

Starting to flag ! Day 4

I've had a very quiet day at the lottie today. I finally got around to sowing my seeds. So far I've sown:

10 x Avalon Squash
6 x Winter Festival Squash
6 x Sunshine Squash
6 x Jack Be Little pumpkins
6 x Courgettes Nano Verde Di Milano (long)
6 x Courgettes Tondo Di Toscana (round)
5 x Costoloro Genovese Tomato
5 x Roma Tomato
5 x Sweet Olive Tomato
5 x Canteloupe Melon
5 x Sweetheart Melon
5 x Temptation Melon
5 x Gypsy Pepper
5 x Worldbeater Pepper
5 x Big Banana Pepper
18 x Blauhilde Climbing Beans
20 x Blue Lake Climbing Beans
20 x Borlotto Lingua d Fuoco (firetongue)
20 x Bush Bean Impero Bianco (Canellino Beans)
8 x Phaseolus Vulgaris 'Yin Yang' Beans
38 x Swift Sweetcorn
Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli
4 x Crystal Lemon Cucumbers


I hope the bloody mice don't have a midnight raid. I have no idea where all these wonderful things are going to go once they start growing - I only have 5 spare beds left, still I'll worry about that later - it usually works out. I still need to direct sow my carrots, beetroot, salad crops, herbs and some more peas.

I've planted out the broad beans, some of them were still germinating, but I needed the space in the greenhouse LOL, so they are fending for themselves.


I also decided to plant out my red cabbage and some of the kohl rabi today - they have gone into bed 1, which I gave a quick dig over first. I need to get or make some cabbage collars - wonder if I'll need some for the cauliflowers too ? Can't wait for my first cauliflower biryani :-p


Last night's bonfire was still crackling gently when I arrived and finally, after a couple of hours, I couldn't resist and fed it some twigs, they promptly burst into flame ... it was still gently burning when I left.

fire ashes

I made the tiniest start on the jungle, but whether my energy is ebbing or whether it was the thought of all that digging, I decided I'd had enough, and headed for home. The big lushious green patch to the left of the bed is my original weed heap ... sigh


I hope I've not been seduced too soon - I shall be keeping a close eye on weather forecast for the slightest hint of frost !

Sunday, 12 April 2009

That was Day 3 ...

So far, so good, no sunshine today, but no rain either.

Said friend turned up as promised with trailor :) so we filled it with lots of lottie crap and took it all to the tip. The lottie looks much tidier now - its surprising how much crap you acquire that you think might be useful some day, but actually turns out to be just crap after all !

There is a reason that I always wear long trousers, boots and gloves when I'm at the lottie - look at the state of my friend after yesterday's run in with rampant brambles ... ouch. Completely bonkers, I'd never dream of wearing shorts or sandals at the lottie LOL.

2009-04-12  Allotment   022

The revamped strawberry bed is finally finished and looking pretty good. All I need to do now is decide what to do with the half wheelbarrow of spare plants that was left over ... I know they look crammed in, but I've added 50l of manure to each collar to keep them happy. I'll give them a seaweed feed tomorrow to perk them up a bit.

2009-04-12  Allotment   002

The pond is getting lots of visitors:

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2009-04-12  Frogs  005

The potting shed has finally been demolished. Apparently it was very easy - too easy - to take apart.

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There wasn't much worth saving:

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One of the walls has been used as a temporary barrier between me and the unworked plot next door. Its not terribly strong, but hopefully it will be enough of an obstacle to deter any unwanted visitors. It looks so different without the potting shed. Need to get one with my plans for replacing it.

2009-04-12  Allotment  120

OH turned up part way through the demolition, as we'd set the fire going. The boys then ran aroud the lottie looking for anything and everything they could burn- including Ken's hedge trimmings (boy is he going to be surprised when he turns up tomorrow). As the sun began to set, we sat for a while eating Domino's Pizza & drinking cider until it got dark.

As we were packing up to go, we were stopped by the police who were patrolling the lottie ! I was amazed to see them, apparently they patrol quite regularly after dark. They were a little suprised to see us too I think.

2009-04-12  Allotment   054

A nice ending to a great day ... bring on day 4 :)

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Day 2 ...

Well it wasn't so much of a sunny start today, but at least the rain held off all day.

The day started with hunt the manure around the garden centre (oh shush Rob, I can hear you tutting). The staff were clueless and as I about-turned to strop off to another shop I literally walked right past it ... nestled next to the play bark.

It took me ages to prepare the strawberry bed - in fact its taken all afternoon. I've thoroughly dug over the bed to get rid of the bindweed and couch grass. Although the stawberries were great last year, the bed didn't really work very well, so I've decided to make a couple of raised beds with my pallet collars. They have been filled with manure and compost and look quite good. I've put a path inbetween them so it should be easier to harvest the fruit. Hopefully it will be easier to manage the plants too.

One of my dancing friends turned up mid-afternoon, armed with tools and gloves ! He has fixed my glass greenhouse and it is now glazed again - we didn't have enough glass, so he has cut down some sheets of perspex - it looks brilliant. He has done loads of tidying and moving for me and I'm assured he'll be back tomorrow to help dismantle the potting shed :)

Here is my list of jobs to do for the rest of the week:

- Dig over glass greenhouse borders & manure
- Sow all seeds
- Transplant the self seeded phacelia to somewhere
- Make a path to the pond
- Plant my King Edwards
- Dig over bed 1 & 2
- Dig over the beds in front of the potting shed
- Dig up the Jerusalem Artichokes
- Sieve the compost heap
- Plant up the last raspberry canes
- Dig over the jungle

Apparently when the lotties were broken into recently some of Rocco's chickens were taken and the rest of them were left to the foxes. It seems its the second time its happened since he took over his lottie, so he is not going to get any more. He has put his name onto the waiting list for the empty allotment next to him ... apparently he is 160th on the list, even though its not been worked for 4 years. How ridiculous is that.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Did someone say it was Easter ?

Well true to form, it's Good Friday, so it has poured down most of the day. Was I deterred ... err, well yes, a little in truth. But off to the lottie I went, armed with compost and a list of jobs to be done.

Its hard to get much done inbetween showers, so I've been mostly pottering about today, but I have made a start on both the compost heap and the strawberry bed.

I really should turn the compost heap more regularly, but there always seems to be something more urgent to do. Anyway, today was finally its turn ... the grass clippings that I pursuaded a friend to bring for me have made it smell really sweet, like hay. The same friend has borrowed my 'compost' book - he is avidly reading it and seems very excited by it ... apparently it is now essential bedtime reading :)

I really do know better when it comes to adding stuff to the compost heap, but whether its laziness or just a lack of time I'm not sure, but I've ended up having to take time out today to chop up the larger items, like last years sweetcorn !! I know, I know ... but I have a full time job too ya know.


I've reached the bottom of the heap and have started the laborious job of sieving it. Nick keeps trying to encourage me to use it direct on my beds to improve the soil and as I've bought tonnes of compost for this seasons seeds, I may well follow his advice.

I've bought 250l of compost (just cheap B&Q stuff I'm afraid) to bulk out the strawberry bed. I nearly broke my back getting the darn stuff into the lottie. About 80% of the strawberry plants are now heaped in the wheelbarrow. The bed is going to require a really thorough digging over as it has been infiltrated by flippin bindweed ... grrrr. Job number one tomorrow is to get some manure on my way to the lottie tomorrow.

Of course some things I excel at growing - they don't need any manure, any sort of care, pruning or rotation ... hmm, now where was that number for F&M, wonder if they still have organic dandelion leaf salad on the menu:


My Sweetpeas are about an inch tall now and so far have avoided slugs & snails.


Sadly the same can't be said for my newly sown peas ... on closer inspection today I can see that there are lots of little burrowings along the pea sticks ... looks like the darstedly meeces have been raiding the rows. I noticed that they've also had a go at the broadbeans in the greenhouse. I'll have to have a trip to Netto to see if they are doing their .19p seeds again this year to replace them. Grief, sometimes I wonder why I bother !

The King Cup will be in full bloom I think by the end of the week. Did I mention that I have tadpoles ? Not as many as last year, but still plenty of tiny chocolate brown specs wriggling around in the pond.

king cup

My Arron Pilots are just peeking above the soil:

Arron Pilots

This is my Thyme - I still need to plant up the herbs I bought from Humanby ... they are on the Easter list!


These fabulous, healthy looking green shoots are actually for my cats :) They will be purring with delight when I take them home.


The forget-me-nots are just starting to flower:


I'm finally starting to get to grips with my new camera ... well in my opinion anyway ... the rain always gives the most ordinary of items a magical shine: