Friday, 31 May 2013

Summer is on its way

Just a little bit of garden loveliness - the scent of the lilac and honeysuckle has been filling my kitchen all this week.

I love these both these flowers and just wish the flowering period was not so short lived.

Still with both now in bloom it must mean that summer is on its way .....

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The job I have been avoiding

Finally last weekend I got round to tackling the greenhouse at home.  It didn't get used at all last year (apart from a dumping ground) and was in a terrible state.  This before picture doesn't actually do it justice on just how bad it was!

So slowly we emptied it and found various bits that I didn't know I had (plus some very dead Autumn sown seedlings from 2011).  A good scrub down with Jeyes fluid all over to rid the slime, plus hundred of spiders later we turn it into this.

I seemed to have never thrown a plant pot away and so I was rationed to only keeping a small selection.  Just need to get planting and seed sowing now and put the clean space to good use.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Finally after months of trying to get a Freecycle shed we resorted to buying one new.  Not the most robust or the prettiest of sheds.  But it will do the job of holding all the tools, provide shelter from the rain and sun and we can get two chairs in there.

And most importantly I get my car free of all the junk that has been going backwards and forwards each weekend.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Anticipation ...

A quick visit and a hoe between the rows ..... its growing!!!  The onions seem to have shot up.

Now just waiting patiently for the shed to arrive.  The council have written with approval so its even legitimate (unlike many of the other structures on the plot!)  I gave up waiting for one to come up on Freecycle and bought a new one.  Didn't really want to spend all that money but the back of my car was just constantly full of gardening tools and every time I needed to carry passengers I had to upload it all back into the house.  

So shed arrives Wednesday and we have arranged for delivery to Cowslip so won't have to carry it too far.  

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Bath and other bits

Another couple of weekends effort and more progress made.  So thrilled with the way the bottom end of the plot is taking shape.

We have dug another two beds ready for planting.  

The weed control fabric is well weighted down and seems to be doing the job of stopping the couch grass rampaging through the plot like it did last year.

And more excitedly more bits planted:

Plus the bath is firmly installed for the blueberries.  When the bath turned up at the plot it did cause a bit of stir.  Think everyone thought I was going to plumb it in!  However now filled with ericaceous compost and three blueberries planted. Lets see if it works to give them the right conditions.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Signs of life

27th April 2013

So exciting!!!!!! First signs of life from the raspberry canes.  They survived the heeling in during the really cold spell in March :-)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

First Plantings

Finally on 20th April I started planting:

Plus 5 x Tadmoor and 4 x Tulameen

And after all that a well earned coffee break!

Major leaps forward

Rasperries and fruit bushes have arrived and are heeled in on my little veg patch at the bottom of the garden.  Just hoping they survive.

The potatoes are happily sprouting but all the advice says not be plant yet as still too cold.

Now the pressure is on to get the plot ready for planting.  The hunt for a manure supply is on ... the amount I need means that a free (or much cheaper supply than the garden centre is needed).

After exhausting a list of contacts I finally resort to buying a tonne from Mr Muck - delivered in bags to to the house.

At the same time husband is banished to the plot from the office.  He is in the process of a big project and his nervous energy is being directed into pen clicking and pacing around.  He drags in some friends and they construct the support for the raspberries.  This is something that is not going anywhere soon!

Compost bins are made from pallets and I get (as requested) a leaf mould bin for all the leaves that I can collect.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


By now a bit more progress is made and I have inspired the family to get involved.

We invest in some weed control fabric and get the rest of the plot covered.  Weighing down with any rubbish we can find around the plot.

The very back of the plot against the hedge is finally completely cleared of all rubbish and the soil levelled to take the compost bins.

The youngest daughter is convinced to help (hates soil) so bribed with money for a school trip and we complete another full row.

Finally I commit to buying plants - so potatoes are chitting in the shed, onions and shallots are bought and raspberries, strawberries, currant and gooseberry bushes ordered online.
There is no going back now!!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Mud .....

The following Sunday inspired by the progress of the following weekend, I return to complete the rest of the row.  It is cold and wet and I am the sole person at the allotments.

I start digging, by now the soil is even wetter and it is effectively just mud.  Big clods are sticking to the fork and it is very heavy to lift.  Mindful of my back, I resort to digging with a hand trowel and working on my hands and knees.  Progress is much, much slower.

After a few hours I am frozen and have only completed a third of what I did the previous week.  I give up and return home with very muddy boots!


Why oh why do mail order plants arrive on the most inappropriate day possible????

Panic to rush home and get these raspberries heeled in at home before it got dark.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

2013 - a new beginning

A new year, a new beginning.  I gave myself a deadline of end of March to get something planted or give up the plot.

So in early one March I made a decision to get started.  I committed myself on the Saturday afternoon and bought 6 bags of manure (knew I needed much much more).  With a car full of manure there was now only one option - go and dig it in!!

On the Sunday I left the family to their own devices, made a flask of coffee and loaded my tools into the car.

And I started to dig .... not looking at how much there was to do but rather how much I had done.  Clearing the couch as I went.  The soil was heavy clay, so progress was slow but I kept at it.

At some point the family visited with lunch to keep me going and so I kept digging.  Getting the bags of manure from the car on a sack barrow and pulling along the path.

After six hours I had turned this (or a patch that looked like this - I forgot to take the before photo!):

Into this:

We have started ......

Friday, 10 May 2013

2012 - the year the rain came

We got the plot under control in the Autumn of 2011.  I boldly sowed some green manure after watching GW and then left the plot.

Come March 2012 it looked like this:

We started digging in the green manure and removing the couch grass.  The green manure had made a fairly good job of suppressing the weeds.

The weather was glorious that March - hot and sunny - so grand plans were made for the plot.
Slabs and a shed were obtained via Freecycle and stored at my parents ready for installation.  Pallets were donated from a local business for the compost bins.

Then the rain came ..... and it rained and rained and rained.  Work got ever busier and I seemed to working 7 days a week.  And still it rained.  Any free time I had I wanted to sleep not go and get wet and soggy.

On the weekend of the Jubilee we managed to get all the slabs, shed and pallets to the plot to start work the following weekend.  But that never happened.

The next time I went back it had all been taken and the weeds were waist high.  I was ready to admit defeat.   To add insult to injury the council threatened to kick me off for non-cultivation.

In September, work seemed to ease so we went down and it was strimmed and rotovated again.
We cleared the patch of brambles and got to work on the stumps of trees.  The council had cleaned up the hedge border which made life much easier (and this part of the plot useable as no more overhanging branches).

I had all good intentions of covering the ground at this point but it just never seemed to happen.

So that was it for 2012 - nothing grown just another plot left to its own devices.