Mowing the borders on a Friday night

Just as the sun was setting this evening I decided to make a quick trip to the allotment to cut the grass around the border of my plot.

The weather has been really hot and sunny all week but I’ve been busy at work so I’ve not been able to make any time. Despite the weather being hot and sunny it seems that the plants are not growing as much any more. Things are slowing down, so I expect the grass to be pretty much the same as it was last week.

Evening sunset over the village church

I was right. I quickly cut the borders with the lawnmower. I took that out of the shed and then put it back where I found it within about 10 minutes. Then I emptied the grass clippings onto the new compost heap and used my fork to turn it over.

It was nearly dark by that point, so I made a quick trip to the cucumber plant and pulled off six large cucumbers. They would go home with me.

The sun was gone by the time I closed the allotment gate and got back to the car. It was going dark quickly. I drove home in the dark. The evenings are drawing in very quickly now, we are mid-to-late September. Autumn is on its way.

Allotment Friday toad

Allotment visit Friday, the 11th of September 2020 between 5 and 6 o’clock in the evening.

After work this afternoon, I left the office travelled home put my gardening clothes on and headed off to the allotment for an hour or so. I’ve not been for at least two weeks, which means there could be some things to do … maybe … ?!

Apart from a little bit of weeding there really wasn’t much to do! Fantastic! Although the borders do need cutting again, there are a few weeds growing down the line of spuds that have now died back, and I had to tie up some of the tayberries because they were bolting across the allotment plot, but apart from that — very little.

Toady of the compost dump

One of my tasks was to dig a bit more out of the dumping ground next to the garden shed and move it onto the new compost heap I created a couple of weeks ago. As I was forking through I nearly skewered a toad! Luckily it was unharmed so I put him back where I found him.

Just after I had recovered from nearly puncturing a toad, Elvis surprised me as well. While I was weeding the main area over the plot I turned around to see Elvis sat right in the middle of my allotment waiting for me to notice her and give us some treats. Sorry Elvis! I didn’t bring anything again.

Some crumble tonight

At the end, after I had done all of my tasks: pickings free cucumbers, weeding and sorting out the new compost heap, I decided it would be a good idea to pick some of the apples which looked like they were about to fall off all of the apple trees around the allotment. I collected enough for apple crumble and then I picked a couple of storks of rhubarb from my main plot to go with it. I will collect some crumble mix on the way home and make something this evening.

First main crop of cucumbers

Saturday 28th August 2020. It was a quick trip to cut the grass surrounding my plot. I took my strimmer because that would be the quickest way instead of having to unlock the shed and start up the mower.

Cucumber harvest

After streaming the grass and borders I collected the main cucumbers that were ready to be picked. More are on the way, but these were the largest and were just perfect.

I gave Elvis the cat a couple of snacks, then I headed back home. It was a short trip, but that was the point of spending all my time doing the borders over the past year, it means that I don’t have to spend a lot of time working on the menial tasks.

Cucumber 🥒 take home

Just a quick check tonight. There were two large cucumbers hanging from the plant at the allotment. I picked the biggest and took it home. The smallest of the two, I left for a few more days.

Cucumber in waiting

There are going to be plenty more of these. Plenty were already growing and there were more flowers showing.

It’s just a matter of time before I hopefully get a cucumber glut.

The first cucumber goes to the guinea pigs

The cucumber that was growing really well at the allotment this week succumbed to the heat of the Sun. unfortunately it has been a really hot week and the cucumber had got burnt on one side and started to turn. For this reason it had to go to the guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs and cucumber

The short trip tonight was just to tie up some cucumbers and to pick anything that was ready. I was a bit disappointed to find that my prize cucumber (the only one that has actually grown so far) was slightly burnt on one side. Never mind the guinea pigs will love it!

The cucumbers are going wild. They are beginning to grow in all directions and mistake I made last year which was to pot plant them to close together has been repeated this year. In future I need to plant and further apart. But that won’t harm the crop, it just makes it more difficult to manage.

15 or 20 minutes later and I had finished tidying up the cucumber plants and picked myself a bolting lettuce! Extra treat for the piggies at home!

Monday night cucumber tie-up

A quick visit after work showed that the cucumbers needed trussing up and some extra support adding. I needed to get outside after spending all day in the small room at home working on the computer. It’s been a roasting day today! One of the hottest days of the year, they seem to get even hotter as the year progresses.

Extra cucumber supports

That was fairly easy to do. Adding pieces of string and bamboo canes in a haphazard manner to support the streamers coming off the cucumbers. Trussing up each branch into its own cane, and separating out the tangled mess of the floor.

As I was doing this Elvis the cat appeared. I have forgotten to bring food again! Better luck next time Elvis! A short bit of watering with the hosepipe later and I was finished for the evening. I grabbed one of the lettuces that seems to have bolted and then headed home.

Quick Friday evening visit

It’s Friday 7th August 2020 and the beginning of another mini heat wave! Tonight we have made a trip down to the allotment just so I could check up the place. I’ve not been for a week.

Going dark at the allotment

Elvis the cat was really glad to see us. As we walked through the main gate we met the cat who was curled up on a wooden bench near the entrance. She followed us all the way through past the main house and into the allotment garden. Then she sat with my little helper on the wooden bench inside the walled garden. They both sat there for about half an hour. Elvis cuddled up against her legs.

Some small weeds were growing. I spent about 10 minutes raking the ground, chopping the weeds up. Just generally tidying up.

First cucumber

Close examination of the cucumber plants revealed one large, one small, very many flowers growing all over.

I need to keep a closer eye on the cucumber plants. The ones I planted last week looked quite weak and one of them had died. Even though it’s only been a week and we have had rain, I guess the strong heat had killed them quickly. At this time of year I need to spend two or maybe three times a week at the plot.

The neighbouring plot, the one I gave back is looking really great. The new plot owner has taken over now and they have started to plan and organise a long plot. They have made small sections of it, and it looks fantastic!

Short trip to plant more cucumbers 🥒

So, tonight I made a short trip to the allotment to drop off and plant the cucumber seedlings I bought in the garden centre this morning. One has gone in at home and the remaining five are planted at the plot.

Home seedling for cucumber

At the allotment this evening there were two other people, my neighbour of course (she’s always very diligent) and somebody else across the other side.

I added the five cucumber plants and cleared up the ground a little with my rake, then it was time to meet Elvis the garden cat for a while. She’s was mewing for food and attention. I’m afraid it was only attention this evening because I had not brought anything with me again.

The plot is looking well and good, so I didn’t spend long. Mostly I have been able to do work in the garden at home today. It’s probably the most neglected now and so because I’ve got time, that’s good for the jobs at home that have been piling up.

Quick evening trip after all-day rain

It’s been a wash out today, Saturday 25th July 2020. Raining all day long and perfect for keeping the plants soaked through.

One of my small jobs yesterday had been to water the cucumbers, but really I had been expecting a lot of rain this weekend so I had only given them a sprinkle. What a difference from yesterday though! And the reason I had made time yesterday also…

The lettuce patch 🥬

One of the small crops I’ve managed to cultivate this year are the lettuce plants. Butterhead lettuce. And they have turned out great, probably with a lot of help from my neighbour who turns her hosepipe towards that patch every time she gives her plot a squirt!

In return, I’ve said she can take lettuces whenever she wants — I have plenty to go around. Probably half as much at home as well.

I only visited the allotment for about 20 minutes. Just to take a look around, get out of the house, fix some small grass patches around my area … and pick a lettuce. It was wet and quite down at the plot.

Cucumbers 🥒 are growing nicely

It’s Friday 24th July 2020. I finished work, was down to the allotment by 2pm and spent three glorious sunny hours clearing the weeds from around the cucumbers and lettuce and generally tidying up around the potatoes.

Climbing cucumbers

The allotment is looking really much better than it has done in a very long time. The plot against the wall is clear, the path is growing nicely and my main plot is clear of weeds.

There is very little work to do! Which is just perfect.

The stones I filtered out of the soil recently have been bagged up and stored at the end of my main plot. I’ve decided I will keep them on my main plot, but for now I will just store then in bags until the rhubarb and horse radish die back. Then I plan to do something with that area. I’ve noticed those plants grow so large on that area that nothing else gets much of a look in.

Main plot looking very clear and neat

The weather this afternoon is superb! The temperature is not too high either which means it’s not getting too hot. I manage to clear some minor surface weeds from around the edges and then I wander over to see the chairman who is weeding his plot.

I want to ask about the main communal compost heap near the old boiler house garden shed. I think it’s getting too large and now that I’ve finished the long plot there’s probably a chance to create a new compost heap on this cleared area. But before I can say anything, the chairman mentions the same.

So, there might be a slight possibility of some new compost heaps in the allotment garden. This will probably get discussed soon, but the compost heap near the wall is getting too large and might damage the wall if it’s allowed to continue. So it should probably be discussed soon.

Tying up the cucumber, picking the first lettuce

It is Tuesday, the 14th of July 2020 and 8:30 in the evening. After a day working from home (the first two hours were in the office for a change) I decided I could manage half an hour down at the allotment. I only intended to do one or two tiny jobs and to get out of the house for a little bit.

One particular job was to dig out a large metal spike left over from the old compost heap. Three of them had already been removed but this last one was persistent and I needed my large lump hammer to shift that, but I got it out eventually!

Here’s what it used to look like: https://smallallotmentdiary.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/anatomy-of-an-unkept-allotment-plot/ and https://smallallotmentbucket.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/compost-heap-is-dissembled/ and https://smallallotmentbucket.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/clearing-away-the-scrap-metal/

Cucumber 🥒 tie ups

I managed to tie up the six cucumber plants that are ramping along. I can see flowers already and the stems are beginning to grow quickly now. The ground is still wet from the good showers of rain we had over the past couple of days so there is no need to do any watering. All I had to do was cut the string and tie up the plants to the canes.

Special treat

As an extra job I cut one of the larger lettuce plants that had started to spill over the edge of the raised bed border. I think this will be guinea pig food when I get home. They will definitely appreciate the first butterhead lettuce!

Elvis the garden cat paid me a visit while I was there. There was some meowing and then because I had some cat nibbles there was some munching followed by Elvis is usual disappearing act as soon as she’s got what she wants. It was quiet down at the allotment there were only two other people there tonight.

A box of veg off to the food bank

Tonight I rushed from work straight to the allotment because I have not been there for many weeks. My first job was to clear the area that once contained tens of beetroot plants, but now contains weeds covering most of the area and underneath somewhere, several beetroot.

Digging them out was quite easy but the area will still need clearing of weeds properly at some other date.

Some of the beetroot are quite small, a couple have been split in a few places, but most of them were perfect. One or two of them were big and one in particular was huge, probably the size of my head!

I had brought three cardboard boxes, and I easily filled the two large ones with beetroot. I then moved on to the sweetcorn … I chopped down all the sweetcorn plants and pulled off the cobs. There is another job for me, I will need to get rid of the sweet corn storks in future. I filled another cardboard box with the sweetcorn harvest.

Finally, I moved on to the cucumbers. Probably I picked around 12 to 15 of them. Mostly they were fairly big, but some had their skins looking slightly drier than usual and paler in colour. I don’t expect they are any different to any of the other cucumbers, so they went on top of the pile also.

In the end, I had three large cardboard boxes all filled with sweetcorn, cucumber and beetroot. I haven’t even started on digging up the three lines of potatoes that I have left in. I didn’t have time or space for potatoes.

The box in the picture is going to the local food bank. The second box was left outside the back door of the main office, for the office staff in the morning. And the third box has come home with me.

It’s a good haul. A lot of work needs to be done to take out the potatoes and to clear out the weeds. Something to look forward to when I get the time.

Watering visit

Today is Thursday the 27th. The time is 8:30 in the evening. I have just finished a long one hour session at the allotment where I took my time, dawdled around, watered the allotment, and generally wasted time. It was awesome!

Everything is doing fine without me. Even the weeds. But the plants are doing great.

The beetroot are really coming along and growing really well. The potatoes are doing fantastically. They are beginning to flower. The tayberry plant is beginning to bud. As usual, the rhubarb and the horseradish have taken over.

On the second half of the plot probably the best in class is the state of the sweetcorn. They are incredible.

Out of everything that is growing right now sweetcorn are doing the best. Over the past few weeks they have really shot-up and thickened out.

I expect them to do very well by the end of the year.

Finally, my new border containing my organic lettuce is working a treat. There are no slugs inside the border. And I have not used any slug pellets. The cucumber plants I’ve started as well. Everything is going swimmingly.

A very long Sunday at the allotment

Today is Sunday, the 16th of June. From 2 o’clock until 7 o’clock in the evening I have been down the allotment. Today’s plan was to unwrap the last of the plot, folding up the sheeting, and making use of the last half of the plot. Elvis the garden cat arrived shortly after I got there, and definitely wanted feeding. So Elvis had her lunch while I prepared to do the work.

Also on the list of things to do was to trim the grass around the borders. So, I brought my electric strimmer and quickly whizzed around the edges. It only took about 5 or 10 minutes and it looked a lot better.

The main bulk of the work was to remove the sheeting and fork over the part of the plot that hasn’t seen daylight this year. Also I had to build my small raised bed area. This is an experiment to stop the slugs, without using any slug pellets. this small area will contain a densely packed plot of lettuce and cabbage, or various varieties.

The idea is to leave space so that I can finish off the edges of the border on the allotment, while at the same time being able to get at the lettuce and cabbage to make sure there are no slugs and snails munching on them. A small area was also flattened and dug over to make space for some cucumbers: eight of them. These have been purchased from the garden centre close by this morning, which we visited for breakfast.

The marrow and the pumpkin have also gone in, in a small spot that was available next to the rhubarb.

The plot looks quite full now. All that is left is to make another raised bed area and plant some more lettuce and cabbage. Everything went to plan today. I managed to get quite a lot done.