Removing most of the spuds

Today’s date is Sunday, the 15th of August 2021 I did the allotment today from 10 am to 3 pm.

Today’s job was something really simple. All I had to do was clear up the plot.

The major job today was to pull out as many potatoes as possible and re-lay the black sheeting on that side of the allotment. On the other side of the allotment I had to dig up a few beetroot and clear up some of the weeds. That was pretty much it. Job would be done.

I just had to make sure that I was not leaving anything behind. I had to remember to pick up my spade and fork, and the black trug. That was all.

I was hoping to see some people in the allotment today while I was there because I had missed the AGM. This years AGM had taken place in the allotment garden on Friday the 13th at 7 pm in the evening. I was unable to make it because I was travelling that day. So I missed the very last AGM unfortunately. But I had sent an email the day before, so my intention was at least somewhat clear.

The first job was to take up as many potatoes as possible. I started where I had left off previously a few weeks earlier. Pulling up the potatoes was really easy — the soil was dry and I had planted them just below the surface. A short fork was easily used to lever out each potato plant. And because the spuds had been planted from the potatoes that had sprouted in the kitchen at home, there were many different varieties. Each line was a bit of a surprise.

I think I’ve pulled up around five lines of potatoes and I managed to fill up the plastic crate. Full to the brim of potatoes. These would be left in the communal area of the allotment garden so that people could take them whenever they wished.

I filled a large plastic bag full of weeds and surface potato plants. This made the potato side of the allotment a lot clearer, and much better managed.

The second side of the allotment was a smaller job. First of all I prised up the wooden frames and moved them onto the potato side. Then I dug over and removed the weeds surrounding the chard and the lettuce and leeks. That cleared half of that side.

Then I decided, because the last area was full of beetroot, I should probably pick up half of the beetroot plants that I had. I chose the orange ones, because that just left a small corner of purple beetroot leftover.

Then I dug over that area completely and removed the weeds. Finally, I was finished and the allotment looked much clearer and better managed than it had done before I arrived.

Panoramic edges of the finished plot number 22.

I had two very large bags full of weeds which I needed to take to the tip. I couldn’t very well dump them on the compost heaps because the communal compost dumps where nearly had height in all cases. They were being used as a dumping ground instead of a composting area. So I carried each bag back to the car and store them in the boot ready to be taken to the council tip on my way home.

End views of plot number 22.

The last job to do before I left was to pull up the last of the horseradish plants. I didn’t really want to leave one in the ground, because it would just get out of hand quickly. The horseradish is almost impossible to kill, even just a tiny piece will start growing again. I had quite a large chunk leftover, so I fucked that out and left that in the communal area along with all the other produce that I dug up today.

That was it. Job is done. All of the weeds are in the car and I picked up my spade and my fork and the plastic trug and headed off back to the car.

What was left is shown in the pictures. I have left quite a few plants remaining around the allotment plot. It’s in a good condition …

Lots and lots of weeding

It’s Monday, the 26th of July and it’s just coming up to 9:30 in the evening.

It’s starting to go quite dark.

I have two giant plastic bags of weeds in the boot of the car. The idea being I should clear the plot as most of the vegetables have now reached a point where they should get picked, but I can’t quite see some of them because of all the weeds.

I came down at the weekend and did the same between the potatoes on the opposite side of the plot. During that time I picked a whole line of spuds, about 70 of them and several of the courgettes. Quite a lot of the courgettes actually. But there are plenty more.

Potatoes before and after

So as of this evening, the plot is looking fairly weed free again. There has been three huge bags full of weeds over the past few days which are going to make their way to the council tip. That’s going to happen tomorrow.

There’s nobody about now, I’m in the car getting ready to go home. The darkness is drawing in the street lights are showing more light than the sky now. The swifts and the swallows have all disappeared, they were flying above my head as I walked into the apartment earlier on. Quite high up in the sky, but now they’ve gone.

It’s not much fun collecting nothing from the allotment apart from weeds. I thought I’d passed that stage by now.

Spuds digging and courgette picking

It’s a Sunny afternoon on Friday 23rd July 2021 … I made it to the allotment about 2:30pm and spent the next 3 hours clearing away the weeds between the potatoes.

Courgettes & spud line number 1

The first line of potatoes were dug out this afternoon. I took then home and gave them to the next door neighbour.

I took two courgettes and seven potatoes. There are plenty more of those to come.

Bank holiday Monday quick visit

Bank holiday Monday 31st of May 2021. Just a quick visit to trim the grass around the borders! Time is 9 o’clock at night and it only took about 15 minutes, into the plot round the plot out of the plot.

I think there’s not much else to say, I’ve not been for at least a week maybe a little bit longer.

Happy turnip planting

Everything seems to be getting on quite well. The tayberry is full of flowers! It looks as though there will be quite a lot of fruit this year. The beans are doing well and haven’t been eaten! The potatoes are all in rows and popping up nicely. But probably the best of all are the beetroot! They’re doing very well.

The carrots. Wow! They’re doing really well I didn’t expect them to do as well as they did. I should be on for a good crop unless there is a problem with carrot fly.

It’s a lovely evening and it’s been the hottest day of the year so far. The coronavirus is on the downslope (maybe). Everybody hope so. The new cases are rising again, but the deaths have been falling which means the vaccines are working. The new variant is now becoming the most dominant strain in the UK is, so with the hot weather over the bank holiday weekend we fully expect more to change over the coming few weeks

Transplanting the tall potatoes

Saturday, the 22nd of May 2021. Finally I got up and out of the house, the rain had stopped and I had filled my bucket full of potatoes from the back garden. Potatoes that had been waiting to make it to the allotment.

New areas of potato planting from today’s visit

By the time I got there the sun was out and ground was starting to dry out. I mowed around the borders of the plot and added two more lines of spuds plus a large clump of potatoes from the back garden which had started to grow in one of the pots.

This large clump of potatoes grows about 5 feet tall, and it’s something that I would like to cultivate for the future. I don’t know what variety this potato is, so I will ensure to keep some for next year. I started off with just one from last year…

Broad beans going in

It’s Sunday, the 9th of May and it’s 3 o’clock on the dot. The clouds are just starting together and the skies gone grey again it looks as though the rain which had been promised for Sunday afternoon is on its way.

The wind is starting to slightly pick up and it’s not quite as warm as it was when I arrived at around midday today.

Today I’ve decided to start putting the seedlings in. The risk of frost looks as though it has passed finally! The weather looks as though it is starting to change, warmer I mean. And with that nice the weather means I will not have to rush down to the allotment to cover and uncover the plants that I’d put in already.

Lines of spuds and the broad beans!

Today I put in three more lines of potatoes, In between the other three lines I already had. That means the central part of the far end of my plot is now fully stocked with spuds.

Your other job was to put in a line of broad bean seedlings which had been growing out of and in the pots at home in the back garden. They went in quite easily and hopefully they are large enough to be able to fend off the large fat pigeons and family of magpies that have been storming the allotment garden recently. I’m not sure if this will work! Just before I put them in I caught a blackbird packing at the seedlings in the trays! We will have to wait-and-see.

Rest of the time I spent taking up all the weeds which seem to have sprouted up everywhere across the whole of my plot. The nice weather and the rain had given the weeds the best of times. It didn’t take long to pull out the weeds however. It’s looking a lot better now!

Last thing to do was to pick some rhubarb. And handed over to my neighbour! I’ve got plenty

Potato lines get a cover-up!

Sunday, the 25th of April 7:15 at night. Once again I’ve just finished covering up down at the allotment, getting meowed at by the garden cat, and walking back to the car on my own while the sheep are out by the main house.

Elvis relaxing in the sunshine. Rolling around in the dust!

Are a few people there tonight and I stayed for a short talk with the chairman. There might be some spots on the allotment association committee, coming up soon, but I don’t think I will be able to take any of them up. I have plenty of work to do with my own work.

Most of the covering up today was just a usual. Putting the fleece over the top of the carrots in the pots, putting a closh over the lines of carrots that were planted in the ground. And finally a new one! Covering up the potatoes with some more soil because some of them are starting to come through. Not some of them, quite a few of them!

Spud lines covered up

So today’s picture is a view of the potato lines which are on the second half of my plot! These lines needed a slight cover-up as the potato plants started to poke through. The temperature tonight will be dropping again to around -1° C as the frost risk rises again due to clear skies.

Just to be sure! Make sure everything is protected and covered up. Now, to head home and do the same for the seedlings which have been sat outside in the Sun all day. These need to be taken into the garage to protect them overnight.

Sticking in the spuds

It’s Saturday, the 27th of March 2021, and I’m putting in the first batch of today. I’ve added a line of second-earlies (Charlotte potatoes) and two lines of Désirée potatoes.

As one person put it, let’s just chuck something in the ground and see what happens! And that pretty much sums up what I’m going to do. Although I will be putting them in neat little lines, equally spaced. Then at least I’ll be able to keep track when I dig them up.

Four lines of potatoes

Apart from that, and a little bit of blood fish and bone, I’ve just popped them in under the surface and apart from covering up the Désirée type a little, that’s where they will stay until I dig them up (some time after they flowered).

Next weekend is the bank holiday Easter weekend, bank holiday Friday off work (possibly) and bank holiday Monday making a very long weekend. Preparation is underway and I can see quite a few people down at the allotments now that I have not seen since last year.

Most of the plots are getting on with it quite quickly and some of them are looking excellent already. A couple haven’t started yet, but there is still time because we’ve got a long weekend coming and nowhere to go because of lockdown! I expect to see them then!

In other news, we now have a recycling point near the entrance. Containers have been set up for things that need to go to the tip, or should go to the recycling. The plastic container that I brought back to the allotment after emptying it and recycling parts at home is in that section. It’s a really good idea because we have a problem with glass and plastics. They need to be removed from the site efficiently, and this new recycling area will do the trick perfectly!

Elvis and spuds

It’s Sunday, the 21st of March 2021, and yesterday the UK reached the 50% milestone of people being vaccinated in this country for COVID-19. I also was part of that. A record number of people were vaccinated yesterday!

Today I’ve made a trip down to the allotment to celebrate! I’ve not had any ill effects from the injection so there doesn’t seem to be any point staying inside waiting for something to turn up.

Elvis greeted me as I walked through the gate of the Abbey Gardens allotments! What a fantastic surprise to see Elvis waiting for me.

Hello Elvis! 😙

Unfortunately I didn’t have any food to give her. She hung around and kept me company for a while on the bench under the apple tree, but after a while it became apparent I had no food, she wandered off in a lonely way. She looked quite frail! So I rang home to see if they would bring chicken from the fridge.

The last of the work was to just dig up a line of spuds that had been overwintered (by accident) and then dig over the remainder of the plot, probably the last quarter. That was done! I’m finished.

After the dig…

The time is now 12:45 in the afternoon and I finished the last of the digging on the plot. The whole of the area is now dug over for the first time this year.

All I have to do now is plant something?! I’m going to start with one spud that I just dug up but has already started to sprout…

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.

Weed picking down at the lockdown allotment

Today was the warmest day of the year so far. Typically 32 degrees C and more. I spent two and a half hours this morning at the allotment. I took a day of work at short notice because of the expected heat wave. I figured there was no point in sitting inside ask day.

The long plot against the wall is the last job on the list now that the path is finished. I need to clear that up, take the soil back and give it back to the allotment association. They can take it from here once I’ve cleaned it up properly and made it tidied and straightened it all out.

So today was the first part of that short plan. To remove the weeds that had been growing back for the past month. That job was easy to do because of the dry soil — the weeds came out easily. So, after 2 hours of pulling weeds the long plot is mostly cleared again. I can start to remove the soil and take back a bulk into my main plot next time I visit.

A short snack while weed picking

The last few minutes were spent eating tayberries … Potatoes and lettuce can be seen in the background of the picture here, but the main star of the allotment at the moment are the tayberries. They are perfectly ripe and ready for eating straight away.

Tayberry in fruit at the lockdown allotment

It’s Monday evening, 15th June 2020. The tayberry plant is fully fruiting down at the plot. I’ve not visited for a week and the tayberry has certainly bloomed and grown another 7 or 8 inches since I was last here.

Tayberries into the distance

My little helper came along tonight and then proceeded to scoff most of the ripened fruit 😋. In other helping ways, she also helped to feed Elvis the garden cat and to give her some well needed attention — plus some grass seeds, which probably weren’t needed.

I removed some canes that protected the path and covered the long plot again, put some slug gel on the wooden raised areas and then helped to pick some more tayberries for the little helper. Gave some more rhubarb away, examined the potatoes which seemed to be coming through okay, then it was time to go. Just another flying visit really.

Big clearance has started

Sunday, early in the morning around about 7 o’clock, at last the weekend is dry, the Sun is just rising, I’m awake, there is no excuse!

So I get out of bed, get dressed in my allotment clothes, pack the car and make my way to a soggy allotment. There are plenty of jobs to do down at the plot!

I need a lot of clearing. The beans and the polls need taking down, the sweetcorn stubs need to be lifted and transported off to the tip. The frame that was holding up the cucumbers needs taking down and all of the bamboo canes need stocking up in the corner.

I need to dig up my first early potatoes!!

Indeed that was my last job today. After scratching through the mud and pulling up all the old dead plants clearing up the bamboo and collecting several tubs of weeds, one of my last jobs was to take up my first early potatoes which had been in the ground all year. The first thing I grew this year were the potatoes and now they are the last thing to take up.

But, they were probably one of the best things I managed to grow this year. A big stack of them got sent to the people on the front desk, the rest of them have come home with me and I going to help with Sunday lunch today.

A good job today.

Taking up the spuds

It was the very last hour of Sunday night, just before it started to go dark. I managed to make some time to go to the allotment. It’s been raining most of the week but the weekend has been quite clear… So really there’s no excuse, I have to make time.

On the list of things to do.

1. Dig up the spuds

2. Take the pumpkins home

3. Harvest the marrow

I managed to do all three in about one hour. The patch of land that the spuds were under looks a lot better for being dug up. I managed to get two small trays of potatoes — and I’m not certain who will get these. The pumpkins will probably be used for carvings.

What to do with the marrow? I’m not sure. I guess this might go into some soups.

Probably around four or five hours over the next few weekends will need to be found in order to clear up the last of the allotment before winter hits. The weather forecast doesn’t look that great, so I will have to pick my times carefully.

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.

Amazing sky tonight!

The walled garden allotment is looking especially amazing tonight. As I walked into the front gate the sky was bright blue, all seemed quiet near the Abbey. The only activity seemed to be high above me — the swifts and swallows were darting about chasing their evening meals.

It was a grass cutting event tonight. That was the plan. The borders are looking ready to cut and the work I’ve done on then is beginning to pay off. I ran the lawnmower around in record time. Also I now have a strimmer with a battery, so I can cut in the edges really easily. I was done and had time to spare.

The potatoes were next.

The line I had covered up previously (earliest) have started to pop up. But the other two lines have only just begun to break the surface. So I covered them so I didn’t have to continually check their state.

A little bit of watering was next. Then it was time to go home. Just as I started to pack up, I looked up from my work and saw the sky. It was incredible colours tonight.

Covering up the first earlies

There was a bit of covering up needed. The first early spuds had started to pop through. This meant the space I had made for shoveling dirt was used. It does like this on the three lines of potatoes: path, potatoes, space for cover-up dirt, repeat.

There’s now a small trench to the right of the spuds where I dug and covered. But the paths still exist on both sides. This worked out well and of something I will keep doing I think.

Three lines of potatoes have gone in

Another late night and the clock says 8:30pm by the time I have finished — and it is going dark again. I have put in the second line of potatoes — these are the second earlies! Two lines this time. Previously, the other night, I had finished a single line of early potatoes. So I now have 3 lines in total.

I spaced them out and finished then off with some blood, fish and bone. To help the roots and also offset the fact that I’m planting potatoes in the same location that I did last year. Although not to the same degree. Last year I only had a few lines. This year I’m being much more intensive. Half of the plot (well, not quite half yet) has now been planted. And it’s looking great.

As I was just putting in the last of the potato lines in when Elvis sneaked up on me and meowed really loudly in my ear! It made me jump (and shout) because it had been so quiet in the allotment this evening — then suddenly I got a loud meow right in my ear! I’m afraid I didn’t bring anything to feed Elvis this evening. But she was fed the previous night, and it had been a good day for tourists, so I expect the garden cat wasn’t really that hungry.

By the time I packed up and headed out, it was getting quite dark. And late again. It always takes a long time to do the smallest of jobs and I always overrun. But still, it is a nice place to lose track of time!

Scorchio! Easter weekend!!

What a weekend. The weather is absolutely incredible this weekend. Good Friday, Easter weekend, and bank holiday Monday! All perfect weather, complete sunshine! I feel guilty, because instead of spending time down the allotment, probably I will end up doing day trips to the beach with the family instead.

That’s not a bag thing. Spending time with the family at the beach. But I should spend time planting as well.

This morning I did manage to check the seedlings in the back garden. And water the new lawn to make sure the turf is taking properly. The seedlings are all doing really well. The sunflowers are really coming on and are mostly 5cm tall already. The lettuce which I am growing mainly for the guinea pigs is doing really really well, and needs to be transplanted into the next set of pots already! And the huge number of beetroot plants are ready to go to the allotment along with the French beans (I need to remember to bring the bamboo poles). In the boot of my car is also three sacks of potatoes, various varieties, also sprouting and ready to be planted.

So, I really should make some time and use of the weather to make certain I have planted all of my potatoes and seedlings in the first half of the plot before the weekend is out.

At least, I should make it down to ensure Elvis is ok and do some watering.

[Later this evening, extra edit]

So, I did make it down to the allotment just before the sunset this evening. The time is about a 7:45 pm, and I managed about 45 minutes. I fed Elvis, I did the borders, filled in the turf, watered some of the plants. Then it went dark.

The borders are looking a lot better now. I have nearly finished half of the plot. All that remains is to raise the path on one side of the plot so it becomes easier to mow. Then half off the plot will be finished.

Just before I left the moon rose above the horizon. It was low, and bright pink. As I walked out of the gardens past the main house and the skirting the horizon. According to the astronomical almanac, there doesn’t seem to be anything special about this evening’s moon listed. However it looks very impressive.

A sack of potatoes — just one

It’s mid week. Tuesday evening, and the weather is okay I can see blue sky. Maybe there are a few dark clouds in the distance. But there is no rain.

It rained mostly on Sunday, and Monday. Which meant that the ground had been well soaked through for tonight’s digging expedition.

The aim for tonight’s hour of digging was to remove the potatoes that have been growing in the half of the plot that I am fixing the border in. With a view to clearing it completely. This would therefore make way for the third side of the border, quickly followed by moving the weed suppressant membrane to cover that area for the rest of the year.

With half of the plot covered I could then continue on the other half. Completing the same again, fixing the borders, clearing the weeds, and laying down more sheets of weed suppressant tarpaulin. I intend to use the tarpaulin in future on parts of the plot that I am not currently growing anything in. In that way I will be able to keep on top of the weeds, and keep the borders tidy.

That is the aim, and it is slowly coming together.

For my troubles tonight, and probably for the first time this year I am leaving the plot with a crop of Desiree potatoes (and a few handfuls of first early Charlotte type potatoes).

Keeping on top of the weeds

Today is Saturday 11th August 2018. I managed to get to the allotment early this morning I was here by 7 AM. I have spent just two hours clearing off the top surface of weeds.

The top half of the plot looks really clean. Except for one side which needs straightening and the boards along the edge need sorting out. That will be my next job, and after that side is done properly I will have completed half of the allotment.

I plan to make it exactly 5 m across. The existing weed suppressant sheeting that is currently covering the far end of the plot will then be able to be moved up to the beginning of the plot — The side that I have nearly finished. Then with that part covered I will be able to make a start on the other half of the plot.

That is the plan.

I did manage to give away some potatoes. There were a few plants that I grew from spuds that made it from last year. Those potatoes went to a neighbour. I will harvest the reminder for next time I am at the allotment.

Hopefully Sunday will be clear tomorrow, although I have heard that the weather will turn this afternoon and then clear up on Monday. We will have to see.

Saturday, the 17th of March 2018, first day back

It’s 1° C outside with a 70% chance of snow according to the forecast, but actually 100% chance because it’s snowing right now. The allotment is a boggy muddy swamp and the mud has caked my Wellington boots making my feet cold. But there are still three lines of potatoes to take out from last year. Désirée type.

Some of the potatoes had suffered frost damage but most of them were okay despite being in the ground over winter. A big bag went to the office staff as usual, a carrier bag of frost damaged ones will go in the bin, and quite a large bag of Désirées will go home with me.

There was only one other person there and they only turned up for five minutes. I was left by myself, squelching through the mud for most of the morning.

It has taken about 2 1/2 hours to take up the three lines and carry them back to my car. Only one job left to do this morning: I need to visit the garden centre to get some compost for some homegrown potatoes that are chitting on the windowsill in the kitchen.