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.

Feeding Elvis and covering up the seedlings again before it goes cold

Wednesday, the 21st of April 2021 the time is 8:25 in the evening. I’ve just finished at the allotment covering up the seedlings again!

Even though it’s been another scorching beautiful sunny blue sky day, the evening and night and early morning are going to be exceptionally cold. The forecast says it will go below freezing again.

It was just another excuse to leave the house however. Go outside; feed the garden cat; have a walk around the allotment plots; listen to the birds. I’ve been inside all day working at home, locked in locked down. I welcomed the chance to get outside for a change.

The smell of garlic is in the air as I walk through the main entrance. Wild garlic has probably been cut and that’s what I can smell. The sheep and lambs are grazing on the front lawn in front of the house. And as I walk into the allotment garden area there are still a couple of people tidying up for the evening.

I give everything a good watering and as I’m about to cover up the ceilings, Elvis the garden cat appears! Lucky for you Elvis! I’ve brought some more cat treats for you!

Elvis is tucked underneath the Appletree

As I leave the allotments Elvis is tucked underneath the Appletree sitting on the bench with her tail curled up around her. The temperature is starting to drop already, but the garden cat knows where to go I think. It’s been colder than this, and she’s just been fed so she’s in a good place as I leave her walk out of the allotments to go home.

Uncovering the seedlings and cutting the border

Sunday, the 18th of April 2021, about 1 o’clock in the afternoon and the weekend is in full swing! It’s been scorching couple of days followed by some seriously cold nights with frost in the morning. But a very good couple of days.

I haven’t done much down at the allotment apart from uncover and recover the carrot seedlings every morning and evening. Just to make sure they were protected. And it was a good job too because the weather was -1° C and frosty in the mornings, and during the days it was sunny and very warm.

I’ve just uncovered the seedlings for today and while I was there broke out the strimmer to straighten the edges of the grass around my plot. These were looking about as fluffy as my hair before it was cut last week!

Straighter borders

Now everything is looking quite neat and ready for the summer.

The seedlings at home are getting put away every evening and brought out every day. They are are in preparation for getting planted! I can’t wait until this cold snap in the mornings has blown away. Then all of my seedlings will go in and the proper growing season will be properly started.

Day-off-work rhubarb crumble

It’s Monday, the 12th of April 2021, and it’s just a couple of minutes before 10 am in the morning.

I’ve just been to the allotments to uncover this seedlings again after last nights frost. The seedlings had been covered up for the whole of yesterday because of the weather extremes. Yesterday it snowed! Only brief flurries but still it’s April! And it’s snowing! Again. This really isn’t a surprise since the past few years have done exactly the same

The temperature last night dipped to -2° C, possibly even colder. The weather forecast said it was -5° C in some places in the local area. Everything was covered up and neatly tucked in bed, so there were no adverse affects on my seedlings.

This morning I uncovered them. We had a bit of rain overnight and this morning and I wanted to make sure they were getting a good soaking for today. As I was driving to the allotment a big dirty black cloud was hovering over the allotments I could see it in the distance. I want those clouds to drop the rain and keep my plants well watered.

Rhubarb and apple crumble

I picked up five stems of rhubarb and I will be taking those home to cook rhubarb crumble! I have today off work. Plenty of time to do things nonwork related!

Frost is definitely on the way

As I enter through the main gates of the main entrance and walk past the main house on the way to the allotments, the front grass and lawn is housing all of the sheep and the new lambs.

There is lots of bleating going on as I walk past the main house towards the Abbey Gardens allotments at the back.

Apart from that it’s quite quiet! I don’t see anybody else as I walk through the main grounds. As I arrive in the allotments I don’t see anybody again, until somebody calls out my name, people are still working their plots.

I did visit the allotments earlier today, to uncover my carrots and seedlings and I met a few people at that time. Some new people have taken on the centre plot and they have been getting on with it quite well. I gave them some potatoes this morning, so at least they had something to put in instead of just clearing the ground from the previous owner. It’s not much good if you don’t plant something and spend all of your time pulling out weeds and clearing grass. I know that from my own experience.

People have been getting on well. I think this will be a very very good year for the allotments. There are a lot of new people, we’ve just come out of a second lockdown so people have been locked in doors for a very long time this year already. Everything combined with the weather about to change should translate to a very good year for the Abbey Garden allotments.

Waiting for the frost to disappear

It’s Saturday, the 10th of April 2021 and it’s 7:30 in the evening. I’ve just finished covering up my seedlings again. Tonight it is going to go to -1° C, and tomorrow night it will drop to -2° C at least that is the forecast. They need to be taken care off until the last frost has it finally disappeared. There are plenty of seedlings at home just waiting to be brought down to the allotments, but until the frost risk has gone completely I can’t bring them. Hopefully next week the weather looks like it will be improving for good!

You are always on my mind

It’s Friday, the 9th of April, 2021 and it’s 8 o’clock in the evening. The Sun has just set. It’s starting to go dark now and the temperature is beginning to dip. As I’m driving over to the allotments Elvis is playing on the radio. When I get there I’m still whistling the tune.

The forecast says that tonight is going to be -2° C. That’s going to be cold. So a trip to the allotment to do some cover up and to feed the garden cat and make sure she is okay are in order. I was whistling Elvis’s tune (you are always on my mind) and as if by magic the garden cat appeared immediately.

I was prepared! I had stowed away some Iams catfood and a cat bowl. So, we walked over to the communal area and I opened the catfood into the bowl and presented it to Elvis! And immediately she took one sniff and turned her back on it.

Elvis snoot

I can’t believe it! She doesn’t like the catfood I bought her. Sorry Elvis, there’s not much I can do. So I left the bowl where it was and finished covering up my seedlings, and then before it went completely pitch black I went back to the car to go home.

She must have a nice warm place to go to because it’s been quite cold over the past few evenings, but she’s always very sprightly and appearing very quickly when she hears somebody at the allotment. I’ll check on her again tomorrow! It’s a Saturday … I’ve got time to go and see her with a different type of food.

Morning trip 5 minute visit

Monday morning, bank holiday. Just to do some uncovering. Yesterday’s onion planting is looking ok, uncovering the carrots 🥕 is as easy as pulling off the green fleece. I dropped off some spare beetroot seedlings for new plot owners and left them in the communal area then I picked up trash and waste batteries that somebody had dumped. Finally, not having any food for Elvis 🐈 . Sorry again Elvis, I keep forgetting.

Carrots in pots; Elvis; onion sets; beetroot seedlings

Elvis is ok. There will be plenty of people around the allotment today, the main entrance is open to visitors and there will be a lot today because it’s a bank holiday.

Jobs done, time to leave. But I’ll be back tonight to cover up again when the temperate drops.

Planting all the beetroot at the semi lockdown allotments

It’s Easter Sunday, the 4th of April 2021 and another fantastic sunny day. I was in bed until late, but finally getting up and making an effort to come down to the plot. The Sun was shining and the temperature was rising. What was my excuse!?

I cleared the bottom end of the plot and got it ready for the beans and peas which I have at home waiting. They are not going in just yet because of the risk of frost over the next week, but there are other plants that I can put in that should be hard enough to whether any frost and cold temperatures going below freezing.

Beetroot patch and raised beds preparation

In particular I am thinking about the beetroot. Two lots of beetroot of gone in today. Pablo and Golden are the varieties added to the bottom end on my allotment. Pablo are the usual purple beetroot colour, and the golden ones are as you would imagine, golden in colour. They have both gone into a small patch at the bottom corner of my allotment. Probably the coldest area of my allotment actually, and with the frost coming over the next few days, definitely the coldest area! Let’s see how they fair.

The rest of the plot at the bottom end was prepared. The wooden frames are usually use for lettuce et cetera, usually protecting them with slug gel on the ward, I am going to use those as small raised beds for things like beans and peas. But they will not go in just yet. I’ve just prepared the ground.

I’ve done a lot today, and I’ve nearly spent six hours down at the plot getting the ground ready. I’ve taken my time, it’s been a lovely sunny day, I had a flask of tea, there were no people around and it was quite quiet. I got on with it. I tried to get a little helper to come down and feed the garden cat, but no luck! Even with no Internet at home, I didn’t seem to be any hope of bringing her down with some cat food for Elvis. Sorry Elvis! You’re going hungry for the second day on the run. I promise to remember something for you tomorrow!

Protecting the seedlings

It’s late in the evening when I come down to the allotment to protect the seedlings. I’ve been doing this for a few days now because of the threat of frost. Late in the evening to cover up and early in the morning to remove the covers.

Green fleece and poly tunnel

I’ve used a sheet of green fleece to cover the pots and a poly tunnel to cover the lines of carrot seedlings.

Because of the frost risk the carrots are being protected. Last night there was a heavy frost, the roof of the neighbours house was white! It was a good job I covered up all the seedlings.

Rhubarb giveaway at the lockdown allotment

Sunday, the 28th of March 2021. The time is now 1645 in the afternoon and I’ve been at the allotment since around about 2 pm.

Today’s job was supposed to be to plant the carrots! The ones I bought yesterday and this morning from the garden centre. However I forgot to put holes in the big tubs, and so I decided that I would just bring the carrots back home and plant them next weekend.

Rhubarb giveaway

Next weekend is Easter bank holiday, so there are two days plus the weekend. Let’s hope the weather holds!

Today I planted nothing apart from some daffodils. But I did a lot of work clearing up the portion of land that was the builders yard. That is now gone and the stones and gravel that I filtered out of the soil over the past year and a half have now been used to make small area for storing things. This area is just about 1m wide and not very big, but it is enough to keep things out of the way.

I put some black sheeting down on the soil, and then edged the part of the land with some of the larger stones. Then I dropped in all the gravel that I had filtered out into bags which had been sitting around on my plot waiting to get used or taken away. I decided not to take it away to the tip, since they were my stones from my plot.

So the majority of the time today was spent with me making a small patio area! Not something I expected today, but another job ticked off my list successfully!

The tub like plan for the carrots, something to do next weekend

Today was the day I also gave away my rhubarb which I had been trying to kill for the past two years, without success. So I gave it away to some of the new plot holders who had come in today to tend to the new areas.

So! All in all, today was a good day. Things have been tidied up, rhubarb is being given away, tubs have been made ready for next weekend, planting will begin just in time for the Easter bank holiday!

Last on the list before I leave the allotments is to pick up some of the plastic sheeting that has been dumped in the recycle area. The recycle area doesn’t look very neat, so I thought I would take some with me.

Elvis in the neighbour’s border at the lockdown allotment

Today is Sunday 7th June 2020 and this afternoon I’ve been visiting the allotment. The job today was to plant all of the lettuce I had bought last weekend at the garden centre. About 25 of them.

Butterhead lettuce

The weather today was warm enough but the sky was slightly cloudy. That was good enough for digging and getting the ground ready for planting. I turned back a couple of metres of black sheeting and forked over the ground, then flattened it with the rake.

Today’s planting was mainly lettuce but I also planted cucumber, kohlrabi and kale plants.

A little later on I was visited by my little helper. Help ensued with digging and carrying bamboo canes for the cucumber. Finally all of the watering was helped with 🙂

Elvis sleep in the border

This was the first time the little helper had been to visit the allotment this year. Also help was given to Elvis the garden cat who turned up and was given cat treats straight away, before sleeping it off in the neighbour’s allotment border.

Quick allotment checking after work

Today is Wednesday, the 19th of June and it is 6:45 in the evening. On the way home from work I have called in to give the allotment plot a quick once over. To be honest, I wanted to check that my slug gel has not been stolen again, and to look at the state of the new plants (cabbages).

Nothing has really changed. everything is still in its place. My slug gel is safe. But I have picked it up and put it in the car boot just in case.

As I entered the allotment a lot of birds flew off and into the trees. They had spread themselves out across the whole of the allotments. No doubt they were munching things on the ground. When I checked my plot, it was evident they had been munching my cabbage seedlings. They must be very tasty because they are the only ones that have been chomped and pecked at. My lettuce seedlings are fine.

All in all, my allotment plot is doing very well. Over the past few days my French beans have shot up. They have curled themselves around the bamboo canes and sprung up around about a metre in height. Fantastic!

Goodbye snails

These small snail carcasses were found at the feet of my sunflower seedlings. The little blighters. No wonder my sunflower seedlings were getting munched up. I’ve been feeding the local snail families for the past few weeks.

But the slug pellets have done the trick. Well, partly. Some of the sunflower seedlings still had bite marks out of them and a couple had been completely eaten … but I’m quite glad the rest had survived. I think the slug pellets have done their magic correctly.

The tayberry is flowering

Last night, after half a day of rain, I made a special trip to the allotment to check on the slug population. Not my normal reason for visiting the plot, but a necessary one after finding a huge slug and a massive snail wandering the patio flags in the back garden.

You can bet there would be plenty more down at the allotment. Plenty of them attacking my sunflowers! The little blighters.

I was right. Four more of my sunflowers were missing; presumed scoffed.

Anyway. After another battery of slug pellets I decided to cheer myself up with some nice flowers and the beginnings of the tayberry crop … they are now visible on the trellis.

The tayberry plant is doing great. It’s not grown massively but it has started to flower and I can see the beginnings of fruit. I can’t wait!! 😋

Slugs you’re gonna get it

Slugs, you are going to get it now. Discussions on the use of slug pellets has resulted in a request for plot holders to use slug pellets that are animal friendly. How friendly do you think they will be to slugs?

I’ve surrounded the lettuce with a wall of pellets. They are not going to eat my lettuce like they did to the sunflowers.

This evening, I didn’t really see very many slugs, but I know that is what having all of my sunflowers. It’s not gonna happen again

Sweetcorn seedlings are doing okay

So, the sweetcorn is doing okay. A bit of watering will help after a little dry spell. So tonight I spent some time with the hose pipe spraying the allotment. But they are doing fine on their own for the majority of seedlings.

Out of all of the seedlings I put in, only one seems to have died. An unknown reason. They all seemed healthy when I put them in. But, the rest are thriving. So I don’t think there’s a huge reason why I need to keep an extra close eye on these plants.

Superb evening for planting sunflowers

Okay. So the first tranche of sunflowers have made it to the plot. Autumn Beauty. Spaced around 1m apart (probably not enough) against the wall on the long allotment plot.

This year will be the year of the sunflower. At least on the long plot. But actually, I can’t really think of anything better for that long area.

It’s such a long area and it doesn’t really get a lot of sun, being a Northish facing wall. I spent a long time tonight digging the soil and raking it flat so I could plant these sunflower seedlings.

I expect this will pay off in the end. And with all my other sunflower seedlings still waiting at home I think this whole plot will look great in the end.

Plenty of sunflowers

I’ve got plenty of sunflowers to go down to the allotment. Here are a few that I plant to take and plant at the plot. There are around 15 Autumn Beauty in this tray .. all grown from seeds, germinated on the windowsill in the kitchen and then potted on outside in the garden.

If I don’t get them down to the plot soon, I think they will get too big for their paper pots and I’ll have wasted them. Probably I have another 15 or so sunflowers in another tray. Let’s face it, I’ve overdone it on the sunflowers this year.

The sweetcorn have now gone in

Tonight’s job was to take the sweetcorn seedlings down to the allotment and dig them into the plot. I’ve now moved onto the next half of the plot because the first half is full. I cleared a space and arranged a grid of bamboo poles before planting the seedlings.

I had grown 36 sweetcorn seedlings and all but 4 of them had grown okay. My grid of 5×7 has three missing poles. And this has turned out better because it makes it easier to get to the centre sweetcorn. I have left a little path into the square.

This half of the plot doesn’t have a proper border yet. I have the wood planks and some stakes but I thought it was more important to bring the sweetcorn seedlings from home rather than finish the edges.

I have left enough room for the next job: the borders again.

Apart from digging in the sweetcorn, there was a lot of wildlife this evening. The garden cat came calling, wanting some food which I keep in the compost bin. Elvis was fed and went away happy. There were two robins dotting around and waiting for me to dig up some grubs. And finally the large male pheasant made an appearance and let out an almighty “squark!” noise, before strutting off to bother another plot holder.

It was a nice evening and I spent two hours at the allotment this evening.

Plenty of sweetcorn seedlings nearly ready for planting

I have just over thirty sweetcorn seedlings ready for planting down at the main plot at the allotment. The high winds that we were battered with over the Friday and Saturday night caused several of the seedlings to be pushed over, but that was easily fixed with a firm hand and some more compost.

They are currently waiting for a larger space down at the plot. A clear area with enough space to accommodate up to 36 large plants. I have the second half of the plot to uncover yet, so they can go in there easily, but I also need to worry about the borders of this plot area. So I am currently thinking I should plant them in the centre and leave the edges covered until I have finished the border.

No matter. They still have a couple of weeks before they need to go in. Plenty of time to change my mind.

Potting on the Autumn Beauty sunflowers

This weekend there has been some time to pot on the sunflowers I have grown from seed. Well, at least some of them. There are quite a few sunflowers I have grown in these little pots and nearly all of them have turned out well. I will need to buy several more of the larger pots in order to accommodate the seedlings into a pot each.

The picture shows how the roots from the sunflowers have grown through the paper pot itself. It was quite a delicate process to separate up to three sunflower seedlings from each smaller pot and transplant then into a new larger pot each.

The roots were not just tangled but had also pushed through the paper in places. This meant a lot of care had to be taken when pulling the seedlings out. In future, next year, I will ensure I put one seed in each pot just to make life easier for myself.

I intend to put these plants into the long (spare) plot at the allotment … against the wall. Each plant should be quite large in size eventually so there should be plenty for that long area.

First lettuce have gone in

After another long hot day, I managed to put in the first lettuce plants at the allotment. A nice grouping of a dozen little green gem lettuce plants that have gone in next to the three groups of beetroot plants I set previously.

I can foresee that my only problem with these plants will be making sure they are watered consistently… I’ve not seen any snails or slugs on the allotment for a long time, so I expect they will not be an issue. All I need to remember is to visit and water the plants regularly.

Twenty eight French beans

Before the weather breaks this week, I wanted to get the French beans into the space between the potatoes and the rhubarb. There is just enough room. For the remainder of the week the weather is changing from sunny and hot to, hot and showers. So I will not need to visit the plot for watering duty as much as I did previously over the past few weeks.

To plant the beans, I turned back the sheeting, removed a few small potatoes that had been left over from last year and had sprouted. Then I roughly churned the soil with my fork before raking it flat. This took around 25 minutes. As usual.

Spacing out the bamboo canes roughly evenly I put two plants at the base of each pole. Two rows of seven. For now I will not bend the two rows together. Actually, I didn’t have time to do that work, but I didn’t think it was necessary right now anyway. In future I will, when the brand start to climb.

One other job to do before leaving was to feed Elvis. I had a visitor join me at the worker tonight from home. Sat in the foldable chair watching me dig and plant. They fed Elvis and made certain age was okay and had company.

The other night’s beetroot are okay

In the light of day I went to take a closer look at the other night’s planting. Even though it had been another super hot day I could still see the ground was still wet (from the other night?). It could hardly be from then! A super hot day…? The ground still showing it was wet? No chance!

I can only assume that one of my neighbours had been across and watered my beetroot before I arrived in the evening.

Possibly it was my neighbour… I suspect, because I dropped off several of my spare beetroot seedlings on to her plot before I left the other night.

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.

Autumn Beauty seedlings!

They are out! Already! And I only planted them last week.

They have been sat on the windowsill in the kitchen all week, and it has been lovely and sunny and warm. The sun flowers have done excellently and I think each pot has produced two seedlings. More or less.

Today, I planted more. I split out the remainder of the beetroot into separate pots. Then I planted more lettuce. Also I’ve planted more sunflowers, autumn beauty, and a red variety (that I don’t remember the name of).

There was a small disaster with the French beans however. The propagator that I used did not have any holes in the bottom, and the lid leaked while it was outside. That meant the seedlings had been drenched for several days in standing water. And they are now half dead. However I have noticed that there are some new shoots growing on the seedlings today during my rescue attempt, so maybe all is not lost. I hope not. We will see.

I intend to plant as many things at the allotment as fast as possible. Before things get too big in the pots.

Last night we did a special trip to find and feed Elvis, however the cat was nowhere to be seen. Today we didn’t have time, so tomorrow we must go again.

The seedlings are started

Some of the seedlings were bought from the garden center over this weekend. Some were bought as seeds and are still waiting to germinate. But at least I’ve made a start now.

The lettuce, beetroot and French beans were all bought on Saturday afternoon. The sweetcorn and the Autumn Beauty (not seen here) have been started as seeds.

Lettuce for the Guinea pigs the rest are intended for us.