Picked up the wrong wood. So, the slats that I put up last time on the allotment trellis are made out of the wrong wood. I didn’t see at the time, and today I picked up an identical batch of slats: also the wrong size. The wood hasn’t been treated either.
So it’s back to the drawing board on that one. Luckily I haven’t opened the second batch of slats so I can take those back tomorrow. I will look at redoing the trellis next time I have the proper materials.
While I was there however I did pick up some small pieces of horseradish which had started to grow. They were growing exactly where I expected them to be, which is why I hadn’t covered or planted anything in the soil in that area.
Tiny shards of horseradish had started to sprout and leaf. They were very easy to spot, and even easier to pick out! Straight into the bin when they go home otherwise they’ll be growing in the communal compost bin followed by random places across somebody else’s plot.
They are starting to arrive, the tayberriesare starting to fruit and ripen. I’ve just visited the allotment for about 30 minutes and as I was passing the tayberry plant I saw a flash of red along the thicket. Just one.
This is the first tayberry. There are plenty more on the way however, the branches are full of them.
Although the birds don’t generally like to eat them, I will put netting over themjust in case.
Saturday, the 19th of June 2021, and the rain is about to hit the allotment, but I’ve just finished and I’m back at the car.
For the last hour or so of the day I made an effort to go to the allotment and use up the wood I had bought a previous weekend. The idea was to build a continuation of the trellis which was holding up the Tayberry plant. That was today’s plan!
When I arrived most of the people had finished for the day and had already started to go home. The members of the public had cleared a space outside the main gate, which was just big enough for me to fit my car in. Just as well because I didn’t fancy carrying all of the ward from the pub car park in the village.
I made two trips from the car with big batches of wood over my shoulder. Then I went back one more time to pick up the lump hammer, the drill and the level. Then back into the allotment garden to start my work.
It didn’t take long, and although I had bought bigger upright posts, which meant my new section would be slightly taller, everything went as planned. After looking at the new height I decided it was fine. So, the new Tayberry of shoots will be growing quite high up on the new section. That’s the plan. I might extend it in the opposite direction as well, I’ll have a think about it.
Elvis the garden cat popped along for a little bit, sat on the communal wooden table, and scratched wooden bench. But, I didn’t have any food with me, so Elvis soon wandered off. There was one other person who turned up briefly, but apart from that I didn’t see anybody else today.
The time is now 6 o’clock at night, and the forecast suggests a lot of rain is on the way. Southerly rain clouds are coming up from France. But, I’m on my way home.
Tonight’s trip after work is just a fast one. A fleeting visit to the plot just before the sun drops too far below the horizon behind the village church (before it goes pitch black). In the only person there and all the gates are locked. It’s quite.
It’s the time to pick the tayberries.
They have just ripened enough to be perfect. Another day and they would turn too far … they would be too soft. This year there is a good harvest and I’ve managed to time it perfectly. The berries are just right.
Up at dawn. Down at the allotment by 6:30am. There was nobody around again, either on the way there, or while I was there. I was all alone.
Task list today … this was quite light. I had to flatten some of the soil on the long plot due to the digging I did last time. I found another rhubarb plant underneath the black sheeting, so I transferred that to the long plot. I tied up the Tayberry and transplanted a small Tayberry seedling onto a spare vertical space on the trellis.
After that I was pretty much done! So I took a quick walk around the allotment garden. There is plenty of work going on and a lot of the allotments look amazing. I think this is probably going towards the best I have seen it in a very long time. People are doing quite a lot of work down on their plots.
My main plot is looking, well… It’s looking covered up. The edges are looking a lot better and I need probably at least another six boards to finish all four sides. Probably that will wait though. I really need to make a start on the path between my main plot any my neighbour’s area.
I was up early again. Out of bed, dressed ready for the plot, into the car which was already pre-packed with all the equipment I needed, and then I set off for the allotment.
I saw nobody. There was nobody around outside the house, I saw no cars or any person on the way to the allotment and then when I got there I saw nobody as I travelled through the main gate past the front of the main house (the fields were full of newborn lambs) and into the allotment garden. It was empty.
As I entered into the walled garden I was met by Elvis the garden cat! This is the first time I’ve seen Elvis this year! Honestly, I was beginning to wonder whether she had survived the winter or not?! And because of this I wasn’t prepared: I did not have any cat food with me and there wasn’t any in the boot of my car either. Unfortunately that meant Elvis wasn’t getting any treats from me today.
I started work instead. On the list of jobs to do today:
– Strim the edges and borders of both plots
– Continue boarding out the far edge of my main plot
– Add three more slats to the Tayberry climber
This little lot took about three hours to complete.
The weather this weekend has been fantastic. It’s been sunny and bright outside and not too hot. Just right for working down at the plot. For most of the morning I had company from Elvis and a rather large pheasant that was easily spooked every time I hit the wooden stakes with the mallet.
I was finished by 11 am. I had packed up and was ready to go back home. Everything was strimmed neatly and the border is looking a lot better. I added two more boards in-line with the rest. Just one more board now before I reach the end of the plot. I’m not very far away from finishing one long edge at last!
As I walked back to the car I made sure all the gates were closed properly. For some reason all of the gates were open this morning. The front gate, the middle gate into the gardens and the gate into the allotment were all wide open. That was strange because the only main directive we have been given is to close all gates after use.
Sunday morning before everybody had got out of bed, I had managed to make it down to the allotment. I was the first one there, nobody about and everything was quiet apart from the birds.
My task for today was to tie up the cucumbers which had started to grow really well. Also on my list of things to tie up was the French beans.
I intended to pick a couple of lettuce plants as well. These would go to the guinea pigs at home who seem to be eating most of my allotment produce at the moment.
This is the first time I’ve I noticed that the tayberry bush has been attacked. I could hear the pigeons cooing in the background, probably stuffed to the brim with berries from my plant!
I think that the bright red berries are like beacons to the passing fat pigeons. And the crossbars of my trellis are welcoming platform to an open restaurant. A happy dining experience for the stuffed birds.
Where is Elvis?!
I may have to rethink my kindness towards the garden cat, if the pigeons are taking such an advantage. Sorry Elvis! You need to start doing your job.
Partly done another board on the edge of the plot again tonight. As you can see, the left half of the plot has boards asking the edge and trellis … and is filled with plants like beetroot. The centre is rhubarb and horseradish with the compost bin. The right is still not done.
Recently, one of my jobs was to finish the trellis for the Tayberry plant. I turned up to the allotment with hand saw, screws and electric drill in hand only to discover my way blocked by about 30 American tourists. They were looking at the Abbey through the main gate, my only way into the walled garden.
One or two clever comments later about how I was going to plant potatoes using a spirit level, and I was passed them and into the main grounds. I could hear the tourists as they wandered off talking about Harry Potter.
The job itself only took a short while to complete. Fairly easy but only possible using one hand to do and fix the holes (due to me being the only person in the place that evening) — the other hand was needed to steady and level the cross bar.
Then it was done. Another job crossed off my list. The tayberry is now in good shape to take very little effort for the rest of the season.
I’ve received this email from the allotment association. The landowner has had a rethink about the location of the composing and mulching area proposed for the centre of the walled garden. They are instead looking at other alternatives in their land portfolio and have concluded the kitchen garden is not the place.
I have to admit, after putting up the trellis to grow my tayberry, I was thinking about how long it would be before I would need to uproot it again.
I’m glad that the effort put in by other allotment holders has had an effect on the thoughts of the land owner.
Also, as was pointed out in the email, there does seem to be a renewed vigor in the walled garden plots now — it is after all a privilege to rent a plot in such a beautiful and peaceful place.
At last! It has been several years in the process, but finally the teyberry plant has managed to be transported from the long plot where it was waiting … waiting that is, for a neat space on the main plot. The trellis is simple. There are three main stakes, and four crossbars making a simple frame. It’s capable of expansion both horizontally (to the left) and in-between the crossbars to make room for more tayberry streamers as they grow.
This was completed in just one hour in the morning during my day off work the other week — with plenty of help from my dad. It was a super sunny day and we had a little time before lunch to spend, fixing up some trellis before it was too late to transplant the taybury.
The plot (as you can see) to the right of mine is a bit of a mess still, but this is the landowner’s area that they just cleared the other week. Their borders are a bit wonky still, and it will make cutting the grass difficult down this edge now, but this side is on my list of things to sort out anyway …
Tonight was a fantastic evening. The sun has been out all day, I had left work early and finished off the day at home so I was able to miss the rush hour and be ready to leave for the allotment at a sensible time. And there were helpers tonight!
When we arrived, with my Dad and the little one in tow (plus little scooter for scooting outside the main grounds), we immediately went to find Elvis and feed her a big sachet of cat food.
Elvis appeared and looked hungry as usual. I was a little worried we might find her trapped inside a klosh like we did the other day, but happily, she was ok this time.
While grandad and the little one sorted out the garden cat, and watched the two pheasants strutting around on one of the empty plots, I had enough time to quickly mow the edges of my allotment. Just one quick run around with the petrol mower! It only took 5 minutes and looked a lot better after the small effort.
Tomorrow, we will nip down again to install a small trellis and transplant the tayberry that has been hiding in my temporary (long) plot for two years. I have finally finished enough border in my main plot to be able to transplant it. This year I hope to get a truck full of tayberries out of this plant.