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.

Reconnaissance trip

It’s early on Sunday, the 18th of July 2021 and it’s going to be another scorching hot day with temperatures reaching around 30+ degrees C. Blue sky everywhere as I am already exiting the allotment at 8:30am in the morning: the temperature is already rising upwards.

I came down to the plot to drop off some potatoes, but probably it is too late to put them in so I’ve left them on the ground. I also brought down a tub full of weeds. Now there is a strange thing, bringing weeds to the allotment! As if there aren’t enough here already. But this tub of weeds had already been mulched down using plenty of water. And I was going to use the same tub to mulch down the weeds I picked the other night. So that was the plan: not to bring more weeds to the allotment but to bring a way to kill the weeds.

I was the first person in, but soon there were another four or five people who turned up. The day has started for everybody, just as I was going to leave and go home.

I invited everybody to pick more of my tayberries, because they were starting to fall off the branches again and needed eating. I picked a handful of chard which would probably go to the guinea pigs, although maybe I might eat it, I’m not sure yet.

Courgette medley and chard

And I took some photos of the upcoming courgette plants. They are looking very promising …

There’s a lot of work to do over the next few nights. The weeds are going to have to go on some of the potatoes have to come up. There is plenty of jobs to be thinking about.

Two trips to the allotment today

I had a day off work today. It had been planned since last week, since the forecast for the rain had finished. Thursday promised to be a better day out of these days for this week. It didn’t disappoint! It was a hot sunny day.

The main aim was to clear up the allotment which had started to grow quite a lot of weeds. They had started to take over the beetroot patches, and at the far end of the plot where I had started to grow lavender plants the weeds and started to sprout up there also. It all needed to be thinned out.

I had a hat on and my sunglasses. Flask of tea. A plastic bag for the weeds. That was it I was ready to start. It took about two hours to clear both sides of the plot of bind weed and large Dandelion plants that started to sprouts up everywhere.

Once it was finished it was a lot clearer.

Tayberries, tub, carrots

The tayberry plant is amazing. There are hundreds growing and ripening. As I walk down by the side of the plot all I could see were red dots everywhere. But I’d forgotten to bring my plastic tub and so I couldn’t really collect any. That was the reason for the second visit in the afternoon.

The second visit I had helpers. We picked a tub full of tayberries and pulled out handful of carrots on that quick visit.

I’ve been a very successful day today.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Lettuce are doing well. Tayberries are doing even better.

It’s Saturday, the 26th of June 2021 and 7:30 at night, I’ve just come out of the allotment and there was nobody there, not a soul. Except for The Scourge pecking around plots. Not even Elvis tonight.

It’s been a lovely day today but I’ve not done any work on the plot. I came down this evening just for a look around. Just to make sure everything was going okay. It pretty much does.
I spent maybe five minutes picking out some weeds from between the lettuce but that’s all.

Lettuce 🥬, plot 25 and The Scourge

The tayberries are doing very well. They have really come on in the past few days, and started to ripen all over the trellis. Too many to count now, compare to previously where I could only count one! That one has gone now! I’ve eaten it.

The next time I come down to the allotment I will need to bring a small container or tub because they will need to get picked. If I leave them too long they’ll fall off or get munched. And if I time it just right next time I will have enough for a crumble desert!

Lettuce leaves are doing well. They’ve really started to grow. I picked out some of a small bind weed that started to grow in between, and now it’s a lot clearer. No sign of those leaves getting munched either! Looks as though the snails haven’t found them yet.

That was it really for the evening. There are plenty of weeds. They are starting to grow all over my plot although only cress at the moment. Plot number 25, the one I cleared last year (which was then handed over) has really grown weeds! Some of them are head height and the poppyseeds are starting to get ready to drop. That’s going to have to change hands as soon … the letters have been sent, I’ve heard. It’s a plot that is starting to spread weeds everywhere else.

That’s it for the evening, nothing left to do but to close the gate and go home. I spend the last 30 seconds chasing The Scourge, but it just runs away in between the sunflowers. I give up and close the gate behind me.

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!

Sunshine all day ☀️ at the allotment

Entries for Thursday 30th and Friday 31st July 2020.

Is been an amazing day at the allotment, (Thursday 30th July 2020). The temperature has been in the high 20s and I’ve been on holiday from work! I spent 5h15m at the plot today !! I’ve been taking one day a month off work for a while now, picking a last minute holiday to suit the weather.

It started as B&Q opened. I needed a couple of planks of wood to edge some of the plot. I’ve still not finished that but I’m getting there slowly. Also, with sifting the stones out of the soil recently, it’s left me with more than several bags of rocks. I need the edging to demarcate the rest of the plot from where I’m going to keep them.

Immediately from getting the wood I deliver it to the allotment gardens, before the public arrive: I can’t be carrying that sort of thing into the plot with people milling around.

The neighbour’s plot and butterflies 🦋

Inside the allotment garden everything is quiet away from the socially-distanced crowds of public and all is quiet. This time of year some parts of the allotment garden are looking spectacular! Plot number 12 which is two plots over from me is looking particularly good with the hundreds of bees 🐝 and butterflies dotting around the large lavender plants! Hundreds! The lavender looks particularly infested with bees!

The weather today is incredible. The sun is shining and the sky is blue above. It’s already started to warm up a lot and so I need to crack on with my job for today before it gets unbearable …

Panoramic across the sky

Then, looking across from my allotment onto some others I notice that even the weeds are shooting skywards, some of the neglected plots are showing weeds up to (and beyond) head-height! It will only get worse. Every single plot in the allotment garden was worked at the beginning of lockdown but now that the lockdown has eased, it seems that some plot holders have also eased their attendance. At this time of year the plants are getting a huge spurt of growth and that also includes the weeds!

With my cucumber plants beginning to show their first small mini cucumbers growing on their lower branches I’m taking care to ensure they are going to get the best treatment.

My lettuce patch is growing at an amazing rate and they should be picked quickly before the plants start to seed. My neighbour walks past and asks for another, I’ve already given many away, usually with a free slug. My rhubarb has taken over as it usually does this time of year, making the centre of my plot dominated with two plants, the other being horseradish … possibly it is time for the horseradish to get dug out next year.

Two main plants in the centre of my plot and the central boards across the middle

Butterflies and bees are markedly down on my plot which I am beginning to try and rectify this with my latest plan. Remove the horseradish and replace it with something that could be used to promote the bees and butterflies. I’m not certain what yet…

The planks of wood have gone in now, and it’s taken a second visit to finish it off. The central portion on the plot is now separated from the two ends. This area will be where I store the rocks I dig up, how exactly I’ve not quite figured out.

Over the past few days I’ve had company at the allotment for a change. The butterflies were the deciding factor and encouraged my little helper to bring her butterfly net and jar. With the superb weather, the picnic rug and the shared plot next to mine, that was the perfect location for a few hours in the sun away from crowds of people.

She spent about an hour chasing butterflies and then studying them in the jar. Then she went on to flowers 💐 and mushrooms 🍄 and insects 🦟 … Finally, after about an hour and a half of all that, she got bored 😐 and decided to start burning holes through a piece of wood using the magnifying glass instead …😗

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.

Handing back the long plot number 25

This morning at 6:45am I was down at the allotment (no longer fully locked down! although maybe partially) with one job left to do on the long plot against the wall: to finish it and get it into a state that would be suitable to be returned back to the allotment association.

Plot number 25, the long plot against the wall

I managed it in around three and a half hours this morning. Before the sun was too high and too hot was the best time to do the heavy work of digging and muck shifting.

Jobs that were finished today included: removing the remaining weeds, clearing the last of the soil at the far end of the plot, removing the last of the glass and plastics, straightening the border and flattening and raking the soil across the full length of the plot. Done! ✅

Happily I can now request the allotment association take back this long plot 25 and I will be rid of it completely! I only took this plot ok because it originally looked such a mess.

My old blog posting, I have this record: https://smallallotmentdiary.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/new-allotment-plot/

That was way back in 2016, and back then it was high and full of weeds. What’s difference! The plot back then hadn’t been touched for several years. I was surrounded by weeds on three and a half sides, so I agreed to tackle it just so I wasn’t so badly surrounded.

I remember the first day I tackled that allotment plot. It was also a really nice sunny was day: https://smallallotmentdiary.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/first-against-the-wall/

… now it’s time to hand it back.

More clearing of the long plot down the lockdown allotment

Today is Sunday, the 5th of July 2020. I was at the allotment at around 7 am this morning to clear off the long plot. Remove all the weeds which were getting up to knee-high, and transport as much soil as I could onto my main plot. I can see the finish line now and I want to cross it as soon as I can.

When I arrived this morning the ground was wet again. It had been raining during the night. But, like yesterday the ground was not sodden with water and the digging went quite easily. The plan was to do just one hour, but in the end I did two. It’s 9 o’clock now and I’ve just packed up and left the allotments.

First clearance pass on the long plot

Another 10 or 15 wheelbarrows were transported onto my main plot, but this time I was more concentrating on finishing the long plot. Clearing all of the weeds was the aim today. Handing back the long plot to the allotment association is now my top priority.

I would like to reach that goal as quickly as possible because yesterday the UK countrywide lockdown had started to get removed. Easing of restrictions had started. I am sad to say that I have not grown much on my main plot this year because of long plot clearing and also creating the path between my main plot and the neighbours plot. I would like to get back to concentrating on growing things again.

I cleared the majority of the weeds from the area against the wall and the only things left are

– fix the border edges

– clears the small patch of grass underneath the tree at the far end of the long plot

– rotorvate the long plot

I think that last step might be impossible because the machinery had been removed from the shed. Do I might end up doing that last part be hand. But in any case: there are only a few more steps remaining and soon I will be able to give it back to the allotment association and concentrate on my main plot from then on.

A 5:30 am start at lockdown allotments

I was awake early so I decided instead of lying in bed waiting for the rain to arrive, I would make an effort and get out of bed, get dressed drive down to the plot and do some digging before everybody is awake.

More soil manoeuvres

The weather last night must’ve been slightly drizzly because the ground was wet as I walked out of the house. The allotment was soaked through, but the digging was okay. I cleared some more weeds away from the far end of the long plot and then started to dig the patch of land ready to transport the soil back to my main plot.

I spent about an hour filling up wheelbarrows and transporting them onto a tarpaulin which I had spread out at the end of my plot. As I was filling up the wheelbarrow I was pulling out weeds and rocks, but I intend to filter this soil before I incorporated into my main allotment. That will be a job once the long plot against the wall has been handed back, and the reason I am transporting this on to blue tarpaulin instead of just dumping it at the far end of my plot.

That’s the plan anyway. Clear the long plot take my soil back, transport it onto the blue tarpaulin, then filter it by hand to get rid of all the main weeds and rocks. There seems to be a larger amount of glass and plastic on this long plot, probably because of the old compost heap that was used as a dumping ground for years. The soil all needs filtering.

The time is 7 o’clock in the morning now, I’ve cleared up, covered up and gone back to the car. The drizzle has started to return and there seems to be very little point getting stuck in the mud… this clearance will take a while longer to complete.

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.

Another two boards today

Sunday 17th May 2020 and week 8 of the lockdown. I spent 4 hours 20 minutes this morning putting in another two boards on the path between my plot and the neighbours’ areas.

Before the turf goes down

I was down at the allotment by around 6 am this morning. Nobody was around as usual, the sun hadn’t quite made it over the trees yet, plenty of birds around and my friend Elvis. But that was all.

I made a start in the usual way. Lifting the turf 35 cm chunks at a time and then placing them next to the path on my allotment. Then I boarded the path area. Today I was doing about 3 m of path.

The large amount of soil I was using to fill in the path area came from the long plot against the wall, as usual. I think there must’ve been at least 30 to 40 wheelbarrow loads of soil to make up the new height for the path. This took most of the time!

The soil as it was being removed from the long plot had to be filtered of plastics. Still, even though I had removed the majority of the plastics and waste from inside the compost bin on the long plot, I am still finding pieces of nylon string and bits of plastic and glass. In order for them to be removed from the allotment I am not just burying them under the path. I am taking them off site instead and trying to recycle them. What’s the other option there? Take them home to send them into landfill? Out of one hole in the ground and straight into another?

I think after the amount of work that I did today there should only be one or two more trips to the allotment in order to fix the last part of the path. Then I will be able to concentrate on making the long plot usable. And finally I will be able to concentrate back on my main plot.

Allotment clearing in the rain

It’s just after dawn on Saturday, February 22, 2020. A weekend after storm Dennis which caused local flooding of the surrounding fields and roads. This weekend is raining, after a week of on/off in-between showers passing across the country. Finally I find myself some time to get to the allotment. So far in the soggy and muddy allotment plot, I’m hiding in the garden shed because of an increased downpour. That’s where I am up to this morning.

A bit of a soggy view from inside the shed

But, this is by far the most fun I’ve had in a while! Clearing the muddy plot of weeds in the rain, with nobody around apart from the squirrels and the birds in the trees.

Saturday 16th of November 2019, just a quick visit

Just a quick visit on Saturday morning. The weather has cleared, slightly at least for today. The rain has been quite constant for a few weeks and this weekend it seems to have stopped.

A small amount of tidying up still needs to be done, but every little helps as usual. So today I’ve spent about an hour down at the allotment.

I cleared a 5 x 5 m square area and converted it with the black sheeting ready for the winter. Probably I have another three areas to do on my plot before I have finished converting my main area. Then, it will be ready for the winter, New Year and spring.

But more importantly and because I really need to look forward, this will allow me to get on with other jobs. I will have made that area inert and eat to manage. It will be covered, possibly for the whole of next year. Instead, I can look at finishing the borders which were quite neglected this year.

Also I will be able to look at the plot by the wall. My intention is to hand that are back to the allotment association. They have plans fir for that long area but the . Possibly it will be levelled and grassed and planted with new trees all the way down that edge. Nobody seems to want to take on plots in the shade by the wall, and so it would make sense for them to be used as orchard areas.

However that means I will need to finish my jobs for the borders before they take the plot back. I have been piling up soil and turf on that long plot for the past two years, and I need to take that soil back for use on the pathed areas along side my main allotment before they take the site off me.

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.