Saturday, 22 April 2017

Earth Song

It's Earth Day - a day to celebrate our amazing planet and encourage people to be more environmentally friendly. Making compost with food scraps and waste paper/card has got to be up there as one of the most satisfying and environmentally friendly things we can all do.

I mixed up the contents of our bins today. Mostly because there was a hole under one and we were worried that there would be a rat nesting in there - I'm pleased there wasn't! Our compost seems a bit wet, but the worms love it and it always turns out good in the end.
There it is, earth in the making!
It was an unexpectedly beautiful day, with pretty much full sunshine all afternoon while we were on the plot. This is our valerian, with its lush greenery - looking tropical in the afternoon sunshine.
The flowers are forming but the stems are hollow so don't seem like they'll be frost there really a snow/frost risk for us next week??
I sowed some more seeds: Red Brussels sprouts, Nelson Brussels sprouts, Minicole cabbages, Victoria Florence fennel - all in modules and under cover in the greenhouse.
The Toledo leeks have germinated but the other year-old leek seeds haven't. I love the way leek and other onion seedlings always start bent double like this.
The Aster seeds haven't germinated as well as the marigold seeds have, but hopefully there will be enough for a nice show of flowers.
The mangetout has grown well and I hope to get the frame up for them tomorrow but will probably wait another week before planting them out.
We're living on rhubarb, it's delicious, but the plants will need splitting later in the year. One of the plants isn't so happy; the stems are short and the leaves look a bit yellow.
I broke open this stone - I was hoping to find some crystals inside.

It was full of chalk - interesting, but I would have preferred crystals!
So, for Earth Day, here's Earth Song by Michael Jackson...

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Catch the Sun

Well done Jamie! He's finished digging Plot 7 - the last quarter where the sweetcorn, small pumpkins and french beans will grow.
I spent the few hours on the plot enjoying the sunshine once the chilly wind had moved on. I fiddled about basically: cleaning (weeding) the greenhouse, digging some compost into the trench where the sweetpeas are going. I spent way to long creating an odd-looking structure for them - "it'll be fine once it's covered in flowers"! I pinched out the growing tip on the sweetpeas in the greenhouse - I hope they survive what's meant to be a freezing night..
I potted on my sad-looking Tigerella tomato seedlings - they're very weak. I only planted up the 9 strongest looking as I only want 1 plant anyway!
The picture above shows the row of worked-on plots leading to our plots 7 & 8 at the end of the row - it's so lovely seeing new growth appearing across the site. Lots of people are already putting their seeds in. Perhaps we'll be able to now that Jamie's finished the hard work!
Here are Doves singing the title track...

Monday, 17 April 2017

Can You Dig It?

I know I've got a separate wildlife blog, but I love this super-macro photo so much that I have to share it on here. It's a female orange tip butterfly that was in the greenhouse.
Look at that eye!
These are the butterflies which are currently most prolific on the allotment site. Earlier in the year we've had tortoiseshells and brimstones. The females actually have black tips to their wings; the males have the orange wingtips.
Anyway, back to gardening... The title is because that's what I asked Jamie yesterday. I'd finished digging the quarter which is going to be a flower plot this year but my digging technique left the plot about 2 foot higher than it should be. With a bit of 'knocking back'  by Jamie it now looks like this - much better!

Hopefully we'll soon get some of the promised rain and then I can put stepping stones across the middle and start thinking about which flowers go where... that's the plan, I wonder if it'll work this year..
Talking of flowers, I'm planning to make some chive flower vinegar again as soon as these open up - I'm hoping that will be tomorrow otherwise I may miss out on them. Chive flowers that come later in the year are never as good (I find) as the first blooms. 
A little bit of Google-fanciness to make this look more interesting than it is!
We've had some new plotholders join us over the last couple of months and we're very pleased that some of them are at our end of the site, so we have a nice big block of loved plots. So lovely to see new people enjoying the site as much as we do.
Thanks to the Mock Turtles for the soundtrack...

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A Little Time

There's always something watching; normally it's magpies ..This time it's a VOLE.
I know! Enemy of the broad bean grower, but really! How cute is that? Rustling around in the neighbour's strawberry bed while Jamie was digging. I think he did well to get this photo before the little chap scurried off (the vole, not Jamie).
As long as he stays on the neighbour's plot and doesn't find my mangetout growing in the greenhouse I don't mind :-)
It's Easter holidays, so Jamie planted some of our potatoes on Thursday (13th April). We have two short rows with 4 spuds in each: 1 x Burgundy Red, 1 x Orla, 2 x Kestrel and the other row is 4 x Desiree. Our other potatoes are going into bags, which we'll try to do in the next week or so.
Sowing the chard in modules means that I can be selective for which colours I plant out on the plot. Plenty to choose from there. We're having a plant sale in June so none of these will be wasted - I only need about 3 plants but like to have one of each colour.
Music provided by The Beautiful South,  as I have a little more time before going back to work.

Monday, 10 April 2017


Wow! What a beautiful weekend that was. It's now Monday and the temperature has dropped, but I don't mind as I'm at work (on lunch break I hasten to add!).
It was a bit too hot for digging, but I did some and Jamie finished off the patch where a compost bin was and where we are growing some sweetcorn this year on Plot 3. The plants on the left are the valerian, which has grown like crazy - it should have some nice white flowers that smell of vanilla.
I found the new packet of leek seeds that I had lost, so we now have another potful sowed - they are called Toledo. Raspberry plants are looking fresh with the buds looking promising - I never did get round to tidying up the bed as intended.
My Tigerella tomato seedlings at work are looking less than happy - our office is just too hot for them, I think. There should be at least a couple which can be transplanted in a week or so, but their stems are so weak they may not survive the move. Luckily our grafted tomato plants should be delivered soon.
We left the site last night after a lovely few hours, with armfuls of rhubarb from plotholder, Lesley - ours isn't quite ready for picking yet.
Today's song is 'Sunny' sung by Marvin Gaye, but now it's back-to-work time...