Friday, 23 November 2012

After the wind and rain

Jamie visited the plot to check if it was still there after the amazing wind and rain yesterday. He was the only person there - not too surprisingly!
There wasn't much devastation; a lot of leaning structures, compost lids scattered around the site, fleece and netting stuck to the rabbit fencing and our pots had blown across the plot.

Of course, our sprout cage didn't hold up too well - it is always the first casualty! It's a bit broken and the netting tried to escape but couldn't get away from the last bricks holding it down :-)
The sprouts had to be secured upright again but none of them snapped so that's a good thing!
With more wind and rain predicted for the weekend I think we'll need to be armed with cable ties - if the sprouts are out in the open for too long the pesky pigeons will pinch our Christmas lunch!!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Clearing & Burning

It's been grey, misty but mild today. There were a few of us on the site - all with the same plan; to clear the ground and make it ready for Winter.
We spent a few hours clearing  and Jamie did some digging. We managed to get a fire going in the incinerator. We burned the remains of the sweet peas and peas and anything else we could find! The ashes were later dug into an empty space where the potatoes will grow next year - they generally like a bit of potash (not too much though or it can cause scab).

Burn, burn, burn!
We've cleared a lot of the calendula - still loads more to clear but at least we can see and use our wobbly path again now to get to the compost bins! We took two bagfuls of green waste home - seedheads and weeds which we don't want to sow next year.
Cleared all round the seat and compost bins
All the non-seed parts of the calendula went into the compost bins - we chopped the stems into smaller sections so that they'll compost down a bit quicker. Jamie mixed the fresh stuff in with the already-rotting compost. Both bins are pretty much full now but hopefully it will rot down a bit before we clear the next area of calendula!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Preparing the sprout plot

Jamie started to prepare this year's legume quarter for the brassicas (particularly sprouts) next year. He cleared the area of the marigolds; pulled the remains of bean plants; dug it really well and then added some chicken pellet manure. We'll pile bags of manure on it to make the ground nice and hard for when the sprouts go in.

Talking of sprouts, he also staked our leaning plants. The sprouts look pretty good, but Jamie said there were a lot of slugs and snails in the cage.
I got to the plot just in time for lunch  :-) and took him a lovely meat-free pasty from the fabulous Cornish Pasty shop in Newbury.

This is the rhubarb under it's Winter protection (should stop it getting too wet) - this will also help us remember where it is, as all the leaves have died off and there's no trace of it above ground!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Oh dear, no parsnips for Christmas!

We had a visit to the plot this morning. We needed to add some kitchen waste to the compost bins and I ripped up an Amazon delivery box to add too. There was no-one else on site, it wasn't too chilly and no rain, but the ground is still pretty claggy.

Jamie decided it was time to check whether we're going to have parsnips for Christmas dinner.
So, we pulled one up today - looked a good size....
...but it was rotten. Squashy at both ends and where we snapped the end off you can see that the central core is white surrounded with rotted nip :-(
It's not too surprising given the state of the parsnip bed - the hand is pointing at an apparently growing top:
A sad soggy parsnip bed
The leafy tops started to die back in September when I pulled a nice parsnip. Since then, the tops have disappeared completely; a couple have started to show some re-growth, which isn't a good sign. It would seem that we should have pulled them before the tops died back completely - the wet probably seeped down through the top where the leaves were no longer there to protect the root.
So, it's a second year with no home-grown parsnips for our Christmas lunch - doh!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Today, planning not working!

As expected, not much happening on the plot. We really need to do some tidying - hopefully we'll get a chance to do that next week.
I did put the remains of the courgette and Bush Delicata squash plants into the compost bin(!). I've got squash for my dinner tonight - stuffing made with chestnuts, parsley, sage and cheese. Yum

Jamie's checking the leeks
There's still no sign of garlic shoots or broad beans popping up. The temperature reached -3° last night and today was again warm and sunny.
Our sprouts need some support! Two of the plants have serious leaning issues so we'll have to get into the cage and straighten them up if poss. Also need to take those yellow leaves off to stop disease and mould getting to them.
This end of Plot7 doesn't look too bad, quite nicely cleared but the other quarters need work and a good dig over before it gets really cold. Not to mention Plot 8...!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A walk past the plot (and the last 3 years)

We went for a walk over Freemans Marsh in the sun this afternoon. There were a few moorhen on the river and a beautiful swan but we didn't see anything else of interest. The ground was very soggy (well, it is the marsh :-)) but not as bad as we've seen it before - I managed to keep my socks dry and wasn't wearing wellies!

We were going to walk past the allotments but saw Malcolm so went in and chatted to him for a good while. The ground is rather wet for digging and the weeds continue to grow in our absence!
There were quite a few fellow plotholders around and I couldn't face talking to them all so we decided against walking down to our plot (shame, I wish we had now) - I guess that's the drawback of having such a friendly site  :-)

As I was lazy, here are pics from around this date over the history of our plot (unfortunately not from the same vantage point!!)

This week in 2011

This week in 2010
This week in 2009

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Holiday? What holiday?!

Well, as you can see...I'm not blogging about growing tomatoes in sunny Tenerife!
We didn't make it out of the country! We're so disappointed.

The Arteriovenous (AV) fistula in my arm, which was used for needling during haemodialysis, stopped working the day before I wrote the last post. Because I have my transplant I don't actually need the fistula any more but it's kept if there's a need for it in the future.
I checked with my renal unit at the Churchill Hospital and they told me it could be painful and to take painkillers. Well, there's painful and there's PAINFUL!
Clotting fistula
After another trip to the hospital and some antibiotics the decision was made - I couldn't possibly travel and wouldn't want to have been abroad with an arm that hurt when a sleeve touched it.
So we've got a couple of weeks in Hungerford instead!

Today was the first day we've ventured to the plot. The sky was blue and sunny but no life in any of our recent plantings yet (garlic or broad beans) and nothing interesting to photograph. The minimum temp has been 2° and maximum of 13° (not 28° like Tenerife - no! Stop that!!)

Anyway, back home pretty quickly to nurse my not-so-swollen-now arm.
Tut, such bad timing  :-(

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Blue Skies and Cold Temperatures

We made our final trip to the plot before our holidays. It was a beautiful sunny morning and such lovely blue sky. We just did a bit of composting (I added the dried out sweetcorn sticks and vegetable waste from home to the bin.
The ash tree has lost all of its leaves now - hope this one doesn't get infected by the ash tree dieback which is spread by a fungus. The fungal disease has spread to the UK from Northern Europe and is currently a big concern for all our ash trees :-(
The temperature has reached a minimum of -1° in the last week - with frost on the car a couple of days. Our rhubarb is gradually dying back but appears to have established well since it was planted at the end of July.
So that's that for two weeks - I doubt it'll look much difference when we return. There's not much to change the look of the plot at this time of year.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Happy Halloween

We had our squashes stuffed with Quorn mince bolognaise on Halloween night. Still have 3 squashes left over which will still be edible when we get back from our hols hopefully.
Jamie's head hurt