Sunday, 27 April 2014

ChainMail Article June 2014

It's April showers all the way today so I don't know if we'll get to the plot. Shame really, I want to make some chive flower vinegar.

I'm in the process of writing my next Chainmail article - Hungerford's quarterly magazine. This will be for the June-September edition. Unbelievable! I'm still trying to work out what happened to February and March this year!

Here's a link to my article in the previous edition. Inspired by some of the lovely wildlife visitors on Marsh Lane and who I'd like to see more of!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Potatoes and Beans

We had a successful afternoon on the plot today. It was reasonably warm, though if the chill wind blew while the sun wasn't shining I needed to grab my jacket. The temperature fell to zero over the last couple of nights.
One of our rhubarb plants had sent up this flower head. When the bud starts growing it looks like any other stem, but now the flower has developed it's obvious and easy to remove - to stop the whole plant going to seed.

After cutting the stem off there's a gaping hollow stem.
To avoid it filling with water and rotting I put a cover over the top. The flowers are really pretty, but I'll enjoy them on other people's plots rather than on our's :-)

We achieved today's prime objective and got our spuds in! We've only planted 20 this year: 10 x Chopin and 10 x Desiree. Spread across three rows. The Chopin are on grass clippings and manure while the Desiree also have shredded paper in their trenches. All have a bit of added 6x and of course the nematodes should be doing their thing to keep the slugs at bay.

Rain threatened, but stayed away

Here's Jamie adding Christmas tree sprinkles as a further slug deterrent! (I rather like the shadow in this photo).
Christmas Tree needles
We also sowed some broad beans: 15 x Suttons and 10 x Express - we're hoping these varieties will result in their own succession harvesting...
As usual we protect them immediately with bottle cloches. There's debate at Marsh Lane as to whether the pheasants or mice are the biggest broad beanshoot chompers; they're both unwelcome, but frequent, visitors.
The cat is enjoying all the activity, human, gnome, rodent and feathered!
Gnome Toppling Time
The strawberry flowers make it look like it could be a bumper year, if the frost stays off. I thought it funny that this photo shows flowers on the same plant with 5 and 6-petals - 6 is apparently more common, will have to pay more attention next time I'm on the site

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Hand Bag?!

Here are our leeks we picked today - some real whoppers! Looking forward to having them in a cheesy sauce, with Quorn, topped with lovely mash - yum!
Oh, yes, and it's a gratuitous shot of my iridescent handbag, which I love :)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Time to Get On

We had a great weekend, particularly today - 5 hours on the site in the lovely warm sunshine. 
As soon as we arrived on site Tanya offered us a box of red onion sets. We were resigned to not growing any this year because Thompson & Morgan couldn't deliver our Santero sets. So that was much appreciated - I popped 14 in Plot 8 and the rest of the box went up to the allotment spares table in the communal area on site. Finally, some planting!
Plot 8 is looking loved again, with newly barked paths and dug beds and a weed-suppressed area for the seed house.
The raspberries are covered in fresh green leaves and buds. 
Jamie cleared last year's rotten potato patch and tidied the edges and I mixed some lime and a bit of fertiliser into the bed for the broad beans next week. So, we actually feel like we're getting somewhere now!