Sunday, 12 May 2019

Eighth Day

I've been on leave for a week, we've been busy with other things but have also had time on the plot and achieved some stuff, though there's still plenty to do. We still have a few potatoes chitting at home - they're going into bags on the plot, at some point...Looks like an alien with his hands up "I come in peace".
We've had sunshine with some rain and the nights have threatened frost and also reached -1° so we've been fleecing and de-fleecing most mornings and evenings.We have plenty of weeds growing but have cleared areas and taken bagfuls home for the green bin.
But flowers are providing lovely bright spots. We have way too many of these Californian poppies, but they're so beautiful!
And the chives are all flowering so the bees are very happy.
We've potted on all the french marigolds and also some supervivum (houseleek) for the plant sale.
We've braved putting them outside under netting but we are fleecing them overnight if a frost is threatened - it's easier to deal with than in the greenhouse though and they need to toughen up...
The strawberries have so many flowers and tiny fruits forming that we don't want to risk them so they're fleeced each night too. So far they've kept their yellow centres so the frost hasn't got these..
But as well as protecting things and weeding we've been planting - broad beans are in...
Salad is planted in the raised bed with the onions.
And today I planted up a smaller raised bed with Boltardy beetroot, Red and White Salad Onions and Purple and Pink Asian radish. I spent some time yesterday digging out the masses of weeds in that part of the plot. I dug out another part of Plot7 on Bank Holiday Monday - here's a timelapse... you can see why it takes me a long time to dig... apart from having to pick roots (from the hedge) from almost every spadeful it does appear that I do quite a lot of chatting :-)
While I was doing that, Jamie was clearing a large area of Plot 3 and dug the runner bean trench.
It's nice that we're beginning to see areas which are free of weeds. And the beans are planted into pots in the greenhouse - Benchmaster and I have some Pickwick dwarf runner beans that another plotholder gave me.
Our rhubarb is growing monstrous and we've not eaten much of it yet, but did give some to a friend at work to make some rhubarb gin...
We had some torrential rain but no thunder. Anyway that sums up our last week and a bit, and so Hazel O'Connor provides the title track (it should be 9 days, but well, you know..!)

Sunday, 28 April 2019


I'm pleased to say that the french marigold (tagetes) recovered from overheating last weekend and today I potted on 150 of them for the HAHA plant sale. There's still another trayful to do!
But the polytunnel is looking rather full!
Jamie dug the area for the carrots today and on Easter Sunday he planted the potatoes - we're only growing a few this year: 5 each of Nicola and Kestrel.
We didn't get much else done last weekend because we had a plotholder picnic in the lovely Easter sunshine.
The mangetout have nearly all germinated so I need to get them planted out, but no time today.
The classic April sunshine-and-showers weather has encouraged everything to grow. And it's proper Spring now because a robin was feeding his mate in the hedge and we all heard the cuckoo over the marsh - such a lovely sound, before we get tired of it going on and on :-)
Even the strawberries have flowered. We'll have to fleece them if we get any more frosts, which is quite likely.
Storm Hannah brought some tremendous gusts of wind yesterday. Our polytunnel, which is already in a bit of a sorry state now has a window at the back as well as a door that doesn't close properly...
Hence the song title provided by Natalie Imbruglia.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019


4 April 2019 marked my 11 year kidney transplant anniversary. On that day last year I started collecting 10pence pieces to donate to the Six Counties Kidney Patients Association, the charity that looks after patients covered by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust .
10pence pieces to mark the 10 year anniversary, but I soon realised that they're quite hard to come by these days. Even manipulating purchases to ensure I'd get a 10p in my change I only had about £3 after a few weeks. So I publicised my donation plan at work and 10pences started arriving at my desk.
My friends and family have also been collecting and 10pences dropped through my letterbox, in our allotment polytunnel and cash equivalents via bank transfer.
 Jamie and I counted them up at the weekend and I collected a pile more from my Great-Nephew, courtesy of my sister, niece and their friends and workmates, though I know a few more are due to be delivered.
We sorted through, checking for any fancy coins and we found these. Each worth about £3 each, so we added that value to the collection (and kept the coins).
P for Postbox and V for village
A tomato plant!
We also had a few foreign coins and coins of different denomination, so we added that value to the collection too and the foreign coins are going to a local animal charity, Trindledown Farm, along with some old french francs that we have.
The total in 10pence pieces... £162.10
And, after bagging up for the bank...
GRAND TOTAL .... £205.00!
And the fabulous title song for this post is provided by Pink Floyd xx

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Infinite Sun

That's the only frog who's visited our pond this year - he's from Jamie's dad, so nice to have him on our plot.
What an amazing Easter weekend - yesterday we saw some of the canoeists in the Devizes to Westminster race and Hungerford was nicely crowded. But today was a plot day. We were on a mission to clear Plot46A...
Eurgh, what a mess of chickweed, deadnettle, fumitory and various leftover veg from last year.
With a lot of this...
We managed to convert it to this...
Aah, that's better. And now it's covered in weed suppressant fabric, so we're good neighbours again!
Meanwhile, our poor marigolds in the polytunnel couldn't survive the 39.9° temperature - I really hope they recover!
When we arrived at the site someone had left some seedlings in the polytunnel for us. Thinking they were Antirrhinum (Snap dragon) from Ivan I dutifully plotted them on into individual pots. Only later did I discover that they were in fact a mix of Rocket and Pak Choi from Malcolm - duh, I'm blaming the heat!
We were pleased to see that the weather has encouraged the grassed communal area to grow. Hopefully the grass will overcome the weeds which are also very happy.
Kula Shaker provide the great song and we're expecting another amazing sunny day tomorrow - hooray!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Planting Seeds

Just a quick post while I'm eating my lunch at work. I'm pleased to say it's Good Friday tomorrow; a long weekend away from work and the weather forecast is looking good - hooray!
I wanted to record some planting/sowing that we did last weekend. The above photo shows the aquilegia mini-plugs that I transplanted. A selection of 72 tiny flower plants which will (hopefully) be nice healthy bigger plants to sell at our HAHA Plant Sale in June, plus a few beetroot sown to fill the empty cells.
Here's the list of perennials, which are now growing on in Andy's (our Treasurer), conservatory.
Our tomato (Aviditas) and pepper (Thor) plants have also been delivered so Jamie's potted them on and they look much happier (and straighter) now.
Things are progressing in the polytunnel.
The broad beans are up - most of them...
And I've sowed a drainpipe of mangetout.
We've planted out the onion sets (Sturon variety) - about 25 of them. And some spinach and beetroot are at the other end of that raised bed. I'll try again to do some succession growing, but I'm never very good at it!
Two rows of salad onions are sowed at the end of the garlic raised bed - they should grow quickly enough that the garlic rust (which seems to be unavoidable) won't affect them.
And here's a picture of one lot of our begonia plugs - they're mostly growing on quite happily in our windowsill. We may need to pot them on again before the plant sale, as some are getting pretty big and a bit pot-bound.
So, a warm weekend sounds like a good time to do some gardening and maybe our grass seed will grow - at the moment we appear to be growing a mixture of weeds and pigeons...
The song title is provided by Built to Spill...