Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Beautiful Ones

Our first poppy of the year has flowered - so intricate in close-up, but they also look good from a distance. We're expecting to have a mass of these quite soon as they are one of plants that has self-seeded rather madly.

And look who we saw in the pond at the weekend - a lovely little frog! I wonder if it's one of our tadpoles from last year.
And then, yesterday, we saw this big fella in there - the monster from the deep!!
We achieved quite a lot last weekend with two visits to the plot. We potted on all the begonias, grown from mini-plugs - thank goodness they're out of the flat at last! I planted out my mangetout, from their drainpipe - their roots had formed a thick mat so I could just slide the whole row out in one go.
We sowed some seeds... some in pots and others in the raised bed. The radish are up just 4 days later. I've had to net them because a big crow stomps round our plot and has pulled some other seedlings out.
We planted the last of our potatoes in bags - Dido, Estima, Foremost and Erika. We did a lot of weeding so Plot8 and Plot3 are looking a bit better.
The self-seeded nigella is everywhere, but so pretty that I'm leaving it to flower and will remove the plants before they spread another load of seeds.
The raspberry, which has done nothing for two years, actually has flowers on it this year. It's in a pot and the bees love it at the moment. It seems that heeding the instructions and severely cutting it back each year wasn't what it wanted after all.
Some things just seem to do better when left to their own devices. Look at this lovely Iris bud.
We have some (currently) healthy-looking broad beans - these are the over-Wintered plants which were severely snow-damaged, but it looks like we should get a couple of meals, if the blackfly steer clear for a bit longer...
I'm happy to say that last week one of my posts got a mention in the Thompson & Morgan Vegetarian Week 'Plot to Plate' post - the other recipes definitely provide some inspiration when we finally start harvesting...

We've had no rain to speak of, though it's been forecast, so we've been watering plenty and the warm days are encouraging plenty of growth - it's all looking rather beautiful, in some spots, hence the title, by Suede!

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!