Monday, 29 May 2017


We weren't intending to stay on the plot long this afternoon but the visit was cut even shorter by torrential rain. We hid in the greenhouse for a while - we really must fix that leak! We sowed the Rocky mini cucumbers and the Jack-Be-Little mini pumpkins and have taken them home to the warm to germinate.
The earth looks so much better after the rain. The plants look happier even if not all the soggy plotholders agreed as we all (except Kerry and her kettle!) moved swiftly to our cars!
Saves us doing a lot of watering!
Title song provided by The Cult - wow, I so loved these in the 80s!

Moving On

Aah look at those feathers - so beautiful, but sad. I'm thinking this is what's left of a kingfisher. I'm not sure what would have killed it, I've only seen them flying very fast across the site; never sitting in a vulnerable spot where the cat would nab it.
I went to my sister's yesterday to collect a load of seedlings (Cosmos, foxgloves and tomatillos) for my mum's garden and some for the plant sale. Thanks Joanne!
So I spent some of the time in the afternoon potting on foxgloves, so many left though! What I don't plant at my mum's I'll just cut into blocks for the sale.
I couldn't resist having a few of the cosmos myself, so I've planted five in the flower bed behind the mangetout - I'm expecting the cosmos to outlive the mangetout and it should fill an empty spot a little later in the season. They're lovely and tall already so they've certainly cheered up that part of the plot.
My sunflowers and asters survived their first couple of nights out in the flower bed, but I'm not going to count my chickens (although I have counted 13 sunflowers at this point..).
We dug the holes for the pumpkin, squash and courgettes. They're filled with a mix of manure and home-made compost. That should keep the hungry plants happy. So far all the seeds have germinated so there are plenty to grow, sell and share.
The title song is by James - love the video.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Where the Wild Roses Grow

It must be Summer, the dog roses are out in the hedge. However, after yesterday's scorching temperatures we woke to thunderstorms this morning. Always exciting but we didn't see any lightning.
When we got to the plot at lunchtime it was blowing a gale, grey skies and cold - very disappointing for the first day of my week off. It was nice and warm in the greenhouse though and the various courgettes (green = Defender, yellow = yellow(!) and Goldmine which is yellow and white stripes). There are also some Disco and Jaune de Vert squash).
This is my chive vinegar - I put the stems, flower-end first straight into the bottle of white wine vinegar and give it a shake each day. The flowers are beginning to fade now that the vinegar is pinking-up so I'll strain it out quite soon.
We've put our bean poles up - the Scarlet Empire runner beans will go in very soon; they've all germinated and are waiting in the greenhouse. Where the blue pipe is lying, we're going to plant our Glass Gem sweetcorn - I sowed all 20 seeds today. Really hope they work, they're so beautiful! We also sowed 15 Lark sweetcorn - they were the delicious ones that we grew last year and they're going on Plot 7; different varieties of sweetcorn shouldn't be grown too close together or they can cross-pollinate.
This pretty little chap is sitting on one of our tiny parsnip seedlings. I don't think he'll damage it, but something has upset my chard plants which I want to sell at the plant sale. I've chopped all the dodgy leaves off now so hopefully they'll recover by next week.
And the song title is provided by Nick Cave and Kylie - I know! Kylie?! It's got to be her best song. Enjoy.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Sunday Shining

(Oops, this was meant to be posted yesterday 21st May)After all last week's rain we had a lovely sunny afternoon today and we got lots done.
We earthed up the potatoes - look how much they'd grown in the bags since they were planted 3 weeks ago. We added a little potato fertilizer to the compost we covered them up with and left a few leaves poking out to see daylight.
We've moved the tomatoes into the greenhouse, rather than keeping them at home any longer. We potted them into slightly larger plots and their next move will be into their final growing pots. We've moved the seedlings out of the greenhouse and put them in the netted 'nursery bed' to harden off, then they can go in the ground quite soon - or to the plant sale (3rd June 10-2 at Fairfields allotment site, Hungerford).
Moving them under the netting means that the beetroot and pak choi are open to the elements. The beetroot won't mind, but not sure if the pak choi will survive.
I was enjoying watching all the bees on the plot today - particularly on the raspberry and valerian flowers. (This is the same bee)
I planted out this poppy (multi-coloured possibly) that I bought the other day at Savages - it was a bargain at less than £2. It has lots of buds. You'll notice that it's actually in the ground and that part of the plot was swamped with slugs last year. I'm really hoping that plant is slug resistant or (preferably) there are many less slugs about as that's where the other flowers are going this year. I sowed some eschscholzia (Thai silk mixed) directly into that bed today too.
I'm pleased to say that I have had a couple of allotment salads already this year. I'm sorry to say that our plots are currently only providing the radishes and I'm relying on spinach and rocket from new plotholder, Maria, whose raised bed started producing very early on.
So that was a lovely afternoon and we left the plot with neatly trimmed edges and fewer weeds. It looks like it'll be a nice warm week to take us into June so there's plenty of time to look after the other plots too..
Finlay Quaye provides the title - I love this song, enjoy and feel the warmth :-)

Sunday, 21 May 2017


Yep, we've started another plot - I know, I know! This one's previous owner enjoyed show-growing, so it's got raised beds and barrels of soil which he mixed with a cement mixer! That top photo is to draw the eye; it's a silk road shrub at home...This, unfortunately is what the plot looks like..
It's been abandoned since about September and the weeds are very happy - there's some good soil under that lot...We aren't ready to plant anything yet, we just couldn't leave all those thistles and other weeds to go to seed. Especially with new neighbour Ivan's immaculate plot next door!
We won't be growing for show, but hope we can grow some attractive veg for the food festival in October.. we'll see... The Jam provide the title song, but we didn't get much done as it was so rainy and we couldn't fit any more bags of weeds into the car :-(

Sunday, 14 May 2017


It's been a great weekend of allotmenting. Seven hours(!) yesterday on a dry warm day but very windy at times. We got a lot done between us, including setting up the carrot protection and sowing two rows of carrots: Primo and Eskimo 
The netting is off the onions now and the weeded plot looks much better, especially after some rain. I sowed a whole packet of coriander between the carrots and onions - hopefully the slugs won't eat the whole lot like last year!
These seeds we sowed into modules:
  •   Russian Giant sunflower
  •   Elite Sun sunflower
  •   Scarlet Empire runner beans (these are at home, still not warm enough to trust the temperatures in the greenhouse)
And  these little seedlings were potted on to individual pots from their modules:
  •   French marigold (Honeycomb)
  •   Aster (Duchess mixed)
A short row of Little Gem lettuce has been sowed alongside the transplanted lettuce seedlings which have perked up in their net cloche.
We've sown night stocks near the bench and a patch of large poppies (Ruby Bonanza) in the flower section. This poppy has edible seeds, most are poisonous apparently, but these can be used in baking recipes - if they live long enough to get seed heads!
Today we spent most of the time tidying Plot3 - the broad beans have flowered and the valerian has grown taller than me and the flowers are just opening up.
We're not sure whether these runs are mole or vole but they've made the brassica patch much less solid than we'd planned! So we've hoed it over with added lime and will see if we can get it compressed again for when the seedlings are ready to be planted out.

During the week we received our deliveries of tomatoes (Aviditas) and the Redcurrant tomato plug plants so Jamie potted them up.
They look significantly healthier than my grown-from-seed Tigrella tomato plants...
So, after a week containing a frosty night (luckily we fleeced our potato plants), wind, rain, hail, even a flash and thunder with occasional hot sunshine I'm feeling HAPPY! Like Pharrell Williams :-)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Waiting (All Night)

I seem to have been waiting a long time for these chive flowers - they've still got a little way to go before I pluck them off and pop them in some vinegar! I think the lack of sun may be holding them back - I've made the photo look rather brighter than the real world.

We haven't got much time for the allotment this weekend, but we managed a few hours this afternoon. It's a bit cool for May but still bone dry so we need to keep watering outside as well as in the greenhouse.
A Baby Brussels Sprout
The seedlings are coming along okay, even some of the florence fennel has germinated now. I planted out the salad leaf into the raised bed as it was beginning to look a bit sad in its seedtray. I sowed an extra row in the raised bed alongside it for cut & come again - if the beasties don't get at it first. The beetroot is looking happy in the raised bed and so far the mangetout and sweetpeas haven't been spotted by anything that may want a piece of them.
The salad and silverskin onion rows seem to be getting shorter each time we visit, so I think a slug has got a taste for them again this year. I'll attempt a re-sowing next weekend. The potatoes in the ground are all up and the Orla are the first to reach the surface in the bags. We hope it doesn't go cold again so we don't have to earth up too soon.
The valerian is close to flowering. We think the flowers will be a bit more interesting than this - though it looks good in close-up, there's no fragrance yet.
And this cabbage white butterfly seems to have already taken a fancy to it! Just waiting for the flowers to open a bit more so that he (or maybe she) can get to the tasty nectar.
Rudimental's excellent track and amazing video provide the title track - I added the brackets to make it a bit more appropriate - I think we'll be waiting longer than a night for some of these things!

Monday, 1 May 2017

White Rabbit

Do you say "White Rabbit! White Rabbit! White Rabbit" on the first of the month? I don't, I say "Pinch, punch 1st of the month" but maybe that's because I was the youngest of 5 children and it's more fun to pinch and punch :-) Anyway, it's May and a bank holiday for May Day is always welcome. The sun even shone for us (some of the time).
The May blossom is just beginning to open up on our hedge and the dark clouds provided us with a huge downpour in the afternoon, so the earth looks a much healthier colour now.
I was mostly washing up old pots today. We (HAHA) have a plant sale on 3rd June so I transplanted the chard seedlings to sell there; there are far too many for our plot. They should look a bit bushier and colourful than this in a month's time.
I also did some sowing: Parsley, 3 Speedy french beans (as a special early sowing) and Early purple sprouting broccoli - this seems to do so well with other plotholders and it'll be nice to have something else to harvest early in the year. Something else other than rhubarb that is...
Our giant rhubarb plant has a flower on it - it has gone to seed like this in other years but doesn't seem to upset the plant particularly. I chopped it off, at ground level, and popped a pot over the cut stem to avoid it filling with rainwater and rotting the plant. Jamie says this is a myth, but it seems reasonable to me.
While I was fiddling about with these various things Jamie was digging the area on Plot3 where the broccoli will go. We won't need many plants as it seems to get pretty huge. That should mean that there are a few spare plants of that to go to the plant sale too - I'm hoping it will have germinated and grown a bit by then.
Those plastic cloches are covering the parsnip seeds
So, I'm sure you can guess the title is courtesy of Jefferson Airplane.