Tuesday, 26 June 2018


Oh yes! Sunday evening was a time to celebrate - England scoring six goals in a World Cup match! OK, so it was Panama and they got one back, but really, it was very exciting. So we went crazy and celebrated on the allotment....
Hahaha, well, we hadn't prepared for a BBQ! But it was a beautiful hot evening to sit and watch the moon rise and the sun sink.
I picked the first of the broad beans - had them in a delicious salad for my lunch.
The plants are being destroyed by blackfly, so we're going to pull the most damaged ones, but I want to harvest a few more beans off them first.
The blackfly seem to halt the growth of the beans, but if they don't get onto the pods until they've grown a bit they don't generally affect the bean - however, they're disgusting to pick!
So, now it's time to singalong with Kool & The Gang.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Rock On

We've had some lovely sunny and hot days, with not a drop of rain so we've been watering every evening between World Cup football matches. One evening we found these in our greenhouse.
They're from neighbouring plotholder, Kate, and I'm now really looking forward to our 'HAHA Rocks' stone-painting stall at our Open Day next month. The '<Town Name> Rocks' craze has been going for a while now all over the country. We have lots of stones on site that could be improved with  decoration and we're happy for them to be taken away to spread joy round the country!!
You can see how dry the earth is, but everything is growing well and that bare earth should be quite well hidden by lush growth soon...
Like our potato plot is - the flowers are out on most of the plants now.
And the tomato plants in the greenhouse have the promise of future tasty toms.
Peppers are just beginning to form on the pepper plant nearest the door.
I spent time today planting flowers into tubs for prettying up the site for the Open Day. I hope three weeks is long enough to get some blooms...
I also sowed a few seeds - another row of beetroot and a row divided between black-skinned radish and some pink/purple fleshed ones - I think they're larger than normal salad radish, which have grown particularly well this year.
The trailling squash are finally planted - one each of: Festival, Boston Giant, Autumn Crown and Honeyboat. I still haven't worked out how to build the trellis, but I'm thinking about it...
We planted 14 of each sweetcorn plants during the week and will leave them protected in their bottle cloches for a while.
And today I pulled the garlic as the stems had yellowed-off completely, they should dry out nicely in this weather (cue the rain!). All those from one french garlic bought at the Hungerford Food Festival last year.
So, now it's back to footie - but just time to listen to the oh-so-dreamy David Essex for the title track

Sunday, 17 June 2018

The Number of the Beast

Ah, you don't know how long I've waited for my 666th blogpost so that I could use this song title! The closest I got to a photo of a beast is these tiny hedgehogs that Richard found on his plot. We're hoping that the mother was somewhere close-by.
It was a very windy day on the site and not very warm, but we got plenty done. Jamie's prepared the way for sowing our carrots. We're only growing Eskimo this year, no earlies. I planted out a Goldmine  courgette on Plot46A - I filled a big hole with manure and drenched it before I put the plant in. The salad bed on 46A is growing well, even after a mole made its way through the bed.
The purple sprouting brocolli plants (bought at the plant sale) are in - secured against well hammered-in metal poles. That should keep them upright, unlike last year. And I planted the two celeriac plants in an old recycling bin. I'll need to keep them well watered and need to remember to earth them up as they bulb up.
We didn't have time to plant out the two types of sweetcorn, but I planted out the second sowing of Borlotti and Edamame (soya) beans. We need to re-sow our dwarf french beans as only one germinated.
And the Winter squashes can wait a little longer too - I won't be planting them all, probably just one of each type. Plus I have some flowers to plant up. Oh, so much to do!
We were pleased to see the lovely flowers have appeared on two of the aubergine plants.
And here's a better harvest photo - even a few mangetout are ready - that's a couple of lunches sorted.
So here they are, Iron Maiden with 666 - the number of the beast. Sing along!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

In Bloom

The main point of this post is to show off these lovely flowers we have, thanks to fellow plotholders. Beautiful, sweet-scented pinks (from Ivan's plot) and lovely cornflowers (from Alison's plot) - they're the tallest cornflowers I've ever seen and certainly aren't the larkspur that the seedpacket showed!!
And more beautiful sweetpeas from Ivan's plot. Mine still have no flowers.
It's been a warm week with no rain so we've been watering, watering, watering every day after work. We've got plants that are desperate to get out of their pots and into the ground, but there hasn't been time so that's the plan for the weekend, however, it's World Cup time (Yay - Come on England!) so we'll have to fit the allotment in around the matches. This photo is through the pot of Summer bulbs (Ixia and Dutch Iris) I planted in March, which are looking lovely.
We've had lots of delicious strawberries during the week and I've had some tasty salad leaf and radish additions to my lunches - not enough to make a full salad yet though.
The coffee lounge at work has started bagging up their coffee grounds - I couldn't resist, so added these to our compost, I need to think of a better way of making use of them really.
A great Nirvana song title to enjoy.

Sunday, 10 June 2018


I love it when a plan comes together! The Town Hall steps was a great location for our plant sale yesterday.
Setting up

Our lovely plotholders, from the Marsh Lane and Fairfields sites, provided us with masses of plants: courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, brassica, chard, flowers, herbs, and more unusual items like ornamental grasses, cucamelon and celeriac. Also bags of gooseberries and rhubarb.
The sales team: Forbes, Kerry, Andy, me and Gill

We had so many plants that we easily covered the three trestle tables and could re-stock each time an empty spot appeared. It was lovely talking to the many visitors about the allotments and how we're getting on with our growing this year. And we managed to advertise our Open Day (8th July) quite a lot - that's the next thing for us to start planning...
Trying to answer gardening questions

The sun shone (most of the time- though I've added a bit of extra sunshine to these photos) so there were a lot of people in the town and the Coffee morning for cancer inside the Town Hall was handy! We made about £100 total profit, which is great but the main point of the sale is to promote the allotments.
Encouraging the younger generation
Adorned with our HAHA aprons (bought through a Tesco Bags of Help grant) we had a great day with lots of fun and smiles.
Song title courtesy of Lily Allen.

Friday, 8 June 2018

True Colours

We've had a couple of rather dull, but warm days so I needed to inject a bit of colour into this blogpost. This is from my dead-heading a couple of days ago. I struggle to keep up with dead-heading but I know it's worth doing regularly to keep the flowers blooming. I'll try to keep up with the blooms this year!
We've sowed our Lark and some red sweetcorn - hopefully they'll germinate quickly so we can get them planted out as soon as possible - we seem a bit late compared to fellow gardeners. I re-sowed squash seeds (Honeyboat, Festival and Autumn Crown) and they've all germinated unlike the first lot I sowed...
Over the last few days we've also planted a lot.
Three aubergines Meatball, are planted up: one in a bag in the greenhouse, one in a bag outside and one in the ground - it's Jamie's scientific test...
We have three peppers in the greenhouse (which hasn't look this tidy since this time last year!) Milena, Chelsea and Britney. Also in there are two tomatoes: Lizzano and Aviditas.
We've planted runner beans, but only two of our Scarlet Empire germinated so I bought some Moonlight plants, from a doorstep in Newbury for 50p, and have planted them alongside - they look a bit straggly, but I expect they'll recover. And, that leads me nicely into the PLANT SALE that we have tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it - so many plotholders have already donated plants and I think the sun may shine for us.
Here's Cindi Lauper with the title track.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


The sky has been white instead of blue for the last couple of days but it has meant that we could get some work done at home and then yesterday we managed to clear the other half of Plot 46A - just a little bit more to do. But this post is mostly about the tadpoles.
Or should I say 'froglets' - look at that little one, with another one looking on from the water. They're so tiny - smaller than a little fingernail.
There's still a bit of tail that needs to go.
And there are others at varying stages of their transformation. Here's a little timelapse video of pond action from yesterday - the water snail is a busy little thing!
While we were clearing Plot 46A we found lots of ladybird larvae and cocoons. Any adult ladybirds we found we took to Plot3 to deal with our broad beans' blackfly problem - they seemed happy to help :-)
Plot46A has a serious weed issue. My salad seedlings are taking shape now so I can just about tell the difference between them and the weedlings but I'm going to wait a bit longer before I pull the weeds - I think it going to have to be a manual job, rather than a hoe...
The sun's coming out so today (Wednesday) we should be able to have a barbecue on site - hooray, but I still need to work on some more growing/weeding/sowing...
A great title song by David Bowie - a stay-in-your-head-all-day song - enjoy.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

All Together Now

Yum, yum. Most of the bloggers I follow seem to have been harvesting their first strawberries of the year, so I thought I'd share our first ones too. Mmm, they're a very sweet variety. Unfortunately we don't know what variety, but we'll be sure to take further runners for plotting on.
I have a week off work and a long sunny weekend meant we got quite a lot done and really feel we're ready for June to provide us with all that this lovely month promises! Though there's still a lot of empty space on the plots.
We've dug holes and put plenty of manure in them ready and waiting for various plants e.g, squashes and runner beans. We've earthed up the potatoes in the ground and in bags.
Jamie's planted and netted the Amazing cauliflower. I've planted out the Crookneck Summer squash, Asparagus pea and Borlotti beans. We're waiting for the other squash plants to get a bit bigger before they're planted out, but germination hasn't been that great.
Meanwhile the pond a wildlife area (aka raspberry bed) is looking cheerful with the addition of a houseleek pot (thanks Joanne) - I'm hoping the houseleeks will spread over the edge of the pond. The lily beetles returned to the lily flowers and have nibbled quite a few of the buds, so they may not be as impressive as they were last year.
Our sunny weekend wasn't all spent on the plot so here's a photo of the Carnival of Animals we enjoyed in Newbury - lots of people enjoying the evening sunshine and giant puppets.
I love this anthem by The Farm - join in :-) And it'll very soon be World Cup time again - yippee!