Wednesday, 27 May 2009


The soil is so light and sandy, the planting holes had just about back filled themselves after I had watered the leeks in.

Time flies

I spent a couple of hours at the allotment this morning and just didn't notice the time passing despite the rain. I planted globe artichokes and leeks. I also put some asparagus peas in a trench in bed one and dotted about some nasturtiums.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Birthday worm

My work colleagues bought me this worm for my birthday, so it is now in place heading towards my climbing beans. I'm just hoping that the slugs and snails don't use it as a bridge to reach my plants!
New plantings include purple sprouting broccoli in bed two and a couple of butternut squash at the top of bed three. I cleared a small space, added plenty of manure and planted into some cardboard.
The rain is just stopping as I write this, so will head off back to the allotment later.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


The pigeons and crows were looking at this rather hungrily when we left....I might have to put some fleece over it to protect it from being pecked.

Planting and paths!

Nigel and I did a couple of runs with the wood chippings this morning and got the other two main paths finished off. This just leaves the one at the back which I might do with all the stones that I am pulling out of the beds and the garden here.
After lunch I went down with Liz and got the sweetcorn and courgettes in! I feel like a real allotment holder now. We also got bed two totally dug over. It's going to need quite a few more digs before anything goes in it as it was much heavier going than bed one - mainly because of all the nettles. However the soil is really sandy and so it makes it really easy going. I don't think I would be able to have got to grips with such an overgrown site if we were working in a heavy clay soil.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Question: When is digging not digging?

Answer: when it is shovelling.
Nigel has reprimanded me for moaning about having hurt my back after I had been to the osteopath, and is holding me to my statement in the previous posting about digging before my appointment not afterwards. However, my defence is that I did the damage shoveling compost and bark chippings in to bags, and that this does not constitute digging.
I may have to consult Anthony - the legal eagle about the validity of my case!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Drunk students

Dropped in to the allotment for 45 minutes on my way home from work after a drunk student had staggered out of the SU bar and into the side of my car (how poetic!). She managed to take my side mirror off in the process. I stopped to check that she was ok, and then went on to the allotment (which I had knocked off work early to do anyway).
Dug over bed one again - still bringing up thick couch grass root and at least half a dozen more potatoes! I then raked it over.
I also cut down the grass growing round the edges of the beds and along the front - heavy work with just a pair of shears. I also started to clear leaves out of the water butt which was a very smelly job, and did a second dig over part of bed two. I would have done so more clearing of that bed but didn't have any gloves with me and there are a lot of stingers in there.
I'm off work tomorrow and have an osteopath appointment at 11.30, so it might be appropriate for me to go and do a bit more digging before I go there, rather than afterwards!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

On the bench

I finally got to the the Diss auction rooms today to pick up the bench that I bought a couple of weeks ago. Nigel and I took it up the allotment this evening in the pouring rain, it's going to be a great place to sit to watch the sun go down.
I also bought a couple of fantastic potato/beet forks. They've been kept in really beautiful condition - the handles are wooden and have obviously benefited from regular oiling.
Whilst at the allotments I noticed that a few people have started to plant out their courgettes, mine are in the cold frame at the moment, so hopefully they'll be no late frosts, and if I can get bed one manured in the next couple of days, I may take them down at the weekend.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Bed one dug!

Liz and I spent a couple of hours digging and gossiping hard this morning (it makes the time go quicker and the work seem easier!).
Bed one is now totally dug out and bed two has been cleared back about another half a metre.
The plan now is do another forensic dig over of bed one to remove any remaining weed roots snd then to get the sweetcorn that I've got hardening off in the garden into a block at the end of bed one - probably planted through cardboard to keep the weed growth down.
I've got beans that can go in as well and some courgettes, which will give some good ground cover.
Some one suggested clearing a small area at the end of one of the covered beds and putting some squash in there and let them sprawl over the plastic which is a great idea.
It feels like a real achievement to get this first bed cleared. Splitting the tasks down into manageable bite size chunks has been really successful.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


My soul mate.
Walking with him can be slow progress though because of all his 'camera stops'.
I've just noticed the sky in this photo (taken last weekend at Hemley) - lovely.

Sky TV

Tonight a film crew were at the allotments filming an article for Sky news to be shown at the weekend. I was filmed shaking dirt from the roots of a clump of couch grass and was told by the camera man that it was the 'money shot' - perhaps this means that I was exposing more than just my weeds!
I've got my first allotment blisters as well, and I'm sure my ability to walk will be impeded tomorrow! Bed one is now about 60% cleared, so I should be able to get it finished and some beans in at the weekend (if I can walk again by then!). Picking up the bench tomorrow and hopefully Berni and Penny coming to pay the allotment a visit at the weekend.
How great to look forward to the weekend so much, for more reasons than it is 'not a work day'. Allotmenteering is cathartic as well, it helps to balance the pain of the loss of Stoofer a bit at the moment.

The labour of my fruits

Last weekend was productive. I spent just over an hour digging out bed one on Sunday. Mares tail, couch grass, bindweed and bloody potatoes! Hundreds of the buggers to dig out and they have thrown my plot rotation plans out!
Soil is just fab though.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The new enemy...

We used to have a rabbit who had the free run of our garden who took great delight in eating what ever I was growing. Anything she didn't like to eat she pulled out of the ground anyway and her best trick was pulling up plastic row markers and tossing them in the air over her shoulder. To help me combat her effect, Nigel bought me a great book called 'Gardening with the enemy'.
My other existing enemies are slugs and snails - I've always thought that nature got it wrong when cats evolved to catch birds, it would be much better if they would catch slugs and snails. However the combination of a healthy pond with newts, toads and frogs, and a resident hedgehog have really helped keep the s&s population in the garden manageable.
Today's visit to the allotment though has brought a new enemy - one more ancient and menacing - mare's tail. I have had never had to deal with this before. Couch grass, bindweed, ground elder are all familiar and therefore defeatable, but mare's tail, that survivor from pre history....
Being totally organic, glyphosate is out of the question, so I'll just keep digging it out and digging it out and digging it out..(and on and on).
There's loads of good news though, Nigel got the compost bins sorted and into some kind of order; I got a second bed covered over with black plastic and got the final path dug out and contained. I just need to wait on another delivery of wood chippings to get it finished totally. The best news of all though is that I was the successful bidder for a bench at the monthly auction of rural and domestic bygones so we'll have somewhere to sit!
We also bumped into a couple of old comrades from our anti fascist activity days and also our old next door neighbours who have taken on the plot that we turned down in favour of the one we've got, so it feels like a really comfortable community there.