Tuesday, 23 December 2008

New Plot Soon

We got some good news this week. We have been offered a new plot (in the picture it goes up to the path behind the green storage bin). It is a half plot instead of a quarter so we will have more space. The previous owner is moving away, so luckily it isn't a site that has been neglected for a long time. It even comes with a shiny new water butt and is in a nice quiet position. We will have to maintain the hedge behind which is no problem. Hopefully we can take it over after December 31st. Now it is a case of deceiding how to lay it all out. It is quite tempting to get on and start digging and moving things but we aren't allowed yet. Hurrah for us!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Seed Potatoes

I received my seed potatoes in the post today. Thinking that it was something I ordered for Christmas it was a surprise to see a bag of potatoes. I have chosen Orla from the organic catalogue. Allegedly they have a high blight, scab and blackleg resistance. Not sure what blackleg is but happy to resist it. The potatoes last year didn't do very well so we will see how these fair. I have put them in egg boxes for chitting, with their little buds pointing upwards. They have to be put in the dark before sprouting. I will keep them there until they are ready for chitting and then take the lid off the box and give them some light.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Seeds and Mushroom Beginnings

These are the seeds that I was drying out from our bean plants. I should have saved more but the drying out seems to have worked. I'm sure Carol Klein would be proud of my efforts. We will see if they last the winter without rotting and then hopefully I will plant them in Spring.
There is also some mushroom action in the oyster mushroom bag. Not much, admittedly, But something. There are quite a few white mossy bits and there is a slight wiff of mushroom from the bag which should be a good sign. Although the straw looks a bit soggy at the bottom. The experiment continues...

Where is our snow?

The news said that we were to recieve an ample covering of snow during the night. We woke up to torrential rain. This was not the winter wonderland the weather lady promised us. Much disappointment all round. What happened to the blizzards? Who has my snow?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

November Sky

Went up for a walk to the allotment today. Didn't do any work, just popped in on the way past. Couldn't resist taking a picture of this gorgeous November sky.

Wasps Nest

On a lazy walk around the allotment we came across this wasps nest. It seemed to have fallen from a nearby tree. What a piece of natures art.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oyster Mushrooms?

Last weeks digging meant that I was hobbling around like an old woman with a bad back for a few days. This means that the rest of the paths will have to wait as will the plans to get some horse manure from the farm.

Have been also attempting to grow some oyster mushrooms in straw. Less strenuous. So far I have got a bag of damp looking straw but it seems like there is a bit of action happening at the bottom of the bag. The spores are supposed to take 4 weeks to grow, I cleverly wrote down when they would be ready and lost the piece of paper. Typical. I think they have been there for 3 weeks so I am moving them to a warmer place to see if it gets them going a bit.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The plot in November

It was lovely and quiet at the allotment today, then I realised why, it was raining, cold and its November. While I was working the smell from the Mcvities factory keep wafting over, buttery biscuit smells were reminding me that I could be at home and nice and warm. I made a start on the paths today. My tiny edging spade was very unsuited for the job. After shifting 5 barrowfulls of leaves and twigs am feeling a litte envious of the plot next door with their concrete paths.

We didn't put down membrane first so the weeds have come through quite quickly. We have asked for a half plot instead of a quarter, so I am going to wait until we get our bigger plot before buying any membrane. They say we are looking at a waiting list of a year. I would just really like to grow some Asparagus or golden raspberries but we haven't the space.

Our spring cabbages seem to be doing quite well so far (see above), someone laughed when I told him I'd planted them. He has no faith. I'm sure that they will survive. Well I hope they will.

Whilst digging through the big pile of mulch was aware that last time a big frog jumped out at me. Since then I remember seeing Bill Oddie stick his hand in a simular pile and pull out a slow worm. This made me realise that something could be lurking inside. I carried on gingerly digging aware that any girlie screams could finish off one of old boys mooching around on their plots. Luckily the only thing to be dug out of the mulch pile was one little worm which I can deal with, well, with gloves on.

When I got to the nursery to pick up Sam I was covered in soil and my hair was soaking. Was aware that everyone else was stood around holding umbrellas and wearing white coats looking very clean and pressed. I was caked in mud a looking a little wild. When I got home I realised I had mud on my face too. Good job I have no shame.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Summer 2008 - Our first growing year

Our beans grew and grew and grew!

Although we have been told that it wasn't a good year for onions we were really pleased to grow anything. We managed to fill 3 bags full and haven't bought any onions for months. So we considered it a big success.

We did well for lettuce and chard although the slugs had a good feast too.

Spring 2008 - clearing and planting

We planted some bean plants.

We installed our new bench for important coffee drinking and resting.

We cleared it out and put in some paths.

The plot when we started.

We were delighted to take over our new patch including all its weeds. There were a couple of sad looking sweetcorn plants but not much else.

There was a huge amount of clearing to be done at the back where things had been just dumped.

This is how the allotment looked when we took it over.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Drying out some seeds

My beans are drying out in the front porch for next year. We grew runner beans and french beans. This is my first attempt at seed saving so I have ordered some seeds from the allotment catalogue as well. Not entirely convinced that I will manage to do it. The aim for the future is to keep saving them and watch the spending go down each year. We did really well for beans this year and we have got a lot in the freezer still. They will definately be going in the plot next year. We were picking them for months. Next year I think we will grow more french beans because you don't have to mess around preparing them for cooking so much.

This is our chilli crop. All four of them. We are delighted. The other ones got munched by the slugs. I didn't think slugs would eat chillis. I hope it burnt their mouths.

This is the mizuna I have planted last week. It is good for stirfrys and salads. I've got it growing in the porch. I've also started some salad leaves too. It is nice to see things growing even when the weather isn't too great and by doing this we should be picking our own salad leaves again soon.
These are the lovely gourds that the children grew on the allotment. They looked good as halloween decorations. Next year we are going to attempt to grow a pumpkin. I have ordered seeds for a halloween sized one first. If that works I might even attempt one of those giant ones that you can sit on.

Monday, 10 November 2008

These are a few of the vegetables that I grew last year. I set them up in my front room just for fun. No, of course not. This is the RHS show at Tatton. My aim would be to grow at least one tomato as beautiful as these. Unfortunately due to the bad weather most of mine didn't get past green before the dreaded blight struck them down. Next year though.....