Some time ago I started sowing some of my tomato and pepper seeds. This time I wanted to try something else so rather than to use seed trays I opted for egg cartons. My thinking was that after transplanting the seedlings I would compost the cartons – I do it anyway but on this occasion I would get a bit more use out of them. So far only carlin peas and climbing peas have germinated. Today I decided to re-seed most of them into the traditional seed trays.
I have got some sweet peas growing as well – I thought I lost them because they germinated very well in the autumn, I pinched the tops to get them to grow a bit more bushy. All was well until the awful cold spell we had earlier this year. They all withered. I trimmed the dry foliage and watered it. I had some seeds left so I put them in as well and I’m very pleased to say they look quite healthy and are growing.
Another thing that grows well are the radishes that I just scattered in the soil under the bench.
I can imagine that all my seeds will now germinate and I’ll have loads of tomato plants. Well, better too many than none at all.
What a difference in the weather! Today started sunny and mild, it would have been a shame not to go to the allotment but regardless of that I knew I wanted to finish what I started yesterday. The one remaining composter bin in front of the now tidy pile of weeds etc needed moving and I had just enough space for it – close to the other bins, in a little gap next to the raspberry patch. But actually moving it wasn’t so easy, it was embedded in the soil and I had to dig around to free it. I think when I put it there I thought it was going to stay there. But everything is possible, I had to empty the few stems and roots and then it came out.
Fortunately the new place for it is very close so I didn’t have to carry it too far.
It fitted in the allocated space perfectly and the hole where it was is now closed with a pallete. That gives me more room to put weeds and roots there.
Then came the real reason for my work there today – digging over the patch where the net tunnel was. I had to pick all the plastic cable ties that I cut to free the net, pull out the metal pins that were holding the net and only then the real digging could start. It was so nice and warm, a real spring day. The soil there is very good, I was used to put a lot of organic fertiliser there – horse muck and chicken poo pellets so I’m looking forward to growing some climbing beans there with a few courgettes between them. The soil is really rich, everything should thrive.
Everything will be recycled – I will use the nets to cover my strawberry beds and the posts are already in use. Because our allotments are on a slope, there is quite a drop between my plots, especially on this one. I have used the two of the stakes and have them to hold on as I step down from the path.
After a few days of heavy snow, high wind and winter temperatures I was able to go to my allotment. To be honest I was dreading it, all I could think of was my fruit cage. I know I should take the top net off before every winter – I was used to do it soon after I got the cage. During those winters we didn’t have any snow so I thought I would take my chances and leave the net on. It was fine for a few years and then one early spring we had a sudden heavy snow fall. It was touch and go, a couple of the upright posts were leaning but I managed to knock the snow off and straighten everything. Again the last few years all was fine – until this week. The heavy snow was a huge shock for me and there was no chance I could go there and try to save the situation. But my worries were unfounded, the cage survived.
My first task there however was to rake the wood chip on the paths, the place looks much better immediately.
There was one casualty on the plot however, the very first net cage that Mike helped me to build. It is quite old, I can’t even remember how long ago we did it.
It suffered some damage a few years ago but then I was able to rescue it. Not this time. But things are never that bad, I will be able to use the net and also the plastic tubes and dismantling the cage was surprisingly quick.
What a beautiful day we had here today. I thought it was just about time we improved the paths on the allotment and as ever my friend Wayne helped out. He left a truck-load of wood chip by the gate of the allotment and we had a lovely work party there in the afternoon. I was there first, Frank followed soon after me and then Simon came home from work and between the three of us we soon sorted it.
It might not look a lot but we managed to improve three of the longest paths and had a little bit to spare.
The paths are so much better done like this, the grass never did well there, it was full of weeds and they got muddy on a rainy day.
It was back to work on the allotment today after a little break. The day was lovely, blue skies but the wind was a bit cold. All the same, perfect for working. The other day I noticed that the net on one of my old net cages was torn on the top, just where is was going over a wooden pole. I had a piece of a green net, just the right size so I got going. A bit problematic, it was still quite a breeze and it was rather difficult to fix the new net on top of the old one. After some frustrating time I managed, it’s not easy to do something like this single handed.
Next was the real reason why I was there today. I wanted to tidy up inside the latest big greenhouse. It is not quite finished but that doesn’t matter, I can pull out all the weeds inside and get it as ready as I can.
After doing that I put some pieces of paving slabs in front to make it look better and also stop it from getting too muddy.
Last little job was to check how the garlic and broad beans are doing.
The garlic is fine and the broad beans are doing well too. I had to put them in one of my net cages because the pigeons on our site like any tender new shoots. I found that out last year.
Hopefully I’ll manage to have a decent harvest.
Today was a completely different activity , nothing to do with the allotment or gardening. Myself and Frank have managed to get tickets to see Frida Kahlo‘s
immersive exhibition in the annex to the Telegraph Hotel. We saw a different exhibition there last year within the Coventry year of culture and enjoyed that.
I wasn’t quite sure how this would work. It wasn’t an exhibition as we know in an art gallery but it was very enjoyable in a different way.
At last – the biggest job on the allotment is finished. I was hoping yesterday that I would be able to do it and now I’m delighted to say – finished!
Even though it was a lovely sunny day yesterday I was just too tired I couldn’t carry on. It needed a fresh start in the morning. I made a guess about the number of flower pots that I’ll be able to use there, I was wrong. I thought 12 would do but in the end I needed 16. Just as well I have lots left. The hardest part of it was dragging the sacks of soil there and filling the pots.
It is all ready now for planting either more climbing beans or outdoor tomatoes. Both should do well in this position, they would be sheltered.
Today was another day for maintenance, this time it was quite a lot of strenuous work. I had a plan but the usual happened – the plan grew and grew. Another grassy path beside my plot needed doing so I was ready for it. The battery for the strimmer was charged and this was the first job I did.
The next path was a bit more difficult. There is no grass on it but wood chips and a less-than-perfect edge. The wood chip will have to be renewed, that shouldn’t be too difficult. I will ask my friend Wayne if he could let us have a truckload of it, we’ll store it on our communal plot and use it as we need it. I managed to find better pieces of wood for the edge, changed it and the path is ready for another season.
The morning was lovely, the sun was shining and it felt warm, almost spring-like.
Some years ago I planted a number of sage cuttings beside my large net cage. Sage is doing really well on the allotment, all the lower branches have rooted so I had quite a wide line of it. I have decided just to take out a number of the rooted branches and plant them along the edge of the communal plot. We have a number of fruit trees there and a few rhubarb crowns. The sage would improve the look and also serve as an edge along the path. So far they are quite small but they’ll soon grow.
Digging out the old bushes was a challenge, they had thick woody stems, deep roots but in the end I got them all out. One good thing about this job was the heady scent.
All is cleared away and hopefully I’ll finish the job tomorrow, it will be one more line of the large flower pots. This is too good an opportunity to miss….
I’m sure I will be able to fit at least 12 of my large ‘cannabis’ pots there so that would be ideal for some climbing beans.
I can safely say that the allotment is ready for the spring, apart from a few panes of glass in the latest greenhouse all is done.
I have even placed a number of large flower pots alongside the finished side of the greenhouse, anchored them down with long canes and filled with good compost, that will be either for outdoor tomatoes or for climbing beans, depending on how many plants I’ll have.
It was a perfect fit, six pots on each side of the water barrel, that’ll make it so much easier to water them. There will be one more barrel on the corner of the greenhouse, hopefully for watering inside it.
I’ve got the base ready for it in place.
One more day of maintenance work. After cutting down the blackberries yesterday I suddenly realised I have another line of them on another plot. These have been cared for better, I remember pruning them last autumn but rather slightly. All was remedied today.
As I was taking away the branches I noticed the gorse bush beside my very old greenhouse. I have trimmed it already but it needed a bit more work done. As I did that, it suddenly occurred to me that I can put some of the ‘cannabis’ flowerpots in the gap between the path and the greenhouse. They are a perfect fit and I have already filled them with some of the new soil I got from the composter bins. A perfect home for the sunflowers this year.