GREENHOUSE

Today’s weather forecast wasn’t very good but I was hoping against hope that I might manage a spell on the allotment. I went there soon after 9am and did quite a bit of work in the fruit cage. Yesterday I went to a garden centre and used a couple of the vouchers that I won in the Johnson sunflower competition – bought a white currant. I have got one bush but the flavour is so great I always wanted another one. And it was in a sale, all the better.

As I planted it yesterday I realised I had to weed the whole area – amazing how well the weeds grow! That was the job for today.

I managed to clear more than a half of the cage and then rain stopped play. The advantage of having a greenhouse (or two…) on the plot is I can stay there and continue working in the dry. Just the right time to clear the greenhouses, pull out the plants and refresh the soil. I did all that, put in there one huge 50l sack of composted farmyard manure….

…..and all is ready for next year. Now I just need a nice sunny day to finish the fruit cage and clear out the second greenhouse and I’ll be happy.

MORE CLEARING OUT

There is a narrow strip of ground at the very end of one of my plots. When I took this plot on it was overgrown with nettles and basically used as a tip by the last gardener. I cleared it as much as I could and by doing that found quite a few interesting things – an old wooden ladder, still good to be used. The other bits of rubbish I threw away, broken pots and some netting. I planted a couple of my Maltese pumpkins there and they loved it so much they climbed all the way to the top of the hedge behind. However now I have harvested everything and decided to dig this area properly this time.

I didn’t realise the challenge waiting for me there. When I finally finished I had a large rubbish sack full of more broken plastic pots, some chicken wire netting and a big piece of some material buried really deep that didn’t show any signs of deterioration – no idea why it was there. One item is interesting though – a head of a cast iron rake minus the handle. I won’t try to re-assemble it, just keep it as a curio.

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After a hard morning’s dig the land looks great, ready for next year. All I have to do now is to spread a sack of horse muck and let it rest. There will be potatoes growing there next year.

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KEEPING FIT

I am sure that I have found the perfect way to keep fit – it works for me, anyway. It means that I have to walk a short distance to our allotment site, about five minutes away, lock the gate after myself and start working. As long as it doesn’t rain too much I can continue. If the soil should be too wet I would choose a different activity from digging.

Today was just ideal – a nice sunny and warm morning – I managed to do what I wanted to during the morning, the next job was left for the afternoon.

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This isn’t actually my plot, it belongs to a guy who isn’t very well so I dug it for him. I had an ulterior motive – I wanted to get rid of all the thistles before they finished flowering so we don’t get the seeds blown all over the site. Job done.

The afternoon session was work on my own plot, it was weeding one of my raspberry patches. I had to borrow a wheelie bin from one of my friends in the street as the ground was full of bindweed and that can’t go on the compost. I finished just in time, there were dark clouds gathering and when I got home it started raining.

COVID – 19

I am very fortunate having my allotment so that I can just go there and dig. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not going to worry about things that I can’t do anything about. Therefore I just concentrate on the ‘farm’ and cultivate as much as I can. We are not able to eat it all, of course, but the neighbourhood benefits, I bottle and freeze as much as I can. It will all be very useful. When I work there I listen to the birds and talk to my own resident robin. He really thinks I dig the ground just for him so he can find all the worms. He is very tame, he keeps only a few steps behind me. I sometimes think that nature was especially good to me this year, the harvest has been great.

Even though I’m getting older I am still quite fit and well and really enjoy working the land.20201019_115259

One happy old woman.

TRANSFORMATION

This time I was working in the back garden, in a corner that I neglected for some time. There were two fig trees in this place, only because I had two cuttings and nowhere else to put them. I remember doing the planting correctly, the holes were lined with a thick membrane, that actually helped when I was digging them up. It contained the roots but all the same, it was a lot of hard work. It all happened in stages, first they were cut down, then cut down even more and yesterday the stumps were dug out. I’m glad to have an old pickaxe (it was in the garden when we moved here, all 47 years ago). After a whole morning of hard labour the two stumps were out and another small one of a conifer that was half dead anyway.

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From this dark corner the next stage was a bit brighter20201005_141942

The roots tried to resist but didn’t manage…..20201016_114945

….so it is no surprise that I’m happy with the result

I had a lot of different pots round the garden and a lot of bulbs – tulips and daffodils. All are planted, pots are in place, even the fence panel behind them is painted. The great thing about this way of doing it that I can re-arrange the pots, replant them, the possibilities are endless.

CUTTING DOWN

Autumn is here and with it certain tasks that I enjoy. Yesterday I started with the line of loganberries and blackberries. They produced bowls of delicious fruit but now they just looked untidy. It didn’t take long and as I finished that I dug over the whole area; it is all ready now for next spring. I had potatoes here, not sure yet what I will plant or sow next year.

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Today’s job was the sorting out raspberries. Slightly more difficult – the bindweed was everywhere. I wanted to start cutting them down some time ago but they were still producing fruit. But I didn’t find any raspberries today so I started. After working on it the whole day I managed to clear about a third.

To be continued tomorrow, if the weather is kind to me.

AUTUMN

Here we go again – another autumn, another clear out operation. My plan is quite simple – I aim to complete one task each time I go to the allotment. Yesterday it was clearing out one net cage and weeding (again) a bed after garlic has been harvested some time ago.

Today was the turn of the orchard. Managed to weed, hoe and re-do the stepping stone path in front of the shed, I’m happy with the result.

Another job I finished today was weeding and digging inside one small net cage. I had some broad beans there, they did very well, no sign of any blackfly, then I put some tomatoes and celery in. The tomatoes have finished, just the celery remains.

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Yesterday was quite difficult. I have decided to put a scaffolding plank as an edge to a narrow strip of soil beside this net cage, to keep the soil in, and making it deeper. I knew the planks are heavy, but I didn’t think they were this heavy! Too late to change my mind when I was half way down the main path dragging it behind me. Never mind, it all ended well.

BIG IS BEAUTIFUL

I thought I would get a few parsnips and some butternut squashes today. The parsnips are not quite straight but the taste is fantastic. It doesn’t matter that they are crooked, they’ll be peeled and cut up anyway.20201009_123002

The butternut squashes looked ready, the leaves and stem of the plant were quite dry so I started to cut them and will bring them home, each day a few. They are surprisingly heavy. 20201009_123010

One of them will be for our lunch tomorrow, roasted with some spices and Halloumi cheese. I have also found a very interesting breakfast recipe, we shall try it tomorrow and either it will be just delicious or ….

EXPERIMENTS

I have finally managed to tidy my big greenhouse in the back garden. It was very full – there was a reason for it. When the lockdown started I was afraid that I might not be able to go to the allotment and decided to grow extra plants in the big greenhouse here. In the end I had loads of aubergines and cucumbers – I’m not complaining!

The time came now to sort it out. I did all that and have got two large grow beds on each bench inside. On one side I have lettuce seedlings and on the other are onions. I had some onion seedlings already, they are spaced in one of the beds and in the other are newly sown onion seeds. It will be interesting what will happen.

The next job was to take cuttings. I have got a large loquat tree that I managed to grow from seed. I found out how to take cutting so I had a go. I can’t even hope to have any fruit from it in our climate but it is such a handsome tree I’d like some more.

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After that there was one more job – some fig cuttings. That was quite easy, I have done it before. Let us hope for the best.20201008_121721

BEFORE AND AFTER

Today was the turn of the back garden to be sorted out. I have not paid too much attention to it during last year – I was concentrating on the allotment as I wanted to do well in the competition. There was no competition this year so after harvesting as much as I could on the allotment I turned to do some work in the back garden.

This was three days ago.

After serious cutting down and filling up four wheelie bins we have this: