Everything was working out for me today. First of all I didn’t have to go to my GP to have my blood pressure checked – I did it myself at home and just told them the result, all is fine. More time to spend on the allotment.
Yesterday afternoon I started taking some seedlings out of the greenhouse to harden them off and today I continued. That way I have gained some free space for the next lot of vegetables – sweetcorn this time. As it was a lovely warm day I took all my onion sets to the allotment to plant them out. A number of weeks ago I put all of them – red and yellow onions – in soil in a couple of trays and they very quickly put down roots and sprouted. I was really surprised how well they grew and when I was planting them today I was sure they looked the best that I ever had. If all of them survive and mature I should have a huge harvest. This piece of land was ready for them, I just had to rake it smooth and mark the lines. There is a small square of land left but I still have half of a tray of late planted sets. They will fill it nicely.
This part of my plot is a mini orchard, I have two mature apple trees here,
also some new ones – two little apple trees
and two plums. The strips of land between these will be for some sweetcorn, that will be planted in one block and perhaps some courgettes and squashes. Not an inch of land will be wasted.
Tomorrow will be more planting. The tomatoes that I planted a few days ago look very good so there will be more tomatoes going to be moved to the greenhouses on my ‘farm’. After all, I have five of them to fill….
This weekend was rather different, no work on my allotment but some serious construction on Nicky’s plot. We went to stay with Mike and Nicky in the Lake district and Mike and myself were helping to construct a new composter bin on her plot. She got the bin from their local council and it is supposed to be excellent. We had to construct it there and then, it came with an instruction booklet and in the end it was quite easy.
The weather deteriorated during the morning and we were able just to clear the corner on the plot and place the new bin in situ. Then rain stopped play and we went home.
We took the wood home in the car and put it in Mike’s recycling bin. After lunch the skies cleared and I persuaded Mike to go back to the allotment and finish the job properly. I don’t think he was too happy with the idea but we went. The afternoon’s weather was much better and I’m happy to say that all is done. Any greenery was put in the new bin and I have raked the soil level, all ready to start planting. There are loads of stones in the soil so we picked out as many as we could and added them to a large pile in another corner of the site. Mike even managed to cut down a stump of another lilac bush – we’ll have another go at the roots in the autumn when all around will be harvested and we can dig a large hole around and keep hacking at it.
I was glad we went back and finished the job. It will be interesting to see how well this new composter bin functions.
It was day two of the rebuilding of net tunnels. The old net tunnel was very old and didn’t survive the last snow fall we had some weeks ago. Like with everything else on the allotment I very carefully took it apart and stored the nets in my shed. The plastic hoops were kept on a spare piece of ground where we keep sacks of horse muck and other useful things. Yesterday I finished the first low net tunnel and knew that I have enough of everything to make another one. Also I had enough space beside the first one. I wasn’t sure about the weather but the day turned out very good, just right for a spot of digging and then building.
The ground was just right, not at all waterlogged and there weren’t too many weeds so this part was quite easy.
I’m leaving a wide enough path between these two structures and both of them will be opened from this path. The plan is to fold the net half way, clip it to the hoop and work inside. The other side is fixed to the ground.
The most difficult job was fixing the net today, a sudden gust of wind undid my efforts a few times. But I’m delighted all is done now, just waiting for the real spring weather to start and then I’ll be able to transplant all my seedlings there.
When I was watering the radishes in my greenhouses I noticed some small tomato plants in the soil there. It must’ve been from last year’s crop, I had so many tomatoes some of them were just too ripe to pick. They rested in the soil during the winter and now started growing. I selected the best few and planted them in the big pots in my newest greenhouse, in the finished glazed one. They must be really tough to survive the winter so I’ll see what variety they’ll be. I’m not fussy, I love tomatoes.
The forecast for today wasn’t good and I wasn’t sure if I should go to the allotment in the morning or in the afternoon. In the end it was decided for me – I was baking a loaf of bread and some biscuits so there wasn’t enough time to go in the morning. After lunch then, the weather was still quite reasonable. By that I mean it wasn’t raining even though the sky was full of grey clouds and the wind was quite sharp, not at all spring-like.
I wanted to finish my new low net tunnel, this one will be for cabbages and broccoli, I have enough seedlings to fill it. It will be quite easy to work in, I’ll keep one side fixed to the ground and just open the other. The net from the collapsed net tunnel was a perfect fit.
There will be enough space for quite a few plants.
The finished article. I am rather encouraged by this development and as I have some more hoops and netting left I will build another one.
Afterwards I had a little walkabout and took some pictures of my flowering fruit trees. Because we have Wayne’s bees on the allotment we should have a very good harvest. I could see the difference last year, I had some wonderful apples and also soft fruit.
Something else that likes the protection of the net cage are my broad beans. I’m hoping that the dreaded black flies are not going to attack them or the pigeons. These seem to go for everything young and when they start they strip the plant.
The weather forecast was quite accurate last night – rain. It did rain, it was the kind of rain I quite like, gentle. I needed that on the allotment, our soil drains very well and we had a few dry and windy days.
I was working in the big greenhouse in the garden today. I have had this greenhouse for a fair number of years and I think this year it is just about the best – everything is neat and labelled.
As the weather is so unpredictable and I don’t want to plant my onion sets too early when the ground is cold and wet I thought I’ll start them in trays and when I’m quite sure they would be fine I’ll plant them out. By then they should have developed nice roots.
First of all I thought my tomatoes didn’t germinate so I sowed some more and now I have got enough to plant up a small farm. I don’t mind I have so many, I know they can stay outside and produce good tomatoes – I have got a sheltered position all ready for them. Some of the more delicate will have to be in the greenhouses, same as the peppers and aubergines.
The rest of the seedlings are squashes, courgettes, a few pumpkins – one or two are the ghost ones, it’ll be interesting to see them among the others. I have both green peas and carlin peas – these will have to go inside the large net cage otherwise the pigeons would strip them.
Of course I have to allow some space for beans – no idea how I’ll manage that. Maybe this year I’ll wait till the weather is really mild and sow them directly where I want them to grow. Sweetcorn is another thing, I will have to start it in the greenhouse but by then I’m hoping some of the pumpkins or courgettes might have moved out.
I have also started some nasturtiums inside, I’d like a good mix of colours on the allotment and also in the back garden. I’ll save my seeds for next year.
Another nice day today. It looks like spring but the breeze is still a bit too cold for my liking. In the morning I had to finish re-potting some more tomato seedlings and after lunch it was more work on the allotment. The other day I strimmed the grass on the path between my plot and Dave’s and found that the edges have perished. In the pieces of wood that Wayne has left for our use I found just what I was looking for. I started the job on Tuesday and finished today. It looks so much neater now.
I had the plastic hoops left from the collapsed net cage, just waiting to be used. I will have a new low net tunnel using four of these, I’ll have cabbages and kale there. I can also use one of the pieces of the netting to cover it.
There are four more hoops and I’ll see if I can build another net tunnel.
I had to return my trophy that I won last year in the allotment competition -I came in second place. I went to another allotment site to do that – Lakeview allotments and my friend Stevie went with me. We were quite keen to see other plots on a large site. It was very interesting and we both thought that our site, even though it is very small, compared well.
I wanted to do some work on the allotment today so after lunch I went and trimmed one path, the next one I will do after I have charged it. It is amazing how much a simple thing like a neat path improves the look of the place.
I had an idea how to finish the front of the new greenhouse so I got down to it. It was quite a lot of work but the result is great, I’m very happy with it.
I will plant some flowers in these pots and scatter seeds of annual flowers all around them, making it very bee friendly.
We have got a number of beehives on our site, they are Wayne’s and I was watching them after I finished my work. He came to talk to them, he said he does it every day. They came in laden with pollen, some were covered with it all over.
This is just a short post-script to yesterday’s entry. As I finished putting the net over the partially glazed greenhouse I was thinking about the door. I knew that I’d have to do something to stop unwanted visitors coming in. Well, it happened sooner rather than later. I put down a sack of some rich soil from my composter bin under the bench in the back greenhouse with the view to scatter some lettuce seeds. As soon as the soil was there my resident robin discovered the worms and I had to act.
This is the result. The door is permanently fixed on one side and I will just lift the other end to get in. A piece of wood will keep the net in place, it is well secure.
I’m delighted with the result. I was hoping to finish the ‘greenhouse project’ today and with Stevie’s help I did just that. I was going to cut the grass on the path beside the greenhouse before putting the net on and Stevie very kindly did it for me yesterday afternoon, after I went home.
It would have been difficult to do the edges with the net in place so in future I have to trim the edge much more often so I don’t damage the net.
The net is another piece of recycling – this was the net cage that collapsed after the heavy snowfall some weeks ago. I managed to salvage everything that time and now it came very handy. One part of the net cage was enough to go all the way over the greenhouse and to secure it on either side I used the long poles that served as a door in the cage. I wrapped the net around the post and pressed the roll down and pinned it. The net is held in place on the roof and walls with spring clips. I had just enough to keep it secure but must get some more .
The next task was to finish it inside. I did quite a bit already yesterday so today was just some details. All is now ready for growing. The glazed greenhouse will have tomatoes both in the large pots on the bench and in the border.
The netted one will be ideal to grow cucumbers in the border, I will have them climbing up on strings.
There was one more little job to do today. After I moved the large black pots into their new home I had space behind another of my greenhouses. My friend Dave let me have some large pots full of good soil – a result of another cannabis factory haul so I placed them there and planted a few sprouted potatoes in each.
Waste not want not – there is never anything wasted on the allotment. If I can’t use something somebody else certainly will.
It is all coming together. I knew from last year that Wayne got a large greenhouse and he was going to put it on one of my plots. He and his men erected the skeleton of it – it is a large one indeed, actually they are two joined in the middle so it makes a nice long greenhouse across almost the whole width of the plot. Then came the glazing of it, this is where our slight problems started. Because it was such an old greenhouse the glass was quite brittle and some of the panes broke. I didn’t want to leave it all half glazed so I tried to finish one completely and the other one as and when I get more glass. It was my friend Stevie’s idea and she even finished putting the last three panes in yesterday after I went home. I was going to do it today and all was done. I could concentrate on organising the inside. I had the two grow boxes on the bench there but it looked too heavy, the bench was leaning. I emptied them and instead of them I have five of the large black pots and will grow tomatoes there.
I had to put an edge on the bottom by the glass to protect it, piled some more soil there and this little bed will house more tomatoes and perhaps a cucumber at each end, they can climb up.
The outside is fine, I have a line of the black pots along the side with some canes ready for climbing beans.
The front part of the large greenhouse will be finished tomorrow, if the weather lets me. I have got a number of large green nets from the collapsed net tunnel so I’m planning to cover it completely and secure the net to the ground with pegs. When I next get some more panes of glass I will fill the empty spaces until we are all done. But even just with the net cover the plants will get some protection. The roof here is almost done, most of one side is glazed so it doesn’t leave too much.