7. MAY

If I didn’t know the date I would have thought today was a lovely summer day. Blue sky first thing in the morning so I didn’t take too much time, straight after breakfast I was off to the allotment. I decided yesterday that it is just about time to plant my climbing peas and carlin peas out into the large net cage on the allotment. It was a bit of a struggle to carry it all there but it worked out just fine – two large bags, all the little pots fitted in.

I have been saving egg shells for a number of months now, washed, dried and crushed and they filled a fairly large box. My idea was to try them around some of the peas and use slug pellets around the others. The pellets are for organic gardening but as it is inside the cage I would dispose of any dead slugs so no animals can get them, just to be on the safe side.

The ground was ready, the wigwams as well, all I had to do was to plant the peas, tie them to the sticks and scatter the eggshells and pellets. The net gives a little protection against the wind, they should do just fine.

The next task was to finish digging the last piece of ground, I didn’t do anything there as it was quite close to the new greenhouse so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to get walked on. It certainly wasn’t an easy job but I persevered and now it looks great. The soil is fine and I think I’ll put my sweetcorn there later on.

From looking like this…

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..to this

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…and finish like this, that’s not at all bad.

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I just had enough time to pick another bunch of radishes to have with our lunch and it was time to go home.

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The day was so nice it would’ve been a pity not to carry on working in the afternoon. I took all my brassica plant out of the greenhouse in the garden and placed them in the veranda, they are still a bit sheltered but will harden off and I’ll plant them in the new net tunnels after a few days. What doesn’t fit there will go in the large net cage, there’s enough space there.


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.

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The ground was just right, not at all waterlogged and there weren’t too many weeds so this part was quite easy.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.


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.


The dry weather is holding so it was time to do a spot of maintenance. After the wet spell the grass on our paths is growing again so I decided to trim it before it became too long.


Even something as simple as cutting the grass on the path makes it look much better.

I was working on the next task yesterday and it just needed to finish it, it is all done now. It is not the best looking part of the allotment  but I need somewhere to keep bags of horse muck and a compost heap.

This little strip of land has been used for a number of different things after first clearing the original wilderness that was there. I tried to grow potatoes, runner beans and then courgettes but nothing was very successful. In the end I thought just to use it as a storage space. Some dismantled pallets in one corner and a number of sacks of horse muck. The little area that I cleared  will be made into a heated patch – heap of muck covered with a layer of soil and then a membrane. This will be to  grow squashes or a pumpkin. I have got another possible place to do this, I’m quite keen on the idea now.

I didn’t plan anything else for today but then I noticed that I didn’t sort out my line of blackberries and loganberries. In fact I didn’t prune them seriously for a couple of years. When I had a good look I noticed a number of dead branches so that had to be done today. In the end I was glad I did that, I was able to hammer in the wooden posts a bit better and weed the whole row.


The last job was very much on the spur of the moment. My latest greenhouse is nearly complete, one part of it has just a few roof panes of glass missing so it was time to put two of my grow boxes on the bench there. When I emptied them in my greenhouse at home I bagged all the soil and transported it to the allotment – all of 14 sacks. In the end I’ll have four of these beds in the greenhouses, so far I filled just two. They fit perfectly and I can imagine how it’ll look when I plant tomatoes or peppers there.



Things usually work out for me. I was really tired yesterday after my Sunday work on the allotment so I didn’t go there. The weather also helped – it was raining. It was kitchen work instead. On Sunday my friend Dave gave me quite a few shallots, he always grows a lot of them and mine didn’t do very well this year. I never pickled them before so I thought I’d have a go. I had to start the whole process on Sunday evening, it continued overnight and the whole job was finished yesterday after lunch. Luckily I had all the ingredients so now I just have to wait about three to four weeks and then we can sample them.


Also thanks to Dave I will grow broad beans. I had a good harvest but right in the end the plants got completely smothered with black flies so I wasn’t going to bother. Dave gave me quite a lot of them so on Sunday I put some in the first net cage I cleared.20221119_153406

Perhaps this might stop the attack.

Today was the next little net structure’s turn to be cleared. This is a little greenhouse that Simon on the allotment didn’t have glass for. Waste not want not so I  moved it to this spot and covered with the green netting. A perfect little net cage.


The peas that I grew there this year did very well but now the weeds took over. Fortunately the ground is soft so it didn’t take too long to clear it.


I also found a number of strawberry plants there, these were the ones my friend Eva gave me years ago. I grew them  there but moved them later. These ones survived so they deserved to carry on. I also put the rest of the broad beans in.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now – just the fruit cage to clear out and I’m finished. As it is so mild I’m sure the weeds will start growing again but it would just be a bit of maintenance.


Yesterday I had one more vegetable to harvest – my peppers and chillies. I grew all of them in one greenhouse, seeing I’ve got four greenhouses on the allotment I dedicated each to one kind of vegetable.

The small yellow ones are Lemon drop and are quite hot. The large green ones are sweet peppers called Friggitello and are very nice and prolific . Even though it is almost the end of October I’m leaving the plants in the greenhouse, they have a number of smaller peppers on and I think I might get some more.


Wednesday is my usual day to do some shopping. I drive to a group of shops not far from us and as the parking there is limited I go quite early. That seems to work, today was no exception. I came back nice and quickly and as the weather was reasonable I went to the allotment. My garlic order came yesterday and I wanted to plant it as soon as I could. The two raised beds were ready so the time was right. I planted three different types of garlic – Thermidorme, Rhapsody Wight and Maddock Wight. All this almost filled the two beds, there is only a small area left but that doesn’t matter, I’ve got one more garlic order due to come.

What I won’t fit in there I can plant in my large grow bed in the greenhouse at home, let it grow and then in the spring transplant it in the ground on the allotment. That will  give me time to get the ground ready. I had basil growing in the grow bed but I decided to harvest it for the last time to make some more pesto. It is amazing how delicious home made pesto is. I have got a fool-proof recipe for it.


It makes quite a lot but I freeze it shaped like a log wrapped in grease-proof paper and when I need some I can just slice off enough for the meal.

When the grow bed was empty I enriched the soil with some double strength peat-free compost from my favourite place in the Lakes – Dalefoot peat free compost.

It is ready now for the garlic planting.

About two weeks ago I saw in a restaurant review article a mention of Sichuan pepper. That intrigued me, I did a little search and the result is I have got two little plants, which came today. I potted them into larger pots and will live in hope.

I was looking to buy these plants and found them in a nursery I never knew before – Jurrasic Plants Nurseries. They offer a large range of unusual plants and mine arrived well wrapped and secure, very efficiently done.


It it the busiest time of the growing year. The soft fruit is ready, strawberries are almost over, blueberries will start shortly and raspberries are plentiful. That’s just the fruit, I haven’t mentioned the vegetables – cucumbers, peas, spinach lettuce and this year I have managed a lovely crop of basil in my greenhouse at home. Never mind pesto, tomatoes and basil is a combination made in heaven.