FRONT GARDEN

This afternoon was earmarked for some serious digging in the front garden.

The job started on Sunday, between the showers. There was a large yucca in my front garden, I got it as a small cutting about 20 years ago. It was flowering well but last year it started showing signs that all was not well. In a way I didn’t mind digging it out, it was taking valuable space from my other large specimen there, a loquat. That is grown from a seed – some years ago we went to Istanbul and had loquat fruit in a restaurant. Of course I had to save the seeds and on return home I planted them in a pot and they germinated. I can’t imagine ever having the fruit here but it is a handsome tree.

The roots of the yucca went down for ever but they and the whole trunk were really fibrous, difficult to cut with a saw but much easier to hack with my favourite tool, the azada. Much easier to use than pick axe, much lighter. I have already mentioned it in another post, from January 2015. One of my very favourite Christmas presents.

Now the square of soil is cleared of all weeds, it is ready for new plants. I have decided on Hellebores, they should do well, it is slightly shaded by the hedge, and as they are not tall, they will not compete with the loquat.

 

HANDICRAFT

This might be the last blanket – spring is coming and I will be busy on the allotment. I didn’t think I would make it at all but after a long thought I decided to change the design and make this one.

I am happy with the result – it was much faster to do it this way and I still didn’t use up all the wool. Perhaps next winter?

MAINTENANCE

We managed to win third place in the Coventry Allotment competition, our site looked fine but we are determined to do better this year. We shall hold a trophy for a year and also get some money for our troubles.

I contacted the tree surgeon again and he gave us a truckload of wood chip with the promise that as soon as he’ll have more we shall get it. Amazing how much was needed just to fill these paths – all the wood chip has gone there. We shall store the next lot and use it as and when and where we need it.

Happy days!

FEBRUARY

I had a day off yesterday as it was my birthday, only 72, but today was just another day, nice and dry. A bit breezy but very good for digging.

It was rather easy to dig, the soil is lovely with plenty of worms. Another part of my plot is ready, there is only a small piece of land to do, perhaps tomorrow afternoon. There’s something like shopping to do that gets in the way……

JANUARY

Another year, another batch of marmalade. I was going to make some traditional Seville orange marmalade but the oranges in the shop were so small and tired-looking that I opted for red grapefruit again. It is tried and tested and as I made a double amount I have got 14 jars. Perfect set, delicious flavour.

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RASPBERRIES…

….are ready. As I have just about finished my digging on the rest of the plot I can do jobs that I neglected in the past, like weeding the raspberry patch and spreading some horse muck there. Today was just the right day for it. I managed a half-day there yesterday, started the weeding and soon realised that there are many more weeds  than I thought. A lot of bindweed roots, they go on for ever and break as soon as you touch them – every new bit could potentially grow into another plant. I had to call a halt to it yesterday, it was getting dark but all the same, the days are getting longer, I came home at 4.45 pm so I was happy.

The plan was to finish the weeding today and then spread the manure. The whole area swallowed 7 sacks of the stuff – I had it ready. That means that next week I will be driving to the place in Corley and hope they have a lot of it bagged ready for me. Amazing how many sacks I can fit in my little Polo.

ANOTHER STEP

It was another reasonable day, I knew I wanted to do a lot so I started – after breakfast and a nice strong cup of coffee – by going to my local B&Q to get some potting compost. Us oldies get 10% off on Tuesday, only on gardening things though. I got two huge 125 l bags and took them to the allotment.

When I got home there was the small matter of cutting down the rushes in the pond. I have been putting it off but today was the day. Job done, I’m happy.

I have got two greenhouses on the allotment and the work was done in the older one of the two. I put two of the grow bags on the bench there and started filling them up with the compost. To make sure I have got enough I also used a bag of horse muck in each grow bag, to enrich it. These will be used for growing tomatoes – the whole greenhouse will be just tomatoes, the peppers will be in the half of the poly tunnel I am sharing with Simon.

In order to give each tomato plant the best conditions I put some flowerpots with the bottoms cut off in the bed and filled them with the compost too, just to give the tomatoes exactly what they like – deep soil to develop healthy roots.

Also the greenhouse in the back garden is ready, the same arrangement is there.

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If everything grows this year like it did last year I’ll be happy….

GROW BAGS

I have had these grow bags in the garden greenhouse for about 8 years. They are much better than the standard plastic tomato grow bags – much deeper and very environment-friendly. I just add some fresh compost at the end of the growing year and on it continues. I couldn’t remember where I got them from so I just randomly put a name of a seed company in and – bingo! Found them and ordered some more. Marshalls seed company has them. All I have to do now is wait. The growing rings I have bought years ago at a garden show and they work very well, they sit in the soil and have a ring around the main part, a water reservoir so the water goes directly to the roots.

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GETTING THERE

The weather is still fine so I was able to continue with my winter dig. Most of one of my plots is almost done, there is only a small patch left. When I felt tired after digging I started another job – greenhouse washing. I did the inside the other day when rain stopped play and I finished the job today. The days are getting longer, I was able to stay on the allotment till just after four in the afternoon.

JANUARY

Today is the second of January, another year gone and I’m ready to start one more year of enjoying myself on the allotment, growing an amazing range of vegetables. I have finally harvested the last of the carrots – they are not perfect but the taste is great. I have to cut and peel them, however they look so it doesn’t make much difference. The freezer is full of chopped carrots, ready to be used in stews etc, also grated carrots ready in small bags just enough for a carrot cake.

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I also pulled out some leeks, that emptied one of the beds and as it was a nice afternoon, just the weather for digging, I did just that. If I do a bit each time I go there I will be done in no time.20200102_152126