TOO WET TO DIG….

…but good enough to do other work.

About three years ago I put two composter bins on one of my plots. I kept filling them with grass cutting, kitchen waste and all manner of things (but not weeds as i think it doesn’t ge hot enough to kill them).

I didn’t continue working this plot but the bins are still there and I was adding more material in.

A few days ago I managed to upend one of them and move it to the end of another plot, close to my shed. It was half empty and it looked brown and crumbly, just like the best potting compost you buy in a garden centre.

Today was the turn of the other bin – again upended and moved next to the other one near the shed. There was some dry stuff on top of both heaps and I took it to my bean trench, it helped to fill it up.

It is too good to waste so I decided to put it in bags and use it when I need to top up my raised beds in the greenhouse etc.

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The new spot for the bins, neat and tidy, in the corner of the plot, ready to be filled again.

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It was worth the wait – must do it more often – ‘forget’ to empty the bins regularly and that way will get beautiful potting compost.

ANOTHER BUILDING PROJECT

This is the perfect time for this kind of activity.

I have got a line of blackberry and loganberry in the middle of my original allotment – it divides it in two. The plants were quite small when first planted but now they’re quite vigorous and unmanageable. As I have a square of land with some fruit trees and bushes I thought a line of posts with supporting wires would be just right to finish this fruit set up.

Fortunately Simon was on the allotment and offered to help. I knew there were some metal posts in our lovely clean communal shed. We got them out but found that they were too long. Again Simon came to my rescue – managed to cut all three to the same size. All I had to do was to dig three deep holes and hammer the posts in. We even found a large reel of some plastic coated wire during the shed clear out so I could fix five lines of support.

All I have to do now is to prune the plants and dig the loganberry out and plant it in the new place. I’m sure it will grow better – it is in full sun and will have space to run.

MAINTENANCE

Another autumn activity – well, maintenance should be done during the whole year but the autumn is the time when bigger jobs are on the cards. Something like path mending – don’t know what else to call it – perhaps a path rescue.

 

Our site is on a gentle slope so that every two plots going down hill there’s a large step down. One of my plots is on this step and after a while the edge of the path crumbles and collapses. The path gets narrower. Today was the day to tackle it and I think the result is quite good. Perhaps not quite straight but as I was using whatever material I could get hold of, I’m happy with the result.

 

MARMALADE

There are jobs that have to be done in between my other activities on the allotment. Marmalade making is one of them.

I have tried many recipes, from the traditional to the more obscure but Nigel Slater‘s one is by far the best. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind that I changed it a bit – instead of the specified pink grapefruit I use red grapefruit. The result is quite delicious. Because it is so good and because I don’t find the red grapefruit every time I would want, I tend to make a double amount. Quite a task but well worth the effort!

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BROAD BEANS

I was late last year with sowing my broad beans, I had to catch up with things and sow them in the spring. The usual time to sow them is in October/November.

I didn’t have any broad beans so Frank went to the market today and bought me some. The weather wasn’t too great in the morning but the afternoon got better I managed to sow some. I’ve decided to create small patches, using areas where I wouldn’t grow anything else, leaving large pieces of land for other things.

ONE MAN’S UNWANTED PAVING SLABS….

…..my ideal material for sprucing up the plot.

Yesterday I cleared the area between my new greenhouse and the latest net cage. It is not very wide – I had sunflowers growing close to the net cage as that way they had some protection. Close to the greenhouse is a large crown of rhubarb and a small raised bed. It was the perfect area for weeds to thrive!

It was clear of weeds but I knew I had to do something there to stop the weeds to come back. Slabs I thought. Again Simon came to the rescue. He already gave me a few of them to make a little path in front of the greenhouse, now he gave me the rest of them. The blue bricks I dug out from the ground at the end of this very same plot – the guy who had it before me started to build a wall?? It looked like it, all in all I unearthed 15 blue bricks! The rest can be seen here

To finish it all off Simon also gave me some sweet William plans – he was planting them out and, fortunately for me, had more than he could use. Thanks to him it looks very nice, the bees will love it next year when it all flowers.

WASTE NOT,WANT NOT

After I harvested my onions and garlic I dug the land and thought – wonder if I could plant something here. Considering it was the end of July – 29th to be exact – I was lucky. Simon had 2 trays of chitted Wija potatoes and didn’t have time or space to plant them. I thought I might have a go as I did something similar a number of years ago. That time I actually bought some potatoes advertised as suitable for planting late so they would be ready for Christmas. I planted 4 rows and they grew very well. unfortunately blight struck when the tops were really lush green and big. I cut the whole lot off and hoped for the best. I eased a few potatoes out the other day and my strategy worked!

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I treated them exactly the same way as I did the new potatoes in the early summer – just scrubbed them clean and steamed them. Served with sprinkling of salt, black pepper, butter and chopped chives. Quite delicious. I’ve got high hope to have them at Christmas.

 

YACON

Yet again these came up trumps. Only three plants and I only pulled out a few tubers. They are lovely eaten raw – all I had to do was to peelĀ  and slice them – they are crunchy and sweet. Perfect for a nibble at any time.

I can recommend growing yacon wholeheartedly.

WEEDS

What are weeds? Wikipedia tells me that ‘A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, “a plant in the wrong place”. Fine and good but it doesn’t make my life any easier on the allotment.

I often wish that everything grew as well as the weeds – I would have a bumper crop every time. Never mind – get down to it and keep weeding.

 

This is going to be my new net cage. So far it remains empty but I have got a large roll of green netting so first thing in the spring I shall make a cage out of it and it’ll have cabbages growing there – one more net to help with the rotation. But I’m sure before I do that in the early spring I shall have to weed the whole area again. Painting the Forth bridge comes to mind…..