Sunday, 21 June 2015

Father's Day update

I want to start off by wishing all the father's out there where ever they are, be it this world or the next, Happy Father's Day.

The Little P's have been quite keen to spoil Mark today with breakfast in bed followed by a trip to the nursery. Not sure if this was for my benefit or Mark's, however all 6 of us had a chance to choose new plants for the garden and plot and hopefully the bunnies will leave them alone!!!

Can't remember if I shared this with you or not but a few weeks ago when we were digging in the flowerbed, Mark's arm suddenly disappeared down a large hole. After a bit of probing we found our 2 female rabbits had dug themselves a burrow and lined it with grass. When it was discovered they proceeded to fill it in and have since started a new burrow at the side of the house. They have moved 2ft of stone to reach the soil, determined little buggers!

Our flowerbed at home is looking very sparse since the bunnies have nibbled everything. (They're now only allowed out when I'm there to watch them!)

Anyway I'm digressing. We now have a boot full of flowers and one week until next plot inspection. In this coming week we have 1 concert, 2 birthdays, a school prom and a hen night for an old friend, not to mention the dance rehearsals and swimming lessons we fit in each week. Busy week coming up, I like a challenge ;)

So what have we been up to this last week? Not as much as I would have liked.

Our carrots started in trays are in. We have put more in trays to try to stagger growth rates.

We had our first ripe strawberry and it was a good size, almost as big as Bob's hand :)

Our first batch of ripe strawberries. Some aren't quite ripe with the tip still a little pale but I know if left they would be eaten by slugs. A few hours in the window will sort them.

We have got the next lot of peas transplanted and have used twigs to help support them.

We have had our second batch of garlic, Carcassonne variety we picked up on our travels to the Isle Of Wight.

Will update the blog in between birthdays etc. Thanks for reading. :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Mystery bug

Need some assistance with this one. Whilst preparing the ground for my transplanted carrots, I came across this little fella. He was very bright as you can see and about 5mm across. Can anyone help me identify him and more importantly tell me if friend or foe?

Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, 15 June 2015

middle of june

Until Saturday it had been a fantastic week of weather here in the midlands. Yesterday morning we woke to glorious sunlight streaming through the skylights above our bed, not a cloud in sight. For the first time ever we were all up and sorted and heading to the plot at just after half 9 on a Sunday morning. Motivating 2 teens at that time on a Sunday is no easy task but they were happy to get out for a while.

All 6P's hit the plot for a change. Bob was on Charlie (our little Shih Tzu dog) and photo duty while the rest of us set to digging.

Think CP is digging for treasure, fully absorbed either way.

Mark finishing digging and tidying up before planting

Really need to remind KP how to use a spade, this could have ended in tears.

Girls getting to grips with their bed.

I took on the job of weeding Cecelia.

 Everything seemed to be coming along nicely, however we have lost all our carrots again this year. The seeds germinated and carrots had broken the surface, however, they have all gone now. We've also lost several beetroot. We had two full rows last week but there are big gaps between plants now. Luckily I planted some more at home with a view to transplanting so should have enough to fill the gaps. I also have some carrots that were started in trays so they will be used to fill the gaps. We have an abundance of radish so will try to carefully separate and move some. Looking a little bare at the moment for mid June although the corn is finally starting to go. Once they're past bunny fodder size I can shorten Cecelia and leave them uncovered.

Mark and I have spent quite a few hours in the evening this week weeding and sorting our new herb bed on 47. It was getting harder to dig the more the sun baked the soil so we were very grateful for Saturday's downpour. 

This is what we started with....

...and here's the finished bed. We've planted 4 different varieties of mint (in pots), lemon balm (also in a pot buried in the soil) rosemary, sage, 3 varieties of thyme, coriander, fennel and a curry plant. We know that the curry plant isn't the one used for curries, however we love the smell and the silvery gray colour provides a nice contrast in the bed.

The Turks Turban that I donated to our neighbours seems to be struggling. I think we have lost one and the other is looking very sorry for itself. I made sure that I put several good spade fulls of compost in with each plant and have been making sure they do not get too dry, however something more drastic is needed. My nettle stew is now ready so a good feed of that will hopefully give them a boost. 


So what's next this week? Filling the holes in Cecelia and tackling this bed.

The girls dug the large weeds out of this bed. Mark took the path up in the middle. Next up rotavate and plant with the many seedlings that the girls planted the other week, which have now come up.

Have a good week. Thanks for reading. :)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

first weekend in June

We managed to spend quite a bit of time at the allotment over the weekend. I survived my first shed duty and had lots of left handed handwriting practice in the process, the receipts look like an 8 year old has written them as opposed to a 5 year old, so that's progress! I also got an opportunity to meet some of the other plot holders I hadn't spoken to before and talk compost, weed killer and netting. Luckily I had the help from another committee member who was very patient with me. She was able to measure out and cut while I  wrote receipts. Got to do it all on my own next time! Hopefully the little P's will be feeling helpful that day.

We currently don't have livestock on the site, but having chickens is an idea that has been raised by other members, so it was a good opportunity to gather peoples views and find out more about what the impacts could be. I think it is one idea that will be debated for while yet. Being allergic to eggs I am no hurry to set up a chicken coup on my plot, however having a source of chicken manure could be useful. Any advice on rules, regulations etc will be gratefully received.

After a morning of shed duty it was home for lunch, a few jobs, then back up to the plot for an afternoon of digging.

As promised to our neighbors on 46, I got to digging their largest raised bed. When I started it was a mass of weeds. There were bits of weed barrier here and there and several sycamore saplings as well as an oak tree starting to grow in the bed. After a few hours of digging I realised there was a large section of weed barrier I couldn't move so did my best to dig around it. Our neighbors will have to decide what they want to do with it. I don't have the strength to sort it one armed.
When finished I planted our two strongest Turks Turban hoping they will take. I've got a feeling I'm going to regret giving them the plants but we will have to see.




As always Charlie stayed close, keeping an eye on my every move. After a couple of hours sitting in the sun he finally got some sense and moved into the shade. I had put him in the shade to begin with but being a diva he appears to enjoy sunbathing, hot dog springs to mind.

Mark was busy on 47. He started leveling and re digging the rough dug bed towards the back of the plot. He's leveled just under half and built the frames for our cucamelon and gherkins ready to be planted.



The best thing about not going up to your plot for a while is exploring how well things are coming on since your previous visit. Here's how we're getting on.

Last week I gave JJ the task of planting some white radish and spinach seeds. I think these need to be thinned out somewhat, however it does show she has done a thorough job. She started digging her bed this weekend so hopefully we can transplant some into her bed.

The strawberries are coming along nicely and are starting to turn red. I've got a cage all ready to go over them and need all P's on deck to help move it.

We were given a courgette by a friend. Our melon plants have all been destroyed  by the slugs so I have re homed the courgette in their empty bed. We did plant more melon seeds so I will be reading up on companion planting the two. We have also been given a cucumber and nine baby gem lettuces. That's CP and JJ happy.

Our TomTato is doing well and we have several tomatoes forming. I got into a debate with a lady at a garden centre last week about the TomTato. She was saying that they were genetically modified and why anyone would consider purchasing one was beyond her. I really couldn't help myself! I informed her that they were not genetically modified but were in actual fact grafted. She still didn't like the idea, I however picked up another one. ;)

I haven't grown beefsteak tomatoes before but ours is doing rather well and is fruiting.

Our blueberries are doing really well this year. Last year they struggled. (It didn't help Mark standing on the plant!) We made sure it was well staked this year and visible! Given the number of blueberries it seems to be thriving.

The berries in the fruit cages on 47 seem to be doing well and are also forming nicely.


I managed to get up to the plot for an hour this morning so started clearing this bed ready for the herbs. I will post a picture of the finished bed.

So what's this next weeks challenge?

We have a greenhouse full of different plants all ready to go in, so this weeks mission is to get them all planted.

Will keep you updated on our progress.

Thanks for reading :)

Friday, 5 June 2015

trying to keep away but failing

Short entry today!

It's been almost a week since I last went to the plot and have got major withdrawal symptoms. My school reports are coming along nicely with just the finishing touches (that take the longest time) still to do. Some way from finishing but getting there.  I'm allowing myself a day at the plot tomorrow, (got no choice as I'm on shed duty!) I will be glad of the excuse to get my hands dirty, also I can't wait to get started on plot 47.

I offered to help our neighbours on 46 to clear one of the beds before took on 47. I was brought up to never make a promise you can't keep, so have got to get digging on 46 before I can do more on 47.

I picked up some herbs a couple of weeks ago (reduced of course) so they need to go in. Plan for the weekend:

Weed 46 bed
Weed between onions on 45
Weed and plant herb bed on 47.

Will keep you posted on the progress.

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend ;)