Archive for June, 2008

New raised bed for the weekend

What a weekend!

Up at 7:30 on a Saturday! First job of the day was to get some wood from my local wood supplier (8:10) (I like to have something easy to work with when I’m so busy!) which I dropped at the allotment (8:25) with some of the lovely blue plant safe treatment.  Then it was off home to pick up bike (8:30) then to the garage to drop off the car for repairs (8:40).  Back to the allotment by bike (9:00) to start treating the wood!

First job was to paint it all up which I managed fairly quickly, then whilst the first side was drying I made up the small raised fruit box.  Back to finish the other side of the wood then I went over to the new allotment rooms (three portacabins that have been installed into our new loos, seed shop & equipment hire + meeting room) to help dig the grey water channel.  I managed five feet before the allotment committee secretary popped over and told me they’d had a go, thought it was too difficult and hired a digger to do it.


Back to the plot to screw the Harlow bed together and bang it into the ground where I found the old adage of ‘measure twice cut once’ should have been applied.  Ten minutes of extra digging and a further half hour of de-couch grassing and my blue bed was in.  I then emptied 14 bags of fresh and rotted manure into the box and mixed it into the thick London clay.

adapted harlow bed planting plan



I sowed out a new set of dwarf and climbing french beans, carrots, spring onions and chives, planted up some lettuce, courgettes, squash, peppers/chilli and tomatoes. (click to enlarge planting plan to left)

Looks spiffing.

three sisters bed




The sugar snap peas have started to produce, unfortunately they’re only about 1/2 foot tall.  I used the cane supports to plant up my existing rather tatty looking beans in the hope they might take off!

Beans and peas




Rhubarb is looking good, potatoes going well and you can just about see the asparagus bed in the background.

rhubarb potatoes and asparagus



Strawberry patch protected by nets and part of my broken cloche.

strawberry plants (and garlic!)




finished off the afternoon by digging in my fruit tree and gooseberry bush and covering the floor with woodchip to try and delay the couch grass (fat chance).

Gooseberry bush and dwarf apple




By the time I got home I was told my rush was over and my better half didn’t fancy going to her friends birthday party after all (headache apparently).  I wasn’t to complain and sat down to watch Dr Who instead.

Sunday we had a 15% off voucher at Homebase – the manager served us and screwed up the order three times, eventually leaving the whole thing to one of the sales assistants who got it right first time.  Our new purchase was an incinerator which I used to smoke our strawberry patch and neighbours with.  My first ever real lunch down the lottie today – first in 1.5 years – a proper picnic with fresh salad off the allotment but peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes from Somerfields (along with the chicken strips and brie which I wouldn’t have been able to pick anyway…)

We did some weeding but Sunday really was a lazy day.  Today my hands are b*gg*r*d and sore – though I’m not as sunburnt as usual.  Factor 100 must be working.

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About six weeks ago I got my first set of berries – about eight in total and I was quite pleased with them.

Yesterday I pulled out my 6ish (probably 8th or 9th really if we count the casulties of ‘official quality control’) punnet.  I’ve had strawberries almost every day and they’re still fruiting and flowering.  Happy days.  But it wasn’t always like this.  Last year I started with no strawberries at all.  I’d only taken my plot on about six months before the strawberry season and the plot was somewhat bare – we’d got the raised beds but they were still settling in and not particularly strawberry friendly being 99% manure.

From the downsizer forums I asked around for anything that would help me start – Sally on the forums sent me several fruit canes (most of which perished, but a few survived), several different types of seed and a couple of strawberry plants which from what I could see looked like they had little chance of survival!  A few days later they had sprung right up and produced several strawberries that were very tasty.  By the end of the season they’d sprung runners – in total I think we had about 25-30 plants from them which I planted up into boxes at the start of this year.

So thank you once again Sally, it was eversokind to send me those all the way from ireland and they’ve really made a tasty difference on my plot!

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Wow – Asparagus

Asparagus tips





There I was last night (at 10pm, I’d realised I’d forgotten to close up the greenhouses and would need to make the trip down the lottie) pulling up a bit of mares tail and my hand closed around something completely different – it was quite, quite dark, but even so I could make out what looked suspiciously like asparagus.

The early morning trip today confirmed my suspicions.  Huzzah!

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