Archive for February, 2009

A week in winter

Having admitted publically on the downsizer forums that I’ve been hiding through shame, I finally got back to the plot this week.  I’d been umming and arrring for the past couple of months and everythought of the allotment was down to guilt.

It wasn’t just me, my partner too was on the guilty streak – not that she’d admitted it to me and after I’d popped down for an hour I mentioned it to her and she said ‘I don’t want to think about the state it’s in!’

Fortunately for us before I last left it to the winter, I’d made a special effort to do a bit of tidying up and I mowed the grass just one last time.  The result of which is that the grass isn’t 4ft high like last time, which meant I could really get stuck in and get things sorted.

Monday.  Me: 1hr Her:0

First up was the manic weeding of the 3×3 ‘harlow carr’ beds.  I managed about 1/3 of the job before it got too dark (this is after work) but I did discover gold under those weeds – the carrots I’d planted and forgotten about were there – totally whole with no carrot fly.  I’m definitely more given to believing that they are attracted by the sweet smell of freshly pulled carrots.

Tuesday: Me: 2hrs Her:0 (this is a rolling count)

I got another hour in on Tuesday and just about finished the 3×3 bed.  Pleased with the progress but annoyed that I’ve basically reduced the basic soil level by 1ft.  Picked some Kale (the other thing to survive if not flourish over the cold months) and some purple sprouting broccoli.  Someone else seems to have been helping themselves though and there wasn’t much to pick.  I will have words this weekend!

Using the dug up grass and roots I started a pile which will become the next compost heap.

Wednesday Me: 4.5 hours, Her:0

I got home early thanks to a meeting in London, a missed lunch break and the inability to travel to my actual work place in back before my contracted hours were over.  Over the course of the afternoon I took down the old bamboo canes and stripped off the dead material.  I also got some of the mouse infested cardboard from the shed, some wood I’d scavenged on Tuesday and the remains of my tomato plantation and set fire to it.

I then made a concerted effort to dig up any remaining spuds from last years spud bed as well as handfuls upon handfuls of twich/couch grass.  Similarly I started the digging process in the old tomato bed.

I’ve also tidyed up the greenhouse and shed.  Late summer the shed was broken into, but since we had no power tools nothing went missing (which was fortunate) – even more surprising since the front entrance was almost entirely blocked with crates of beer.  Granted some had expired, but most was drinkable.  I guess beer just doesn’t have the best resale value.

The greenhouse was a bit of a mess – I emptied out the tomato grow bags and mixed it into the soil of the old spud bed and then, spade in hand I cut hung and quartered the giant rhubarb plant which is also in the spud bed.  The quarters of this alien beast were planted in the four corners of the spud bed to continue its conquest.  I wish I’d taken some pictures, it’s just so plain weird… especially chopped up into quarters.

I did a bit more digging and some partial repairs to various wooden structures on my patch and admired the first of the spring bulbs planted last year which had started to make their way up.

Dinner was complimented by yet more purple sprouting broccoli, a few more carrots & some kale.

Thursday  Me: 5.5 hours, Her:0

Thursday was a tough day – I was absolutely cream crackered but still made it down.  I did pick more broccoli, but this was given away the next day – there’s only so much you can eat.  The rest of the evening was spent doing some more tidying and breaking out the compost.  I filled the 3×3 “Harlow carr” bed, the future sweetcorn bed and some of the bean bed.  The compost stocks are almost out now, but I’ve got plenty more earth and organic material to start the next one!

Friday:

Megatokyo, one of the few webcomics I occasionally read (and hasn’t given up like Beaver and Steve) has days called ‘Dead Piro Days’ – DPD for short.  Piro being the writer.  Today was a DTD (Dead Tim Day) as I was out with the scout troop.  Whilst I wasn’t walking with them, I was preparing the ‘hot dogs’ at the end of the walk and also making sure everyone was rehydrated from their 1hr stumble from the carpark down the road.

There is a lot of pleasure to be had just simply watching a big fire and drinking beer.

Saturday

I did promise I’d be down every day this week.  I lied.  I got caught up with the scout hall clearup and one skip later we had one full skip and plenty of gear to be taken down the allotment.  So I did spend about 15 minutes down there.  Honest.  But it was mainly dropping off the scavenged goodies.

Sunday  Me: 13 hours, Her:0

ready to plant bedsBlimey.  Started at 9 but forgot all sorts, like lunch for instance.  And drinks etc.

Started off by removing several tubs of couch grass from the “to be potato” bed and gave it a good dig to turn over the rotted manure and straw into the soil.  It’s the only bed I’ve found worms in so far, so it’s a good start.

Next came a bit of tidying and plenty of the rubbish was taken away to be put in the scout hall skip before it gets taken away on Monday.

img_0371I rotovated a bed, first time I’ve used a rotovator, and I think digging is actually less effort.

Next I laid a new pond next to the fruit trees to encourage a few frogs and relocated the old nature bit to the new pond.  The pond was rescued from the skip the day before – one less bit of fiberglass in the landfill I suppose!

Built a new cold frame, it’s very spiffing, but because of the lack of screws already falling apart.  When I sink it into the ground, I’m going to screw it together properly.  I knew that rescued shower door would come in useful.

 

cold frame

Planted also started in earnest – I’ve planted in trays marigolds, autumn giant leeks and lettuce (losa rossa?) and a few little gem.  Also went in were broad beans, french beans, sweet peas, tomatoes and garlic.

I’m pleased the mini daffs are coming up – probably will flower sometime in the new few days.

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Long time no see

Wow, it’s been a long time since the last post – mainly because of the stress of harvesting, running a scout troop almost full time and generally getting drunk.

This year the allotment is going to have a proper make over, starting with the ordering of plenty of paid for muck because I’m sick of taking fresh horse muck and digging it in.  Yes this year I’m going to be mostly lazy.

I’ve got a shed roof to repair, homebrew to make (it’s almost spring, time for the oak leaf wine & nettle beer!) and plenty of weeding to do (oh joy!)

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