Posts Tagged pond


Plan for the new garden

Click on the above to have a look in full scale. 
Originally I was intending to do 2-3ft deep raised beds made of brick.  This is probably too expensive for my pocket however, so we may end up digging it into the ground instead.
The fruit trees at the back will replace the original conifers, the existing pond will be under the patio area.
Why have I planned it this way?
The garden is north facing, so the fruit trees at the very rear of the property are sited there to maximise the use of available sunlight.  The chicken runs are situated under the trees which will eventually provide the shade.  They’re also up that end because when I clean them out, I want to move their effluence onto the vegetable patch as manure.  The telephone box is there just to be interesting (and provide a funky yet expensive shed). 
The idea behind the circular vegetable bed was inspired by this instructable, it allows us to better rotate our crops and also be able to reach all around with as few paths as possible.  It also is a bit different than rectangular raised beds which are lets face it, a bit dull.
The arch and vegetable beds will break the allotment side of the garden from the social side – though technically we’ll still have the herb beds situated close to the house.  Where the old pond is will be a patio dining area, which will be next to the BBQ and pizza oven.  The old pond may yet still be used as a soakaway or as a resevoir for the garden.
Finally close to the house will be laid to lawn, this’ll be for the odd occasional bit of sun bathing (which can only really happen between 11am and 3ishpm as the house is north facing, but don’t tell the missus) and ‘playing’ on.

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Around the plot

Down the lottie today I was bitten to death.

However I did get some pics of the different sections so you can see an overview, and there’s a few more pics of the finished raised bed from yesterday which I also planted a bit in.

We now have cucumbers, another courgette, my applemint (restricted by a bottomless pot which is a long pot with the bottom knocked off – the roots don’t tend to go very deep in mint so it’ll restrict its spread for a bit), a left over tomato, last of my leeklings (that’s a bably leek to you), spagetti squash and some sown from seed brussel sprouts (yuk!!)

Pics in a gallery format below

First pic (top right) is of the strawberry bed which is somewhat infested with couch grass (twich) as well as strawberries!, next is the harlow carr 3×3 imitation and finally another pic of the three sisters bed

2nd row new bed with plants, next houses our mangetout, cabbages, a sorry looking cucumber and some more brussels, last pic on second row is our fruit area.

3rd row is of my other runner bean bed with more fruit, and lollo rosso, next pic has cold frame and asparagus bed, last pic on that row is our beans, additional strawberries and rhubarb bed.  I’ll be moving the rhubarb at the end of the season into trenches in front of the blue boxes – it’s unmanageable in the manure beds now.

Final pic is my pond and first line slug defence.  There’s often a frog in there now and I’ve noticed a definate reduction in slugs in the locality.  Good job mr frog!

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Almost recovered from my swine flu, though to be honest the bank holiday weekend really took it out of me.  I did a bit of planting at the local St John Ambulance station (They now have much prettier baskets outside) and made some wholemeal bread.  If you aren’t aware you can buy fresh yeast from your local supermarket (assuming they bake bread fresh and don’t just bake half baked bread like my local Somerfields).  It’s usually quite cheap and you can get more than you’d usually get in a fast bake pack.  I also used this to make wholemeal pizza.

Sunday/Monday is airshow and the weather really was good for it.  Fortunately my allotment is on the flightpath for the local airport and we got some really good views of the red arrows, as well as assorted other craft including what I believe was a spitfire.

Whilst down the lottie I also managed to completely clean out the pond which was full of dirt and relocated the fish to the now shaded waterbarrel.  Similarly I also fixed the other barrel, strimmed the grass, did a bit of weeding, dug a new bed for the tomatoes and then I did something I’ve been meaning to do for absolutely ages.  I installed some watersaving devices.

Now I don’t get a lot of time to tend my plot in the morning, seeing as I get to work for 8.  What I spend most my time doing is running around manically watering.  I do this because if you water late at night, you get slugs.  Water in the morning and the ground has a chance of drying before the invading armies make it over the beds to your delicious plants.  However when it gets dry, and on clay soil like mine it gets really dry, when you water, most of the time the water just drains off on the surface.

There are two ways to get the water where it is needed.  Both are dead simple and are very similar.  Way number one is to chop up an old drainpipe and push it into the soil around the plants roots.  About 1/3 in the soil, the rest sitting out.  You can use any length or diameter.  Similarly you can use plant pots – just dig a hole around the base of the plant, push in the pot and with both methods, you can then fill to the brim with water.  It’ll gradually soak away into the soil straight into the roots where it’s needed and not off to the sides where you’ll usually find oodles of weeds.

It’s reduced my watering already today by 100% – but that’s because it’s cats and dogs outside right now…

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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!


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.


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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