Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Thursday, 23 April 2009
I also got another crop of asparagus after only a couple of days. This stuff grows mega-fast! Not a problem though, I love it! Might have to get a harvesting volunteer to keep on top of it whilst I am on hols. I am sure I can find someone who likes asparagus! Having it again for tea tonight - yummy :) There's the asparagus festival on near me at the mo (started today) so I am thinking of popping up there this weekend with my aunt and uncle, who are down for a visit. We're also going for a woodland bluebell walk, I think :)
Tonight there wasn't much light at the allotment but I was there for a couple of hours until it was too dark to see (even though I still wanted to stay!). Made a start on my strawberry row. It is totally overgrown with grass and it is going to take a while to weed. I also marked out where I want my paths so my lovely lottie neighbour, John, who has volunteered to cut my grass, can see which bit needs cutting. This should also help my friend Paul know which area to strim! Aren't men handy ;)
I didn't take any photos of the lottie tonight as, to be honest, my clearing looked rather feeble and pathetic! But as you allotment folk know, lots of effort goes into something but you don't always see a big result straight away. It was also dark!
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
I also picked the first crop of asparagus...
and more spring onions...
Nothing quite like fresh veg. I really can't wait until I have lots more veggies grown and ready to eat.
I really need to plant out my peas as they are growing so quickly! Everything's growing quickly - the soft fruit is starting to show little berries already after only a couple of weeks when it was just flowers.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
I have helpers coming today - my friend Claire who came with me the first night I saw the allotment and Paul who will be watering for me whilst I am on hols. I am hoping it will be fun and we get a couple of the large beds ready for planting.
I was going to measure the plot so I can plan what goes where yesterday but my tape measure has gone walkies, so I will do that today as Paul has one I can borrow. I don't want to put things in without planning so I need to measure asap.
I met another neighbour last night, from the opposite side of my plot - Bert. He seemed nice and I think he was worried I was digging up the asparagus! I expect having an allotment is like living in a village - everybody knows what you're up to. :) Bert was telling me Rob, who had my allotment before, "kept it like a palace". Hmm, no pressure there then!
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Anyhoo, lots of people at the allotments today. 'Tis sunny you see. Luckily not the full sun we had forecast or we'd all melt I think! I've met more friendly people today - Chris who is one of my neighbours John's brother. He was snaffling John's rhubarb!! Chris also has a plot and I think he said his shed is called Twin Peaks or something!
I also met another neighbour, the plot across the access road from mine. He is also a John. He's had his plot for 20 years and it is immaculate. Puts mine to shame. He gave me a gift which was very sweet, especially as we only spoke for about 5 minutes. He's given me some seed potatoes - Charlotte - which are ready to go in the ground now and will be good to harvest about July. It was very touching :)
I was up early, as usual, and have done 3 commissions for glass customers. I've blogged about it on my glassy goodies blog if you want to see what they'll look like once finished. Well, best get ready to go out :)
Thursday, 16 April 2009
I did do practical things at the allotment once I'd dumped all... sorry, put away nicely(!) my new purchases in the shed. My new plants needed a good water. Got to keep them happy before they find new homes. Still need to plan where I want things. Must remember to measure out the plot next time I am down there on Saturday. I also bought a big pot to confine my garden mint and planted that this evening. I don't want mint going everywhere as it spreads like nobody's business!
On my way back to the car, when it was virtually dark, I decided to pull up some of my veg for tea. I grabbed some spring onions (which I had previously thought were onions) for tea and some parsnips which I will have tomorrow I think.
Don't they scrub up well?!
There's nothing quite as tasty as home-grown food.
And here is what I ate. Spring onions fried in olive oil, scrambled egg, seafood and a little soy. Yummy!
Oh, I also found some rhubarb on the plot. I think it is mine! It is on the path border but it looks like it is mostly on my plot. Wahey!
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
The first day of 'owning' the allotment I didn't have the key to the shed so I had to admire it from the outside. What struck me most was the window. It is pretty big. Once it has been cleaned up I can admire my hard work from it. It's going to be useful too as I don't have a greenhouse. I should imagine the shed stays pretty warm as it has a clear-plastic corrugated roof which lets in lots of light. I'm sure it will function pretty well as a greenhouse substitute.
Having a shed has the added bonus of water collection via a gutter. There are 4 water butts next to the shed, all linked together so water flows to the next one as each fills up. The water in these has been standing for a long time though and I think they could benefit from a clean out, but they're useful to have. No tapped butts though, however it should be easy enough to fill the watering can.
Once I got the key for the shed from 'Betty' on day 2 it was a real moment of excitement. Who knew what mysteries and surprises awaited me as I turned the key for the first time. Yes, I really did take this before I went into the shed. I thought it would make for a good photo.
Once in, this is the sight I first saw. I was like a child on Christmas Day! ...is that a plastic pigeon?! - yep, it sure is. He's now called 'Bob'. There's a better photo of him to follow, along with the retro clock I am not going to reset. Allsorts of things had been left - tools, seeds, sacks, pots, propagators, markers, etc, even a shelf full of books!
I've made a list of the titles in the column on the right of the blog. Looking through them, they seem really useful so that'll be something for me to peruse when it is too dark to work on the allotment. Being such a novice I find a real comfort in books. Let's hope they are clear and simple. I like some of the titles such as "Vegetable Plotter", which sounds like some sort of sinister activity!
Allsorts of things have been left in the shed, of varying usefulness! Here are some of them...
'bob' the plastic pigeon and the retro stopped clock
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Here's my new digging fork and spade - not the most expensive but they appealed to me the most. I felt a bit silly trying them out in the shop but it had to be done! They have nice rubbery grip handles and I liked the extra grip near the blade end for lifting. I doubt they will stay as shiny for long! Also in this picture is my new bucket (99p!) and my gloves - 2 pairs, which I bought a while back when I was doing conservation volunteering. One pair is thick for getting thorny things and the other pair are for general purpose jobs. I bought the more expensive gloves so they'd last a while and protect my artist's hands! The other item I've just bought is the pop-up bin which I am using to collect weeds etc in until I get a wheelbarrow. It was £3 but was the only one left in the shop and had already been a bit soiled so I was offered it half price for £1.50 - yay! I swear one day I'll use it and it will pop open right in my face though - just my luck and that thing has a real quick ping!!
This photo shows my new hand tools and some old bits and bobs. Again, the hand tools have comfortable rubbery grip handles. The last thing I want to get is blisters when I work. The other items in this photo are finds in the shed: safety goggles, metal hook and old handleless blade, as well as secateurs found at the bottom of a box in the shed which seem perfectly good to me :)
Yes, the shed, I need to post about all the finds I made once I got the key. Found something today - the green sack in the first photo of this post was a new surprise - it is full of netting!
And I am afraid that is where the work stopped! My friend Paul came over to see my new plot and I had to give him the tour. He was very impressed and I have to keep him sweet - he has had experience of allotments and is offering his services as digger/waterer/company which will be great :) His mum also is very into gardening so I hope to get some tips. That is one of the things I love about gardening - inheriting tips and tricks, along with passing tools and advice along.
I also met more plot neighbours and someone else who just said 'hello' as he walked by. I am feeling very welcome already which is lovely :)
Sunday, 12 April 2009
onions [edit: no, these are spring onions - delish!]
um...? answers on a postcard! i have 2 rows of this stuff - not sure if they are identical, but the leaves are similar.
my next post will be about my amazing shed which i am in love with! hehe!
Thursday, 9 April 2009
so, here is my shed. have you ever seen such a quirky, fun shed? what a fab thing to inherit. it's crammed full of useful/not-so-useful things and i think it is quite charming. i think that great big window is such a bonus. it will be great to hide in here if the rain catches me out :) i am taking the horseshoe as a good omen for happy times ahead :)
i also have this little bench to sit on, take a break, contemplate life, sup wine/tea and admire my hard work. the allotment really is well stocked and i have inherited lots of fab goodies. look, i have 4 big butts! these fill with water from the shed roof so that should keep me going for a while :) i've been really lucky to get the allotment in the first place, but to get one which comes with lots of bits and pieces is a dream. i know most of the things won't be very expensive to buy but if you have 30 or so 'little bits and pieces' to buy it soon adds up. i also love the history of it too.
my allotment is already divided nicely into 3 areas. part 1 is near the shed...
this is furthest away from the access road and will be most likely where i spend most of my time. there are already crops growing away in this area, the 'shed end', such as asparagus (new discovery!), strawberries, onions and some sort of leafy thing! ha! such a novice!!
part 2 is full of soft fruits. 'betty' told me it was gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants and that they had a fabulous crop from them last year. fingers crossed for a repeat!
i think i need to take out some of the dead bits and maybe prune a little but i shouldn't imagine i need to do that much in this area. it was nice to inherit something nicely established like this.
part 3 is the area nearest the access road. it has a few things in it at the moment but needs more work. there is a little area for me to park my car here so that is ideal for offloading/loading :)
the stuff in the front of the allotment was some sort of gourd-type squash and there are a lot of old ones left so i will try to gather some seeds and see how they go. you can see the full allotment in this photo now. the 'shed end' furthest from us, the soft fruit area, and the 'road end'!
...and just because i could park on my allotment, i did! (can you spot me!?)
so, that's the tour so far. later i'll post about the produce already growing away when i took ownership and the inside of the quirky shed :)
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
so much has been done already which is better than getting a daunting bit of soil. so, there is:
- shed with massive window to sup tea in, including shelving
- a rustic seat under a cute tree to drink wine from
- a pond
- globe artichokes already in
- lots of raspberry/currant canes already established
- a row of strawberries
- a row of onions or something(!)
- 3 big water butts
- a big compost heap
- not too many weeds/quite good soil to get going on
- a 'friend' already called john, who said hello and gave me a tour of the plot and CLEARLY has plot envy as he was going on that i should take it and it is the best plot on the allotment!!!
i chose the name "The Green Grower" as it works on a few levels - 'green' in the colour sense, 'green' in that i am totally new to all this and 'green' in that i'd ideally like to be as organic as possible. the 'grower' part is pretty obvious!
this blog will be a record of day1 to whenever! i am a total novice gardener. always loved gardens and the idea of gardening and having an allotment to grow my own produce has always been a dream. now i have one so you can see how i get on. i'll also use this blog as a useful history of when i have planted things, how things have fared etc. all tips/tricks/advice welcome so do feel free to comment. wish me luck!