Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wasps and Wine...and garlic plaits

Quite an eventful few days, really – I nipped down to Hill on Thursday in order to dig up the rest of the ONIONS, & whilst I had my head in the toolshed reaching in for the fork, I was mindful of rather a lot of wasps.

The main reason for this I discovered in pretty short order was the presence of a wasps' nest in the shed.

Beating a hasty retreat, I took the ONIONS home and pondered my next move.

So on Saturday morning I went back to deal with the wasps, armed with a puffer pack of proprietary Wasp Nest Killer. I read the instructions – use at dusk. So I put the pack away & got on with building a second compost bin instead.

Reg-next-plot was on hand to advise – he suggested a layer of manure at the bottom of the bin to get it off to a good start. He also kindly let me have one of his cauliflowers, which makes two in my fridge at the mo – I felt that I had to buy something from the veg man at the farmer’s market on Friday, as I’d just asked him for a couple of brown sacks to store the potatoes in when they are dug up in due course.

I went over the whole plot weeding – I feel I’m on top of this at the moment, a feeling which is likely to last about 3 days till the next lot germinate!

I dug up the GARLIC – the bulbs look fabulous but BOY did they niff the car out driving home!

However, before packing up for the day I turned my attention to the wayward raspberry canes which have popped up over the last few months by the compost bins & within the row of rhubarb at the back of the plot. There are so many there now that I could strip out the ones that I didn’t want to leave a row which will be ready to fruit next summer. Brilliant!

Whilst I was on fruit patrol I picked all the blackcurrants (total of about a pound & a half, I weighed later). I noticed that all the blackcurrants are on last years’ growth, so half-remembering Indomitable Fran’s advice from last year, I cut out all of these branches wholesale then stripped the berries off into a bucket & the branches into the new compost bin. Was that the right thing to do? It has left the bushes looking good – ready for a bumper crop next year, I hope!

Interestingly, there were only about three redcurrants – as everyone else has netted their fruit bushes, I wonder if the birds scoffed all the redcurrants? And if so, don't they like blackcurrants? The gooseberries are rubbish this year too – despite my pruning, they are just dense balls of thorns with hardly any fruit & this mostly mildewed. The four bushes live on borrowed time.

Once home, I took the blackcurrants & some raspberries that I had in the fridge & made some jam. I really will have to have further practise making preserves – this setting point business is probably easy peasy when you know what you’re doing, however until that happy day, I would imagine that I will continue to make concrete-grade jam. However, more successful is the current batch of rhubarb wine which I bottled - very tasty indeed.

I went back to the Hill at dusk & dispatched the wasps nest with a few puffs of the wasp nest powder - not something I feel hugely proud of, actually – & this morning I sat out in the sunshine & tidied the garlic into plaits which look & smell utterly fabulous, unlike the maslin pan full of a gallon of murky water & boiled up pea pods which is now cooling ready for the pea pod wine…


  1. Wasps must like sheds - we had one in or old shed but we noticed it when it was just past acorn size and managed to remove it without too much bother.

    Your garlic's further on than mine too!

  2. I wasn't brave enough to take a photo of the wasps' nest at the weekend, but it's about 8" in width and nestled in the eaves above the one door.

    I'm pleased with the garlic - no vampires round here!


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