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...........

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Plot Prep & a Friendly Resident

When Saturday proved to be a lovely day, I went to the Hill with the idea of moving the two ends of the climbing bean frame along to this year's bed, prepping the soil by adding the 'cooked' compost heap, & maybe putting up the pea wigwams too.

It's high time that I got the legume beds for this year sorted out, looking at the broad bean seedlings in the mini greenhouse at home, as well at the first batch of peas & the sweetpeas, which are pretty much ready to go out.

It was an ambitious list (as my back told me later), but I got stuck in. Actually first up was the nice job of planting the second early POTATOES (charlotte & kestrel), but then I got the cordless screwdriver & the spade out and 'planted' the bean frame ends at each end of the new bed then screwed each frame to the bed ends.

The bean frame has been a fabulous success over the past couple of seasons - especially now I know to use the 'fence grade' wire for the cross pieces to tie the canes to, which is robust enough to withstand any autumn storms.

I still haven't perfected a system for the peas, but this year it will be four traditional wigwams with a spiral of string wrapped round for the peas to grab onto.

Whilst the spade was handy, I roughly dug a trench down the centre of the bed, and started to fill it in with the contents of the oldest compost bin.

Although this is only the bed next door but one to the bin, it was Very Heavy Going & I threw the towel in with the bed fairly well full, and the compost heap about 3/4 empty - the rest of the compost will go onto the other legume bed next weekend before I put the pea wigwams up.

I wasn't alone which my compost heap - I'm afraid that I evicted this toad. Actually, he was lucky that he didn't come to a grizzly end chopped in half with the spade - he's incredibly camouflaged.

I popped him by the bottom of the other bin - he can take temporary residence until that bin is turned into the newly emptied one, and then I will leave him in peace.

The thought of turning the compost heap finished me off, so I tottered up to the club house for light refreshment before heading home for a hot bath.

NB: When applying Tiger Balm, which has a warming effect when applied to aching muscles, do remember that it does take quite a while for the heat to develop, so care should be taken not to keep slathering it on over-liberally, especially after a hot bath has opened all the pores...


  1. Glad to hear the winding string around a cane wigwam worked for your peas. I'm fed up of using the blooming pea netting I normally used, it's horrible to attach to canes and gets all tangled. I was thinking of doing string around canes but wasn't sure it'd work... will try it now tho :)

  2. You've been a busy girl! I've had a good dig at my allotment this morning and planted out some peas this afternoon in the back garden plot. All very satisfying isn't it?

  3. you're sounding very organised Hazel with all those lovely seedlings taking off in your greenhouse.
    Glad your invader made it off your patch in one toady piece.

  4. I can't bear pea netting, P & M - so the string seems like a good alternative, then the whole lot, peas & all, can go in the compost at the end of the season.

    I like digging, Flum - although turning digging out compost heaps is not my favourite job. Brilliant to see the compost, though - ain't nature wonderful!

    Thanks, Nic - discipline (haha) is the key. Not my strong suit, I'm afraid - I've lost count of the number of trays of seedlings too leggy/gone over/dried out that haven't got as far as the plot! Saw the toad again this weekend - promised him that I'd stop disturbing him from the compost heap now!


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