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...........

Monday, May 16, 2011

My How You've Grown!

I was busy messing about with other things this weekend, but went down to the Hill this evening for a couple of hours in order to:

  • earth up the potatoes

  • plant out some pot sown lettuce

  • sow a row of CARROTS (early nantes 5) & of PARSNIPS (hollow crown)

  • I do find that if I don't have a List, I lurch from from half-done job to half-done job, & don't really achieve anything very much.

    The weeds have certainly enjoyed the rain showers that we've been having for the past week, as have the peas, which are romping up the wigwams with the first batch now in flower - only a few weeks until I'm eating fresh peas from the pod - yum!

    The potatoes are certainly ready for earthing up - & are a bit big, really - but it means that I'll only have this job to do once rather than twice. I hauled out a some big annual weeds whilst I was about it - some poppies & thistly type long-tap rooted weeds.

    Of course, once I had the weeding bucket out, I couldn't help but hand weed the onion bed, & the paths as I went, & the other roots bed where at last I can see a few parsnips - patchy germination, though - & carrots coming through.

    Because I could only see the very occassional parsnip seedling out of four rows the other day, I had a panic purchase of extra seeds from Aldi (35p, 275 seeds), as I think I might only be eating about three parsnips this winter.

    I sowed two rows of these (with a marker row of radish), & then the carrots, and turned to the misc beds to plant out half a dozen LETTUCE (stoke), & a dozen LETTUCE (dazzle). The four lettuce I planted out mid April have come on in leaps and bounds, and I will have one out the ground very soon to eat.

    Before I came home, I had a wander down to the bottom to see what everyone else is up to. Quite a few plotholders are putting their tender plants out now - I saw sweetcorn, courgette & squash plants on various plots. And I do hope that returning -allotmenteer-Chris at 2A posts some pics of her clematis on her blog - they are beautiful!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Now, Where Was I...?

    Despite not blogging for a week or two (or three), I have not been idle*, & since last blogging I have achieved the following at the Hill:

    • Put up the bean 'V' - i.e. ran two pieces of stout fencing wire down the length of the bed between the two end T pieces, one to each extremity of the 'T'.

    Once taut, I inserted twenty 8' canes along the centre line angled towards the wire on alternate sides, & tied the canes to the wire.

    • Weeded all the beds, inc. digging over the two misc beds B ready for planting up.

    • Prepped the asparagus bed & planted out the crowns - this was a real faff, & the crowns themselves like horrible squids with long roots for tenticles.

    The roots were much longer than the planting guide seemed to think they would be, so rather than spreading the roots out evenly on a mound of soil in the bottom of a pathalogically weed free foot-deep trench, they were a bit spiralled round. Picky beggars - all that, & I can't even eat the spears for 3 years.

    • Weeded the strawberry bed which lives under a cage normally, & so tends to get ignored.

    Flowers are on the strawberry plants - a report in the paper this week says how prolofic the soft fruit will be due to the unseasonal warmth of April. Didn't say how the fruit was going to swell, given the unseasonal dryness of April, but there you go.

    • Planted out the last batch of peas & strung the wigwam round & round.

    • Pulled lots of rhubarb to make crumbles, for mum, godmother (who is stopping with mum), neighbours, & enough to get a batch of rhubarb wine going.

    At home:

    • Sowed seeds for all of the 'tender' crops - dwarf & climbing beans, courgette/squash/cucumber, another batch of leeks, sweetcorn & spring onions; as well as the final batch of peas.

    • Planted out the tomato plants into their buckets, & lined these up against the sunny south dwarf wall in the courtyard.

    One of the plants came to a sticky end almost immediately when the washing basket careered off its handy spot on the wall and landed on two of the buckets, with only one survivor.

    I planted up a spare in it's stead, and put a long cane in each bucket to tie the plants to - it might look a bit daft now, when the plants are tiny, but they will soon grow & need support - as well as protecion from flying washing baskets.

    • Planted up a spare recycling bag with the competition potatoes in a layer of grow bag compost - I was late going up to the store shed to pay my £2 for the grow bag & seed potatoes and so the spuds only had a few days on the windowsill to chit.

    I wanted to get them planted up, though, as the official weigh day is that of the Show (14th August), which is only 14wks away. Mind you, I can hardly do worse than last year's efforts.

    Phew! That brings us pretty much up to date, & yesterday evening I went to the Hill to see how everything is getting on (which is very well, thank you - particularly the weeds which have gone crackers now that we've FINALLY had a good soaking of rain over last weekend) & planted out half of the dwarf french beans.

    I can see 'weeding' being top of the List for this weekend...

    *Not strictly true - I am just back from having been particularly idle in a horizontal-lying-on-the-beach type way for a week or so.
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