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, April 21, 2013

Getting Going!

Now that Spring is properly with us, it's high time that I got myself to the Hill to do some seed sowing.  But before that fun bit, there is the little matter of finishing off the hateful job of stringing up the wigwams, so armed with more twine from Wilko, and a pocketful of seed packets, I set to.

I hadn't been at the Hill for more that ten minutes when Chris from the bottom came by, and chatting with her improved matters no end - in fact, I'd soon finished the stringing up, and without all the muttering and scowling that would normally accompany the task.

We deserved a pat on the back - so had an interlude up at the clubhouse, then it was back to a little light bed prep, then sowing a second batch of PARSNIP (clare), CARROT (autumn king) and BEETROOT (bolthardy).  Brilliant!

Just to top off a very pleasing session, I also had seed trays of BROAD BEANS (crimson flowered & self saved), SWEETPEAS, PEAS (eric idle) and PETIT POIS (ceresa) to plant out.

Instant allotment - I love it!  It's really impressive - but you'll have to take my word for it as a flat battery meant that I couldn't take any pics after this one of the sprouting garlic.

Back at the ranch, it was time to bring that spruced up mini greenhouse into play.  I had a very enjoyable session sowing trays of DWARF and CLIMBING FRENCH BEANS; COURGETTES (black beauty & jemmer), SQUASH (spaghetti).

Just as well that I remembered not to do the weekly vac & mop of the kitchen floor first, as when I'd finished the my beautiful kitchen did look rather like a potting shed...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Spoonful of Sugar...

Springlike again on Sunday, and working on the momentum built up from planting out the potatoes, I stuffed the car full of 8' bamboo canes, the can of string and set off to the Hill with a pocket full of seed packets.

On the basis that you should get the 'orrible jobs out the way first and look forward to the nice ones, I got the canes out the car and made up three wigwams.  This is a hateful job - once the canes are firmly pushed in the ground, poking the top end of all six canes into the round holder is tricky in the extreme unless you (a) have seven hands and/or (b) are approx a foot taller than I am. 

I had more success than in previous years, however, as I devised a temporary - if wobbly - bridge across the bed edges to elevate me 6".  Still a tricky one, but doable.

No sooner was that out the way then the next hateful job was to hand - whizzing the string around the wigwams.  What a chore.  This cut short, however, when the string ran out.  

I felt that I deserved the nice job of seed sowing after all that puffing and stretching and faffing about, so I forked and raked over the bed nearest the shed, and sang 'la la la', as I daintily made three seed drills for sowing PARSNIP (clare) with RADISH to mark the row; CARROT (autumn king), displaying optimism over experience; and BEETROOT (bolthardy).

That's enough to put a smile back on your face.  And more so, it being now lunchtime, I hoiked Chris up from down the bottom and had a enjoyed beer with her in the clubhouse, before heading home.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

At Long Last!

Spring in now in the air - the temperatures are now finally up there in double figures, and frost does not feature on the forecasts for the first time since about November. Hurrah!

That means that all systems are go, and I had a list of jobs that I wanted to get done this weekend at the Hill, and at home.  First up at home was mending the mini greenhouse - the covers don't last forever, and mine developed a rip in Autumn which has steadily got worse over winter.  The new cover looks very smart, and now I can get the trays of peas and broad beans out and off the kitchen windowsills.

Up off to the Hill yesterday morning, I wanted to make the most of the improved weather and get the potatoes in.

I started by digging over the final part of the potato beds, more weeds for the compost daleks - then emptying more of the hideous compost bins onto this year's potato beds.  The bins seem to be like the magic porridge pot - however much I take out they are still half bloody full.

The less rotted can be charitably described as 'a bit twiggy', but further in, it's better stuff.  It all went on the beds anyway - I'm sure that the potatoes are up to barging their way past some minor obstacles!

I put all the potatoes in using a stick to make an 8-10" hole for each one.  I'm growing Lady Cristl and Winston as first earlies; International Kidney and Kestrel as second earlies; and Picasso and King Edwards as main crops.

I had my eye on the clock because at lunchtime in the clubhouse, Allan R gave a talk on fuchsia growing - he's put this together because one of the categories in the Show in August will be 'best fuchsia from supplied plant', and I'm glad he did - I don't know much about growing pot plants, and my coleus a couple of years ago was - er - a bit of an embarrassment.

I really enjoyed the talk along with a couple of dozen other plotholders, and we all went off with our chosen small plants to cherish and nurture. The sandwiches and beer were welcome too!

Having done the hard digging earlier, and then an hour's sit down, my back told me that I'd done enough at that point - so a quick tidy up, and off home for a soak in the bath, and to make plans for Sunday...
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