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, January 25, 2015

More Winter Work

It's still quite wintery here - as it should be in January - with cold winds, temperatures in the low single figures, and the odd flurry of snow and sleet showers.  So when I made my trip to the Hill at the weekend, I made sure that I had a definite plan in mind to busy myself with.

My first job was to work out how to take a photo of the plot from a good vantage point.  I'm a member of a gardening forum, and am taking part in an interesting topic where members take a photo of their plot or garden from the same point each month so we can all see the changes that occur through the seasons.

The obvious vantage point for my plot is the top of the manure skip, however the handy set of steps that used to be lashed to one side are no longer in situ, so I had to clamber up the other end and make my way over the manure and leaf mould mountain to my chosen spot.

Great - although I'm not sure what I'll do later in the year when the skip gets less full as the manure is used up.   I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The photo is as I arrived at the plot, so the first job was to mend the brassica tunnel (not for the last time, I fear) - I need to have a look at why other people's seem more robust than mine.  More canes lashed to the hoops, perhaps.

I took the canes down from the bean frames, collected the black turtle bean pods for drying and shelling, then forked over the bed.  I moved the big T-shaped frame ends to their new bed for this year, securing them as usual by digging them in deeply, thumping them home and screwing them to the bed ends.

My last job was to empty the third dalek composter, spread around the good compost and put back the uncomposted stuff with a couple of sacks of leaves to get it going for the next round.

Irritatingly, I've planted garlic where the fourth composter should be moved to, so that will have to wait till midsummer before that one gets moved.  No matter.

Chris from down the bottom stopped for a chat as she was on her way home - it was getting dusk by then and so I headed off before I chilled down.  Not before forgetting to pick kale and leaving my lumphammer out, though - both of which I remembered as I wallowed in a very welcome, very hot bath.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Winter Work

I went to the plot over Christmas to pick some kale, but that's about it.  The older I get, the less keen I am to get cold and wet for the sake of a jobs which can just as easily be done when it is not freezing or raining.

I went to the Hill yesterday, though - despite cold and sleet - because I was making an Irish Stew for tea and that called for a parsnip.

It's a good job that the recipe only called for one parsnip, because - disappointingly - that was the entire extent of the parsnip harvest this year.  Boo.  I picked some kale too - the nero cavelo has been good this winter, and robust enough to stand a light scrub with a brush in the sink to dislodge the whitefly.

Unsurprisingly, given the weather, I had the Hill to myself.  I made some running repairs to the netting tunnel which the weather has blown about a bit before considering one of the winter jobs - and not a fun one - which will need doing before the new growing season begins.  To empty and move the dalek composters up a bed.

I was already on site, cold and miserable, so thought that I might as well get one with it; so I did the dalek dance and jiggled two of the composters to empty them; spread the useable stuff over the beds, moved them up a bed apiece and refilled them with the uncomposted portion aong with a couple of bags each of horse manure. Because if you are going to be cold and tired and rained on, you might as well be dirty and smelly too.

My fingers were numb by this time, so I went home with my single ood-like parsnip in a cloud of whitefly for a warming cup of tea and a bath.

The stew was really good. 
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