Sunday, December 31, 2006

A bit of MDF and a bruised thumb

This morning the shed window was finally patched up, and the empty plant pots and bits of old wire are safe from the local hoi polloi. It is, admittedly, not the most scenic of windows, but in my opinion far more practical; afterall, what is the point of a padlock when the plastic window can be simply pushed in?

As with all the simplest DIY tasks, they quickly become a chore in my hands; for every nail that was successfully banged into the MDF at least a dozen fell to the floor and my poor thumbs were beaten to near submission.

But at least I can go out tonight without worrying about the weather attacking the shed, and the New Year can be spent on the much more enjoyable task of planning the future produce!

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Suicidal Shed?

Was it just the wind? Or was the shed trying to kill itself after being ignored for too long?

Yesterday, or some time in the past couple of days, our shed blew over. The image of the shed that we had in our minds from the last time we saw it did not prepare us for the devestation that greeted us after we quickly responded to the phonecall from the allotment supervisor:

Where I am standing (the floating circle of white on the may be best to enlarge the photo) is where the shed was originally!
The composter, selflessly broke the shed's fall:

And miraculously the shed escaped virtually unscathed!!!! Although the manouverings it must have made to get in that particular position are most confusing.

The window fell out, but that is can only have been put together with 'pure craftmanship'!
We managed to get the shed upright, and move it back to its original position; where it is now weighted down with breeze blocks and black bags filled with dirt:
Rather than blowing it over, the wind will now have to rip it from its base!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Full Picture

Today we spent a couple of hours trying to clear some more ground at the allotment. With so many other demands on our time the job is taking a LONG time.

As the plot next to ours has now been cleared for a new allotmenteer it has given the opportunity for a full length photograph of our allotment; providing some perspective to the time it will take us to clear the ground.

The above picture has not been compressed (unlike the other pictures in this blog), so clicking on it will allow it to be viewed in more detail. The area of the allotment that we have been cultivating up until now can be seen as a mere drop in to ocean compared to the allotment's full length.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pickled Beetroot!!

As winter approaches it's time to store our provisions for the long cold months...unfortunately this is limited to three jars of beetroot, so we may have to rely on the supermarket for a little while longer.

This is the highlight of the allotment so far for Emma so we just have to wait and see how the pickling turns out.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Preparing for next year

Today we pulled up the last of the beetroot, leaving just a few carrots and spring onions...and the ever-producing beans. Since the demise of the thin fleece the new rocket that we sowed seems to have given up completely.

Now is the time to start preparing for next year's crops. The first task of which is clearing the large area of the allotment that has not been touched since we first took on the allotment...which in reality means since the 1970s.

A couple of hours constant digging in the rock-hard earth resulted in a massive blister and a small corridor through the wilderness. Many more hours are needed to be spent on this, and then comes the even bigger task of designing the allotment for next year!

At least I know that I am not wasting my time at the allotment..I am obviously a fashion leader...although being called a eco-warrior is possibly a step too far!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Desolation on the allotment

The allotment is looking remarkably desolate at the moment. The lettuces had finally given up the ghost, and those remaining had to be put into the composters.

The thin fleece was found to have moved, been ripped and have a mysterious goo on it...suspects include: the wind; the locals; or the fox with the mange.

The beans are still growing by the handful, and are definately the most satisfying vegetable that we have planted, so it's not all bad...although we could really do with some more things put into the ground.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

5-A-Day and all that...

Sometimes we go to the allotment and apart from a little hoeing and pulling up the odd lettuce...which were only worthy of mentioning the first time... there is little to report to the blog; on other days, like yesterday, there seems to be 2 or 3 entries worth!

As stated in Monday's entry, we planned to get on top of everything this weekend, and in true David and Emma style this resulted in our strolling up to the allotment at 5pm. Despite this lacklustre start we managed to finally put the shed on the slabs!

Impressive when you consider it was achieved through the my tipping the shed and kicking at the slabs whilst Emma pushed them...very professional.

We also managed to plant some rocket under a thin fleece; this will hopefully protect it from the flea beetle which gave the last lot such a hammering.

So, as we dragged our aching bodies back through our front door at 10pm did we think it was all worth the hassle? Well, we also brought back 5 different sorts of rather muddy vegetables, so we were quite pleased with our lot...especially Emma who has been waiting months to start pickling the beetroot.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Overgrown... or Full of Life??

After a week away - trekking across Hadrian's Wall - we have returned to find the allotment in full bloom despite the hot weather: beans are popping out all over the place; carrots are edible; a whole new lot of radishes are starting to appear; and even the lettuces seem to have held on for a little bit longer.

There is still lots to do though, and the time just doesn't seem to be there...six concrete slabs that were taken up at the start of July continue to lie forlornly around the shed...

...but this weekend we hope to have one last push at sorting out the allotment for this year.

NB:Whilst the pricked out lettuce seedlings grew stronger; we once again managed to leave them too long...oops.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Soooo Busy!!

A propagator sitting on our sideboard should have been the easiest thing in the world to keep an eye on...unfortunately not:

The books warn us that "seedlings quickly get leggy"...we have grown the daddy-long-legs of the lettuce world. Attempts have been made to prick out some of the seedlings that were still standing, but we will just have to wait and see.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Propagating Frankenfoods

We were reminded today of the need to keep a better eye on the allotment. Since pulling up a load of radishes last weekend, those that were left in the ground got a bit carried-away...not exactly the sort of thing you can have as part of a side-salad!

Our latest addition to the good-life will hopefully be easier to keep an eye on:

Filled with more potential lettuces!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A new construction!

Over the last week the beans have gone from strength to strength, and have necessitated the building of a new construction for the allotment.

...and what better way to admire the bean-support-system than in one of our new chairs.

...hats are optional.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Hours of hard work, hundreds of pounds on tools and a shed, and quite a number of aching muscles; but it has all been worth it.

Not the largest radish in the world,but extremely tasty nonetheless. Another week and the rest should be ready...who wouldn't look forward to a plate of radishes?

The rest of the time was spent transplanting some of the lettuces. There were far too many for an extra row so many seedlings were thrown on the composter. We just have to wait and see whether they will continue to grow after the trauma of moving, or whether we have managed to kill the only healthy looking vegetables on the allotment.

We also identified the first signs of life amongst the beetroot...all vegetables have now been accounted for!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Having some lunch

As quickly as the worms escaped from the earth-turning fork they were gobbled down by the local blackbird.

The big news of the day was finally spotting the carrots!! But as with the spring onions (which Emma delicately stood on!!!!) they are too small at the moment to be of much of a photo.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The newly camouflaged shed

The weather has finally been dry enough for the shed to be painted; it no longer sticks out like a sore thumb to the local pikeys.

Today has also be bolstered by the spring onions becoming recognisable shoots! ...still too small for a photograph though.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Evil little sods....

The radishes have been subjected to severe punishment:

It's a similar story for the rocket as well.

Both seem to have been attacked by flea beetle, with the radishes being given an extra beating by the slugs!!

These particular crops are not looking as though they have a successful future ahead of them; although there is still time to sow some more this year...maybe with the help of some derris or a horticultural fleece...

Other work today included some more hoeing, digging, and the thinning out of the beans...busy busy busy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A little bit of thinning

The allotment has continued to grow...even on those days Emma forgets the camera!
The camera has missed a visit from the local fox, and the start of the hoeing, and our first visitor; can life really get more exciting than that??

The plants have continued to come on leaps and bounds (compare to photo on May 12th). The beans can now be seen without a microscope and the radishes have had to be thinned out. There is still no sign of the carrots, spring onions, or beetroot, but I'm sure there is plenty of time yet.

The thinned-out radishes have been thrown onto the composter along with a variety of household bits and pieces...should we really be throwing in half a loaf of bread?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Compost bins and little green shoots

The allotment is coming on in leaps and bounds. The latest additions are three X 300 litre compost bins. Unfortunately they are not the easiest things in the world to carry...especially in the pouring rain!

But on the brightside, after I had carried them all the way there we were greeted by the first signs of life in the vegetable patch. If you look really closely you can just about see the the thin green lines of the radishes, rocket and lettuce.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pure Craftsmanship!

The fact that the blog entry is being placed a day after the events took place emphasises how long yesterday really was. I had to wait around from 8.30am, and the shed didn't arrive until 1.30pm; needing loads of tools that I didn't have. Nonetheless, 7hrs later, with the borrowing of tools and a little bit of help, the shed can only be described as a work of art!!

It just needs to be painted now so that it doesn't stick out too much and encourage the local kids to vandalise it!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Please Grow...

Within a week we have turned the wasteland into a true vegetable plot. We have spent the day preparing the ground and sowing our first seeds: Dwarf beans; beetroot; radishes; rocket; lettuces; carrots; and spring onions.
If nothing grows it won't be for the want of trying.

We also cleared a space for our new shed...THE SHED ARRIVES IN TWO DAYS!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

4 X 4

We have managed to convert a small section from lumpy grass mounds into a lumpy section of mud, ready to be dug over again and then raked. Despite the large number of weeds still floating around on top of the mud we have great hopes of it all being sorted out by the rake!

Although it took 7.5 hrs of back-breaking work, we were accompanied by a robin that spent half its time getting in the way as it searched for food.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

We've got an allotment!!

Today we selected our new allotment, plot 13. To say it was overgrown would be an understatement; this particular plot has not been in use since the 1970's. Since before Emma was born!

This was not the only plot available. We were initially offered a half plot that had already been weeded and dug over....but what's the fun of that?