Thursday, 27 November 2008

Photo's from plot 19

Photo's above : Veggie for the dinner picked today, yummy ! The Brussels are getting bigger !

An old fire bucket rescued from the skip filled with wallflowers, and the beds covered for the winter with black plastic to keep the weeds down and warm up the soil. You can also see my paving slabs that I bought second hand for 50p each from the local council dump, great for my paths which I have to plan in the spring.

It's time I did some work on the Allotment

I finally got around to visiting the allotment today. The weather was dry and crisp, so I wrapped up warm as I still have the cold but I needed some fresh air. I went on my own as my allotment assistant ( Austin) decided he'd stay at home. I tidied up the strawberry bed, raked up some leaves and added them to our leaf mold bin and then weeded my flower bed as I could see the bulbs peeping through, they are very early so I hope the frost doesn't kill them. I gathered a small crop of veg for the dinner this evening. I picked some curly kale, some little sprouts and a couple of leeks (photo above) I also took some photo's of my little allotment Angel ( pictured here)and some others around the plot just for the record as it will be interesting to see how it changes over the coming months.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

John Lennon Wall (street art) Prague

Th John Lennon Wall in Prague, this is truly amazing to see and to read all the lovely comments.
Nothing to do with gardens or allotments but I thought I would share it anyway.

Plant markers

Being a keen gardener and an even keener photographer, I go to the Hampton Court Flower show every year and I have a huge collection of photographs, so I will post some occasionally just to vary my blog.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Old Seed Boxes

A photo I took at The Hampton Court Flower show. These are the type of photo's I take when I go to the flower show as I put them onto greetings cards, for my own use and to sell.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The shed is finished, Broad beans are growing, and my lavender is doing nicely.

Inside and outside the shed, and below the lavender shrubs and the broad beans.

First of all the shed is finished, the tools are hung on their new hooks and the floor space makes such a difference. We can actually walk in there now without tripping over something. I painted some outside parts of the shed blue just to brighten it up. A bit tarty I know but I like it !

My broad beans which I sowed a bit later than I intended have finally emerged and I am hardening them off each day to plant at the lottie next week. I didn't grow too many this time as last spring I had so many I didn't know what to do with them all. I did freeze a lot of the beans, but I would rather eat things when they are in season really.

I sowed some lavender seeds earlier on in the year as I want to plant a Lavender hedge around the edge of my plot, first for the attraction of bees and butterflies and secondly for the smell. They took ages to germinate and I lost a few but they are coming on in leaps and bounds now especially since I re-potted them recently, so my hedge will ready for next spring.

The weather has been amazing today, blue sky and lovely fluffy clouds, what a change from the dull grey sky of the last few days. Roll on Spring !

Nettle, comfrey and horse poo tea

I almost forgot to say that I am into making my own organic plant food. I bought some bocking 14 comfrey plants from "The Organic Gardening Catalogue" earlier in the year and have started off a comfrey bed. It's very "stinky" when it's made into comfrey tea but full of goodness for the plants. see this link to read all about it's history ( medicinal & horticultural )

I have this week been collecting baby nettle leaves and filled a large plastic trug with them and covered them with water and I stir it every day. It has to be left for 4 weeks before being diluted and then used for the plants. I read a good tip on a gardening forum which was to use some 4 pint plastic milk container to put the nettle leaves into and then it can be shaken instead of being stirred, ( just like 007's martini ! ) sounds a good idea so I will try it.

The Horse poo tea consists of fresh stable droppings put onto a small sack and suspended into a large bucket or dustbin of water and left for weeks ( this surprisingly doesn't stink ) then watered down to look like very weak tea in colour (in a watering can) and again is good for the plants.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

The shed looks grand

After we finally got the shed creosoted at the weekend I decided it was time to make a few improvements inside seeing as there isn't so much to do on the plot this time of year.

I bought a nice piece of timber to put along the window side of the shed and bought some tool hooks to hang all the tools off the floor. I had some blue garden furniture paint over from our benches in the garden, so gave it a coat of that before we put it up. I had found an old Ikea cd rack on a skip a couple of months ago so we put that up as well and it's coming in handy for storing bits & bobs on, so it's all looking grand so far, and there is still some more things to do. It makes it much easier to find things in such a little shed if they are all in place.
Ok ! I obviously have too much time on my hands !!
I will post some photo's of the results soon. I have become a scavenger much to my husbands disgust ! I keep looking in skips and have found some really useful things (with permission of course ! ) especially my old rustic wheelbarrow and some large planters which were ideal in the greenhouse for the tomatoes this year.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Good grief another lovely day ! am I dreaming ?

It was so nice today that we managed to get the shed creosoted. It looks good and will now be waterproofed for the winter. I also got some pots filled with some wallflowers that my allotment neighbour gave me ( she is also called Maureen, there are 3 of us at the same end of the allotment ! ) she had grown too many so shared them out. That's what I love about allotmenteering everyone is so kind and someone is always willing to lend a hand or share their extra plants, it obviously attracts the best of people. ( In most cases anyway. I can hear you muttering something Ali !!!! )

I am adding here a great Beetroot recipe that I have tried and loved. I thought someone out there may want to try it as well, it's always nice to try something different.

BAKED BEETROOT AND GARLIC (Tasty recipe with a difference )

1) Place the beetroot's into double thickness of foil, make sure there is enough foil to bring up to seal the beetroots.
( leave whole and don't peel them at this stage)

2) Crush 4 garlic cloves ( again don't peel just give them a bash to crush them, so they are still whole but the taste is released) add them to the beetroot.

3) Add about a tablespoon of virgin olive oil and tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the beetroot spoon it over the beetroot & garlic. seal the foil tightly so the beetroot almost steams in the oven. ( you can add more oil & vinegar if you wish )

4) Bake at around 190 for about an hour ( depending on size and number of beetroots) test with a sharp knife to see if the beetroot is cooked, if not leave for longer.

5) When cooked allow to cool and take the skin off the beetroots with a sharp knife and cut into either slices or chunks. This is the messy bit as they bleed

delicious as a baked veg with the dinner or left to go cold and have it with salad or in a cheese sandwich.

I kept mine in a kilner jar in the fridge for a week I left the juices and garlic in the jar as well.

I hope you try it.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Some good weather at last

The leek bed is looking good and the sprouts are growing nicely.

A bit of humour on the plot and I haven't had to compost anyone yet !

The weather wasn't too bad here so I went up to lottie to see what needed doing. Austin helped me weed the winter cabbage bed. They looked a bit nibbled, so I took off all the damaged outer leaves, which made them look heaps better, put some slug pellets around them and covered them up again. We also weeded the Curly Kale bed. I found lots of slugs on all the plants, so I removed them and again tidied the plants as there were loads of yellowed leaves lower down the plants. I'm sure I will be picking it for a while yet, and it's delicious lightly steamed.
I took some photo's of the Brussel sprouts they are coming on well, so hopefully will be eating them at Christmas. The purple sprouting broccoli looks good, but no sign of any sprouting bits yet. We were going to creosote the shed, but we run out of time, so hopefully we can get some of it done at the weekend.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Photo taken in June

I haven't been to the allotment since Monday as I have been staying at my son's in Surrey for a few days. It's sod's law that the few days I was away the weather was great and low & behold we get back today and it's raining and I couldn't go to the plot. So I thought I would look out some more photo's from back in the early months of this year.

This photo (taken in early June) is of the little flowerbed of sweet williams and pansies at the foot of the "goal post" that my sweet peas grew up, I am definitely going to grow them there again next year, I wish I had taken a photo of them when they had climbed the 6 foot post as they looked amazing.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Photo's of my plot

The top photo was taken in April 2008 just after I had started planning and planting my beds. I hadn't got the shed or the greenhouse at that point. The plot is 126 sq metres in total and is the oddest shaped plot on the allotment (as you can see) I can only describe it as boomerang shaped and it's also on a slope so I have my work cut out for me. I do have scope to change the shape a bit, as there is some grassed area around the plot which is mine so I could perhaps rearrange the shape a little, we shall see !

This photo was taken a month later in May, what a difference a month makes ! it looks all green and lush. It's all bare again now waiting for spring. The frame that looks like a goal post was covered in sweet peas and looked and smelt wonderful all summer long. I had masses of flowers to pick for the house.

Rain rain go away !

I went up to the lottie this afternoon to check on the greenhouse,as I have some sweet peas growing. I had such a fantastic show of them this year that I thought I would start them off early in a cold greenhouse (as it says on the seed packets) also I got a bargain at Wyvale Garden Centre. They were selling off pots of sweet peas that were £2.99 then were reduced a couple of times and then finally to 20p per pot, so for 60p I re-potted them and got 32 plants which are doing very well, so I daresay I shall be sharing with my lottie neighbours.

Here's a photo of some of the sweet peas I picked in the summer they filled the house with their fragrance.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Green house & Shed

I thought I would add a photo of my little shed, which I have outgrown already and wish I had bought a bigger one. The little 6 x 6 greenhouse was bought secondhand from a lady in Dorset. I have the essential camping stove in the shed as you can see for my cuppa.

Sweet Williams

I was looking through my photo's of my plot and saw this one of these fabulous sweet William's. When I took over the plot at the end of February this year,these flowers had seeded everywhere from the previous tenant's plants, so I dug them up and created a hedge of them all along one side of the perimeter of the plot.
They were an amazing sight for months and I have kept hundreds of the seeds to sow again for next year. I just thought I would share this photo.
I went to the lottie over the weekend but the weather wasn't great and I still didn't get my garlic planted as the ground was too wet, so I will try again in the week.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Rosie the scarecrow

This is Rosie my allotment scarecrow she is the only scarecrow on our site and caused quite a stir when I first put
her on the plot.
My plot is close to the perimeter fence so even passers by love her, and stop and comment on her. She is sadly looking a bit weather beaten now and needs new clothes. ( this was her first photo back in April)

My First Blog

This is my first blog and will probably take me a while to get started as I have to sort out photo's and notes that I have taken since starting my allotment in february 2008.

I intend this to be a diary of all the achevement's I have made since taking over my plot. I have spent a lot of time and energy on my plot and made lots of new friends and grown loads of tasty veg. It's all been very worthwhile and I couldn't imagine my life without it now, although it is a big commitment of my time and I do get days when I think "why bother" but they are very few and most days are spent in good company in the fresh air and the end produce is what really makes it all worth the effort.

I get a lot of enjoyment nosying around other allotmenteers blogs, so I hope that when I get the hang of this blogging malarky I will have something of interest for others to read as well.