Monday, 27 April 2009

The New shed on plot 19, at last !

At last I can show you the new/secondhand shed. It's 8ft x 6ft where as the small one was 6ft x 4ft, so I have lots more room and can even sit comfortably in it when it rains.
I wish I had been up at the lottie when the small shed was moved over to plot 30. Planks of wood were screwed to the sides and it was carried Sudan chair style over there by 4 people. That's one way of doing it !

Now the shed is all finished (except for one more coat of the red cedar) I can concentrate on the important stuff, like planting out my cabbages and some more Kale. I have a new flower bed ready to take the dahlias when they can go out. It's the bed with the rope edging .

I'm also looking forward to paving the ground in front of the greenhouse as it was so uneven before, and I now have enough planting area for 2 maybe 3 raised beds. Moving the shed on to the concrete area has given me more planting area, which was why the council kindly gave it to me.
The last photo is of my allotment neighbour John pretending to be a scarecrow. I did warn him I was going to post the pic on this blog !!

The new shed, it's so spacious, I love it.

The little shed has now gone to my daughter Niki and Paul's plot
(No 30) it looks like a sentry box!

Niki & Paul have done wonders on their plot in a few months (Ok Niki, I eat my words, you proved me wrong, well done !)

This is the area the small shed was on, so I am now planning it out to plant and pave in front of the greenhouse.

John pretending to be a scarecrow !!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A tip too good not to share !

I don't know if you watched the BBC Gardeners World last Friday ? and for those of you abroad who can't get it anyway you might like this very handy tip. Ms Alys Fowler, one of the gardeners on the programme and author of "The Thrifty Gardener" (great book by the way) gave a great tip for growing seedlings on windowsills. I'm sure it's happened to your seedlings when they start to grow they stretch to the light from the window and they have to be turned every so often. Apparently according to Alys this weakens the growing plant and makes it spindly.
She made a light reflector by cutting a cardboard box so that it had a low side,( the front) and on the high side (the back) and base she stuck on some silver kitchen foil. This cleverly reflects the light and makes the growing plant straighten up as it's getting light now from front and behind it.

I personally didn't have a box or the time, so I covered a piece of cardboard with foil, I just tucked it around and didn't stick it down. Then I put the pots into a windowsill propagator base and stood the foil reflector behind the plants and the base held it in position. The plants as you can see below are now lovely and straight and no need to turn them.
It worked for me !

My big shed is up and we have given it a coat of Ronseal rich red cedar ( the previous owner had done 3 sides in this colour) I probably would have chosen a rich brown,but it looks good anyway. I have painted the door a bright blue and also the fascias over the eves front and back, it looks great,and is so spacious. We have put up shelves and tool hooks, I love it. I will post a photo soon.

The wallflower border is now in full bloom and smells so lovely and looks amazing, not bad for £2.99 for a big pot last autumn, then split up and grown on in individual pots before planting outside. Bargain !!

Without the foil reflector, plants stretching to the source of light.

With the foil reflector, plants nice and straight, not bending over.

The Wallflowers outside the lottie greenhouse in full bloom.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Sweetcorn and Monsters

Well it's Friday once again and I am looking forward to getting my big shed put up at the allotment over the weekend. ( the little one will go to my daughters plot ) I'm not sure if we can manage it on our own without all out warfare, so we may have to rope some kind friends into helping us put it up and prevent a divorce. I will post a photo when it's up.

We went away to visit the grandchildren on Thursday and got back today (fri) and was surprised to see the Sweetcorn that I put on damp kitchen paper on Wednesday morning had already started to sprout, so that's the sweetcorn and now for the monsters - the courgette plants are HUGE they were diving out of the pots when we returned home, they are truly monstrous, what are the plants going to be like I wonder ?

The red Basil seedlings are getting big enough to pot on, the Lemongrass is taking ages to grow, perhaps it will suddenly surprise me and shoot up really fast one day. Talking of surprises ! I have a naughty habit of taking seed heads off plants that I like the look of (does anyone else do this ? I bet they do !) and so I have a little plant growing that I call "surprise", as I have no idea what it is, but it looks a bit like a Calendula type plant, I will just have to wait and see. I will keep you updated as it grows and flowers. I had about 5 seeds, but this is the only one that grew.

The red basil seedlings

The slow growing Lemongrass

The courgettes on Tuesday

Courgette seedling Friday, Monsters !

Potted on, but they will soon outgrow these pots ! I didn't have bigger ones.

Chitted Sweetcorn, ready to pot up.(above)

The Surprise plant.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and that the weather is nice.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful !

There are lots of reasons to be cheerful, first of all, today was a glorious sunny day and secondly, spending time out in the open planting, and tending my allotment, (even though I now ache from the digging) was a wonderful way to spend a few hours on such a lovely day. And last of all, I harvested some purple sprouting broccoli, some baby spring cabbage leaves and lots of tasty leeks, so today I am very cheerful. Below is a selection of photo's taken today mainly and one or two at the weekend.

I would also like to say a thank you to everyone that takes the time to visit this blog and leaves a comment. I try to make time to visit back, even if it's not immediately, because I like to, not because I feel I have to ! as I always enjoy seeing what others are up to, and other times I just answer the comment on my blog. I wish I had more time to visit all the lovely blogs out there. It's amazing how many keen gardeners and veg growers there are and it's always great to pick up new tips.
The Dahlias as they were just starting out.(above)

This was taken today, my how they have grown.

This jolly chap was at the Easter egg hunt on Sunday, at the National Trust's "Hinton Ampner" house and gardens in Hampshire.

Snuggling with mummy, sheep on the "Hinton Ampner" estate, roaming freely among the visitors. so sweet !!!

Rosie has my old wellies, shame she can't help me dig !! she's a bit of a lazy girl really, sitting there day after day ! and she can't even scare pigeons !

Beautiful Pansies in a pot outside the lottie greenhouse, they survived the harsh winter and are blooming again, amazing !

The lottie greenhouse is getting rather full, I can hardly move in there !

And last of all, my tasty harvest from today. This makes all the hard work worthwhile !

Monday, 13 April 2009

Time Flies

I haven't posted for a week ! where does the time go? We had a fabulous time in London with my son. We visited Regent's Park, Primrose Hill, Tower Bridge, Borough Market ( a real Londoners area) that was during the day and in the evening we went to a Jazz club in Soho (fantastic band!) and the Wednesday evening we went to an Iranian restaurant, so a very busy few days. I LOVE London !

I have been busy since I got back from London. I have been sowing my courgettes ( 3 different kinds) and "munchkin" squash, and "Coquina" squash. I'm not sure if the latter will germinate as I saved the seeds from one that I bought in Asda last year, it was delicious, but I have never seen the seeds on sale anywhere, so maybe they wont grow here, I'll keep you posted. I also sowed my "Burpless" cucumber seeds.
The Dahlias have all been re-potted into much larger pots as they have really grown this last couple of weeks. I have planted out more Sweet-peas, the "Cupani" have been planted out a couple of weeks now as they were sown in the Autumn. Also planted out some Cosmos, and a few Cerinthe's, so fingers crossed we don't get any surprise frosts.
AND ! I have found a second hand shed for sale. My present one is far to small it's 6ft x 4ft, so my daughter will have that one on her plot. The new one is 8ft x 6ft, almost new condition and I hope to collect it during the week. We have to take it apart (That should be fun !!) and I have someone to collect it for me and take it to the lottie, I was so excited as 2nd hand good condition sheds are very rare.
Below are some photo's from London that I hope you will like. I took so many, I would love to show them all, I will post them on flikr at some point.

Magnolia, just inside the gate of Regent's Park, London

A floating Chinese Restaurant on the river Thames, London

A very pretty front garden in "Primrose Hill" London

A Window box with a difference in Primrose Hill.

A perfect place for us gardeners to eat !! spotted in London.

Flower shop in Borough, London. I loved this area.

Aren't these gorgeous ? they were outside another florist shop.

This last photo was taken from my son's apartment window. I took it to show all the folk in the USA and Canada just what we call a "Yard" it's a tiny space of concreted area where there is just enough room for a few pots and some climbers (if your lucky). The yard in the photo belongs to the ground floor apartment, and that is two yards, Next doors as well, you can just see the fence in between !

Monday, 6 April 2009

Stones in his pockets !!

I thought I would add that title for my post although it's got nothing at all to do with plants, allotments, or growing anything. This evening I have been to see a wonderful Irish play ( of the same name as the title) that I have been meaning to see for about 7 years. It was running in London for ages then went touring abroad and is now back and it was at our local "newish " theatre. " Stones in his pockets" written by Marie Jones has won lots of theatre awards. The amazing thing about it is that two brilliant actors play 15 characters between them ( I know that's difficult to imagine!) If you ever get a chance to see it you wont be disappointed. It's very funny and wonderfully acted. enough said !

I had a great time last Thursday in London catching up with my long lost friend, we talked for England ! for about three and half hours and then she had to get back to another part of London, to help her daughter with her new baby. This was the main reason for her visit here from Spain.
Now for some Lottie news.
I worked on the allotment over the week-end. I put my peas in their bed. I grew them in toilet roll innards and they were just growing over the tops, so in they went and are now coming on well and all covered in netting to keep the birds off.
The Mizuna that I sowed a week or so ago is up, two rows of it and it's looking good. I think I can just see the spinach beet peeping through, well I hope it's that and not weeds. That's the only thing about sowing into the ground ! one never knows if it's a weed or not until they grow some more.
The rhubarb is looking good, and the raspberries are starting to shoot up again. I have potted up the masses of strawberry runners, which I will give away, as I already have a bed full, plus some new ones I want to try that I bought in the garden centre sale last year.
I grew some lovely "Burpless" cucumbers last year in the greenhouse (at the lottie) I bought just one plant and they were really delicious, and one plant gave many fruits. I have been looking to buy some seeds of the same, for ages and have just found a packet. They are "Thompson & Morgan" - cucumber, burpless tasty green F1 Hybrid. that's what it says on the packet.
I recommend them, I don't know about the not burping bit as I don't have that problem with cucumbers anyway, but for someone who does it may be worth trying these.
Well I am being a bit of a gasbag here with this lengthy post, sorry about that, but it's been a while. I have posted a few photo's below that I took today.
I am off to London again tomorrow, my youngest son's home this time. He lives in central London in a lovely area which is easy to get to all the good places. We are back on Thursday, so I won't be posting again until the week-end. My plants are being looked after by a lottie neighbour ( the ones in the greenhouse on the plot) and my daughter is stopping by to see the plants in the 2 mini greenhouses in the garden. I do hope they will all be OK. They have taken so long to get them to the stage they are at. I will be glad to plant them out when all danger of frosts are over. I have many more seeds to start growing, and I just don't have any more room until the current ones get planted out.

One of the rhubarb plants starting to fruit ( I have five ! I think I overdid that )

My sign , now attached to a stake, it was just on the ground before.

The wallflower bed outside the lottie greenhouse

Can you spot the first Cerinthe to be planted out ?

The other Maureen's shed has a new sign, I love it !

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Other peoples patches on our allotment site

This is the main path about half way down the plot.
This is a WOW factor picture! Tom is building this wooden greenhouse from scratch, not kit form, it's not quite finished, he has to creosote some more and then glaze it. remarkable !!

This is a tiny bit of Bill's plot, he is a fabulous plants man, no raised beds! very traditional and everything he grows is a success. I am always asking his advice he's better than a book.

This shed belongs to Frances, she is a friend and also our warden for the site.

Another perfect one ( if you like all raised beds, I personally don't) but it's neat.
I prefer a mix of traditional and raised beds

This plot belongs to my lottie neighbour, another maureen. I love this shed!

This plot belongs to Melvin, it's more like a garden really as it's so perfect. Look at those edges !

This lovely seat belongs to a new plotholder, she is just getting her plot together.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A little bit of everything

I only went to the lottie for a short while today, to check on the dahlias and plant out some more sweet-peas. I have taken some photo's of various things today, so I thought I would blog them. see below.
Tomorrow I will be in London, so I am going to do a post with some photo's of other plots on our allotment, there really are some very beautiful ones. I am going to try the post-dated thingy to see if it works, I will check when I get back to see if it posted automatically.
Photo's from the top are,
1st-My bargain pansies ( I can't resist a bargain),
2nd- is the CERINTHE all grown up and almost ready to plant.
3rd - my garden table taken over as a nursery.
4th- My recycled wheelbarrow, taken from a skip (with permission!) and planted up.
5th- The Dahlias in the lottie greenhouse, growing at last.
6th- The Wallflowers outside the lottie greenhouse, just beginning to flower
7th - The summer house in my garden (click for a closer look) it's very cosy on a cold day.

Rosie is back on the plot and looking pretty in pink