Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

I will be back in the New Year with enthusiasm and raring to get going on the plot. (Fingers crossed!)

Have a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year to you all.

M xx

Monday, 26 November 2012

Long time no post

I didn't realise its been so long since I last posted on here.  I'm afraid I have lost my mojo a bit concerning my allotment this year.  I have done the very basic clear and cover up for the winter and been up to feed the millions of worms  in my compost bins (I kid you not) with kitchen waste. I'm amazed at the number of worms this year and hopefully that means lovely compost for next year.  The leaf mould is coming on well too.

I haven't even visited my favourite blogs and I am pleased to see I haven't seemed to have lost my lovely followers, for which I am thankful and I apologise for not keeping up the posts.

As everyone is aware there isn't a lot going on at most allotments at this time of year.
Unless of course you grow during the winter and I have to admit I personally don't ! I find it all a bit depressing up there during these muddy, wet, uninspiring months.

I have been busy doing other things recently such as sourcing old furniture and painting it (shabby chic-ing) long before Kirsty started her TV programme ( I think she's copied me ) ha ha.  I am loving it and being teased by family and have been nicknamed Steptoe. I have to admit the garage looks like Steptoe's yard, but its all getting painted and sold on, when I can bear to part with things I finish.

I will post again and put some photo's on that I took a while back on the allotment.
Until then I hope you are all busy preparing for Christmas and are well.
M xx

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Harvests are just getting better

After the very bad start to this year and delayed planting I suppose I can't complain as this was the harvest from yesterday.  There were so many beans to pick that I had to leave lots on the plants for another day.

 How about these Zebra beans ? aren't they amazing ? It's the first time I have grown them. They taste fantastic steamed as you would normal french beans. They don't retain the stripes or colour when cooked but they do taste different, delicious in fact.

and these are the purple dwarf beans that I am growing in a container at home in my garden. Again they lose some colour but are really tasty.

I hope you are all having some good harvests and enjoying the sunshine whilst we have it.  Today was a wet one but I'm not complaining as it saves watering the garden and plot.

Have a good week
M x

Monday, 16 July 2012

Todays Harvest

I am so proud of my turnips !! I've never grown them before and since I thinned them out and transplanted the ones I pulled up, these have suddenly grown. I was amazed to see the size of them.

All in all despite the rain I am having some good harvests (when I can get up there in-between showers!) The 'Tayberries' from Victoriana Nursery have been brilliant this year. They are thornless which makes for easy and safe picking. Which is more than I can say for the gooseberries and blackberries which have huge thorns.

The courgette that has turned into a marrow is from my daughters plot. Every year I grow her plants and hers always do better than mine ( so annoying !) and she never gets around to harvesting them before they become too big. I like mine small or medium sized.

 There is so much to do up on the plot as the rain has made everything grow so much.  The grass and edges need doing, the box hedge needs it's first trim and weeds are rampant.  Basically it looks a mess, and I can't do anything about it until we have some decent weather. (if ever !!) sometimes I feel so despondent that I feel like giving up as it's so much work when it isn't done on a regular basis, especially with a fairly big garden as well.

I'm sure we all go through these feelings and when the sun shines again I will probably love it all again.  Anyway here is the photo of the harvest and also the lovely Lavender I picked to dry out in the airing cupboard.  I have a good stash now to put into the fabric hearts I make and sell.  Growing my own saves me quite a bit of money as buying dried lavender is very expensive.

I hope you are having some successful harvests and aren't feeling too depressed with this terrible summer of ours.
M xxx

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Our Allotments have been broken into again !

Doesn't it make you wonder if it's all worth while ? especially when other people think they  have a right to break in and destroy things.  Some plot holders speculated that it was kids ! but kids don't go around with screwdrivers do they ? because that's what the perpetrators had with them to enable them to literally unscrew a sheds door hinges when they found they couldn't break the lock.
I wasn't my shed (luckily) but I feel for the couple who have recently taken on the plot and spent lots of time and money on it. Here is a couple of photo's I took of the door.

As you can see they tried to break the lock first and then unscrewed it all.  I haven't heard yet if anything was taken. Another shed was broken into too. Even if nothing is missing it make you feel violated and unsafe to leave things around. The last break in they only stole machinery, they knew exactly what they wanted. Amazingly the police found the culprits and the stolen goods. Lesson learnt ! never leave anything of value in allotment sheds.

Allotment update

Just a few photo's I took today around the plot in-between the rain.

These are the turnips that I had to transplant. I cut back the huge leaves before moving to a new bed and they are doing very well. A couple of people asked me to let them know if it worked so here's the proof that the do transplant !

The only Globe Artichoke left out of nine, but I don't mind as they took up too much room and were fiddly to cook, so I will just let this amazing plant flower for the bees who love it.

Tomatoes in the greenhouse doing well, but not as well as the ones growing outside in my garden.

 Cucumber ( Marketmore)  growing in the greenhouse, I have two growing. I also gave one to a neighbour and his is outside and much bigger than mine.

Carrots, turnips beetroot and spring onions. All in a raised bed that's far too small for them all, so I expect I shall be harvesting baby crops.

One of the many Lavenders on my plot. I have enough plants now to enable me to harvest and dry the flowers for putting in the lavender hearts I make.

A hot little chili grown from seeds I saved last year. They have a strange growing habit as they grow sticking up instead of hanging down. They do turn red and are very fiery.

Very prickly blackberries ! a friend dug some of her blackberry bush up and gave this to me. I think I may regret it as it's taking over and is so dangerous as the thorns are huge.

Just a view

Now this makes me angry !!! it's a plot that as you can see has grown over and is full of weeds ready to blow over all our cultivated plots. it's been given up by the previous tenant since the early spring and still hasn't been given out.  We have a long list of people in our area, on the waiting list for an allotment !!!! doesn't make sense does it ???

When are we going to get our Summer ??? what a dreadful year this has been for gardeners .

Newly painted Summerhouse ( at last!)

It's been a long time coming ! but the summerhouse has at last been re-clad in the worst areas and now painted inside all over and outside on the new wood. Bad news though it still has trickles of water trickling in from somewhere !! so we have to clear silicone anywhere we see the teeniest gap. But anyway looking on the bright side I adore the finished interior. It's the nearest I will ever get to owning a beach hut. Here are some photo's

I used Cuprinal 'Shades' in Natural Stone and Country Cream, and it looks so light and airy and such a pleasure to be in. The stacked wooden wine boxes are going to be painted and stacked to make a shelf unit.  I also had a lovely Potting table for my birthday which I have painted in Cuprinal' Coastal Blue' unfortunately it can't go in the shed as that's quite full, so it has to be outside the shed where it looks great, but I can only use it in fine weather ( what's that I hear you say !!!!) again here is a photo

Total beach area now what with the shingle!

Hampton Court Flower show

I went with a friend last Wednesday to the members day at Hampton Court. I have never been on a members only day, but I have to say it was worth the extra cost for the tickets as it wasn't as crowded as it is on a non members day.  We had a fabulous time and got there about 10.30 and didn't leave until almost 7.30 pm exhausted didn't describe how we felt, but I could easily have gone for another day as I know we missed such a lot, and we didn't stop for most of the day. Apart from food and drink I am happy to say I only bought this bargain metal basket for £5 and it holds my very old clay pots beautifully.

I will post some photo's of the flower show in a day or so. I took so many but lots of them are arty farty ones which will look good on cards. I love to do that sort of photography it's always nice to send a unique card that can't be bought in the shops.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Happiness is an allotment plot

I feel very lucky to have my allotment plot !  I was speaking to someone who recently got their plot and they had waited almost two years and then only got a half plot. I thought my nine months was a long time !! It also seems so unfair that there are about four plots on our site that have tenants who agreed to take the plot, paid the rent but have not been up to cultivate, in fact no-one has even seen them. The weeds are high and it looks a mess. Trouble is it takes months for the council to do anything about it. Things have to change!

The council first write a letter to the tenant giving them three months to cultivate, if they don't work the plot they then get notice to quit which is I think about a month or so. Which means that by the time the plot is empty it is so overgrown and very hard work for the next tenant. Some people think that as long as they pay the rent on the plot they have the right to do whatever they want and that seems to include leaving it uncultivated.

I love my allotment plot ! I feel Blessed that I have the money to buy seeds, the health to grow, plant and look after them, water to nourish them,( perhaps a little too much at present!) my sight to see them grow and good friends and neighbours to share the produce with.

I had a busy week-end and annoyingly woke up very early this morning, around 5am and couldn't get back to sleep so I gave in and came downstairs around 6am. This is very early for me as I'm not a morning person ! and I go to bed very late, always after midnight and often much later.  I'm definitely an Owl and not a Lark ! consequently I am now very tired but I bet I will still be up late. I try and change my bad habits but it's been too long now. If  anyone has any tips please pass them on as I would love to be sensible about my sleep habits.

Maybe a glass of wine will do the trick !!!!  Mmmmm

Let's hope we get some sunshine in the coming week! cos I'm fed up with this summer of ours.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Busy time on the plot !

The weather has played havoc with sowing and planting this year for everyone, and the seasons are all out of sync. The plants don't know what they are supposed to be doing and I'm not sure I do either ! The broad beans are doing so well and are full of flowers. The mangetout are giving me a little handful of delicious pickings each day. The spinach bolted and went to seed when we had that hot spell ( remember that time ???) so I have to sow more as we love it.

I have only just planted the french beans so at least this year everything wont want picking all at once. The french beans should start when the broads are over and I have already sown more mangetout to keep the pickings going. I didn't do that last year and regretted it as we love them steamed and also raw in salads. I have also planted turnips this year. I have never grown them before so didn't realise the leaves get so big ! and they have flopped over the carrots and beetroot that I sowed either side of them in  the raised bed.  I now have to transplant them elsewhere, I hope they like being moved as I am looking forward to baby turnip, and it would be a shame to lose them.

Here's a little look around the plot, photo's were taken this week.

The parsnips which are covering the carrots and a row of beetroot. Spring onions on the end.

 Plot looking lush after all that rain.

The courgette bed with Sweet William's behind and at the back on the trellis is my thorn less Tayberry which has masses of fruit coming this year (2nd year) a very strong plant from Victoriana Nursery.

This is the only globe artichoke that survived the winter out of nine plants which were huge last year. I thought they were indestructible !! to be truthful though I'm not sorry about their demise as they took up too much space on the plot and I found them difficult to prepare and cook. But they are magnificent plants and have a stunning flower which the bees love. For that reason alone I will always have one growing, plus try cooking them as babies this year as the Italians do and I love eating artichoke hearts.

The onions (sorry about the weeds) in the foreground and broad beans behind them.

Mangetout, delicious !!

Cabbages and cauliflowers under the enviromesh tunnel. I'm not good at growing cauli's but giving it one more shot this year and if no luck that's it for me !

Last of all the re-painted sign. The yellow letters need going over with a different colour as they don't show up that well.

I hope you liked the little tour. Have a good week.
M x

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

What a difference a few sunny days make !

Wow!! we have had some sunshine at last ! except for some showers today which hampered any plans for planting out that I had in mind.  Other than that I have managed to get lots done in the garden and on the allotment. I sowed some carrots, turnips,Parsnips and  spring onions in a raised bed last week and covered them with two old windows that someone gave me last year.  With the heat under the glass the turnips are up already and need thinning.

I have painted and re-styled my allotment sign, it looks very 'folk art' now and I have done both sides so that it shows outside the plot as well. See what you think of it !! I was rather pleased as it looks much better than before and will last longer as I have painted the wood before doing the signs.

I'm hoping the weather will be fine tomorrow so I can go and put the sign on the plot.

This is how the sign looked originally, probably more in keeping with the allotment, but I prefer the 'Folky' look.

I treated myself to some flowers when we went shopping today, these beautiful peonies were reduced so I couldn't resist them, the others were full price but still a bargain. They smell lovely.

I'm looking forward to cutting my own flowers from the cutting bed on the allotment later on in the year.

I have lots of plants growing strong in the greenhouse. There are chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, and I'm just starting off the french beans 'Blue Lake' and 'Fasold' both have done well every year.  The broad beans are flowering, and the mangetout are growing stronger.  Onions are starting to shoot up now and the garlic planted last Autumn looks like it will be ready to harvest soon.  The three varieties of spinach is looking healthy and needs thinning and transplanting very soon.

I am looking out for my asparagus as I will be able to harvest it for the first time this year, if it's a success that is.  I think I have lost most of my globe artichokes. I thought they were hardy, but only two seems to have survived.

I have been reading some of my old post going way back, and they were much more interesting than my later ones and very chatty too, so I guess I have got a bit lazy, must do better !!!!!!  I was  all excited way back then on getting my plot which made me very keen to record everything.

That's about all for now I hope the rest of the week is kind to us weather wise !

M x

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Not sure I like the New Blogger !!!

Ohhh I logged on to write a post and blogger has changed ! that was a surprise, I expect they have been telling us leading up to this change, but as usual I haven't read any notices. My desk top PC has died on me ! I think it may have been because of some electrical surges we had a few days ago. So I have to use the laptop and I don't like the keyboard very much.

I have been busy sowing seeds, potting on and generally tidying the plot. Everybody at the allotment are saying that they are all behind this year due to our crazy weather, myself including. But some things have come on well as you can see below. Isn't it brilliant to see the seed pushing through the soil /compost ??

This is my first harvest of rhubarb and it's such a lovely colour. I didn't cook it but cut it into small chunks and  froze it instead and will use it for a crumble next week. YUMMY!!

The Zebra Beans ( an old variety) are pushing through and are so big.

These are the Bellotti Beans

 Here we have more beans and some cucumbers (Marketmore) I haven't tried this variety before.

This is the mixed tray

The greenhouse on the allotment is chockablock with about six different varieties of tomatoes, and there are lots as I am going to do a plant / boot sale with a friend. We have lots of different plants divided up from our gardens and I have grown masses of herbs, also divided ones I already had. If we manage to sell them all it will cover our costs on the allotment. Mind you it's not all profit as the costs involved in sowing, growing and potting on, boot costs, plus time involved probably takes a chunk off.  No wonder garden centres charge so much !!! they have staff to pay as well.

I hope you are all getting on top of the sowing and planting on your plots and in your gardens.
Have a good week !!
M xx

Monday, 23 April 2012

Rain rain go away come again another day !!

OK I know we need it, but showers are worse than a big downpour. I just get stuck into something outdoors and down it comes ! I take off my boots etc, put everything away as it's pouring and lo and behold out comes the sun ! and so it goes on. A good old cuss usually does the trick ! makes me feel better anyway.

My garden has some lovely tulips this year, more than previous years and I love them. I am tempted to cut them and bring them indoors, but I don't as I know they look better for longer in the garden.

I can't wait to get up to the allotment on a fine sunny day and plant out my Calabrese which is still not in the ground as it's too wet and sticky. They have been put into compost to keep them healthy meantime. We are still having frosts which means two trips to the allotment most days to take the fleece off all the growing plants in the greenhouse and then to cover them up again for the night.  Roll on the frost free days so I can leave them uncovered.