Sunday 3 May 2015

Spring Activity and a local Thurnderstorm

Almost every weekend Mr R and I spend time up at our allotment, digging, weeding, expanding the beds and an endless stream of little jobs.

The fun starts however in the Spring when, after putting loads of organic compost and horse manure onto the soil, the bean frames are set up,
The leeks and onions are coming along nicely and
its time to plant!! We erected the vine arch and planted the red and white grape vines, one each side and if they do well we will plant a couple more.
But as you can see above the sky started to change to a really dark grey and all of a sudden the heavens opened and the sky rumbled and I made it to the shed.  Mr R managed to get into the car and nearly fell about laughing because I was stuck in the shed, thunder and lightening and heavy rains preventing me from making it into the car.

As quickly as the storm started the skies cleared, becoming a beautiful fresh blue and we carried on with the work.  The colours were so intense and the light magical, giving us a renewed purpose to carry on.
We are off on holiday tomorrow and the anticipation of how everything will have grown is immense - will my little seeds have started to produce the beginning of our summer-autumn food! Watch the blog to see the progress.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Easter Helpers - Poo Pile Moving

When you have a huge pile of poo to shift on your allotment get the family in to help.  Easter weekend we had my daughter and her two boys staying and with some beautiful weather we headed up to the allotment.

It is a great place to get some fresh air into everyone's lungs and build up an appetite. Faced with the prospect of moving the pile of poo on his own Mr R was more than happy when Caroline offered to help! Check out the rhubarb before a poo feed. Wait till you see it a few weeks later!
Beautiful, natural and organic!
Caroline came equipped with her wellies ready to help move the poo pile!
'Small' also called 'Me Too' wanted to help mummy with the weeding.
Let's get those onions weeded!!
What a surprise, the Easter Bunny made a quick pass over the allotment!
'Small' was so excited to have his own gloves and tools to help!
'Big' carefully packing up his gardening bag ready to put in the shed for the next time they visit.
Enormous appetites ready for Easter Sunday roast lamb dinner!

Tuesday 31 March 2015

The Edible Garden Show - 2015

Last year we attended our first Edible Garden Show held in North London at the iconic Alexandra Palace where we go so many ideas and tips for our allotment. Suffice it to say we were really looking forward to repeating the experience again this year.

We got there just at opening time on a blistery and windy Saturday afternoon stopping briefly to admire the fantastic view from the outside of the venue but the cold did get to us and we went inside.  It is like being a child in a sweet shop - where do you start, which way to turn, there were so many good looking and interesting stalls to visit.  Some of the interesting stalls we visited and people we spoke to are following:

Wolf-Garten tools with their innovative interchangeable pieces of garden equipment.  We have a hand pole and a long pole on our allotment and four tools.  I want to get the hand fork you see below next and a mid-range handle.
The lovely demonstrator from Omniblend making a mango ice cream.
Instead of feeding the meal worms to the birds Charge feeds them and uses their poo as a fertiliser for increasing the vitamins and minerals you put in to condition your allotment soil in a completely natural way.  I was given a 1ltr tub and asked to use in one of my allotment beds and to report back in a future post.
Mr R was really taken by the Wood BlocX system of raised beds.  They are simple and easy to assemble in your own garden however are made to fit the size and area you need for your own raised beds.  I have an area in my flower garden which has concrete under the surface and very difficult to plant anything over.  I think a raised bed from BlocX will be perfect!
I love the fact that you can have a curve, this is exactly what I need in my garden.  The big question is how many I need.
Flax Farm Linseed where I learned loads about the linseed including the fact that linseed and flax are in fact the same thing. The Americans use the word flax and the British say linseed. Linseed oil is high in Omega3 and fibre and is rich in antioxidants helping you to feel fabulous, feel great and look amazing!
There were lots more companies worthy of a mention but I only had space to mention a few. I have lots of ideas and projects from visiting the show. I will be attending next year so keep an eye on this blog for dates and ticket giveaways.

I was a guest of The Edible Garden Show but was not required to write a positive review. As usual all opinions and photos are my own.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

And the season starts all over again!

Several times this winter Mr R and I have spent time over the weekends, weather permitting, working on our allotment, doing clearing up and other boring winter jobs in order to prepare for the new growing season.

We have been buying our seeds and getting ready to begin planting them in the greenhouse next month, visited The Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace for inspiration and tips but the biggest step we have made this year is having a load of horse manure delivered directly to our site!

Mr R hates me stopping to fill up bags of manure at farms and buying it in quantities at the garden centres can work out expensive.  Our allotment society arranges for a chap to deliver either half a load or a full load to individual plots and this year I decided to get it all in one go.
After several false attempts, due to weather conditions mostly and our plot is at the top of the slope, last Saturday we took delivery of a huge pile of poo!!
Those buckets and tires give a bit of perspective as to the size of the pile!

I love the earthy feel and smell of meadow and look forward to leaving it out for a bit more to rot down, eventually using it to help condition my soil and add nutrients.

Now Mr R (I have a bad back you understand!) will just have to move it to the other side of the plot so it is not in any one's way. I really must not laugh!!

Thursday 26 June 2014

The Never Ending To Do List

It's all well and good preparing the soil and keeping the weeds down until you plant your precious seedlings out however work on the allotment never stops.

We have done what we can now, preparing the soil, keeping the weeks in check and planting out our precious little greenhouse grown seedlings and are now in the hands of the weather fairies!

However there is always something to keep us busy on the allotment.  I started painting the shed and managed to paint one end.  Next time I will do another side until I get it done.  The shed hasn't been painted in ages and was a very thirsty shed indeed!
Mr R getting stuck in with the weeding using the Wolf-Garten claw tool with the new short handle we bought to make it into a hand tool instead of a long handled tool.  This is a very versatile way to get the most our of your garden tools.

There is a long list of projects to keep me and Mr R busy - clearing the area to the side of the shed, cutting back one of the trees in a garden that backs onto our plot, making a new compost area and so much more!

First few harvests

How exciting! The first few things we have brought home from the allotment.

The plot next to ours is idle so I picked some of the raspberries.
I have also started harvesting the rows of lovely summer lettuce.
And a rouge garlic which survived since last year!

Now to look forward to the courgettes, peppers, chillis, aubergines, tomatoes, beans, squash, carrots and potatoes!

Sunday 1 June 2014

Final Countown to Planting With Help from Wolf-Garten

Last weekend was the final countdown to the planting and we were very busy getting all the beds ready. I had loads of plants that I have started off from seed in the greenhouse and last weekend I wanted to plant most of them outside.

It is always a gamble that the weather won't drop below freezing over the next two or three weeks but you just have to take a chance and go with it.  The sooner the plants are in the ground the sooner they can become established and get on with growing!

Wolf-Garten have sent me a new piece for my collection - the rake. This came just in time to rake the prepared beds prior to planting out and to get a nice level surface.  These tools are so handy and clip on and off easily.  I think I will get another handle so we can both use the tools at the same time though.
After all the hard work digging the soil in preparation, adding in the compost and horse manure - using the Wolf-Garten soil miller to get it nice and evenly chopped up we needed to rake it level ready to plant.

These garden tools are so handy. We have one handle and now have three pieces to mix and match. they clip on and off easily and make storage easier.
At the Edible Garden Show we bought the three pronged fork and this one is fantastic for weeding in between rows. We pop it onto the long handle and do our weeding. Since there is a range of handles, long ones like in the photo, shorter ones and the sort of handle you have on a digging fork I thought I would like to get the handle that is about arm's length which would make it easier to fork the weeds if you were bending down. This will be my next addition to the set!

By the end of the weekend we had yellow courgettes, green courgettes, yellow dwarf french beans, green dwarf french beans, plum tomatoes, runner beans, beetroot, pak choi, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes and more.

Thanks to Wolf-Garten for the rake attachment for my system. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions and photos are my own.