Saturday 30 March 2013

Finally .. A Start!!

Wow the weather has been beastly since I first got my allotment but finally and coincidentally on Good Friday the wind dropped to below a Siberian gale and Mr R and I actually were able to get up there and make a start.

First of all we stopped off at the local tyre shop to beg some old worn out tyres.  Not because I have a rubber fettish but because they are essential in growing my planned crop of courgettes. How is that going to work? 

To start off with you pile the tyres three high.  You don't need to fill all three with good soil so it is a good place to hide some rubble in the bottom one or one and a half.  Then you fill the rest up with good growing compost and plant your courgettes plants about three to a tyre pile.

The tyres raise the courgettes off the ground keeping them from getting mushy, they also get quite hot and retain moisutre in the rims which helps the plant roots and thirdly and very importantly the slugs don't like crawling (or sliming) up the rubber which gives the plants a greater chance of life!

I have tried this many times and it greatly improves the yield.

Anyway, for starters we cut down the old growth surrounding the blackberries. They were very overgrown with lots of old dead growth as well.  A fellow allotment holder said they were quite prolific blackberries so fingers crossed we will get some this year and we will be able to reach them now.

Once Mr R got started boy did he go! He attacked those berries like a man with a mission.  We did the long half yesterday and will continue with the top row on Easter Monday.

Is it time for coffee yet?
I feel a little bonfire coming on!
There is a small shed on the allotment and it was full of rubbish so I cleared that out too.  I won't be keeping expensive tools inside but it will be a great place to keep the tea and coffee box along with the table and chairs!! There has to be somewhere to relax for a coffee break for the workers!

Saturday 16 March 2013

Weather Rules OK!

Very frustrating times at the moment as an allotment holder. When I am free the weather has been wet, windy and even snowy.  When I have been busy the weather has been cold but bright and sunny.
I really need to get up there and start clearing the rubbish and I want to get hold of the tyres I will be needing to grow my courgettes but for now I am left browsing through seed catalogues and planning what I will be growing.

At least there is lots to plan and get organised. I am getting my refreshment box ready to take up.  Camping gas stove, camping kettle (no I don't go camping but needed them for an event), jar of tea and one of coffee and a couple of cups.  That should, along with a couple of chairs, please Mr R anyway.  He always says digging is thirsty work!

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Welcome to my Allotment

When I used to live in my three bedroom family house I had a rather large garden and over the years learned to love gardening and making the most of my outside space.  Since I moved to my present house over 8 years ago I have missed vegetable gardening.  My current garden is great for growing flowers, BBQs, sitting on the decking but a bit too small for vegetable growing.

Almost three years ago I put my name on the list to get an allotment near our house and finally my name came to the top of the list.  As supermarket prices have risen there has been a growing number of people wanting to get out and grow some of their own food and many councils have cut plots in half as they became available so that more people could benefit.

I have been offered a half plot and to be honest I think I could have struggled to keep up and get the most out of a full plot anyway. My plot is at the top end of the space and on a corner with a fence so giving it a feeling of a bit more privacy.  Not much has been done over the past couple of years to my new plot so there will be a lot of digging and preparation needed before we start seeing gluts of courgettes etc!!

Mr R is tremendously excited at the prospect of digging! I am very keen on having good soil and will be spending a lot of time and effort on conditioning the soil. Over time you won't recognise the soil compared to what I am expecting to find when we start the transformation.

Underneath that growth there are some great blackberry bushes.
It all looks pretty bleak at the moment but I am excited to envisage how this will look this time next year.  There is a lot of work to do, loads of blackberries underneath the mess and loads of room to grow a substantial amount of our fruit and vegetables.
I am planning on spending a lot of time up there and including my grandchildren when possible, I want to rope off an area that they can grow or dig whatever they want when they visit.
I hope you will enjoy sharing the transformation with me and the recipes and dinners that I make from the produce which will show on my food blog.