PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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March 2018

I’ve heard more than one allotmenteer complain about how far behind they are. I looked at a photo of the allotment this time last year, and we had broad beans in the soil and some spuds in bags. This year I’ve just put the broadies in the cold frame and we’ve planted up one bag of spuds. The weather has been a downer to say the least. However, spring is on the way. It is. No Really…

The optimism of planting seeds always makes for a few happy hours in the greenhouse. We bought some seed compost from a famous DIY store, ( our nearest garden centre is MILES away ) and it was abysmal. Rubbishy clumps of coir and wood that would never have rotted even if it had been composted in Tudor times fell out of the sweaty bag! Anyway, we did our best, sieving it over and over until we could plant some seeds in it.

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Lovely spread. Some of the red cabbage already coming through at the bottom of the pic.

We planted up a load of sweet pea seeds, some were coming to the end of their packaging date, while some were bought at RHSChatsworth last year. We bought a variety called, Harlequin which we’ve never grown before, but looked amazing in the huge flower displays. It has a brown/dark burgundy and white flower, we can’t wait to see them.

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Mumsie and Tiller Girl – two favourites

Everywhere has been painted, we are definitely getting the onions in this weekend … weather dependant! Happy Easter and Happy Plotting!

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February 2018

Wish we could visit the plot today because it has SNOWED! Yes, the white stuff! In February! How dare it?? But alas we have to work so no visit. We were there over last weekend getting on with some of the jobs we do every year and making a list of the repair jobs for the following weeks. Everything is going to be creosoted, shed, fencing, the wood around the beds, the lot. We also need to seal some of the glass on the greenhouse and dig over a couple of the beds. I’m sure there’ll be more. The onions have started to poke their heads through, although the whites are racing ahead of the red.

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Still got some onions from last year!

After a visit to a garden centre last month and vowing not to buy more seeds, we instead decided to satisfy my new addiction … dahlias. So, we potted them as we were reliably told to do so, to ‘get them ready to go outside.’ We can’t wait to see these in bloom and with the ones saved from last year, and the variety we’re growing from seed this year, ‘Yankie Doodle Dandy’, it should make for a colourful display.

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Promise not to buy anymore …

A mention for this Scabious. It was left on the shelf in a shop, unloved and unwanted. It has flowered since the end of last summer. It’s lovely to see a bit of colour in the darkest of months.

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Happy Plotting!

 


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January 2018 Frost

While the frost can be a killer on the allotment ( decimated the blossom on the pear tree a few years ago! ) it also brings with it a beauty of its own, and it does your bulbs good so we’re told. We planted a load a while back and some, mainly the allium and grape hyacinth, are beginning to poke their heads up through the soil.

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This is on the boat. Name unknown.

At this time of year you’re looking for signs that Spring is coming. The seasons become much more important when you have an allotment or garden, you itch to get things started and any green stands out. The new growth on the Summer flowering clematis was a nice surprise. It had been neglected before we took over the plot and were advised not to cut it at the end of the flowering season. Seems to have worked.

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Can’t wait for the flowers!

Even the strawberry bed looked good in the frost. We had taken most of the runners from it just a couple of days before to go in the opposing bed. Always more room for strawberries on the allotment .

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The Strawb. beds

It’s been so cold lately, the water froze in the kettle and the pipe split on the allotment tap! Here’s to the warmer months to come. Happy plotting.


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December 2017

We’re in the inbetweener week. Not Christmas and not New Year. Those days when most people sit on the couch and finish off the copious amounts of food that are crammed into fridges while watching films they have seen before or Britain’s Strongest Man, that week. We popped to the plot on Christmas Eves eve and couldn’t wait for the new season to begin. There were a couple of other plot holders there, also itching to get cracking.

Sadly we lost a couple of our older members this year, and a couple have left, leaving the allotments open for new people. Fresh faces are always welcome.

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Allotments by David Inshaw

It’s been a learning curve taking over a larger plot, more watering for a start and more upkeep. We still have to creosote the shed and are still waterproofing the greenhouse, jobs multiply but we get on with them like every other plot holder who loves coming to their allotment.

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Bleak …

Still, we tell ourselves, ‘soon be Spring’ and the first plot holders meeting should be in a couple of weeks (always fun!) when subs and dues have to be paid. ‘Any other business’ always brings about interesting discussions. But this happens in a community doesn’t it?

So first thing we’re going to do when the weather perks up? Paint the boat!

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We must name it this year!

 

Happy New Year and Happy Plotting!

 


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November 2017

It’s cold. Really cold. And wet. But that doesn’t stop us messing about down at the allotments!

Every time we go we feed the birds, although the feeders have been ambushed by thrushes at the moment. Hopefully they’ll fly off to warmer parts soon. It’s a joy to watch the birds at this time of year.

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NOT quick enough to actually photograph a bird!

We started the broad beans, seems like this comes around quicker every year, but after a late start this season, we’re back on track. Sutton and Scorpio again. Two to a pot, no doubt we’ll be too tight to dispose of the weakest one and end up growing too many plants or giving them away!

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Overlooked by the Cheshire Cat …

We had to wood chip the area where the chicken coop used to be. The ground dips and is so soggy that next were thing about ways to raise it or sort the drainage out. For now it’s been chipped which makes it able to even walk on.

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Spreadin’ the ‘chip 

Lastly, we bought a small Angelica plant at RHS Chatsworth this year after seeing the it at another allotments open day.  Does it die down over winter? Does it go to sleep? It just seems to have exploded in the soil. Some have said to cover it, some leave it. The debate rages on. Any opinions ?

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What a whopper!

Happy plotting.


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October 2017

I just put the date as September, the year is passing too fast!

 

Yesterday was a brief visit. We had to keep dodging the rain, long showers that seem to have been falling since August. The paths have turned back into the slushy mud of the winter already despite the layering of wood chip and the greenhouse has developed a couple of leaks. Buckets at the ready!

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This little corner was forgotten about until now really. The zantedeschia, lillies etc just seemed to get on with flowering and needing the occasional feed and water. They looked great as a display and still look good now I think. We’ll be putting them to bed, nicely mulched, in a plastic greenhouse we’ve got.

While moving some of the pots we saw this, a rogue sweet pea among the clematis, nice surprise though. Apologies for the blurry pic.

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We cut some of the Ageratum to save for seed. It’s such a lovely colour, and a reliable long flowering bloom. It’s drying out in the leaky greenhouse, here’s hoping its not too damp.

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There’s still a lot of colour on the allotment, the dahlias and rudbekia are going strong, but the lychnis had to be pruned. We always leave the cuttings so any wildlife can escape. And there was wildlife. A lot of it. The spiders are HUGE this year and they seem to be everywhere. We were told that means it’s going to be a colder winter than usual. Hopefully so.

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Happy plotting!!


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September 2017

Autumn seemed to come round early this year. No chance of an Indian summer, in fact the rain began in August and it hasn’t stopped. We were waiting for a few good days to fix the greenhouse, seal it properly, but they didn’t seem to arrive. Anyway, must stop moaning …

The raspberries have been amazing, we’ve got bag fulls of them. Smoothies for the rest of the season! They just keep coming, and we always leave some for the birds. We like to think it’s because of the leaf mulch we dumped on the canes last winter when we travelled from the old plot to this. We also have a blackberry which grows around the back of the shed, a nice surprise.

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Never had so many razzers!

The bean cage has come down, netting them with string was so much better than using the plastic stuff. Everything could go straight into the composter! We emptied the last of the spud bags last week and even though the potato skin was a little speckled there was nothing wrong with the taste. Some of the older gentleman on the allotment manage to keep spuds going until Christmas!

We brought the herbs into the greenhouse, they were beginning to dampen off. Fresh herbs are addictive, a much stronger flavour, so they’ll be getting babied for a while to keep them going.

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Plums. We were advised to prune the plum tree in the orchard. We read the books. Don’t leave it too late, prune on a dry day etc etc. We did this. And the plum harvest was a disappointment. The old fellas on the allotment offered some advice about this. DON’T DO IT! Just a good feed, (potash? Nitrogen heavy?) in the spring. Confusing.

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Don’t mess with your plums …

Happy plotting one and all!