PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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April 2019

Last week we had a mini heatwave, making the alliums and tulips burst into flower, even the cape daisy has started opening. This old trough is about to collapse. We may get another year out of it, but the display is lovely.

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Spring colours!

Then this week we had a what can only be described as a mini tornado wreak havoc on the plot. A friend from a neighbouring allotment site had warned us. ‘Are you ready for the hurricane?’ ‘Eh? What hurricane’ we answered … more fool us. This happened a couple of years ago, when the winds that blow across the site took out our poly-tent that housed the tomato plants. We were left with a mess.

This year we had put up a larger poly tunnel, (no fun in that mini heatwave, and rubbish instructions – 2 hours!!!) Anyway, it survived, but only just. There were a few minor tears but we spent the next day trying to sort out how to stop this happening again. We’re looking into some sort of wind breaks we can put up when there is a weather warning, provided that we hear about it first!!!

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Bit of bunting makes anything look good …

We have a small plastic hardening off greenhouse near the back of the plot. It’s great for leaving pots in, and gets really hot. We’re going to grow the aubergines in there. We left the herb pots in for a couple of days during the mini heatwave. They loved it! Even the cuttings seemed to take quicker. Bit of heat does wonders.

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Love fresh herbs!

So, the broad beans came off ok  in the winds. The courgettes are hardening off, the sweetcorn is in, the brassicas are about to go in, ( that seems to take forever!) and the majority of the summer flowers have germinated and are taking over the greenhouse! Happy Plotting everyone!

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March 2019

Well, March certainly did come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. It felt like there was a storm for about two weeks straight. The wind just seemed to get worse and stopped us from getting stuff done outside quite a few times.

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Dwarf Narcissi

We unwrapped the dahlia tubers this week. We only lost one, no doubt it will be replaced. When you see the displays in the garden centres and they’re so cheap, sometimes two for a fiver, how can you resist?

I wish we had somewhere special to keep them, but they were wrapped in old newspapers and stored in a large plant pot in the greenhouse. They don’t seem to have done too badly. We put them individually into pots with some fresh compost to get them ready to begin shooting, then when they’re strong enough they can go in the soil.

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Some of the dahlias. Not too pretty at the moment.

The seedlings seem to have picked up after a very slow start. We sowed various brassica seeds about ten days ago and today have already began potting some of the larger ones on in newspaper pots. The tomato and chilli seedlings are still very small, but hopefully with the good weather coming they should pick up … fingers crossed.

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The cayennes – the second lot. Lost the first lot to a hungry cat!

Our rose bed, which we assembled from a three broken troughs is beginning to take on a life of its own. The roses are thriving along with the spring bulbs that we planted in it. It’s a forgotten area of the allotment, right at the back next to a huge composting area, but it’s beginning to look o.k., even better now we’ve added an obelisk to its centre. Hopefully the flowers will grow around it and we’ll have fresh blooms for the house this summer.

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Happy plotting!


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February 2019

Well, this month has been a game of two halves. We started off the month like this …

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Taken on the 14th Feb.

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The boat’s looking a bit sorry for itself.

Everywhere, was frosty, snowy and cold. Even the squirrel had decided to stay away. So we planted some seeds at home in the propagator and stared at the seed catalogues and plot pics, waiting for the spring to come. We had some bulbs waiting to go in and the broad beans were slowly growing in the green house. Then the heat came, spring had sprung!

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Taken on the 24th.

So, it’s all very lovely having an early spring, but we remember  the ‘Beast from the East’ last year which took us by surprise, pushed spring back and killed off some crops on the allotment.

Now, there is blossom appearing on the fruit trees and the onions are sprouting in the modules we’ve started them off in, waiting to go in the soil. The broad beans are staying in the green house, although the boat does now look lovely seeing as the bulbs have all come out. She needs a lick of paint though. Happy Plotting!

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Taken this morning! 27th February.

 


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January 2019

Happy New Year!

We know, it’s way too late to be saying that, but we’ve done it any way. The beginning of a new growing year always comes with the excitement of what will be a success or what will be a flop. We look forward to the routines of sowing and pricking out, potting on and eventually putting stuff into the ground. We’ve already sorted through the seed packets, thrown some away and bought new ones. There’s been wood chipping, repairing, painting and  cleaning and January isn’t even over yet!

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1st January 2019

We’ve had a couple of mishaps already. The tomato seedlings that were sown, a new variety called ‘Shimmer’, shrivelled up and died, literally within the space of an hour. We thought we were doing well. The Black Opal seed that was saved from last year, has flourished, it’s the first time we’ve saved seed from a tomato. It’s something that we’ll be doing again.

A friendly squirrel decided it really wanted some extra fibre to it’s diet and decided to scoff it’s way through our crocus and tulip bulbs. They may look cute but they are evil … and very very greedy! we replanted some more, and have covered all the pots and troughs with netting until he decided to move elsewhere. We always thought they hibernated for the winter.

The onion sets have been started off in the modules, just to give them a start and to stop Mr Squirrel from eating them fresh from the soil. Too many do you think?

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There’s some Shallots in there as well.

The weather has just been wet, hardly any frost and just a very light smattering of snow. We’re looking forward to those summer months again. Happy Plotting!


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December 2018

Another year nearly gone, and we’re itching to get the 2019 growing season underway. Some people start their chillies off this early or their tomatoes. we’re going to leave it for a couple of weeks. There are some jobs on the plot that need doing – woodchipping, always woodchipping!!- as well as maintaining the shed and greenhouse.

So, we thought we would share a few of the pics from over the last year – it’s Christmas, there’s always repeats! But, it’s good to look back upon the year gone and look forward to the next.

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In January the water froze not just outside the waterbutt but inside as well. It looked pretty, but little did we know that ‘the beast from the east’ would appear in the spring to kill off a lot of the seedlings. There were quite a few complaints about the weather this year. Too cold – causing the seedlings to dampen off. Too hot – problems with watering. We’re never happy!!

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By Spring the seed trays ( posh words for the reusable food cartons!) we’re bursting. It’s great when the green house starts getting full. We have a small plastic green house for hardening off.

Come summer and it’s all about watering and feeding. The weather was great. Hot and sunny! Then came the watering restrictions, but we all coped.

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May 2018

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July 2018

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July 2018

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End of August 2018

We had such a lot of delicious crops, and beautiful flowers, we were very lucky, and we have some good neighbours who watered our plot when we couldn’t. It’s been a great year. We can’t wait for the next. Happy New Year everyone and Happy Plotting!!


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November 2018

The weather is miserable. No ice, no snow, no freezing fogs. Just wet and cold and miserable. Yesterday, I visited the allotment and after feeding the birds ( those Thrush gangs are ruthless! ) I sat in the green house with my cup of coffee and just stared at it trying to remember the lovely summer colours.

I brought the chillies home with me and some dried off beans ready for next year. The green house feels too damp now for them to dry off any further. The beans looked good, cannot wait to get planting in spring.

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French (purple), Runner & Borlotti

The chilli peppers are going to be strung up! I may make a garland to hang in the kitchen. I want the Poblanos to dry out more. The heat of the summer was great for the chillis.

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Vibrant!

One of the main jobs is getting the wood chip down. We’re very lucky, in that one of our fellow allotmenteers brings huge piles of the stuff for everyone to use. So when a fresh batch is dumped the wheel barrows come out. It gets spread on all the paths just to soak up the mud!

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It just seems to go on and on!

Happy plotting!


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Final Flowers

After spending the day at the allotment, I suddenly came down with an attack of the blues. I couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. There are a lot of perennials on the plot. Loads in fact. I can’t be with out colour whether it’s from dahlias or salvias I have to see colour among the fruit and veg.

We had let a lot of the flowers go on for a lot longer than usual, and now with the first frosts knocking at the shed door I knew I had to put them to bed. I had dug up the dahlias – Yankee Doodle Dandy – which were grown from seed and had happily tempted the allotment bees all summer, brushed off the soil to let them dry. I trimmed down the various salvias, the air was scented with the blackcurranty aroma for ages and covered them with a mulch to offer some protection. The blackened Tithonia and Zinnias were lifted and taken to the compost heap. I mentally made a note to grow more of them next year, their tropical colouring had been as sunny as the summer had been.

The Rudbekia – Black-Eyed Susans and the giant Marmalades were looking a little bedraggled, so they were for the chop. We have an open plot, that can be savaged by strong winds, I was surprised they had lasted this long. I looked forward to the time next year when I would be carrying armfuls of them home to fill the vases.

So I got on with the bulb planting. I had already filled some pots with dwarf narcissus and tulips of various varieties, but the flower I am most looking forward to seeing is the bronze iris. I must have planted over thirty bulbs and my back was hurting the next day, but it’ll be worth it next June when there’s a new blaze of colour on the plot. A good contrast to all the aliums out there.

 The flowers that did not get mulched were placed in a bucket and brought home, ready to be put into vases. The final flowers from the allotment for 2018. No wonder I felt a bit down. They looked so beautiful – different varieties and colours and scent, that I think they can stay together in the bucket! Roll on 2019.

D.C.

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