PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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August 2019

We’re always a little bit disappointed in August. Sounds weird, but the allotment just seems to go crazy. Everywhere looks a mess – not that that truly matters – but it seems that all we do is harvest and weed / deadhead. The rain has been torrential at times. The water butts have been overflowing, and quite a few times rain has stopped play at the allotment. But enough of the moaning …

The sweetcorn is coming along very nicely indeed, despite the fact we had to put the nets around it again because the pesky squirrel made a come back and munched three plants.

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Not too bad …

With all the rain, the beans have gone ballistic. We keep picking, but they keep coming. On the other side of the beans, we planted a couple of butternut squash. They were very slow last year, but this year they’ve gone crazy! We were convinced the beans would be nearly over with by the time the squash got going. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, you can just see said squash growing around the bean canes. Now, we’ve had to trim them right back – with giant squashes taken off to ripen in the greenhouse – and drape them over some canes and netting. They’re still producing. We’ll be eating squash until the new year!

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Invasion of the squashes!

The dahlia bed is producing some gorgeous blooms. Some were given to a neighbouring plot to decorate the tables at their wedding! We’re so happy with them this year, they have been excellent.

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The house is full of them!

Unfortunately, we’ve had to cut the pear trees right back. The leaves were turning black and branches were rotting.  We think we’re going to have to replace them. The plums have been plentiful and the apples are coming along well as usual.

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In the words of Bob Marley “We’re jammin'”

We’ve been told by the weather gods, that there is going to be a heatwave at the end of August for 2-3 weeks. We won’t put our wellies away just yet. Happy plotting!

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July 2019

When were not moaning about the heat, we’re moaning about the lack of heat. Never satisfied eh? Well, what a month on the allotment? It’s not all Hugh Fearnly- Whatnott perfect, with everyone helping each other, tolerance and instagram prettiness is it? Nope. So when people get a little bit … er above themselves, we find it best to avoid them. Why let a few bloated, blotchy, rotten old apples ruin a perfectly good barrel? It must be the heat … or a full moon.

Anyway, the problem area by the old BBQ seems to have perked up a lot. When it rains the water runs down the brick wall and just settles at the bottom, becoming muddy. We’ve planted some shrubs – salvia – which struggled and even pickling onions –  most of which rotted, just to sort it out. We think we have solved our problem though. The cosmos – Purity- just seems to love it, along with some Lychnis and a few little Geums by the border. It’s not looking so bare now.

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Cosmos Purity

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It’s all green in the green house. The peppers – Poblano, Cayenne and Sweet – are bursting though. Can’t wait for them to begin to ripen. We need more sun. They’ve been fed on smelly, diluted Comfrey mix. It seems to work better than normal tomato feed.

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Cayenne

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Poblano or Ancho chillies? Either is fine by us.

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California Wonder, sweet peppers.

A few years ago now, someone on the allotment, gave us a throw away, catty remark about our plot. It’s stayed with us ever since,

“Oh you’re  good … with flowers.”

We got it. It was meant as an insult, but we just thought … ‘THANKS’, because without the flowers, like these lovelies we picked last week,

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Always looking for vases …

You don’t get this.

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Keep positive people. HAPPY PLOTTING.

 


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June 2019

Suns here! Well for a short while anyway. The water butts are nearly empty so the queue for the tap begins. We’ve started going very early – 6ish- just to get some watering in before work and before anyone is there to moan about tap usage. the joys of summer eh?

The roses have really appreciated the heat. We’ve got a few in our new rose bed, amongst a lost of other plants. It was nice to turn up yesterday and see, ‘Rock n’Roll in full bloom. A lovely plant.

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The roses are just beginning to bloom!

 

We’ve still got the sweetcorn under the cage because of the squirrel who’s still hanging around. It’s coming on well even though it’s about to escape. The rhubarb behind it is still going great, shame about the courgettes with the now yellowing leaves. We’re usually waiting for the glut, somehow, this year I don’t think we’re going to get it.

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Soon to be released …

The small salad bed by the green house is packed. New radish will be sewn at the weekend, but the pickling onions are doing well as are the lettuce – Romaine – and the baby beetroot. We squeezed a little memorial stone to our beloved cat in there as well.

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Some say it’s messy…

 

The boat is looking glorious! We’ve been adding smaller plants, mainly alpines to it and some Nemesia had set seed from last year. It looks great. Some of the creepers like the white bells we’ve had to trim back a bit and take cuttings for elsewhere. It was a popular photo stop for the visitors on the open day we had a couple of weeks back. Don’t think the picture does it justice really.

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Always room for one more!

Hope the weather is kind to you, and keep using the water butts! Happy Plotting!


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May 2019

The end of an eventful month. We lost our very dear cat this month. Topsy was 19 and is so missed. Then we had a  holiday to the beautiful island of Corfu. Pictures and blog post to follow. Thank you to our plot pals Sue and Lauren for all the watering while we were away.

On the plot we have been coping with planting out – everything seems to need to go out in May – and the winds. they’ve not seemed to die down at all and it’s played havoc with some of our crops. The plot does look good on a sunny day though.

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Brassicas netted and the fruit cage is up!

 

We put up the bean canes and had to put plastic around the beans – french climbers, broad and borlotti – after a day. The wind just blew them to bits. We even had to leave cloches on the borlottis for a couple of days for added protection.

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The beans are growing slowly this year.

The mangetout were planted in an extra deep trough. They grow better for us in a container. When we came back from holiday they were bursting from the the plastic cover, trying to escape. We’ve already been picking some earlies from them.

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Purple, yellow and green mangetout in there!

The spuds are doing well in their bags. We’ve started more off so we have more late into the season. They seem to get gobbled up too quickly when ready! This pic was taken just before we watered them, so they look a bit wilted, but they’re doing good.

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Some of the spud bags and a very weedy brassica bed.

Last winter – a very cold day indeed – we planted quite a few bronze iris corms. Nothing seemed to happen for ages! ‘We’ve been sold duds!’ I moaned, then in the last couple of weeks they’ve shot up and flowered. They’re absolute beauties and we thought we’d share a pic of them with you. Happy Plotting!

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Photo doesn’t do them justice. the colours are almost luminous.


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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.