PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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October 2018

One of our favourite months on the allotment. Bright sunshine, crisp cold mornings and lots of birds waiting for the feeders to be topped up. We’ve done a bit of D.I.Y. on the plot this month. Moving things about, building ramshackle raised beds, it’s been hard work but great.

Firstly, we began putting the dahlias to bed, these were the last of the … lost the name tag, but they’ve been a great bloomer all summer. The colour is amazing.  We spent a good couple of hours digging up all the tubers and drying them off, unfortunately we haven’t got a ‘Dahlia cupboard’ like a certain TV gardener, so some newspapers and large pots have to do for cover.

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Coffee Time.

We had to move one of the apple trees from the orchard. It had almost toppled over in the last strong winds we had, and was getting shaded by the other trees. The apples are delicious from it. We had moved the rhubarb bed, so decided to give it a new home there. It promptly decided to immediately shed it’s leaves. Hope we haven’t done more harm than good.

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Fingers crossed!

We needed somewhere to park our roses. We’ve been given a few, and bought a couple, each one means something to us. So we decided to build a raised bed from all the old bits of wood on the allotment. It was a spare bit of space, that had previously been used for growing peas in containers. As well as the roses we’ll be putting a lot of various herbs in there so it’s not just for decoration, but we can’t wait to see the flowers next year.

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Has since been creosoted!

This month has passed so quickly. Winding the allotment down seems to have produced more work. Looking forward to November. Happy Plotting!

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May 2017

The merry month of May, when it’s crazy in the greenhouse and the hardening off area, (a fancy term for a plastic tent, that will soon become the Aubergine house!) is crammed. The herb ladder is in its new ‘lean too’ place around the back of the shed, it will get a good amount of sunshine there as we’re quite shaded on the main allotment, but it’s great to have some proper fresh herbs again. The sorrel never took off, well I think we got one seedling which is being nursed like an only child, but everything else is going OK.

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Nice big crack in the pot of oregano, must change it!

We planted the beans last Sunday; French, green and purple and runner beans from saved seed. All was well until the next day … pigeons! Bl**dy pigeons had decided to snack on them!! Our fault though, we forgot to net them, never having had any trouble with them before. Now they are under a safety cordon of dangly jar lids, old cds, a string grid and netting. Good job there was some spares. Does everyone do this? Grow the spares, just in case? Usually we end up giving them away but we’ll need them this year.

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They’ll plug the gaps.

The mangetout have fared much better, maybe the pigeons haven’t got a taste for them. They were planted in a trough over a week ago, and seem to be flourishing. In a way, it was another go at the ‘bean and pea wall’ we tried last year. After seeing a picture on the internet of a spectacular wall of various sweet peas and beans all in various shades of purple we decided to give it a go. We bought some various coloured mange tout in green purple and yellow. It was just that they were all in the same bag!! So the purple wall had some green and yellow in it as well!

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Wonder what colour we’ll get this time?

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The Purple Pea and Bean wall! ( with added Yellow!!)

The Maypole for the sweet peas has gone up and the varieties we’ve planted are ‘Mumsie’ and ‘Tiller Girls’. We’ve planted more out, ‘Royal Family’, Air Warden’ and ‘Giant Wave’ on a bamboo wigwam next to the Maypole. We became addicted to the scent of the flowers in the house last year, so where there’s some spare space we’re planting sweet peas.

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Also now covered in pigeon proof netting!

There’s so much to go out this weekend; the courgettes, borlotti beans in giant pots, lettuce etc. The fennel seedlings are getting stronger and the cauliflower seem to be picking up after a slow start. The squash have finally shown up as well! So, we’ll finish this post with a nice colourful pic of some radish. Nice and colourful, just like the allotment. Happy plotting!

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January 2017

Our first month is nearly done. Yesterday (Sunday) was the first time since taking over that we haven’t come home caked in mud, and throwing our clothes straight into the washing machine. It was nice to just visit the plot, tidy the shed, have a coffee and a chat with our new neighbours and bimble about, as you do, without panicking about getting the allotment ‘ready’.

There’s still a lot to do, we need to tidy up the orchard (yeah we know it’s only a few fruit tree’s but we like to think big!!). The woods rotted around the trees and needs replacing as you can see from this aerial pic ie someone balancing on some fencing to take the pic.

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Just see the boat there …

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Another angle, without too much wobbling!

You can see the fruit bushes still in their buckets, about to go in. We’re making a taller fruit cage to go over them, a walk in as the knees are not up to much crawling and stooping at the moment. We we’re thinking about keeping the gooseberries separate. There are only two,  both a dark red variety and they do fruit quite a bit, but the thorns are a right (literal) pain to contend with when you’re trying to scramble past them to get to other bushes.

The raspberry canes were cut right down and we’ve leaf mulched them, the rhubarb bed next to them doesn’t look like it’s doing much compared to other one we’ve seen on other plots but we’ve planted three new crowns grown from seed so maybe they will become stronger soon.

So we just need to finish plugging up the leaks in the greenhouse and finish painting the shed then it’s all go with the planting. Can’t wait. And here’s a pic of the new kettle, for any allotmenter you know how important that is especially on freezing days like these! Essential kit.  Happy plotting!20170129_142128.jpg


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Open Days!

Open day season is upon us, and on Sunday we visited an allotment site that is a favourite. Sefton Park Allotments in Liverpool is set in  … Sefton Park. A glorious park that has everything for everyone; A Palm House, music festivals, lakes etc etc. We have been to the open days every year since we became allotmenteers ourselves. Everyone we met was polite and pleasant, inviting us onto their patches to have a nosy … and the tea and cakes were very tasty.

If there is an allotment open day near you, please go. Support our allotments, buy a plant, some produce or even just a cup of tea. Ta.

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They know their onions!

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No colour clashes in nature.

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Haven


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Flowers!

We have always grown some flowers on the plot, even just for the colour, but this is the first time we turned over one of our beds for them. We used the seeds that come free with magazines and some we had saved from flower heads in previous years. Here’s the bed now, the colour is waiting to burst out ( I hope! )

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Some rudbeckia, ageratum, nicotiana and chrysanthemums.

The asters are not faring well and keep getting munched, and we’ve had conflicting advice about the chrysanths. Take the the first flower head off or leave it on?? We’ll try some with the head off and see how it goes.

We always have a few pots dotted around the place just to entice the bees,

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Cheery geraniums, sandwiched between the raspberries and a sweet dumpling squash. A bit random, but space is limited!!

And no allotment could be without some nasturtiums! Supposedly very good at keeping carrot fly away … This variety is called, ‘Empress of India’.

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We’ve never tried them, but you can eat the leaves and the seeds.

We’ve been growing the sweet peas up a Bean pole ‘Maypole’ that was reduced in the local garden centre because the box was damaged! The verdict is out on how it looks but the house smells great with all the flowers. This variety is called ‘Royal Family’ we think. Bit of a royal theme going on !

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A rogue cosmos always creeps in somewhere!

We have so many flowers, a lot in pots, that happily come back year after year and our bulbs that reliably return, and ensure the plot is colourful from spring onward. It’s all about the bees!

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Three allium bulbs (corms?) were planted four years ago … multiplied a bit since then.

And to finish … lets get back to the veg. Here’s a pic of what we harvested yesterday. All the work is worth it.20160627_094950 (1)

 


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September

There’s been a lot of turmoil at the allotments. Change. Some people like it (Us), some hate it, and some abuse it. But it never stops your love of growing. We have both been very busy with work and a much looked forward to holiday, so our allotment visits have had to be rushed, which has grieved us. It was a joy and ironic that the apartment we stayed in, in Greece, was facing an allotments! Although growing different crops, the problems were the same … weeds, watering, fellow allotmenters!!

Back to our plot.

We have had a glut of raspberries!Never before have we had so many, maybe the birds had always got to them first, but we have had loads and the years of forking in our home grown leaf mold seems to have paid off.

picking some razzers for breakfast.

picking some razzers for breakfast.

We have had to close a couple of beds down, covering with black protector to stop the leaves from the bordering trees shedding on them. It’s the seeds that are annoying. The Livingston Daisies had gone ballistic while we were away, and a sudden frost had attacked them. We had to hack them down along with the mildewed Dumpling squash leaves. We cropped quiet a few Squash and are looking forward to scoffing them filled with butter,pepper and melted cheese!

The Butternutts (sounds like a family!!) are doing well. They keep popping up when you look under the leaves ,and have taken over the bed. We’re going to try growing them up canes next year, as shown on Gardener’s World. We need the space!

Hiding among the leaves were a couple of frogs, which we carefully moved to a safe place. We’re going to build a Frog Hotel on Saturday.

Apologies for the pic being the wrong way!!

Apologies for the pic being the wrong way!!

So we still have a lot to do, health permitting and time. We’re planting spinach and some red cabbage seedlings. We are getting the Broad Beans  started early. It wasn’t the same this year planting in Spring and we only got a third of the crop we usually get. And there’s always the overwintering onions to get down …


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July (Where has the sun gone?)

There is nothing more enjoyable than getting to the allotment very early, before anyone else is there, and after a good downpour! Everything seems to be blooming, growing, in fact our little plot goes a bit wild now, and that’s how we like it!

The shed's in there somewhere ...

The shed’s in there somewhere …

Runner beans,French beans and sweet peas.

Runner beans,French beans and sweet peas.

The spud bags are being emptied and everyone keeps asking for some … We’ve jammed strawbs and redcurrants and if the sun decides to poke its head out again we may have more. The courgette glut is being dealt with in the form of soups and chutney (doesn’t everyone??)

The Green House! The green house now resembles something from Jumanji. The cucamelons have gone wild. I keep nipping out the growing tip just to stop them bursting through the glass. The cucumbers have been a success this year also. Usually, it’s a struggle but, everything seems to be fruiting.

a wee cuc saying 'hello'

a wee cuc saying ‘hello’

Yes,there was a window there!

Yes,there was a window there!

And as for workspace, there is very little, but that’s great. We hope everyone else is havesting as much as we are, and struggling for space. That’s what we grow for isn’t it?

I used to have space on here.  We eat our lunch here, hence the plates!

I used to have space on here. We eat our lunch here, hence the plates!