PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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September 2019

There was an autumnal chill the other morning and for the last few days there has been a lot of rain. Good job we’d fixed the leak in the greenhouse! No doubt another will spring up somewhere. This quieter time on the allotment is perfect for repairs and plans and seed catalogues with tempting offers and new varieties!

There is no fence between our plot and the next, but we’d put in some plants ages ago along the border. Funny how some things done by accident almost, look great after ward. We had put in some pink cosmos, spare echinacea plants and some sedum cuttings. As you can see, the border looks great, it spread around the sweetcorn and the rhubarb bed. Hopefully it will be just as lovely next year. It’s still going strong now.

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Happy accident.

We’ll be eating squash until next year. The wet summer was just what they needed. We would go home and literally the next day they would be huge. We also grew some spaghetti squash, and didn’t do too badly with them.

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Butternuts and Spaghetti!

We had planted some chantenay carrot seed in a couple of troughs – something we had vowed not to do. We have NEVER had any success with carrots in all the years we have had an allotment. NEVER. Not one. This year we …drum roll please… actually grew some!! OK, they’re very small – even for chantenay – and it was only a few but it’s a start. We’ll be growing some next year for definite. The secret? Plant the seed and then do nothing except water occasionally but, ignore them. Happy Plotting !

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Success at last!


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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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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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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)