Thursday, April 28, 2011

Allotment Diary Me:26hrs He:25.5hrs

It was a cold, dull windy day, so cold that I had to dress up in my winter 'gear' - perfect for me up the allotment.  We hadn't been well enough to go up there for a couple of weeks and it was a bit of a shock when I saw the weeds!
Not a drop of rain for weeks and weeks, but the weeds still manage to grow!

And my lovely neat weedfree beds now need weeding again.

The lawns need cutting too - how do they grow so fast in a drought?

Mr Lottie mowed the lawns for me.  Look at the comfrey - it's like a hedge and almost in flower.  But I have plans for this so it's not a problem.

Now that the grass has been cut it is looking neat again.  The covered bed in the foreground will remain that way until I am ready to fill it up with squashes and pumpkins - I can't keep weeding it if it is sunny so this is the best option to keep the plot under control

So, here is the result of my work - the front bed which we fenced in this year, has now been weeded by me yet again it is so dry that it is just like dust!  Some potatoes from last year were growing - looking fabulous and healthy, but I dug them up - this is going to be my bean bed.
The trenches are dug for the climhing beans, and filled with well rotted manure.  I use a lot as we don't have running water - it's just a big field - so I can't water everything from my tanks, the plot is too big.

The early potatoes I planted which looked suspiciously like rows of buried bodies, are now 6'6" rows of lovely lush potato tops, grown through the heaped up soil.  I weeded in between and heaped them up even more so - they are looking good - again - without a drop of rain since they were planted - the manure sure works a treat. Hard work, but it's worth it.

The broad beans and onions have managed to grow too - again I did lots of weeding, still got a bit more to do between the onions, but the pathways are cleared

This is where I have sown the parsnip seeds today - we are due rain.   I weeded all this area yet again, sowed the seeds and sowed spinach seeds each side so that I know where the parsnips should appear.
Our soil is so very stoney. No matter how many times I remove the surface stones more flint just comes to the surface.  I am going to grow my carrots in my garden at home again this year.

Here is what I have done with some of the comfrey crop.  It is on the bean trenches.  I'll plant the beans in the well rotted manure and the comfrey will gradually rot down and feed the plants.  I have every confidence of getting a good crop.

So that's it for today - lots of hard work - but we will reap the results later.

I also took home a pile of rhubarb, so I'll be busy cutting that up and freezing it tomorrow!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Too sunny for me to linger in my garden

A quick post with the remainder of yesterday's photos
My hostas survived the winter - I didn't think they would.
They like it here in the shade by the back gate

Although I have a huge allotment, the sun is preventing me from going up there, so I am squeezing in as many veggies as I can in my flower beds.
Broccoli, small round cabbages, and caulis
The rhubarb has lived here for a few years now, next to the water butt which is handy
Now that Mr Lottie is feeling a lot better he fancies rhubarb and yoghurt for pudding
So some of these stems will be picked as soon as I have finished typing this

The woodland flower bed - I think this is my favourite part of the garden in the summer because I can get some shade!

It looks particularly fetching this time of the year with the new growth, nice and fresh and green

The banties love it too and are always rummaging around for insects etc and then running helter skelter up the garden with a juicy worm - being chased by the mob - it never fails to make us laugh!

I thought that my ferns had died over the winter, they are usually in leaf by now.
Aren't they gorgeous?  They almost look prehistoric to me when they start to unfurl.
Isn't nature wonderful - so much texture and colour contrast

This unfurling hosta clump has tiny jewels of dew in the centre of each curled leaf, but I didn't quite manage to catch it on camera as well as I would have liked

This wise old gnome has a few stories to tell I bet.
I was given it by a very elderly neighbour 30 years ago, and he had been given it by an elderly neighbour many many years before that.  I don't have a clue how old it is, and my ex-husband at the time wanted me to throw it away - he considered it rubbish.
I am rather sentimental. and like to think of the people that once owned him - to me he is a priceless treasure.
I have never painted him, I don't want him to looked painted and new - as he is so old, and I think that his aged look suits him.

I have a large pot in the garden near the studio, and it has some Lily of the valley, lemon balm, and mint in it - all of which are self sown.  I really should sort it all out, but I rather like the combination, and just can't help bending to smell the lilies whilst they are in flower, rub my hands in a stem of lemon balm, or chew a  mint leaf when passing  the pot - which is often

I try to fill every gap in my garden - this is a 'waste' area alongside my studio.  It only get the sunshine late in the afternoon, but it seems that it is just enough to keep the gooseberry cuttings - which are now bushes  - happy, and the small rhubarb plant's productive too.

My husband complains that I never sit still - and that's usually correct.
As I am still not back to full strength, I sat in the shade to read the Sunday magazines - something I haven't done for many many years.  These are candid camera shots
 - as you can tell!
Then got carried away reading my book.  As the sun moved around I had to cover up - such a shame, but necessary!
This is how I have to dress when I go outside.
 Either looking like Lady Haversham

or if I am working up the allotment
Worzle Gummidge

(Don't have nightmares!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today in my garden

Still recovering from the virus so decided to take it easy today - so took some photos around my this morning garden. 

Some of the flock come to see waht I am doing

Zola's a bit scruffy - she's been laying like the clappers and I think she is going broody

Here come the stragglers

It's nice to see the pond plants coming into bloom and the iries and other plants coming through the gravel around it.  It's a nature pond now, and we have lots of newts, frogs, frog spawn and insects

An early clematis I treated myself too for Mothers Day.  I am surprised it has flowered so soon

My little old tortoise, bought from a table top sale outside an old cottage by the church - on my walk

The hanging basket has been non stop flowering for ages, and at last the Alliums are beginning to open.
Delphiniums are shooting up too - wish we had some rain though  - we really need it

Poppy and Daisy

Bluebells - survived the harsh winter and dry spring

Oops these need dead heading

Heading off to the woodland garden to search for worms

I bought myself a walk in greenhouse a few weeks ago, and finally managed to erect it  yesterday

I am thrilled to bits with it - it is strong and roomy - and will be full over the summer

This area was one of those which seemed to 'collect' things - like sacks of sand, pots - we all have an area like that don't we.  Well not any more, I pruned the roses and clematis at the back of the trellis.  Mr Lottie cleared the ivy and we both shifted all the sand and 'rubbish'
It was worth all the effort.
Lloyd - it's 140cm x140cm x 200cm high
The tape was not needed, but I used it as I had done so in another little greenhouse, and it has lasted for a number of years now left out in the winter!

Dwarf french beans

Victorian climbing peas

The raised bed has been sown with seeds - hence the netting to keep the birds off.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Allotment Diary Me:22.5hrs He:22.5hrs as at 10th April

Last time I posted about my allotment on the 15th of March which you can see here we were working on getting a plot ready for the potatoes this year.   It's part of my crop rotation project which I adhere to religiously to help protect against desease. 

Since then we have spent 7 hours up the plot - before we were struck down with the Noro virus on 11th April.  Mr Lottie brought it back from a bowls night - and I played Florence Nightingale before having to call the doctor out as he was so ill - and we didn't know anything about the virus!   A few days later I was struck down with it - and almost 2 weeks later we are still rather weak and just getting back on our  'sea legs' so this post is rather late - and things have changed apace up the allotment since these photos.
I raked over, then rotorvated this plot several times before digging out the trenches for my 2nd early and late potatoes

My 'under gardener' split up and moved some rhubarb plants to the fruit cage.
He asked my advice on how to do it and then completely ignored what I said - sigh - but I am sure they will grow anyway.  I am just grateful for his help

I hard pruned all the bushes in the autumn and it has really paid off.

Looks like we will be getting a bumper crop this year, fingers crossed!

The black currents are doing especially well - in a draught too.

The redcurrants and gooseberry bushes are enjoying the sunshine as well

The under-gardener is banging in stakes for me, marking the different varieties of potatoes I planted

There hasn't been a drop of rain since I planted them

Mr L pulling over the soil of the last potatoes, by this time I could hardly stand up I was that tired.

What is standing up nicely to the dry weather are the comfrey plants - not only standing up but positively thriving!  I'll be giving them a trim soon.

How the broad beans have managed to germinate and start to grow is one of natures wonders.  Without a drop of rain, and pushed into parched dry dusty soil, they still managed to germinate and put on a show of leaves.

Even the onions are making a valient effort.

I am looking forward to going up my plot again soon - even if only to have a look at how it's doing.

Happy Easter