Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Three and a half hours of hard labour in the garden.......

 I took this photo of the lawn in front of my garden studio as it shows the remarkable different between the grass where the chicken run was moved for just a couple of weeks whilst once in June and once in September onto the lawn.    The taller grass is where the run was - the grass is lush and green and totally weed free - what a huge difference - I am seriously thinking of moving the run around on the lawns this year so that the chooks get to do the weeding and fertilising and the scarifying!
Somewhere in the garden, there always seems to be a surprise of colour
Here are some helebores

I love their freckles

And there are such a variety of colours too.

The snow drops are so dainty and I always wonder why how they survive the bad winter weather

These have popped up in the newly sown lawned area.

The strawberries have gone crazy over the autumn and winter

I am going to have to thin them out

They seem to flourish in the hemcore which came from the chicken run

It was rather harder work than I thought digging up the 2nd year seedlings

I did do quite a lot - and I'll be taking them up the allotment tomorrow if it doesn't rain

They have been thinned out so are looking better

I still have quite a lot more to do though despite thinning them out here

The bantams wore themselves out scratching around in the fruit cage with me, so went off  to clean themselves up and have a rest.

Gozzie has lots of energy so she decided to have a dig and get some more worms from another raised bed

Where the rhubarb plants are breaking through and looking full of energy.  We are still eating fruit mixes which I cooked last year, of rhubarb, gooseberry, black currants, etc.

 I took the temporary fencing down and dug over the raised salad beds which are outside my garden studio - then put the fencing back - we get rabbits in our garden, and of course the chooks would love to have a scratch on it.
I raked the leaves and swept the lawns and run my little mower over them.

They look rather good after the winter we have had - and much better without the leaves and debris

 I stayed off this area of lawn as its the seeded patch.
This is the 'after' photo of the very first one posted.  It certainly has made a big difference and removing all the leaves and twigs etc and mowing it, was worth all the effort

The chooks found lots of insects after I had mowed

It was so nice to just sit and relax and watch them

I could sit there for hours!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Allotment Diary - Me: 9 hrs He: 6hrs

The weather has been nice and dry of late, so I was determined to get up the allotment early today and finish shifting the big pile of shredded wood.

Sunshine was forecast so it was on with the sunblock and hat and covered top to toe - who needs a scarecrow when you see me out in the sun!

Silly me forgot to take any before photos - I was eager to get working!
This area beside the track and alongside the pig hut which is our shed.  It had a pile of 'stuff' dumped next to it which we have now cleared, and I've laid some membrane and put a deep layer of the wood chips.  Since the photo was taken I have swept it straight. I am hoping that it will deter people dumping anything else there.

Alongside the water tanks, plastic 'bit's used to end up[ here and stinging nettles from next door's plot which they never cut or pull up - it's a bit of a dumping ground their side but at least this looks tidy now.

We have cleared piles of stuff from here over the years - junk that we inherited with the plot, water barrels, lumps of wood, metal 'posts' corrugated iron sheets.  We cleared the last lot today, so I have membraned that and covered it.   Mr Lottie dug a deep edge for me - so I just need to sweep the wood chips back and put a wooden border along it to keep them all neatly in place.

Deep wood bark on top of membrane so it'll be nice and easy 'allotment side' for me to get to my water tanks - and hopefully no more stings from next doors nettles, fingers crossed.

Nearly finished for today.  We have sacks of rubbish to take up the tip in the week - they are all neatly in the shed.  I think Mr Lottie will take them with him when/if he gets a game of golf in next week.

I did rake up as much as I could, but at this point I had been doing heavy work for over three hours and could hardly stand - so next week I will sweep it, and if the weather is good enough will run the mower over it - if I can get it started after being in the shed all winter.
O.K. I'm on my way, just wanted one last look!

All done for today - tomorrow is Sunday, a day of rest with my family - off out to lunch.

Look left - all clear - there wasn't a soul up there in the whole field!
Down the track, unhook the gate, and off we go.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In the garden - on a sunny spring morning....

It was such a lovely morning, that I slapped on the sunscreen and jacket and sun hat and spent some time in the garden

It always looks so sad after the winter, before the weather warms up so that the plants can recover from the snow.
 Whilst I was working, the banties took the opportunity to soak up some sunshine and have a doze.
Snow white Willow was really sound asleep and looks like a fluffly snow ball

Maudie is almost camouflaged on the left of Daisy

 I love seeing them flaked out in the sunshine - so peaceful and contented
If you have visited my blog before, you'll know that last year we had the garden room built on the back of the lounge.  It meant removing a long raised bed, and getting rid of the big fish pond - but it was the right decision for me.  We sowed some grass seed in the Autumn and had to cover it with netting, and canes to keep the birds off.  Although looking rather sad from the snow and bad weather, the seed germinated and is starting to grow so I removed all the netting etc - it looked so untidy.

And it had flattened with all the snow, so the birds, and chooks if they wished, could just walk all over it anyway.

This side has done pretty well which is a surprise as it's shady, and despite all my clearing up the leaves from next doors' shrubs shed their leaves all winter.

In a few months time this will look green and lush and you won't even notice the join!
This is one of Kath's beds which has been flowering all winter, although a lot of the perennials have died back.

There are penstemons still in bud

Even after all the snow we have had - amazing.
That's all for now - more tomorrow

Thank you for paying me a visit

Friday, February 17, 2012

2012 Allotment Diary - Me: 5.75 hrs He: 3hrs

What a difference a day makes - 24 little hours.  I wonder who wrote that song - its the only line I know from it!

Mr Lottie joined me today as he wanted a bonfire.   I gently steered him away from that idea as I really needed a bit of help today.  The weather was damp and cold, it looked like rain - that sort of thing.

Just a reminder that this blog is primarily just a way of recording the hours I put in up the plot, and how it looks over a year etc.   It's nice to look back in the middle of  the winter when snowed in - to have a reminder of the achievements (or not) the previous year.

 Our allotments are in a field on the edge of the village - a bit of a raggle taggle 'shanty' type place! (The allotments, not the village)
It's always windy and often wild.  The winter, as usual took it's toll on the fences - that's why these are propped up at the moment in a bid to keep out the rabbits, deer, dogs, and suchlike.  First thing we did today was to pull up the rubber mat which was laid right along the middle - where the bare patch is.  With Mr Lottie's help we moved it to another section further down the plot - but more of that another day.   It's a work in progress.
I made a start on weeding the bed which runs along the ramshackle fence.  I planted more fruit bushes, and cuttings here.

It's edged with wood and Mr Lottie took over whilst I barrowed more shredded wood to the fruit cage.

Doesn't it look a right mess - a work in progress though.  We had to weed this too.

A candid camera photo of me - looking rather tubby as I am wearing 2 pairs of trousers - waterproofs on top of nice ones.  Two jumpers, and a thick jacket - there is always a cold wind up there.
 It truly was backbreaking work - but at least the soil was wet and soft and easy to dig
The canes you can see with little yoghurt pots on top (to prevent me poking a eye out) are where there are rhubarb plants.  As soon as their leaves grow I'll pull the canes out as they will be easy to see.

I worked myself to a standstill barrowing and spreading all those woodchips in the fruit plot, and it should suppress all the weeds.  I wanted to do this to make it more manageable for me as I can only spend a limited of time outdoors - especially if there is any sunshine.

I have managed to shift about two thirds of the pile I reckon

The next time, hopefully, I will be able to move the rest.
I even managed to cover the 'nursery' fruit cuttings bed that Mr L weeded for me, and more besides.
We are due lots of rain over the weekend so I'll be spending it indoors experimenting with some polymer clay