Tuesday, 29 September 2009
I picked this for two reasons, firstly because it was the cheapest option and although I want my allotment looking nice and easy to maintain I really couldn't justify doubling the price purely because the slate was pretty and secondly because I had been too lazy to level the ground off properly and the smaller gravel filled in all those nasty little dips...so what do you think???
I know it isn't going to win any beauty contests but it's neat, tidy and will keep the weeds away so that I will be able to spend more time next year concentrating on my actual plot instead of pulling up the weeds around the top end. I also now have somewhere nice to sit and have a drink or a bite to eat!!! Happy days to come!! :-)
I think I should add a little thank you to two strong men.. (well my Dad and Hubby anyway!!) as I had to lug the gravel from one end of the allotment to the other and couldn't have got it done so quick without their help!!!
Saturday, 26 September 2009
I got asked if my name was Tanya when I was up the plot today.....now I'm always caught a little off balance at times like this as I never know whether it's going to be a good or bad thing to own up....anyway I decided to go with honesty and it paid off as apparently I was quite a focus at the last committee meeting and everyone is very impressed with the work I have put in on my allotment and how much I have achieved in a very short time...Yay Me!!!! (don't worry I just about fit my head through the door on returning home!!!
O.K. to finish off a pic of my delightful blackcurrant bushes which I bought and planted yesterday....I love a bargain...still no luck on the horseradish front as yet but I'm sure we'll find something!!!!!
Friday, 25 September 2009
So today I went to home-base and bought some plasticy stuff to lay in preparation for the gravelly stuff......(are you loving my technical terms?? hope I'm not losing you all with my jargon..LOL). Today was a good day to visit the store as it was a 10% off day......and also on my travels round the store I saw three beautiful blackcurrant bushes on offer at £1.79 each so snapped those up too!!!
Up here was originally where I wanted to put the blackcurrant bushes but the ground was rather hard and dry!!
So anyway I got all the plastic laid (with some help from my Dad!!) and it was really looking quite neat and tidy...but then as I haven't actually bought any gravel yet the carpets had to be laid back on top so that it would stay weighted down and not blow away in the wind so you will just have to imagine the beauty of it for now!!
After a lot of consideration I picked a place for my blackcurrant bushes and also got a bit more weeding done too...all in all quite a productive days work!!!!
Thursday, 24 September 2009
One guy in home base told me to try walking the railway lines as it is basically known as a pretty weed and it was the done thing to plant it along the tracks...maybe I will give it a shot!!!
Anyway the day wasn't a total loss as I did come across lots of seeds on sale, now I'm not one for planning ahead much but I did buy up a whole load of seeds at cut price saving my self a small fortune next season..the best thing is they are all well dated!!!
I haven't been up my allotment since last weekend but I fully intend on going up tomorrow to finish the last bit of weeding and to sort out the top...I have plans for the top end...boy do I have plans...you can all see tomorrow!!!!
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
OK...this is just a quick little post to find out if anyone knows anything about horseradish!! Kate who shares the allotment with me has grown some mini cucumbers which she wants to pickle but one of the key pickling ingredients is horseradish root. Now I think in the future she may want to grow some but we would also like to know where the root can be purchased from!! So if any of you out there know where we can get our hands on fresh horseradish root to use and also horseradish seeds/plants then please let us know...Thank you.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
So I thought I would set to the task of removing the plants from the allotment. However upon cutting back the marrows I found that there was some new healthy growth underneath and there were still some flowers blooming so on two of the plants I cut them right back and left the healthy growth. I have no idea if this will work but considering there was a possibility of some extra marrows I decided i wasn't going to lose anything from it!! I will keep you posted on the result!!
I decided to go ahead and compost the leaves as the powdery mildew only lives above ground on live plants and therefore....(hopefully)....the composting process and then being dug into the earth will kill it all off!!
P.S. A quick apology for those whose comments don't show...I have had a few that have disappeared without a trace whilst trying to publish them but i am working on the problem so please keep commenting...Thanks.
Monday, 21 September 2009
I don't know why this happened...when we dug them up they appeared to be regrowing from the roots...very interesting?????
Well with all the beautiful weather we had over the weekend I managed to get lots of work done down the allotment and I have to add that I had some very kind helpers too!!!
My Dad came down and dug up some of the deep rooted weeds for me and then the kids helped with the shallow rooted weeds and sorting out the cucumber plants as well as helping pick some more raspberries.....(yes they are still growing!!)......and runner-beans.
My patch is now looking a lot tidier and although I haven't finished all the weeding yet, I am hoping that now the weather is cooling off a bit not too many more will grow...(well one can hope!!)
One good thing was that the chair of the committee came over to have a chat with me about the half of a plot that i was hoping to have and said that although the next meeting isn't until January I will be told then whether I can have it...and that me getting this plot looks promising. I'm trying not to get my hopes up just in case but I have already started planning in my mind :-)
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
I have had a productive couple of days in my garden getting it prepared for the colder weather but all the time I've been doing this it has made me want to be down the allotment even more.
Anyway this was really to say a big thank you for all those people who have come to read my blog..and especially to those who come back to read a little more, comment and join. I am glad that you are enjoying and if there is anything you would like to see or for me to write about then just ask.
I am going to get down my allotment over the next couple of days and get it whipped into shape so watch this space for a beautiful weedless (well in my dreams!!) allotment!!!!!
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Is this powdery mildew????
If it is...will it cause any damage to the ripe produce on the plants??? Is it OK to put these leaves on the compost heap??? Is there anyway to prevent this happening??? Do we know why this happens???
The cucumber don't look quite like the marrows but it seems they could go that way...they appear to be dying off though..is this just from the cold spell we had?? Does powdery mildew spread??
I know it isn't much of a post but I really do want the answers and whilst I will also look in my books and stuff I think here is a great place to have easy reference!!!
Saturday, 12 September 2009
I actually intended to go down today to get some serious work done but a walk with the kids turned into a fishing trip/lesson which they really enjoyed so the work on the allotment has yet to happen.
Anyway when I went down to pick some runner-beans I noticed my cucumber and marrow plants weren't looking too healthy...I think it may be the powdery mildew everyone has talked about at one time or another so I will take some pics. tomorrow to get confirmation off people...until then enjoy the fishing pictures!!!!
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
can you see the pepper??
Today was the day I spotted my first pepper growing. Just to refresh your memories, I planted pepper seeds to put on my allotment and not one grew...I tried again and still none grew. Then because it was getting so lat4e in the year I filled a tub up with compost and placed it in my miniature greenhouse with 8 pepper seeds...2 of these grew...and now I have a pepper...I'm very excited!!!
It is very tiny but I'm hoping it will grow quick so that we get to eat them before it gets too cold and they die off. There are quite a few flowers on the plant now too so I am praying for more than the one pepper..please pray with me :-)
Saturday, 5 September 2009
runner-beans, marrows, blackberries, cooking apples, chillies, yellow beans, baby-corn, cucumbers, green beans and beetroot.
As you can see pickings have been good today (and this is after I have given away several chillies, cucumbers and marrows!) and I also managed to forage a few more blacberries and some apples too. Now I'm going to spend the evening chopping, preparing, blanching and preparing for jam...wish me luck!!
Friday, 4 September 2009
The recipe was easy.
3/4 pint water
3/4 ounce of citric acid.
There are many variations of recipes but this is the one I used.
Firstly I added the blackberries, water and citric acid to a large pan and then brought to the boil and simmered for just over an hour. You are supposed to mash/press them every so often but I skipped this step and just used my bamix at the end. Then came the tricky part...straining off the juice!!
I don't have a jelly bag...or any muslin...or a stool with 4 legs for that matter so it was a case of improvising. In the end I used a cake protector...which was basically a net with a framework inside which you can stand over a plate of cakes...same principle as a jelly bag really. Well I loaded my cooked goodness into the net which I had placed over the top of my pan and left it to drain overnight whilst I went to bed. Come morning I found that the weight of the cooked berries had collapsed the cake net into the pan so although some of the juice had come out...a lot still remained in the net as it was sat in the bottom of the pan. At this I then transferred the net into my colander and put in the pan...again this only worked to some extent as when the juices met the colander they soaked back into the bag.
As a last resort I bent the wires inside the net and hung it from my stove to let the last juices drain out (the net is no good now anyway and wasn't overly expensive so I didn't mind too much) and then this morning all was ready to carry on making the jelly. I discarded of the pulp that was left and measured out the juices...6lb of blackberries had given me 2 pints of liquid.
Obviously when you make jellies you don't end up with as much as you would when making jam...but you also don't end up with seeds in your teeth!! I have no idea how this will taste once set...but it was quite nice whilst still a little warm as I had a little scrape from the bottom of the pan after I had finished placing into jars!!
I am quite happy with the look and texture but I am now definitely on the hunt for son muslin or a jelly bag..lol
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Anyway the rain and out most recent allotment newsletter inspired me to write this post so I guess the weather wasn't all bad.
So I'm sure you've guessed now that the post is going to be about watering. Now I know that if you grow in a greenhouse/poly-tunnel or have things in tubs then watering is inevitable and I also know that if you are growing in small sheltered garden or on patios that even when it rains the wind is often blowing in the wrong direction so the soil where you have planted doesn't get a good soaking so I would like to point out from the very beginning that I am only talking about things that are planted directly into the earth on an allotment or in a wide open area...(that should stop about half the comments!!!) (lol)
I have put three old dustbins on my plot and these catch rain water for me. I use this when I am planting my seedlings or seeds. I like to dig quite big holes/trenches and then flood this with rain water and let it soak in before putting my seeds/seedlings into the ground. Then I firm them in well and 'Voila!!' All is finished.
I'm a big believer in using rain water....it is totally natural and has no harsh chemicals or treatments added and is also a lot softer (especially as I live in a very hard water area) and so better for your plants. I am not a big believer in extra watering...lots of people on the plots have hosepipes and if we get a couple of days without rain then you see them stood for an hour or more soaking their allotments. I don't think this is good for the plants. Roots are designed to go down...and that's where the water is, if you water unnecessarily then your plants will become shallow rooted as the roots will not feel the need to push deeper into the soil....this will also make them less stable. I also find that if you put tap water on soil it bakes the surface of the soil leaving a hard crust which can tighten around and damage plant/vegetable stems. I don't feel that any of this is good for the plants and is also a waste of water........after all you don't see the farmers out watering their crops after a few days of no rain do you??? Surely they can't be that wrong with all the growing and harvesting they do each year!!
I know that there may come a time when we have a drought and it will be a case of I have to water or lose my crop...but in this extreme situation I would dig a small trench around my seedlings and then water that trench keeping the soil around them loose and aerated so as not to damage stems.....and to do all this I would have to use a watering can as I don't have a hosepipe on the plot as I don't think it's necessary. Do you water your plots?? How often and how much water do you use?? People on my plot tend to water quite a lot which has now incurred an increase in prices of the plots as, and I quote "The water consumption was so heavy that a substantial increase in water contributions is inevitable next year"...this make me quite mad as I have not touched the allotment taps once all season!!
So your view please...I would dearly like to know what you think..and whether or not you think I am wrong!!
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Well it's been a very busy day!!
After all my researching at the weekend I just had to get out there and pick some blackberries with which to make my bramble Jelly!!
I went out yesterday but it wasn't too successful and I only managed to get a couple of lb’s of fruit.
My Dad however went out on his bike and told me that he had found a place that was abundant with fruit so this morning I decided that I would go.
It turned into quite the family affair...with 3 generations picking together and we all enjoyed the fresh air..(If not the thorns!!)
After a couple of hours and a few laughs we went home to wash the blackberries...we ended up with 6lb...which was more than twice what we managed to get yesterday…and that was even after my youngest nephew stumbled and trod on the largest bag we had picked..(Whoops!)
Well it was a good day and my kitchen now has a lovely distinct blackberry smell, as the juices drain in the kitchen…… I can’t wait for the morning!!!
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
I desperately wanted to plant something and manged to get hold of 6 nice lettuce plants on the allotment stall which I thought could go in my raised bed with some radishes which are still OK to put in from seed at the moment.
So That was the plan. Everything took a little longer than it usually would, but that was alright...at least I was getting something done. Overall I suppose the plot doesn't look too bad, even with a few weeks of weeding neglect!! I let the kids loose with the camera hence the reason I am actually in one of the pics...It's a good pic though..you can't see me face.. LOL
Within the next week I am also going to sow some cauliflower seeds (all year round ones) and some winter broad beans...I hate to think of so much ground not being used over the winter period.
I am still getting plenty of marrows but so far with giving them to friends and neighbours, donating to the allotment stall and cooking with them I haven't had any that haven't got used...now I also have cucumbers in abundance and I'm sure the neighbours will soon get fed up with me..:-)
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