Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More progress than setbacks. Just about.

Despite some difficult weather (v wet and windy), and a shortage of available hours in any particular day, I have nipped back and forth the the Hill over the past couple of weeks, got my head down, and made some progress.

That is to say, I have made progress in bed prep, and much overdue planting out; not so much on weeding, especially with the bramble-intent-on-world-domination.

So, the bean frames are now up, and since this photo, the climbing beans planted out.  They look a bit sad as I thought they were big enough to fend off slug attack, but in fact, I was wrong.  I planted out the dwarf French beans too, ditto, and ditto.

I went a bit mad and direct sowed a load more runner bean seeds against each pole, so when everything does take off, it'll be a bit mixed, but hey, what the heck,

At least the planted out brassicas are looking stalwart - and hopefully the butterfly/pigeon protective netting will keep them that way!

I did make a little headway with the bramble, I think, by taking a couple of foot of any of its hydra-like tentacles that my waving secateurs could find a hold on.

If effort equaled achievement, of course, I'd be sitting pretty on my bench admiring the view down the Hill, rather than with a face full of bramble, which is actually the case.  Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Step Forward - but an Invisible One

There is a big list of jobs to to be done at the Hill - all clamoring for attention!  The main jobs are to plant out both the brassicas and the dwarf and climbing beans.

Of course in order to plant out the brassicas, I need to scythe down the weeds on the end beds, and these will have to be bagged and taken to the green recycling at the tip as my compost bins are full full full.

In order to plant out the beans, I need to erect the bean frame; which - in turn - requires the cordless screwdriver, which is no longer working (won't hold it's charge - can't moan, had it for years, but the mind-boggling array of replacements available in Argos mean I have to do some research not just plunge in).

I think that Jayne has a phrase for this phenomenon - 'dependencies'.

So today I tackled some Extreme Weeding, and now the back of the car is stuffed full of bags to take to the tip in the morning. The brassica beds are 'better', as opposed to 'good'.

I then spent half an hour with the lumphammer and vampire-slaying stakes beefing up the sides of some of the beds - another task which is overdue.  I would have screwed the posts to the planks, of course, but the cordless is no longer working etc etc etc.

Progress of sorts.

A Step Back, a Step Forward

A couple of hot days, then some rain mean that my tomatoes in their pots in the courtyard are looking fabulous!  Also the brassicas, which really need planting out at the Hill.

Unfortunately the weather has brought everything green on, not just the tomatoes and brassicas.

This is the bed in which they are to be planted; a concerted effort needed this bank holiday weekend to knock the area into shape. The small bean plants in pots are in the same situation, so the bean frame needs fixing so I can get those planted out too.

I did reclaim the maincrop potato bed, though, and finally all the spuds are in, and I planted out the courgettes too - and the bed is ready for the squash to be planted out when they are big enough too.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Potting On

A weekend away playing on the trains in North Yorkshire........

...... but got back home in time to plant out the tomatoes and a cucumber into their final spots in the courtyard - although it was in the dark by the time I'd finished, hence this particularly poor pic.

I used a mix of tomato grow bag and MPC - after some years of peat free growing, I'm afraid I've succumbed to the dark side as my results last year (despite feeding well) in particular were very disappointing.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Busy, busy....

The trouble with this time of the year is that I tend to go on holiday, and also have my work cut out with training for our town's flagship fundraising event, both of which coincides with the weather being ideal for everything green going bonkers and growing at a triffid-like rate.

That means that some parts of the plot at the Hill look like this:

However, after today's hard work, at least some of looks like this, with the potatoes popping up....

.....and this, with newly laid chippings on the paths (seedlings are a mix of carrot, leek, parsnip and weed - I hoed the weeds, but am anxious not to disturb the other stuff) - which is more like it.

I have the bean beds to knock into shape before I can plant out the runners and French beans which are growing nicely at home, ditto a bed for the brassica seedlings.

Talking of seedlings, the new tomato seed packets that I bought from Wilko and sowed on 21st April showed no sign of life after three weeks - so I gave up and bought some small plants from the Farmers Market on Friday.

As you might guess, the following day, the seeds popped up. Ain't nature great?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sowing in pots #2

Due to the fact that I used rather aged seed when I sowed tomatoes, sweet peas, lettuce, brassicas and peppers last month, the success rate has not been what you might call phenomenal. In fact, although the lettuce and brassicas have all come good, only one batch of three lots of sweetpeas are up, and none of the tomatoes or peppers.

So I had a seed clearout (most were dated about 2010), and bought some fresh from Wilko.  The varieties might be a bit 'everyday', but at least they should actually grow.

Last night I sowed the new tomato seeds, climbing and dwarf beans, runner beans, squash and courgette.  Then I had a grand sweep up - amazing how far round a kitchen a bag of compost can get!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Potatoes in at last!

No photos as I left my phone at home when I went to the Hill today where I spent a couple of hours weeding and digging over a bed; hoed it level and poked the first earlies (sharpes express) and second earlies (charlotte) in the ground.

Dug out the remaining leeks from the next bed, where the maincrop will go, and ran out of enthusiasm and came home.

A job done, though.
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