Tuesday 31 March 2009

Snails.... (PG 15)

I forgot to share this story with you..... on THE EVOLUTION OF SNAILS!!
They are slowly adapting to this world, were they are hated so very much by every sane person. They have been studied, developing over the past 40-50 yrs and I think becoming clever and stronger as a unit. They have different coloured shells, depending on where they live so they're harder to catch; the humble and sweet Thrush is in decline because they are in training to be masters of disguise. This is the real terror we must face.

My friends. What is a Snail but a Slug with a mobile home??? The 'Enemy' is (admittedly slowly but therefore more secretively and underhandedly; damn their evil minds!!) becoming a more advanced killing machine. They are on to us; they have their eyes on OUR prize - blast their miscreant potentiality!!!

Sleep well, if you can.......

Monday 30 March 2009

Monty Don on Ecotherapy

With hearty thanks to my dear friend Mo x......A link to a Times article by Monty Don on how Ecotherapy helps him beat the Winter Blues.


You just know I have to get in contact with Mr Don (somehow!) and Thrive itself, though as seems to be the way, as a charity, they are based and work in England, Northern Ireland is in the dark once more.

Peas Sir, can I have some more?

Bloody Day-Light Savings Time. I've lost an hours sleep somewhere and I want it back!!! I'm tired (sleep evaded me until 3.30am), out of sync and crabby. So in order to make myself feel chirpy (before I hide under the blanket and try to sleep) I am going to write a POSITIVE blog today.

You may remember that a couple of weeks back, Andrew had the ingenious idea of using up the left over, fly-tipped guttering so sow peas in. Here is it, if you missed it. Well those Peas 'Kelvedon Wonder' are doing super duper well in the cold frame and our yet-to-be-patented polystyrene end caps are working a treat.

Well, yesterday I did a gutter full of Peas all by myself. It was all done in exactly the same vain as Andrew but this time I used 'Hurst Greenshaft' ; a variety we had great results with last year. There's no point in describing how I did it, but there is a great wee story in the very fact that I did it myself.

I am aware that 2 photos of this is not, nesscarily needed but I'm proud of myself, blast it.


We are coming up to our 1st Anniversary at the Lottie and until a few weeks ago I was the principal weeder, grass cutter and harvester of goodies. I did have my flower bed but I really didn't feel confident enough to take part in the sowing and planting out of veggies etc, unless Andrew was with me, telling me exactly what to do. I was convinced I wouldn't be able to do anything right and would end up wasting seeds and compost and generally ruining everything. BUT you may have noticed that recently I have sown all my own flowers seeds for this year and a batch of Broad Beans. My self-esteem is growing!! I will NOT go near a fruit tree or bush etc and attack it with secateurs but I will happily plant out seedlings all by myself. I'm learning and to be honest I can do these things just as well as the Hubby!!

This may all sound a bit silly - people generally are not afraid of planting seeds, they find it a joy, exciting even. But until now I was so scared, so full of self doubt and hatred I couldn't bring myself to do it, it brought on Panic Attacks! Now look at me; the cold frame is full with stuff as is the mini Greenhouse in the back garden and pretty much very window sill in the house! And on top of that I have loads of lettuce (the 1st batch was atrocious) herbs and my Sunflowers to do in the next day or too.

Holy Moly I'm Growing; you'd better watch out or I may bolt!!

Friday 27 March 2009

Asparagus planting

The sun is mocking me again shining through my window; Mother Nature is putting on a delightful little show of huge fluffy clouds slowly waltzing across the baby blue sky. I want to hide again, in and around me is darkness, a smog, pollution.

I need to keep my mind off this dull, persistent pain in my soul. Therefore I blog.....I want to tell you of last night, at dinner time when Andrew and I had the rare pleasure, so far this year, of visiting the Lottie and planting stuff.

As I mentioned our Asparagus had arrived in the post. We chose 10 1 year old bare root crowns - Gijnlim F1 (Dutch). Supposedly they will last us around 20 yrs and are heavy yielding plants with gorgeous thick stems. We can't sample anything, I think, for 2 years but hopefully it will be worth it.

The books all make Asparagus growing sound every scary and complex to me. But Blackmoor give us a planting and maintenance instruction leaflet and really, it's not that hard. We had the bed prepared and waiting for months, the soil had a whole black bin full of our delicious 'home brew' compost, a bag of grit, heaps of cow manure and a lot of the North Sea's finest Seaweed in it. So damn it, they better like it in there.

We dug 2 trenches in our bed, both 4 inches deep and laid the crowns out like octopus. A little mound under the 'head' and the 'legs' all spread out nicely. Our bed was roughly 8ft x 4ft and we had 5 crowns in each row, spaced evenly (they say to leave about 40 cms between each crown and that worked out well). All the trench soil was then carefully put back on top and the whole bed lightly raked and watered.

That's how we did it. I know there are people who advocate a little pocket that the crown is placed in and you slowly fill up, but maybe there are different ways for different varieties.

So, with team work that was all done in 20 mins. It seemed a bit of an anti-climax after months of waiting to stand there proudly looking at a bed that seemed to have not changed at all. But then we heard the beautiful voices of some 'Lottie People' singing traditional Irish songs (quite, ummm, enthusiastically) on the wind, I'm pretty sure it was Ricky and his gang in Field B. That just made us laugh. I was feeling good, we we were surrounded by plants budding and greenery, it was reasonably empty down there and I had done that interview with Mind.

I won't go into the details of the 'big comedown' I had later and hence my hatred for the world at large today. But it happened and all I can say is sh1t - it had been pretty good up til then.

Thursday 26 March 2009


One extra story for you today....

I received a phone call from Katie at 'Mind', a charity based in England and Wales which tries to promote good mental health and remove stigma associated with depression etc. I am now a Media Volunteer for them! That means that my story is on their data base and journalists looking for a certain person for an article can contact me, if I fit the bill. My specialism will be Ecotherapy and there is already a journalist thinking of using me for a national magazine, eek!

Here, in Northern Ireland we are extremely under serviced when it comes to mental health charities. There is 1 called Aware Defeat Depression, but they only provide leaflets, self- help tapes and group talks. I have been to 2 meetings in the past and god help them, they are trying but just can't compete with large charities like 'Mind'.

Katie was lovely and is passionate about Ecotherapy herself. She was nice to talk to and told me all about the wonderful work they are doing over there. A recent grant from the Lottery Fund of £8 Million and a whopping £18 million from Comic Relief with the added backing of celebrities such as Stephen Fry (Love him) and Ruby Wax. It is unfortunate that it only works in England and Wales but still....Looking forward to working with them and making my little voice , praising Ecotherapy sound much louder and reach more people.

Christmas comes early

Today was excellent when it came to new plants. I received 2 packages!!

In the 1st, my friend Selkie had sent a bubble envelope (great fun in themselves - I love to pop!) full of glorious cuttings from her own garden way down in Co. Kerry. I have started to pot them all up, but time for a coffee break. The package included Poppies (Purple ones!!), Agapanthus, Hemp Agrimany (for the butterflies) and Elecampane. I am so happy, all look very healthy so fingers crossed. I need to look up the others and see photos but really, I can hardly wait to see the Purple Poppy in particular, I adore poppies but didn't even know purple existed. Isn't it great to have generous friends. Big love to Selkie x

NB. just noticed they are all sitting in the right order as I spoke about them - cool.

The 2nd package was the long awaited for Asparagus crowns. We are going to try and plant them tonight, when Andrew gets home from work. We've been getting tense waiting for them, especially after seeing Ronnie had planted some last week!

So good stuff. Photos shall follow - I'll update this bloggette later on when things are planted up.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Deep Breath/Compost

It's time I crawled out from under my blanket and faced the world again. I feel like Sisyphus from the Ancient Greek Myths ~ faced everyday by a punishment so demoralising, painful and unrewarding; bound to go on for eternity. Only thing is I didn't do anything wrong, so why am I, too, cursed? This Depression is a cancer of the soul and feels terminal.

Oh, deep breath....

A welcome gift awaited us on Saturday, by our Plot ~ Old pallets! Oh what joy some old bits of wood can bring! Andrew was so excited at the prospect of making his much talked about compost heap that he started right away - Bill had to wait a little for his thank you; he had promised us some pallets and as always, he didn't let us down.

I decided to get on with something else while Andrew built this...

...a man's compost heap is his castle, or some such thing. Look at the pride, he (quite understandably) couldn't take his eyes of it and once it was full of the stinkiest and therefore most wonderful cow manure I too couldn't help but be very proud too. It has it's little blue blanket over the poo and another pallet on top and that structure and it's contents are going nowhere fast. We kept the little sign Andrew had made too - hands off everyone, this sh*t is ours!!!!

So we now have a manure heap and the trinity of compost bins - all is well at the Lottie. In a few months time we will have soil conditioner to die for (though it's pretty darn good this season, but things can only get better).

Monday 23 March 2009


Today, I give up.

The sun may well be shining but I don't care. The seedlings are outside and upstairs, they can rot. The house needs a lot of attention, still, after the windows being put in - if this place fell down around me today, I doubt I'd notice (bar the rain and wind). Ecotherapy is a load of cow manure, blogging is silly - who cares about my plot and my life; I have nothing new to bring to the table and probably know much less than you do about growing our own fruit and veg.

I give up. Under my blanket, in this quiet, empty space is where I am staying today, maybe I'll sleep once this particular panic attack (over nothing) dies sown. There world - you happy? You've won.

Friday 20 March 2009

Yes, yes, yes ~ We Can!

The 1st Family have the Grow Our Own Bug!!!!

Thanks to the BBC for the link. So brilliant. Happy weekend my fellow Allotmenteers - we're in good company. Told you Allotmenteering was sexy!

A not quite bird's eye view of the whole Allotments

They join on to each other quite well though of course it really is hard to get a clear photo of it all. Maybe I should hire a microlite. How cool would that be!!!
The one below has our wee shed highlighted with a red circle - open it up x

Field D

There has been a good deal of action all over the Allotments but the most visible change from afar is that of Field D. Only released a couple of months ago, these troopers are making strides, well a few are. As always you'll find some people with a heck of a lot of enthusiasm and then those plots were it's all grass still or it's been ploughed but that was months ago and now it's a Lottie of weeds. (Actually, let's be honest today - those people with NO interest or indeed no time should do the decent thing and give up their plot to someone who needs/desperately wants it).
I have a couple of photos I think may be of interest to those in Field D. Two of the Allotmenteers are in them!!! Always good to see yourself in print, eh?

This is Ivan and to be honest it is astonishing the work he has managed to do in so little time. I wish him all the best and I really will have to get better photos of his plot. Love his modern art touch to the fence though! and he's planted willow right around the compost area to screen it and copious it for his own needs. But there is so much more to this plot.

I am a bit miffed to say, I don't know the name of the man pictured here painting his shed. But he does have a cute little Jack Russel bitch called.....Maggie! Good choice of name, eh? The first time the 2 girls (my Maggie and his) met it was a bit rowdy but last time they were running around chasing each other - so cool to see, nothing better than a happy dog, or indeed, pair of dogs.
I'll have to do more dandering about and meeting people - I'm just a bit too nervous and self conscious at the present.

Thursday 19 March 2009

St Paddy Power ~ 3 (the closing chapter)

It's not only hard landscaping and soil prep going on at the Lottie. Oh, no. I planted 3 trays of lovely flower seeds. The first is definitely a favourite - the yellow California Poppy 'Golden Values'. So pretty and delicate, I want some for home too! Even better, they were free with a gardening magazine Andrew bought. My big red Oriental Poppies that we got earlier don't seem to be doing too good, only 1 is showing signs of life :( So the more yellow ones the better.

I also planted out Calendula 'Art Shades' (a lovely mix of slighlty muted yellows and oranges), a marigold- type plant. You know you can eat their petals; though I've grown them before. Their seeds are the strangest I think I've ever seen. I took a photo of them yesterday - they really look like fossils to me. I love them and have loads more for a continued supply of new plants throughout the summer.

Lastly, I planted my Marigolds - excellent friends in the constant battle of keeping nasty beasties away from my veggies and better than Nasturtiums in my opinion as they don't take over! The variety I chose was 'Naughty Marietta', a great name and they are the ones that have marron centres to the yellow flower. They, again were free, don't you love it!! Quite liked their seeds too, so , here's a photo of them.

Andrew did some direct sowings into the bed with the garlic already in it. Ummm, A3 on our plan. We had the 2 sun tunnels over that area of soil for a couple of weeks after giving it a good lot of prep. and it had dried out beautifully. After a quick riddle (check out our fridge basket & chiken wire recycling) it was perfect ground.

We now have hidden rows of Turnip 'Purple Top Milan', Onion (Scallions) 'White Lisbon', Carrots 'Early Nantes 5' and finally Beetroot 'Boltardy' (which will all be continuously re-sown crops). They're all things we grew last year and loved. I highly recommend each of them. In fact I demand you go out, buy a packet of 'Boltardy': grow, harvest, eat and enjoy!! ~with Brown Sauce, trust me :)

So St Paddy's Day was pretty darn good, no?

Wednesday 18 March 2009

The wonder of Vermiculite

Well the mystery for me deepens, I have access to 4 gardening/ allotment books in the living room right now - the Double Glazers are in and rampaging all over the house and I certainly do not want to get the way as I have a fear that something isn't quite right at the moment and they're sparing me the details, eekk!

So I have looked up trusty old Wikipedia and there wasn't much info there, chemical breakdown and a list of things it's used for ~ yes, we know it's used in horticulture and seed germination we want to know more. I have even gone to the TVA -The Vermiculite Association! How boring would it be, to be a member of that club! You can go too, if you're that way inclined.

So I turn to the bag the darn stuff came in. With thanks to Keith Singleton Horticultural Products......

'Horticultural Vermiculite is produced by heating volcanic rock to tremendous temperatures which cause it to exfoliate into an extended cell formation. Vermiculite absorbs large quantities of water and as such is useful as a compost additive where it can replace a proportion of the peat content of soil-less composts or part, or even all the peat in a soil based compost.

Vermiculite is also used to cover seeds generally at the depth roughly equal to the size of the seeds being covered. This is a good aid to germination and does not distort the young seedlings.'

So, basically it is as Andrew told me at the very beginning -" you put it over the little seedlings and it doesn't weigh them down and they're less likely to rot".

Mystery solved.

P.S. tomorrow sees the concluding installment of 'St. Paddy's Power' x

St. Paddy Power ~ 2

This part of the day ended up being all about the hard landscaping and less about the plants and soil for a while.
We were off for some supplies - with a stop off for coffee and a little bun to begin with. Andrew got some metal paint and a big welly bag for the boot of the car in a locally run supermarket and we were very pleased with the prices! Doesn't take much to excite us really.

Then off to the timber yard. It's weird - men suddenly seem to become more....manly and animated at these places. Does that make sense? It's like they are reliving some childhood experience only the different cuts of wood, multitude of nails and all sorts of weird things in these places are the replacement for the Lego they once had. They're getting to make something big and proper now! Luckily my Hubby isn't afraid to ask questions or look up what he needs beforehand; I have had moments when other wives (coping with their bumbling other halves) just look at me in the hope of some apathy and sympathy ~ maybe these places should have a wife creche?? Me? I just take the camera and take random photos of things, eh, viola.....

So back to the Lottie and there were more people, great to see.

Andrew made me a picture window frame for the shed but I haven't painted it yet, so no photo. I brushed down that wonderful horse shoe we unearthed in the last bed we dug. It was heartbreaking to have to paint it, but the rust was very bad and we want it to last for a while ~ it's important to have as much luck on the Lottie as possible.

Then, whilst I (finally) weeded and improved the soil in my flower bed Andrew gathered a few wheelbarrows of cow poo for our Plot. You just give Bill a monetary token for the delivery costs and take what you need. Here is our wonderfully stinky, very steamy cow muck.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

St Paddy Power ~ 1

Oh my goodness, we worked so hard on St. Patrick's Day and honestly... I felt good. Let's pause for a moment there - I felt GOOD!!

As Irish tradition dictates Andrew and I planted our Main Crop potatoes on that most glorious of days. We had been chitting our Maris Pipers since February, just on the dining room window sill, which doesn't get direct sunlight and they looked really rather good. Last year's seed spuds were a last minute purchase from a supermarket and were, well, not looking so great but we were excited about our 1st thing to plant in the new Lottie - look back with me, this is May 2008.

We had a tarpaulin over the raised bed to try and help it dry out, coincidentally it was green. Under there was the best soil, lots of cow poo and seaweed had been put in there over the autumn/winter and it really did the trick. We planted them like this... just using a trowel instead of making the ridges like we did last year. Yes, there are too many in the bed, going by the books but we like to plonk things in and give it a go sometimes - we may get lots of tiny ones but we are greedy and like to use all the space we have.

It all took a matter of minutes and felt so good. We had a good few left over and gave them away, which also felt good - nothing like sharing the wealth my Lottie friends.

Also, I did a 'Focus on....Potatoes' back in November here, if you want to refresh your knowledge on this humble, versatile food stuff. And another wee write up last month here.

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St. Paddy's Day to You!! x

We're off for a full afternoon on the Lottie. Planting the Spuds 1st, as is tradition.

Monday 16 March 2009

Grass cutting and Garlic potting

Ah, someday I shall do an 'Ode to Bill' as he truly is the can do man on the Lotties. A real tour de force he quit the committee because politics and red tape was getting in way of actually doing stuff - which is what he excels at. Bill lent us his petrol mower on Sunday. I say us, but really Andrew got to have all the fun of using it (I think it would be a bit of a struggle for me to turn round anyway) and cutting the long grass paths around our plot and a couple of neighbouring ones. It makes a big difference and Bill's side of the Lotties which gets it done regularly is much better walking ground than our has been. He also gave us 3 lovely little Lupin plants he'd grown too. Oh, he needs a bloggette of his own!
In the photo Bill can be seen marching along to the next task; there in his wooly jumper.

But I have Garlic to talk about today and new seedlings that I'm bursting to welcome to the world. We were reading about companion planting a couple of nights ago - nothing too detailed - and learnt that 'Onions, particularly garlic, have a strong sulphur smell that deters and confuse pests'. [Caroline Foley ~ 'How to Plant your Allotment, p 95] So I decided, as we have half a bed already growing away that I'd plant up the other spare ones in the cold frame into pots, so they can be moved around and confuse all the nasty wee bugs, haha. Makes me think of bugs going to the psychologist to try and deal with their feelings but hey, I don't really care!

I don't need to tell you how to plant up a pot but do be careful of 'the enemy' as I found out - the pots were already home to quite a few that had obviously been laid there as babies in the winter months. Darn things - the bane of all Allotmenteers lives.

And yes, we have lots of babies here at home. Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Lettuces.... it's ever so gratifying to see them germinate. Thank goodness all our seedlings aren't at home - it really is addictive counting how many there are morning, noon and night. (Sound familiar Mo???)

Friday 13 March 2009

Migraines and seedlings

I must of been a terrible person in a past life - bad back at the start of the week, a tummy bug in the middle and today a bloomin' nasty migraine. It's starting to get dark now - that dusk time I hate the most, but it's helping me today, I can open my eyes and not be in total agony.

Had to come here and write a bloggette, the day has been boring, as anyone with migraine trouble knows - you can barely move without pain. Fighting through it now and actually washed my face, yes I know it's 5.15pm!

So to cheer myself up I took photos of the greenhouse and the dining room window sill - otherwise known as the Lottie nursery. Does everyone's house have a room like this at the moment!? and this is it tidied up, hahaha.

Our little greenhouse is all we have room for but it did us proud last year and suits our needs, though it does need weighed down or it blows away (too upsetting to talk about). In it we have about a million Leeks germinating (fingers crossed) in these 2 trays. I did take a close up but really, there's nothing to see yet! Up above are some more Echinaceas that Andrew got at a fab price that couldn't be walked away from - or so he tells me.

In the dining room I have some Lettuce in a tray which I'm going to grow in the garden for easy access. It's 'Salad Bowl' the mixed leaves. I can grow successionally and always have tasty leaves - though, and I've just thought of this - Maggie will have to be looked at more closely when she goes out for her tinkles!! The other tray, on the other side of the spuds, houses Perpetual Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Pak Choi and Kale - forgive me for not walking into the dining room to find out the varieties - the head aches remember.

So that's that, just a wee catch up. Oh, and I did want to talk about the wonders of Vermiculite but that will have to wait I guess.

Thursday 12 March 2009

Updates on plot planning and speaking out for Ecotherapy

I have had the most terrible mental ill health day today. Only now at 3pm can I think straight enough to open up my trusty laptop and try to engage in the world around me.

I already feel the panic returning as I write; my stomach hurts and my throat feels very restricted, however I have 2 things I really want to tell you. So, I am going to get this blogette written if it's the last thing I do all day.

1 - Last night Andrew and I (me especially) had great fun drawing up our plot plan on GrowVeg. com. It looks so good and so real and I just love seeing the plot so full of life and produce (albeit in cyberspace!) I honestly would recommend it and was going to show you all my hard work but can't copy and paste it here (it's protected) and we haven't got a printer at the moment so not even a photo of a print out ~ Sorry. I would encourage you to try it for yourselves though.

2 - I received an e-mail from the Mind charity media department asking me to become a Media Volunteer. This would mean talking about my depression and anxiety disorders and what therapies have made an impact. For course that would have to involve a big shout out for ECOTHERAPY!!
It is very nerve-wrecking to think about someone, maybe ringing me for an interview (Magazines, Radio and even TV!) but I care so much about destroying the stigma attached to depression etc and I want everyone to not only relieve their mental ill health by Allotmenteering but to start working with the soil now and maybe reduce the likelihood of depression setting in.
Okay, I'm off to lie down again.....today just is not good. x

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Mishap, Massacre and Mulching

We only got to spend a little time at the Lottie this past weekend, the weather for one and the desperate state of our own back garden, just looking at us everyday - something had to done before the whole area committed suicide!

Walking down to the plot I slipped and badly twisted my back on the terrible excuse we have for a path. It's just compacted clay with a delightful squishy top layer which somewhat resembles an ice rink in one part and a bog of eternal stench in others. Anyway I pulled a muscle or 5 and was in agony - the left side of my back was swollen and hard for 2 days :( Poor me. I ended up sitting in the shed while Andrew did a little tiny bit of work - then the pain was too much and I was homeward bound into the loving arms of my dear friend - Ibuprofen.

The massacre came in the form of all the hedges and some trees having been brutally cut back. It's terrible looking and right at the start of bird nesting season - we have loads of little birds around the plots. It goes against the whole ethos of the Allotments and the idea of permaculture and encouraging wildlife. It also means the whole of the place is a wind tunnel again! Well, sore back and shock don't mix well. My Ecotherapy for that week was not going well at all.

So, sitting in the shed (fortunately out of the rain - always look on the bright side!) I took random photos and sat bored whilst Andrew mulched all the fruit bushes and trees with Farm Yard Manure (ummmm....wafts of such a lovely smell - could the day get any better?). I was given Andrew's special 'Garden Journal' to write in (a true honour) which passed the time a bit quicker. Then, morally defeated - we went home.

Check out Maggie's pumpkin badge - 'You grow 'em & i'll eat 'em - GrowVeg.Info We all have them and Andrew and I have keyrings too, so cute.

Monday 9 March 2009

No growth on the Lotties?

Speaking with my psychiatrist on Friday I discovered that it would be more harmful to do anymore talking therapies, they may even worsen my depression. What is key for me is to keep calm, do things in my own time and set my targets for life lower; take my photographs, write my blog, read, travel and maybe most importantly to work on my Lottie. I could hardly believe it, but my Dr backs the Ecotherapy! I still have to see her and take medication but one of the most helpful thing she thinks there is for my mental health is the Allotment.

With this is mind, imagine how upset and confused I feel about the rumours that the council is not planning to give us greater funding this coming financial year; this, even though we have grown so much in size and still need to sort out a lot of the basics, like drainage and paths. I am, of course going to ask for first hand information about this, however the main man I need to talk to is on holiday - typical!

I shall keep an eye on this and do my best to stay informed both through our Lottie Committee and the Council directly. This could be serious.

Friday 6 March 2009

Sowing more Broad Beans

My visit to the Lottie last Sunday ended with the planting of some more Broad Beans - 'The Sutton', this time. Andrew sowed them actually, I watched and took pictures for posterity, oh, and wrote the label - I like to think I helped.

To start off with, Andrew had to do his favourite thing ~ roll down the top of the Multi-propose Compost bag. It's the little things in life that make him happy. Again, on his request mind, I was there to get that exclusive photo of the moment as it happened ~ he's hard not to love, aren't you sweetie!

We only did 6 pots, (we already have 8 very happy and healthy 'Aquadulce Claudia' planted in A1, as you know) but I'm interested to what this 'The Sutton' has to offer; we grew 'Aquadulce Claudia' last year and I loved them so much. While the Hubby put some compost into the pots I did the fun bit and ripped open the seed packet, I get rather excited to see what they look, feel and sound like in my hand (I'm obviously easily entertained myself!). Then, it's easy to guess what I'm going to say now.... 6 were planted, 1 per pot and then they were covered with more compost and given a darn good watering. I also told them to "grow you wee buggers'' as I am wont to do, a la Mr Titchmarsh.

Look at the packed Cold frame now! Lots of babies to coo over and worry about.....

Thursday 5 March 2009

Planting Peas in a guttering pipe

We found the guttering and down pipe for around our shed last year in the bank of a stream, surrounded by bits of bed etc. Terrible, the illegal dumping people do ~ but hey, we struck lucky out of it that time. The only things we needed were the joints and brackets etc and we had our water collection system, which I wrote about in my 2nd ever blogette- here. Plus there was a long strip left over. Well, don't throw anything away, folks - that waste piping was used last Sunday - for the grown' of peas.....

I was, as I've mentioned, hiding in the shed but I heard the commotion of Andrew measuring the bed width and cutting the gutter to fit, then drilling holes into the bottom of the pipe. Boy, either he was extremely noisy or I was so upright everything sounded deafening!

So here is Andrew's work in photo-story format, as above ~ these are 'Kelvedon Wonder' we're talking about.....

NB. the use of polystyrene as an end piece - genius

I believe the idea is to let the seeds grow in the cold frame and when they're ready to plant out you dig a long trench and easily slide the whole lot out from the guttering pipe. Well sounds good in theory. Fingers crossed, we have many a pea in the months to come.