Thursday 29 June 2017

Small victories

Victory No. 1 
My computer is fixed and I didn't totally freak out when it decided to pack up in the first place!

Victory No. 2
The gauntlet was thrown down on Monday to my anxiety and I planted up some pots for the back garden. Yes, after a good year of not planting anything due to an irrational fear that I'd do it wrong and kill anything I'd touch - I have overcome. (Need more to fill it up nut all in good time.)

Soil under my fingernails, terracotta pots emptied out, cleaned and reused. I have been feeling rather like a green-fingered gardener - let's hope they survive or my pride will take a darn good beating! haha. The tiny thing on the bottom shelf is some mint I am trying to grow - we'll see...
We have :
Sanvitalia 'cuzco' yellow 
Bacopa 'snowflake'
Osteospermum 'special fire'
Osteospermum 'pink'
Wee bit of mint

Allotment news from the weekend and hurrrip, more small victories :) 

Victory No. 3 
The first harvest! Spuds ahoy my friends; come on over to our house and have a nibble, haha!

Ok, as these photos prove, we were a little too excited to see how the potatoes were doing and harvested these ones a wee bit too early. But there were lots of a good size and I like them small, plus sometimes you just need some instant gratification.

You can see on the top right photo that some were fingernail size, haha. But we were happy and I could easily put up that harvest photo up on my desk 😀. The used potting compost was placed as a nice wee mulch around the growing dwarf french beans.

Victory No. 4

As soon as we arrived at the plot I scared off a bird that was sneaking in amongst the gooseberries. Ggrrr, as much as love birds, that food is mine and I've already had a battle with the sawfly larvae! So it was time to deploy the netting and now the blueberries and gooseberries are much safer. Of course the blighters have been known to get in away but hey, we've done something.

The gooseberries are so close to being ready but the blueberries are teasing me and have stayed this shade of glaucous blue for weeks now - I want to eat them! I'm going to get new recipes for both berries, any that work really well, I'll share x

The garlic looks ready to lift too - it's all starting to happen.

Victory No. 5

I just wanted to show you how happy the sweetcorn and squashes are. It'll be a long time until we eat any produce from these plants but it's a joy to see them looking good.

Lastly, Victory No. 6 is my hay-fever medication is working! Thank goodness for it as look what we are surrounded by - a couple of weeks ago I could have ripped my nose off and eyes out but now I am feeling almost invincible in the face of grass pollen!

More soon - I didn't even show the right hand side of the plot this time. Stories and even a hand-drawn plan of the site to come.


Thursday 8 June 2017

Getting summery on the plot

Welcome to June dear friends! It's a fabulous month for us Gaults ~ it contains our Wedding Anniversary and Andrew's Birthday, so there is much celebrating to be done and a few glasses of bubbles to be toasted 😄.  Hopefully we'll get some nice weather too unlike today which has been dull and heavy with rain.

So let's look back to last Saturday when the heavens smiled upon us and we spent a nice time at the allotment, enjoying the sun, the new seedlings and planting things out. What was especially nice was this beautiful rose opened up by the shed.

pink rose -

Puts a smile of your face seeing that first thing and then turning the corner and seeing our beautiful, healthy potatoes look smashing - darn it, it made us glad to be there.

These are Sharp's Express in four big black pots that a kindly plot neighbour gave to us. We love growing them in pots; it saves room, we can afford them more protection and the best growing medium, it's easy to earth them up with more compost and boy are they ridiculously easy to harvest. We're all about efficiency and ease!
Potato joy -
When I was sitting on the bench by them I noticed flowers and the intricate beauty of the humble spud leaf.
So here are the new plants we brought with us to get settled into the ground:

  • garlic chives and uchiki kuri winter squashes
  • dwarf bean borlotto and climbing french bean cobra

A couple of the squashes went to our black pot friend and then he gave us a Japanese squash in return! Andrew was surprised and pleased - look at his wee face, haha.

new plants and happy hubby -

I walked about with my camera and here's some pics on 14b, yep, I was still emotionally involved.

Goodbye plot -

We've pretty much taken all we can, even the black weed suppressing membrane and the gravel and wooden edging. Oh it's such a sad sight - look at those little box hedging plants and the rhubarbs etc..

Beauty on 14b -
There were a great many plum poppies on display and the orientals have bloomed now too, in the middle of this collage are the first damson fruits. Out of everything the most I want to try and save a bit of, at least, is that purple poppy. But that's it, now I shall focus on 24a.

So back over to our real plot and I have to show you the garlic and broad bean signs Andrew etched onto slate we had lying around the place. I love them and he's promised more 😀...

Awesome allotment plant signage -

And thinking of the broad beans - we had a green fly infestation starting which lucky I spotted whilst taking these photos. They were swiftly and brutally attacked with our soapy water in a spray bottle. Ha! Victory shall be ours. Funnily the broad beans planted in situ are much darker, stockier and healthier looking than these ones and aren't that far behind.
greenfly on the broad beans -
die greenfly, die!
Dwarf borlotto beans where planted under the supervision of Toby. Goodness the soil is great this year, so rich, friable and even with a few worms; the whole no dig principle is excellent and we highly recommend it! Check out Charles Dowding if you don't practise it yourself. These beans are off to a good beginning and I learnt that they are planted a trowels width away from each other.
planting out the dwarf borlotto beans -

There was more going on but I fear this post is getting too long so I shall leave my story here for now (the sweetcorn, squash and seedlings will wait) . Here's a beautiful honeysuckle for you, from beside the wooden bench, beside the potatoes where Toby also happened to be having a good time.

honeysuckle and Toby -


Monday 5 June 2017

Before the tummy bug

For the last half of May I was super ill with a terrible doubt of gastroenteritis. Really the realities of it are too gross to talk about but needless to say I was sofa bound for just over a week and it took 3 days before I could eat more than a cracker. I'm better now, that's what matters.

Before that mess we had a lovely, sunny afternoon at both plots for the last time. We've now officially said goodbye to 14b and even got a little refund as we'd recently paid for another year, we had 2 weeks to clear out what we wanted...
Plum Poppy -
Plum poppy looking great bar all the weeds and dead daffodil stems :)
But the first thing I saw on arrival at 14b were the poppies, god I love poppies and my Patty Plum had one in bloom and many to come. The oriental poppy is always a little behind but so many buds 😊. The roses never did well and looked quite dead, bar one that was struggling to produce 2 blooms.

Saved from the plot before the new owners come (wonder when that will be?):
  • Posts, fencing, wooden edging boards,  
  • hardcore gravel and paving slabs, 
  • comfrey plant, my wee red geum (Mrs Bradshaw) and 2 huge box balls, 
  • our sanity!
But we had to say goodbye to our:
  • blackberries, new happy blackthorn hedge
  • cherry tree, damson tree and pear tree?, 
  • rhubarb (maybe we could save some?) 
  • poppies and rudbeckia (Goldsturm) , two of my favourite plants ever. 
Not to mention all the other bits and pieces. We couldn't lift them or a lot of other plants as we simply had no where to put them and silly emotional me had a wee cry. Though I have been promised a wee flower area on the back patio.

rhubarb, buttercups and blackberries -
Blackberries alive with bees, rhubarb past it's best and some lovely weeds
One more thing - some damned brute had broken part of our cool artisan 14b sign. Andrew had made it with glass test tubes and they were super sturdy and we liked it...and ggrrr. Well we won't be needing it now anyway, I guess but it's the principal.
damaged sign -
It's all about 24a from now on.

24a plot signs -
My mosaic number, beautiful bought tiles and an 'A' etched by Andrew on slate
I spent my time weeding 24a whilst Andrew did all the heavy lifting and moving from 14b. The poor plot had been a little neglected in the choking weed department and it's what I'm comfortable with at the moment. For a goodly while now I simply haven't had the confidence to plant things - my anxiety disorder is winning these days - boo hiss.
24a plot signs -
Blueberries, gooseberries and apples
Weeding in and around the blueberries and gooseberries I was amazed to find so many well developed berries - we need to get them netted as the birds are pesky pilferers and can strip all the bushes in a day! The apples either side of the fruit arch are also doing really good.

I do wish we had of got rid of the gooseberries over the redcurrant bush (as I actually like redcurrants) but Andrew has plans for a raspberry bed, though maybe it ought to be a rhubarb bed... I'm just thinking out loud.
chocolate chip shortbread squares -
oh yes, don't mind if I do
All this work was making us hungry and Andrew went up to the community centre and got two of these, yum! Dark chocolate chip shortbread squares, oh my, they were delicious.

More next time, hugs,