Thursday, 1 February 2007

Got My Lottie

September 2006

Wow, eventually got my lottie after just 12 months on the waiting list. Was first asked to have a look at another plot but what a mess – glass everywhere. Got Tim (from Church) to come and give it a butchers but even he says not to touch it. Too dangerous with all the broken glass. So fingers crossed have turned that one down. But I am assured that I am next on the list.

It is Plot 11A and is in quite bad condition as it has not been worked for well over a year. Although it has lots of potential and established apple tree (variety unknown as yet), a peach tree (not sure if it will fruit), and two kinds of plum / greengage – will still have to work out which is which. The only extra tree that I would like to look at is a cooking apple – will have to do some research but do love the ?? apple as I have been getting some fruit off Helen’s tree and it makes a super apple crumble.

October 2006

Ron managed to make the most beautiful cold frame ever. I am so chuffed with it I have to put a picture in the scrap book. Mmm- wonder if he will make me another one for the house garden?? Ron also got all the compost bins built – what a superstar!


Have ordered a Brambley one year old apple tree. Jim Masters has kindly offered to collect it for us from Adam and Kim Powell, Talaton Plants, Ivy Cottages, Talaton, Exeter, Devon, EX5 2SD. £10 for a one year old tree, stake and tie. Not bad. Got the details from Amateur Gardening magazine.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - 2006

Grew Green Hubbard Squash from SA – only got one fruit of decent size. The rest bloomed and then rotted off. Maybe you only get one plant per vine. Also grew Hubbard Squash – had around 10 fruits from this – Yummy. Green pepper never amounted to much and eventually winter won out. Got no chillis from my plants but the plants given away produced well. Will have to think about repositioning them into a hotter, sunnier position.

UK Records inlucd the warmest July with an average temperature of 19.7 C and the warmest every September at 16.8 C. We enjoyed the warmest April to October period last year with average temperatures of 14.6C. Even the entire autumn was hailed the warmest on record with an average of 12.6C. – Amateur Gardening, January 13th.

There were hose pipe bans for large areas of the UK and I felt really guilty when watering my garden with a hosepipe so tried not to waste any. As I did not water the grass it died back badly but has now started bouncing back, thanks to the lovely rains we have had since the end of November through December.

2007 – A new year

Solstice is gone, and the days are getting a bit longer - not that I'm noticing it yet, but the birds are; the garden chorus is singing away in the dark mornings.

This year's resolution - cultivate as much as humanely possible, but make sure it does well. Feeling a bit nervous that winter has been so mild - the slugs will be popping out pretty soon, thousands of them. Well that's our Easter holidays planned - two weeks of organised slug-hunt! I'm already planning tactics.

PS: Note to self – save up some bottles and nick some of Ron’s beer for slug traps!

Week 2 - Saturday, 13th January

Ron and I decided to bite the bullet and go and see if the lottie was still there after all the terrible weather. First time back to the plot since getting back from South Africa - glorious winter day, and a real heart-lift. The plot looked better than I had thought but the onion bed was really crying out for a weeding. Good to see the rhubarb poking its head out from where I did not even know it was. I have got a lot of discovering to do on this new lottie. Also spotted some bulbs coming up under the peach tree. Mmmh wonder what they are?

The spinach bed (above), also needs some TLC and the broad beans are in bad need of staking – although I am amazed that even one is still standing as I believe the winds and weather was fierce over December. The Feltham First peas in the cold frame had been attached by slugs and were consigned to the compost heap. Must remember to put down slug pellets before any new plants added to the frame. Nipped sweet pea tips out.

Ron helped dig the holes and I managed to get the new rhubarb crowns planted (donated by some kind soul on the lottie) – four in all – should make lots of lovely crumbles in years to come.

PM : Took the heated propagator out of moth balls and gave it a good cleaning. Washed out root trainers and replanted the Feltham First Peas. Also planted some Italian onion and glory vine seeds and placed in propagator.

Week 3 - Sunday, 21st January 2006

Rushed over after church and only worked a couple of hours – the wind picked up and it became really cold and unpleasant. However managed to get all the manure over the prospective potato patch and managed to weed the spinach bed. Geraldine came over and helped weed the onion and garlic bed. One down one more to go!

Ron also came over and helped prune the poor congested apple tree – only hope that we did not kill it.

Deepest darkest winter. Hardly a bird to be seen anywhere - this last cold snap may have taken a few, or perhaps they've just moved into gardens nearer human habitation. But I must keep my eyes peeled for any ladybirds.

Not much at all to do on the plot, except on the fruit bed - mulch the rhubarb and plant the Bramley Apple tree (when I eventually decide where its going to go!!!!).

Week 4 - Wednesday, 24th January 2007

Drew up complicated rotation plan for crops on allotment that would allow me to harvest year-round and try out all the seeds I have, including the odd experimental ones. Went to pot. Realised plot half the size of the plot in my head that I've planned for. Oh well, back to the drawing board. Stopped off at Tesco’s and bought a couple of packets of seed for the lottie.

Week 4 – Friday, 26th January, 2007

Managed to get Lemon Drop and Two Spanish Chillis planted four per pot. Forgot to wear gloves when splitting the dried pods opened and anything my hands touched for the entire day burned. Moved the Feltham First Peas from the propogator up into the spare room to grow on and cranked up the heat in there. Also managed to get two packets of sweet peas planted up into the root trainers – will have to plant the others two per pot.

Week 4 - Saturday, 27th January, 2007

Went down to the lottie at 09:30. Neville met me there and agreed to rotovate the top piece of the lottie which is going to be the new home for the potatoes this year. Cheap at half the price and saves me a lot of back breaking work. Managed to get the broad bean patch weeded and all the plants staked. Does not look too bad now. PS: Must remember to plant some more broad beans along the fence in the Roots and Brassica beds. Saw my first lady bird happily munching away at some black fly on the broad beans.

Week 4 – Sunday, 28th January 2007

Ron agreed to take me to the Hampshire Potato Day in Whitchurch and I managed to get most of the potatoes that I had chosen plus a few more - don't know where I'm going to plant them. If all else fails I will have to look at planting the extra's into tyres. As a thanks for taking me to the Potato Day I stuck him and Terrence to lunch at the pub across from the Testbourne Centre.

The potatoes I got are: First Earlies – Epicure (Christchurch variety), Duke of York and Rocket. Second Earlies – Nadine, Charlotte and Yukon and Late Main – Ambo Kerrs Pink, Cara and Bambino. Also got some Valour which was recommended by the chap giving the talk on potatoes and I am told will go right through until Christmas harvest – so might plant these in the Potato Barrel to make it easier to harvest them in the cold in December. Also got some Moulin Rouge which is a cross between Desiree and Pink Fir. Terrence was given 3 “Smile” and one “Blue Moon” potatoe that I will help him plant and grow. When I got home and could not wait to get chitting. Have now put them all safely into their temporary home to happily chit away! ?? Varieties in all – Lord, I only hope I got enough space to plant them all.

PS : Must remember to take a tape measure down on Saturday to measure the potatoe patch and work things out on paper e.g. how many potatoes per row etc.

Also got some elephant garlic – 1 clove 50p!! Did a good seed swap at the HRDA table and got quite a nice selection of Dwarf French Beans, Tendergreen, The Prince, Magpie, Stangen Blaukhulside, Vermont Cranberry, Climbing French Bean “Fabes de la Granja Asturiana, Ryders Top O’ the Pole, Red and White, Parsnip – The Student some Cardoon and some Forget Me Nots. Quite a good swap considering I did not buy one of the packets of seeds that I swapped for. Other seeds purchased for stock were Peas – Ambassador, Sugar Ann and Alderman and a small amount of Runner Bean “Red Rum”.

Also managed to get 6 bags of horse poop over to the lottie to start off the Poop Compost Bin. All in all a good days work!!

Week 5 – Tuesday, 30th January 2007

Managed to order 10 1 year old crowns of “Connover’s Colossal” Asparagus, an electronic soil tester and thermometer, and some organic fertilizers from the Organic Gardening website. Must leave work early to pop into Stewarts this afternoon and get that compost on special – 3, 25 litre bags at £2.99 each!!