Monday, 27 May 2013

Another sunny Bank Holiday

I've been a little quiet on the blog recently due to ill health (Pertussis aka Whooping Cough) and what not. But you can't ignore a sunny Bank Holiday because there are so few of them.

I've occasionally popped down to the plot over the past few weeks to make sure the seedlings are watered. But now is the time some of those seedlings need to be planted out. And the other nuisance needs to be taken care of. No, not the foxes who seem to have done an exploratory dig into the mound.

 No, I'm talking about weeds. They seem to creep up on you from nowhere. Now as you may remember from previous posts, this plot is rife with bindweed. It's a real pain in the growing beds. So to try and keep on top of it I'm covering as much of the plot as I can.

First off is the mound (sorry foxes).

This is covered in weed proof matting. Because when the time comes, the courgettes will be planted on this. Secondly is the next bed area.
At least it'll keep some of the weeds down until the time comes to plant.

Bt there are other areas which at present have no use other than walk ways and places where I definitely don't want weeds. Fortunately there has been some carpet dropped off at the site to be used of a first come, first served basis.
So the big entrance to my plot gets a welcome mat. And the grape vine gets a weed cover...
...and gets trained up onto the shed.
That's not a permanent fixing. I will need to guide it a little better. But the vine has been left in a very rough state that it needs to be gently coaxed into position. However for the time being it will do so I can see which part(s) of the vine is actually alive and which needs trimming.

After all that it's time for a cup of coffee. Just one problem. No electricity. Or gas for that matter. Time to try an old Boy Scouts trick of an alcohol stove. Take two coke cans and cut the bottoms off. Wedge the two together and punch a few holes in them. And voila...
Pour in some denatured alcohol and light it. Actually B&Q don't have and denatured alcohol (nor do Black's) so instead I'm using a little bit of bio-ethanol (normally used for outside fireplace ornaments) and then once the alcohol starts boiling from the heat you can stand your kettle (carefully) on top.

In the mean time, all those weeds that were collected including the heaps of stinging nettles were gathered up into a bucket. Pour in some water cover and leave to stand for 3 months and you have an excellent plant feed. Albeit a little smelly.

Now I need to get some of these seedlings planted out. Before they take over the green house.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Thieving buggers (again)

Just popped down the plot again after work to water the plants and make sure everything is OK. Everything is NOT OK. Once again I have suffered a theft of the Rhubarb.

Not as destructive as the last time, but I was hoping to have a few stems later on this week. But no, all the ripe ones have been taken leaving green ones and lots of broken stems.

I think I am going to have to rig a motion activate camera to find out who the guilty party is. And when I ctch them, I am going to bury them in my soil mound. Head first!

Monday, 6 May 2013

An extraordinary thing...

Imagine my surprise. a British Bank Holiday completely unspoilt by rain. Time for a trip down the allotment.

Well there is plenty to do. Firstly the warmer weather means that the greenhouse is getting hot. Almost too hot. Time to put the window in that I missed off when I built it.
 Ahhh, feels a little cooler now. But at least the warmth in the greenhouse has sent to seedlings off on a massive growth spurt.
Time to get the next batch started so I have staggered plantings.
Oh, those Sweetcorn are doing well. (Front foreground above) time to take them out and put them in the ground.
At the base of each one, I also planted two or three peas. The idea is that the corn will grow up and shelter the peas somewhat as well as giving them something to climb around. It may not work but I have plenty of peas available for planting.

So what else needs doing? Ah yes, the other small apple trees need protection from the hoards of weeds.
Newspaper and then bark chips. Hopefully it will keep them at bay. The Apple is just coming into blossom now.
Maybe I should submit this image to the Monthly Photo competition.

I really need to tidy the shed somewhat. Bit of a mess in there.

The rhubarb has gone rampant. It's almost ready to harvest the first stems.

And finally there is that big mound of soil that is sitting in the middle of the plot.

I kind of messed up when I got the digger in to deal with this. I should really have put it to the side of the plot where I could throw a weed proof membrane over it and use it to grow courgettes. Fortunately there is somebody else on site who has hired a mini-digger. 15 minutes later and it's all shifted.

Of course the uncovered ground now makes excellent hunting grounds for my new little friend.