Saturday, 28 March 2015

Seed sowing

And they're off and running. First out of the trap is Purple Carrots, followed closely by Cherry Tomatoes. Whilst in the floral colours, Nasturtiums takes an early lead from Sweet Peas. Cornflowers seems to have fallen asleep and Campanula Bell makes a solid start.

But wait, here is a surprising move by Pak Choi, whilst Purple Cauliflower is still plodding along at the rear. The surprising winner here is Ginger with Peach being a rank outsider.

You can see all today's racing action right here...

Waiting in the wings for warmer weather are the beans of various sorts. But at least the Daffs have made an appearance to cheer on the newbies.

Meanwhile outside, it's time for the old compost bin to be emptied and sieved.

The compost has done a good job breaking down. Not perfect, because I never turned the pile. There are still lots of stalks from where I trimmed the vines. But those will all go onto the new compost pile. But there are loads of worms, and even more wood lice in there. They're going to have to find a new home.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cold day down the plot

I was on shop duty first thing this morning. The day started off clouded over, but gradually cleared throughout the day. But it was still pretty chilly.

The Rhubarb seems to have made a start. Well, the "small" rhubarb at the back of the plot (the one that I almost pulled up) has certainly got off to a good start. Pretty much the same as last year.

The the big one seems to be lagging somewhat. Maybe it just can't decide whether to get going.

The beets seem to have survived the winter mostly intact. In fact one of them has taken off with great guns.

Mr. Fox has been enlarging his den somewhat. New Front door...
and back door...

Meanwhile I emptied out the last of the carrot bags.
A bit misshapen. Needs to have more sand in the bags next time. Although I did sieve the soil before going into the bags, I didn't count on the effect the British Weather had on them. The soil basically compacted inside the bags, leading to a firming of the soil which accounts for the splits and twists in the carrots.

I've had the courgette seeds laid out on a baking tray in the greenhouse for the past couple of weeks. The are now dry and loose ready to be planted. Anybody want about 100 courgette plants?

I guess most of these will be given away to friends.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Edible Garden Show

Today we went to the Edible Garden Show at Alexander Palace. It seemed like a good idea for a day out.
The view from the top

The whole show is based around growing things in your garden and, of course, allotment. So it seems ideally suited. There are a number of companies there who are big names in the allotment world, like the NSALG and seed providers like DT Brown, Kings and Thompson and Morgan. As well as small companies wanting to show off their goods and products.

There are also a number of demonstrations and talks. Which covered a range of topics such as cooking...

... and chickens...

As well as livestock... (courtesy of Surrey Docks Farm)

So was it worth it? In my opinion no. We won't be going again. The entrance fee is quite steep £20 (£40 with the wife) and the actual show is really quite small. The talks were unscripted and un-practised, which meant that technology broke down (or wasn't available) meaning that it was hard to hear what was going on.
The size of the show was such that you could walk from one side of the hall to the other in 30 seconds, and maybe a minute the long way. Not that all the exhibits went to the edge of the hall. Yes, hall singular. Although there are lots of halls available at Ally Pally, only one small one was in use. As such I felt it was somewhat of a disappointment.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Start of Spring

Blue skies. Warm weather. Lots of work to do down the plot.

For starters there is a rather scruffy greenhouse to clear out. The BlueBerry bushes that over-wintered inside, dropped all their leaves everywhere, and there is lots of other rubbish that's blown in. So it's time for a spring clean.

But first it's time for breakfast.

The old can stove is doing it's job. However I have been playing with the design a bit. I have now come up with a design which uses a single can with an inner wall. I'll probably do a separate entry about this at another time. But at present it takes half the time to boil the kettle for coffee.

Once the greenhouse is emptied out, then the next step is to level the shelving inside. The trays are designed so that they can hold a small amount of water to make a micro-climate. But this only works if everything is level, which at present it definitely is not.

Once it's all cleared out and levelled, time to put the survivors back in.

Meanwhile outside, I managed to scavenge a load of cardboard courtesy of Evans Cycles in Wimbledon. So this is being put to good use in the new beds that are going in.

Time to lay out the peach stones in an attempt to get them ready. The Wife wants to try and grow a tree or three from them. Not sure if we can because from all I've read about them, it's hard to do. But we shall see.

And it seems that we now have an official address. Plot 30, now resides on Leeky Lane.

Not sure whether that is a reference to the floods from last year, or what we intend to grow this year. Don't know who was responsible for this, but I don't think those signs will last very long.