Monday, 27 June 2016

Behold! The bog of Eternal Stench

Lets just say that things are a little fragrant down the plot at present.

Not only do we have a bog, but we also have an added hazard of the great Stick-in-the-Mud if you try and get into the greenhouse.

But not all is lost. There are still some decent pickings to be had.

The 2016 Courgette Tally:

Saturday, 25 June 2016


As the ravers attending the mud-fest known as Glastonbury will attest to, we've had a little bit of rain recently. So it's with a little bit of trepidation that I parked the car in the car park and headed to the plot...

And yes, like last time, most of it is under water.

The onions are totally drowned. They'll have to come out otherwise they'll rot in the ground.

The Beetroot are also flooded, but they will probably survive.

Even the greenhouse is underwater (again).

Actually, I tried moving that bag of compost... boy was it heavy. It had obviously slurped up the rain water.

But did it stop there? No, whilst we were dashing around trying to tidy everything up, it started throwing it down again. Into the greenhouse to keep us (relatively) dry.

Not much we can do in conditions like this except head for home and try to dry out.

The 2016 Courgette Tally:

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

2 and 2 on the longest day

The longest day of the year, and this evenings trip down the plot proved productive.

The first couple of courgettes of the year.
And a couple of strawberries for dessert.

This time I'm going to count how many courgettes we get. We kind of lost count in previous years.

The 2016 Courgette Tally:

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Toms are taking over

It's getting hard to get into the greenhouse now. To quote a phrase, "It's like a jungle sometimes. It makes me wonder how I keep from going under". This particular jungle is caused by the tomatoes taking off.

Time to kick some of them out. Of course the only problem is, is that once they're outside, there are slugs and winds and allsorts of things which will try to damage them, so they need somewhere secure out of the way.

Well today I covered the far side of the plot (the part which failed to be rotovated) with weed membrane and moved the potatoes into position to act as anchor points. This opened up some space to build a little tomato sanctuary.

It won't win any beauty contests, but it won't get blown over.

Looks like the sweet peas could do with some support as well.

Elsewhere on the plot it's been all hands to deal with the invasion of the weeds. The recent rains have proliferated the weeds (and the slugs). So all the beds got weeded and the front verge next to the track got a digging to oust some annoying grasses and dandelions.

Not complete though. If I step to my left it looks like this...

Still have to deal with all that, but I'm just too damn exhausted.

All I can say is "soon"...

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Jam time again

A quick trip to the plot this evening showed the rhubarb about ready to fall over. It was nearly as tall as me. So I pulled a few stalks.

After giving quite a few away to the neighbours, I put about 4Kg on to "soak" in sugar for 24 hours.

By my reckoning, I took about 10%-15% of the plant. At this rate I'll be in Rhubarb and Ginger Jam for the next decade. And that's just the Front Rhubarb. I already pulled a similar amount from the Back Rhubarb to take into the office canteen. I don't think Chef wants me to bring any more in. We've been having Rhubarb this and that for the past few weeks.

Seems like it's a seriously good year for rhubarb this year. At least the slugs didn't manage to get much. Or if they did, it wasn't noticed.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Rampant sex at the allotment

Things are growing really well down the plot. Not only are the plants putting on a display, but it seems the insects are getting into the swing of things as well. A couple of shield bugs on the rhubarb...

And these red lily beetles on the lilies...

The shield bugs I don't mind. The red ones, though have to go.

Today threaten a bit of a downpour. When we got to the allotment, it was reasonably clear. Enough time for me to plant out a second bed of beetroot. The first bed had certainly grown from when I planted it out a month ago. Hopefully this one will catch up.

We also tried out our new tower.
We're not sure yet what we'll put in this. Possibly strawberries. Possibly cascading tomatoes. One thing is for certain though, it's not going to be this tall in the finished product. It's somewhat unstable at this height.

But no sooner had I finished building the tower to test it, then the clouds opened up. Fortunately we could take shelter in the green house.

There is stuff to do in the greenhouse as well. The tomatoes need staking to stop them falling over.

Back outside, now the rain has gone, it seems things are progressing rather well.
The courgettes are starting to produce. Still small but showing lots of promise for another tsunami of delights...

The Autumn Wings are also starting...

There are flowers on the peas...

and on the potatoes...

The sweetcorn is growing stronger as well.
as is the Zierkurbis behind it.

All-in-all, we seem to be having quite a good year so far this year. Apart from the slugs that is. But you can't have everything.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Rotovator fail

I'm still trying to knock my plot into some sort of shape. One part of the plot is nice and orderly...

The other half is a bit of a weed and grass covered mess.

So I decided to hire the rotovator from the shop and give the grass and soil a damn good going over.


The idea seemed sound. The soil is of course London Clay in places. But covered with good quality soil from which I inherited from the previous owner who had a penchant for making soil. It didn't help that when I took over the plot, I used a mini-digger to scrape all the weeds, grasses and top part of the soil into the mound. The mound that has been so successful with the courgettes. Of course the remaining part of the plot, now minus a couple of inches of top soil, exposes some of the clay at times, which can bake nicely in the sun and harden up. Such that only a rotovator can get through it.

But I was forgetting the tenacity of the grasses. The couch grass in particular has nice long, relatively strong roots. These same roots wrapped themselves carefully around the tines of the rotovator and brought it to a screeching halt.

Needless to say it was an exercise in frustration. About the only good thing that did happen was that the broken up soil was easier to dig out the roots allowing me to clear enough space for a new bed.

This will eventually be filled with soil from the mound and surrounded by nice wood chippings which should be a nice home to the various mycellium necessary for good gardening.

Elsewhere on the plot, the bees are taking an earnest interest in the Wife's flower bed.

Where the Foxgloves are currently in full bloom.

And the rhubarb is threatening to take over.

A huge change from a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile in the greenhouse, I may soon be enjoying some fresh strawberries.

Whilst the slugs outside are enjoying some fresh beans.