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Archive for February, 2007

After our abandonment of trench digging duty due to moon boot incapability, our second attempt went much better. We both set out for the plot early – ok we got there at 10.30am.

We were shocked to find a lady and her son working a plot two down from us. It is the first people we have seen in about three months. We had a chat and she seems very nice. Although it was a little unsettling at first, to see someone on ‘our’ land lol!

It got me thinking about the legendary allotment social life. I know of people who seem to particularly enjoy this aspect of being an allotmenteer.

As I chatted to the nice lady, she asked how we had got our soil looking so good. I explained that we had rotavated and added copious amounts of manure and that leaving our plot exposed to the elements was doing the rest. Now. She said that a lady she’d spoken to who had another plot on the site, told her that she had tried to use a rotavator on her plot but it wouldn’t go through the soil. I said maybe they got different soil down that end or sumfing. Although I doubt it would be that different- enough so that a rotavator couldn’t get through it (concrete!), or maybe the rotavator she was using was rubbish or maybe she wasn’t using it correctly – who knows… chat chat chitty chat. After a few minutes of pondering it was clear we were both chomping at the bit to do a bit of graft….

So ‘allotment chat’ – useful to learn about the history of your plot and, micro-climate, perhaps what grows well. But I like the fact that our site is quiet – not too many people saying ‘you don’t wanna do it like that’. So note to self – I will remember to take allotment advice with a pinch of salt and remember what works for one person doesn’t for another. The mystery, joys and pain of gardening. Its fun to experiment. To fail is to learn blah blah!

So with our sturdy, steel toe cap boots on, we got on with trench digging and got in two rows of new potatoes. We also got in onions (red and white) and some parsnips.

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Wonky potato trenches. The get ’em in technique!

I also carried out a bit of formative pruning of our apple tree, the grand plan now is to have an apple bush. The espalier/cordon idea abandoned – much too fussy to manage. So I got out the trusty secateurs and took out some of the branches to leave 4 well spaced strong branches, forming the structure of the bush I then tied down two of the said branches to ensure that they grow in the direction I desire. The ties will be removed when the wood hardens with age (maybe in about a year or so) .I then snipped these branches back by 1/3 to stimulate lots of lovely new shoots coming off these branches. The picture below I’m afraid does not adequately demonstrate the skilled formative pruning that took place!

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Well I was dead chuffed with it!

This was about a week ago now and we have both popped up a few times to check on our crops. Its funny – no matter how many times I tell myself that staring at the soil does not cause seeds to germinate or potatoes/onions to sprout any quicker, I still catch myself staring half inanely and half pleadingly at the soil…

keener

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Free seeds

Five basket combinations are on offer, including three floral and two vegetable displays. 1000 collections of each basket combination to giveaway. Each collection contains three packets of different varieties. You can choose which basket to grow and request the seeds by sending your details on a postcard,  or apply online.

Click on the links below to claim your seeds compliments of the BBC.

Herb salad basketPink mixMulti mix Purple mix,   Summer salad basket.

Beener.

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We made it up to the plot yesterday, but did not achieve quite as much as we had hoped….

We both like moon boots.

Keener’s nan kindly gave her a pair that she no longer needed. When she arrived at Beener’s house wearing them, Beener got a little bit jealous and decided to put hers on. They are swankier and have trainer type soles.

 So we set off mid afternoon determined to plant our first early potatoes, aspargus, and our onions.

We both started to dig the trench for our tatties. About 5 minutes into digging, we both looked up and admitted to ourselves and to each other that it was a stoopid idea to wear those bloody moon boots. It hurt and these piccies illustrate the cumbersome nature of our chosen footwear.

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We both admitted defeat and decided that the trench should be dug another day. This attitude toward trench-digging duty, was certainly not of the calibre that won the war.

All was not lost and we managed to plant out our aspargus crowns – they looked a little bit mouldy and forlorn – but we shall see..

We also sowed carrot, brocolli and tomato in the beds in our green-house. We fashioned a cloche over them to keep them extra toasty warm, with the use of thin strips of bendy ply-wood that we had salvaged previously and some clear plastic sheeting.

It was getting dark by the time we had finished and we had a lovely view over Bristol from our Green House.

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We learnt a coupla things yesterday:

1) Do not wear moon boots when you’re trying to dig, they are warm -yes, they are pretty cool – yes, but they simply do not provide enough protection for your feet! We’ll stick to our steel-toe capped boots next time!

2) We are both a bit faffy and rubbish when we try to go to the allotment mid-afternoon. We get a lot more done if we go down first thing in the morning….

So an early start was planned for the following day..

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I found this website offering 5 packets of free seeds.

 Poppyhead Ltd.

Worth a look.

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Here are some more free seed envelope templates for you to right click and copy.

Print them out, perfect for collecting, saving and swapping seeds.

Beener.

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 Gardeners Paradise hold a free gardening competition every month. There are a few questions to answer and you could win a mystery prize from a gardening company. It is a Canadian site but is open to all nationalities.

There is a bonus section, where contestants will be judged for usefulness, creativity and originality. Good luck – although you will face stiff competition from Beener and I, so perhaps you’d best not bother!!

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Things have been a little heavy on our blog lately…. So we have decided to post some rather silly videos of ourselves, that Keener re-discovered on her phone today.. 

It was taken at the beginning of winter, when leaf raking was going on big time in our day jobs.  

 Gardening allows both of us to reconnect with child-like qualities – of mischievousness and exploration. Or to put it another way – having a laugh. Jumping/falling into piles of leafs, soil, manure, chippings is a particular favourite. Its very hard to stay sad, distracted by daily concerns, angry or whatever after completing this exercise!

Also, as you can see on the video, we have seen ‘You’ve been Framed!’ and other home video shows many times!

The second video develops the theme further. Keener is explaining that she often wishes that she could just sleep and hibernate for the winter: 

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