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Archive for the ‘Greenhouse’ Category

There were several plot holders caressing their soil at the allotments today. Each of us coaxing ourselves out of winter hibernation. There we all were, lifting and chopping our soil, teasing it into an approximation to crumbs ready for the frenzied seed sowing that has started and will continue to pick up pace over the coming month…

But we had a strict plan (for once) that we were gonna stick to – the reward would come at the end of the day when we would sow our broadbeans into the delicious soil that we have been nurturing.

 First off compost duties, Both of our home made pallet compost bins desperately needed an injection of oxygen. So we turned over the compost in the first one and then added the contents of the second on top of the first.  Nestled in there was a rat that had expired whilst dashing up one of the paths on our plot. But enough said about that. All in all a good result a nicely mixed compost bin and an empty bin to fill up again. Only one minor mishap on the way, when keener splashed putrid stagnant water up her trouser leg, so there was a lovely eau de sewer accompanying the rest of the day…

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Next, we cleared all the broken glass from around the green-house. It is now more of an open plan construction, with more glass smashed than there is left in the frame. We are finished with glass – it will be smashing when we get our mitts on some perspex. We’re going to try and get some that is milky white to avoid the plant scorch house situation that occurred at times last summer. Plant torture is not big and is not clever.

We planted some more asparagus into the, well the asparagus bed. Here came the absolute highlight of the day. I opened the box where we had stored our well rotted manure and discovered absolute gold. We jumped around delighted at the lovely black crumbly bread crumbs that had been produced. We both felt that this stuff was more valuable and precious than any diamond ring or necklace or snazzy car. So I filled the planting holes with this life giving substance, before safely nestling the asparagus crowns into their new home.

Finally, we excitedly snuggled the broad bean seeds safely into their spot. Now as we mentioned we are both doing an rhs course, and this involves a practical exam to test out seed sowing skills. So in preparation for this and because we both like the allotment to look attractive, we got out our line so that we could get perfectly straight lines. We felt a little bit silly doing this but nevertheless we persevered as we continue to perfect our art… Four perfectly straight lines of broad beans, mission accomplished. I look forward to these nutty delights as they are definitely one of my favourite allotment foods.

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It wasn’t until we got back to beeners and were tucking into  the shop bought cabbage of our well earned dinner, that we suddenly realised that we’d neglected to harvest any of the veg that we still have growing on the plot – curly kale, parsnip, two leeks, swede, turnip, swiss chard, pak choi and cabbage. DOH!

But we did have the foresight to take a picture in preparation for writing this post. I’m sure you’ll agree that kale sure looks tasty!

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So we announced our grand arrival back into the blogosphere and then it all went quiet again.

That similar feeling of ‘I’m not doing the things that make me happy’ has also been in the allotment arena.

But thats all about to change, sink or swim,- we have a plan..

Each of us has made solitary visits up to the plot to survey the lay of the land. We were pleased with how things were looking. The soil is looking very weathered (at least on the surface). More seed sowing in-situ will be happening this year.

 We have not sown a single bean yet, but its still early and theres a bit of maintenance that we want to carry out first. Like I said we have plan – tomorrow is a big day:

Turning the Compost bin

Looking at soil horizons – to see what’s really going on beneath our feet

Clearing up the smashed glass from our wind tunnel formerly known as a greenhouse

Keener

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Like most of the country we have lost lots of tomatoes this year due to blight.

The done thing to do is burn the effected plants and tomatoes. Its heartbreaking picking hand-fulls of blighted tomatoes and burning them. Surely we can use the manky mushy toms for something.

What about this?………

Now that is much more fun that burning the buggers.

Horticultural therapy at its best!

Beaner

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As is widely reported, allotments are changing – more women, ethnic minority groups, and younger people. Crushing the myth that allotments are only frequented by old blokes in flat caps, hiding from the missis, drinking dodgy homemade alcohol and so on.

A UKTV gardens survey of 3000 adults has linked age with types of vegetables grown to produce a veg top ten. Not only are allotmenteers getting younger but they are getting more exotic. Perhaps reflecting high supermarket prices, the need to reduce food miles and our increasing multi-cultural diet. We are becoming a nation of meat and two exotic veg….

This shows once again that allotments are in tune with and reflect the needs of modern Britain.

Top 10 veg by generation:

From Thompson & Morgan

Over 55 Under 55
1. Tomatoes (60%) 2. Rocket (71%)
1. Potatoes (56%) 2. Mangetout (66%)
1. Carrotss (49%) 2. Chilli (52%)
.1. Onions (45%) 2. Purple Sprouting Broccoli (44%)
1. Cabbage (41%) 2. Squash (41%)
1. Runner Beans (36%) 2. Chinese Leaves (35%)
1. Cucumber (33%) 2. Pak Choi (29%)
1. Cauliflower (29%) 2. Globe Artichoke (25%)
1. Peas (26%) 2. Red Onion (23%)
1. Parsnips (29%) 2. Tomatoes (25%)

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We have a mate called Sue.

Yesterday she experienced a life changing vegetable moment up our plot…

Hang on, let me explain….

Sue is always enthusiastic about pretty flowers and was happy to hear that actually her lawn wildflower meadow is very much in vogue.

Sue is a great friend – she always heartily enthuses with us when we retell our gardening adventures.

Sue is also very annoying! She is one of those green-fingered types! The plants in her garden alway thrive with little effort and her hanging baskets are to die for! She is a natural, intuitive gardener – she sticks things in the durt and they grow!

However we are talking about a lady who a few years back was given strawberry and tomato plants, but didn’t eat the fruit. The reason being that she didn’t realise that they were real strawberries and tomatoes. Upon realising her error she rectified the situation immediately, she couldn’t believe the lovely tastiness of her produce.

Sue is more of a low-maintenance kinda gardener so her veg growing career was short…

So fast forward to yesterday – Sue goes up to our allotment for the first time. She was chastising herself later that day for leaving it so long. We could see the look in her eyes – that of an allotment junkie in the making…

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She ambled along the wood chip paths, with Beener enthusiastically giving her the ‘grand tour’. Sue stood there, hands on hips, and in true Bristolian style said ‘never! that ain’t never your allotment’ .

We are also very lucky to have breath taking views of Bristol and the plots are near to woodland- a splodge of country-side in the city..

Sue could instantly see why we spend so much time at our beloved allotment.

Then crunch time, Beener approached the mange tout, plucked one off the plant and eagerly tried it. Sue looked slightly horrified, as if Beener was eating raw sewerage. Sue knew it was inevitable and her heart starting thumping, Beener thrust a mange tout toward her.

Now Sue was in a dilemma. Her body and mind screaming “I aint beeping eating that”. But like I said Sue is a great friend and put aside her misgivings for the sake of her grinning friend.

The rest of the story, like a crap film, is obvious – she beeping loved it. Sue declared that they had a lovely nutty taste –  she is partial to a bag of assorted nuts (always with raisins). She then progressed to runner beans and pledged that she will come back -often. She snapped away with her phone camera, wanting to show the plot to her family and friends.

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She felt good and in turn so did we – a crescendo of giggling, smiles and excited chatter floating away from our plot – allotments/gardening/veg growing tends to have that affect on people don’t you think?

So here’s to Sue – she never fails to make us laugh or amaze us… and we really hope that she spends more time up the allotment with us – from the look on her face I think she will. And we will keep plying her with succulent fresh veg, until like us, she can no longer live without it.

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Wilko’s has an excellent sale on seeds, 75% off!

We went yesterday, it must be a popular place with allotment folk.  We saw 3 other plot holders hanging about in wilkos whilst we were there.

They also have 75% off of seed trays.  One of the other plot holders said soon they knock all the gardening stuff down to 75% off.

We bought :  Sweet Pea Blue Velvet  44p was 1.79

                        Sweetcorn miracle  37p was 1.49

                        Exhibition onions  81p was 3.25

                        Echinecea 54p was 2.19

                        Calendula   39p was 1.59

                        Courgette   62p was 2.49

We are off up  there again today as we didnt know until we got to the till that there was 75% off.       

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Following on from our recent blogs, we had a ‘bored’ meeting today to pat ourselves on the back and review our progress between dec 06 and june 07.

 Here is a visual vegetable stew … for you ….

 Click on a picture to take a closer look….

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