Weeding Time

27 07 2015

This weekend, we spent a couple of hours at the allotment site on Saturday. This was mainly to carry out a significant amount of weeding, so now we have PRETTY LINES :)

It is now clearer to see where the crops are etc.

We also got our first harvest of things we have grown ourselves…Radishes :)

So things going well :)

Lettuce, Beetroots and Courgette

Lettuce, Beetroots and Courgette

Legumes (Peas, Beans, French Beans), and Roots (Turnip, Radish, carrots, potatoes)

Legumes (Peas, Beans, French Beans), and Roots (Turnip, Radish, carrots, potatoes)

Our first harvest for things we sowed: RADISHES

Our first harvest for things we sowed: RADISHES

Growing and more tomatoes

Growing and more tomatoes

More pretty lines

More pretty lines





More planting out, straight lines & compost heaps.

7 07 2015

Last week was really hot in St Albans. Therefore, we didn’t really do much ground work at the allotment apart from going every day to water our plants. However, on Sunday it was a bit cooler, and we had some time and so we went and continued on with our planting. We now have 10 plots cut out, 8 of which contain plants/seeds and 2 of which are compost heaps (those are the parts covered in plastic). This is what our whole site looks like at the moment. We estimate that we have another 8 plots to cut out, so we are officially more than half way there with clearing the site…GO US!

The whole site

The whole site

A view of the whole site

A view of the whole site

Anyways, what we did on Sunday was dig out two plots. In one we planted out the tomatoes, chillies and spring onions we had received from freegle, together with a chilli plant we had at home.

What we sowed on Sunday

What we sowed on Sunday

Please note that we have a tomato already growing :)…Hopefully the tomato plants will be happier in their new home and we get even more.

A tomato :)

A tomato :)

In the other plot we then planted out some red corn (not sure what it is, but will see) and some chickpeas.

The second plot...half plot...we planted out on Sunday

The second plot…half plot…we planted out on Sunday

We also finished off our second compost heap which are taking up plots, as our two compost bins are also full…hopefully we will eventually get compost…but we will see.

I also wanted to update you about our first seeds we sowed, and as you can see they are growing well, and we are getting pretty lines :)

Crops growing in straight lines

Crops growing in straight lines

Crops growing in straight lines

Crops growing in straight lines

Lets hope they all do well, and we get a good crop out of all this work :)





Our second guest allotmenteer :)

27 06 2015

Today we went back to the allotment to get some more of the seedlings we had picked up this week into the ground. We also got our second allotmenteer…YING!…Ying is a colleague of mine, and a car share partner as well and he has been saying he wants to come visit for some time. He did help us out a bit…but let’s say that my mum still wins the guest allotmenteer competition (I think she also wins the overall competition with the allotment owners as well :P).

Our guest allotmenteer hard at work

Our guest allotmenteer hard at work

So what have we planted today?…well as I said previously the plan was to plant out some of the seedlings we had gotten earlier this week…and that was the case…we planted out some kale and parsley…but we also met the owner of the house we are currently in the process of buying (who also has an allotment there) and he gave us a couple of tomato plants, courgettes and cucumber…so in to the ground they went. We also put in two strawberry plants we found whilst clearing more ground.

Today's planting out

Today’s planting out

The other thing we did was to fill the water butt we had with water, thanks to our ‘neighbour’ who has a hose pipe that can just about reach our plot from his side (the water taps are across his plot…so we need a much longer hose to be able to water our plot). This will make it easier for us to water the site, especially as we realised that we need to water much more often and much more abundantly. The poor little plants we planted out on Thursday do not look to happy…but we gave them lots of water and we will hope for the best. We will now try to go to the site every day at least to water. Especially as a heat wave should be coming in the UK next week.

So, in summary…what do we have till now? Well we have cleared ‘8 plots’. However we are using 2 of them as compost heaps for the grass we are clearing. I think we should have at least space for another 8 plots. But we will get there eventually.

What we have left to clear!

What we have left to clear!

The cleared and planted site till now.

The cleared and planted site till now.





First time planting out

26 06 2015

So…we finally found some more time to go to the allotment. We had originally planned to go on Tuesday, but we had a couple of errands to run…these were mainly to go to 2 ‘freeglers’ to get some small plants they had been growing, and were happy to give away.

The first person gave us 2 types of tomatoes…we now are the proud owners of 4 (or so) plants of Cuore di Bue and a similar number of Harbinger tomatoes. The second lady had so many different types of plants, and kept giving us different things to try. We should have courgette, broccoli, tomatoes, chickpeas, beetroot, red corn, chillies, onions and who knows what else. The problem is that they were not labelled and our pen was not working…so we are not sure we have the right name for each crop, and one of them is still the ‘unknown’.

The new work

The new work

Anyways, as you can see from the photos, what we have done yesterday is ‘cut’ another plot in the previously cleared ground. In this plot we have planted out some of the plants we got on Tuesday, namely the broccoli and cucumbers. We also put in 2 strawberry plants, which Bernard found while clearing more ground, and some parsley. We then covered the plot with some netting (to prevent the pesky butterflies from laying eggs on the leaves and the birds from eating the fruits) and put down some slug repellents from what seems to be the allotment gardener’s best friend in St Albans…Wilko :)

Overview of the plot

Overview of the plot

The strawberries

The strawberries

Then, the other plot in the pair was transformed into a kind of compost heap on the advice of some other people who we met in the allotment. This is because the two large compost bins at the back are fully stuffed, and we cannot have bonfires during the summer months, which means that we need to figure something else out. So we decided to create a number of compost heaps for the grass we remove, and hope all the compost goes well.

Finally, we also cleared some more land, and we hope to ‘cut’ another pair of plots this weekend to plant out more of the stash we got this week :)





Allotmenting

22 06 2015

One of the reasons I wanted to re-start my blog is that my Bernard and I have recently applied, and got an allotment. Therefore, I wanted to use this blog to track the progress we have done. When we got the allotment it was in quite a bad shape, but luckily super mum was visiting last week, and on Monday she spent a whole 4 hours removing weeds. This cleared about 1/3 of the worst grass so YEAH to mum for starting us off quite well. Unfortunately, we do not have photos of the site before we started clearing, but in the following photo you can see two of our compost bins, which are completely packed with grass we have cut till now (and there is a lot).

The compost bins & water butt (water butt thanks to freegle :) )

The compost bins & water butt (water butt thanks to freegle :) )

Myself and Bernard then spent around 2hours on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday, clearing out the site further, defining the edges, preparing compost bins etc. and then yesterday started sowing the first two mini-plots. The first is our ‘legume plot’ with peas, french beans & runner beans, and the second should be our brassicas, but I did not figure out that we had brassicas, so it has beetroot & courgette.

Allotment after Sunday's Work, with the two mini-plots already sown.

Allotment after Sunday’s Work, with the two mini-plots already sown.

Then, today we went back to the site and have prepared the next 2 plots. The first is our ‘allium’ plot, with spring onions & lettuce and the other is our ‘roots’, which contains carrot, radish, turnip (yep I know it is a brassica, but I forgot about it yesterday) and potatoes (we re-planted some potatoes we found when digging up the land…will see if they grow).

Further work completed today.

Further work completed today.

As you can see, towards the back of our cleared part of the plot we have some grass and tyres. The tyres are thanks to a neighbour at the allotment (she also gave us some pallets), who told us that if we pile up the grass and root pieces and cover with some plastic, this will turn the piles to compost, and the heat created can ‘sterilise’ the compost faster from the roots…so the plan for one of our next visits is to cover the piles of grass with plastic and use the tyres and some stones to weigh the plastic down.

What else is next?…we have all this grass left to clear…that is a couple more full days to go, so we guess a couple more full weekends and then can prepare some more plots. We have cleared an area of 6 plots till now, and we estimate that we have another 12 to go. However, we think that the hardest part was towards the front, as towards the back the grass is sparser.

Another view of the site...and the work still left to do.

Another view of the site…and the work still left to do.

An overview of the site...we have till the wooden 'boxes' at the back.

An overview of the site…we have till the wooden ‘boxes’ at the back.

So…that is where we are till now…but before I go I would like to introduce you to one of our security man we found on the site whilst digging, who oversees the entire plot when we are not there:

Our plot security.

Our plot security.

Please also meet our first good, non-eaten, intact crop we found (also whilst digging). We doubt we will find such a good specimen ever again.

Our first fruit :)

Our first fruit :)





Quick Update

22 06 2015

So…since my last blog post so many years ago I have now finished my PhD, and moved to the UK nearly 2 years ago…so the story picks up from there :)





Off I go

18 07 2011

And off I go…tonight will be heading over to Germany for a week’s summer school as part of my funding agreement, and after that off to Malta for a couple of days for a friend’s wedding. The week in Germany should be great fun as should the days in Malta. I cannot wait to get some sunshine and also to feel slightly more productive. Perhaps  I will have some good news to tell after Malta. Will see.

Wishing you a great week.








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