Wednesday 2 November 2011


Long time no post.
Why didn't I post?
As others have reported from time to time you just run out of energy.
Nothing much was growing - even the beans.
Nothing got watered at the right times - the eternal battle of the taps.
Yeilds were low.
Motivation within the ranks of the small (and bigger) helpers was low too.
So no posts.
But now I'm back.
Onions and garlic at the ready, 2012 is go!
Hibernation is for hedgehogs (and do check those bonfires at the weekend).
I'm going in...
(Well technically up to)

Monday 15 August 2011

How many beans make five?

One bean, two beans, a bean and a half and half a bean. That's how many beans make five.

That will probably be the sum total of my harvest this year too as some toothed critter seems to have slunk by and mowed them all off at about four inches high.

This is what happens when you let the internet sway you. Yes I blame you lot out there in cyberspace with your talk of crop rotation and soil starvation.I have always grown beans in the same place, by the fence in easy reach of the water supply. This year I read about crop rotation again and thought that even though all the old boys always grow beans in the same place year after year and even though I get great harvests I would move them.

So no beans this year then.
Not enough water and "what lies beneath" seem to have done for them.  I have put a few spare plants in and sown some more in hope than anything but...tonight I will be dreaming of plates of runner, french and borlotti beans drizzled in butter steaming in a dish in front of me and next year at about this time  will be moaning about a glut of bl**dy beans and what on earth will I be able to do with them all.

Funny old game isn't it?

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Pooh! Is that you?

We made some stink food.
You know the stuff - stinging nettles ferment in water for weeks, small boys pee in it when they are caught short at the allotment, the odd beetle and raspberry drop in it on passing and it really stinks?
We use it to feed the pumpkin growing in the compost heap.
Tonight I spilt it down my leg. I smell. I smell bad. I have bathed. I have rubbed in body cream. I have showered and soaped and still I smell. OH will be home later - hopefully his cold will not have improved...
YS's current favourite book seemed appropriate.

Friday 15 July 2011

techno torment

Haven't been posting so much this year but am experiencing the usual gluts:

Raspberries - 24lb of jam and fresh ones given away to relatives and people in the village.

Broad beans - the children are rebelling - I am freezing bagfulls to surprise them with later - oh and there are another two rows not ready yet as I did successional sowing.

Lettuce - another crop to be distibuted widely.

Sweet peas - make good gifts for teachers and grandma/nanny/aunty

Courgettes - and this is just the first week of that bounty.

The techno torment? Well currently no camera and no internet connection. If I'd wanted a job in IT...

Monday 27 June 2011

He loves me

Whilst I was at w*rk one day last week OH made this for me -
my own private potting bench. I love it! And I love him for thinking of it and making it happen. Onwards to the potting bench, I have lettuce to sow.

Thursday 16 June 2011

When I said weeds...

When I said weeds I meant weeds. I guess the only thing to do is a bit of public humiliation and then I might just get on with it!

The raspberries.

The strawberries.

The critter damage.

So these are the before pictures. Who knows how long until I post the afters? Wish me luck, and let this be a lesson to you all  - don't take holidays in June.

Thursday 2 June 2011


What is the definition of optimism?
Me hoping to get onto the plot without a machete after not visiting for a week?
Or my 91 year old neighbour frantically giving away tomato plants? "I've grown too many - I just enjoy growing them..." (Estimate of around 250 plants)
I hope when I am 91 I still have the optimism to grow for another season in magnificent volume and can share my plants with the village and don't get overtaken by the weeds in the meantime.

And of course tomatoes were my never again plant. 2008 blight, 2009 blight, 2010 blight
but how could I say no? Here we go on the emotional rollercoaster once more.

Sunday 22 May 2011

They're here again

You would think with the lack of rain in these parts (24.2mm since April 1st) that the weeds might be a little more subdued this year. But they aren't. I have just spent 2 hours weeding and I'm still too ashamed to post the pictures...

Thursday 5 May 2011

You can do a lot in half an hour.

As alluded to in the last post, time is of the essence these days at the allotment.
It is productive - look radish! ( Don't you just love the pained expression? "But why do you want a photo of me holding radishes?"). It is also still very weedy.  Grass paths were definitely a mistake and at some point this year they will go.
So the plan for managing an allotment in half hour slots?
1. 10 minutes weed what is already planted. Most important.
2. 10 minutes water. Else it will die. Hopefully a higher authority will help me out on this soon, otherwise OH will have to fix the hose.
3. 10 minutes harvest. Radish & rhubarb - savings to be made here my girl!
4 10 minutes sow/plant new crops. Ahhh...

Wait a minute my bean counting makes that 40? That'll be why I'm still behind then.
Maybe tommorrow?

Tuesday 3 May 2011

The covers are on

OS signed up for another season of cricket on Friday. Tonight a ground frost is forecast - is it just me but is the start of the cricket season always bad news for the garden?
Anyway, armed with the weather forecast I rushed to the allotment, earthed up the potatoes, covered the courgettes, cloched the lettuce and fleeced the strawberries, and depressed a plot neighbour who had just finished watering. All in a world record time of 27.5 minutes.
I once read a book called " The Half-hour Allotment" (here should you be interested).
Half and hour is for softies...

Friday 29 April 2011

Where the green woods laugh, and cry

We live in a lovely part of the country and in bluebell time it becomes even more beautiful. So after the boys had tolerated a good amount of Royal Wedding watching, we hot-tailed it to the woods where they could collect sticks, drop stones down holes and bury dead frogs. This is an ancient woodland, part of a mediaeval deer park and linked to Lady Jane Grey (the 9 day queen more famously associated with nearby Bradgate).
The boys of course are oblivious to the history of today and yesterday.

And so to the present.
We took the cucumbers and squash outside for a watering - they will be going in again though - it has got awfully nippy in the evenings lately. A reminder it is not summer yet.

The crying? Eldest was investigating a ditch looking for an old fence.  He found it, unfortunately by tripping over it, and landed in a patch of nettles. OUCH!

Sunday 10 April 2011

I'll have a pea please!

Was very short of time (again) this weekend. It's a dilema, the garden is crying out for attention now! But so are the family, the housework, the olds, you get the picture...
So the sum total of my gardening achivements for the 4 days I have not been at work are:
  1. Installed Mum's new compost bin - more complicated than it sounds - a sorry tale involving a barrowload of twitch (couch grass) I hate that stuff.
  2. Mow both of Mum's lawns.
  3. Prune some of Mum's shrubs
  4. Fill Mum's new compost bin with a mix from old composter - now deceased in a fallen to bits and on pile to go to dump kind of way - prunings and grass clippings.
  5. Fill garden dustbin with twitch - ha! good riddance!
  6. Mow our lawn
  7. Install our new compost bin - much less complicated (thank goodness)
  8. Fill our new compost bin with kitchen waste and grass clippings
  9. Only then arrive at allotment for a scant 1 hour time slot - planted two rows of peas which were escaping their toilet roll root trainers.
  10. Picked some more rhubarb.
I need more time at the allotment. Please stay fine tommorrow amd no more family crisis so I can go after work tommorrow.  Pretty peas!

Sunday 3 April 2011

How do they know?

We were up at the allotment briefly this morning and chatted to some of the old boys, after harvesting the rhubarb and getting some chives for lunch.
"It'll rain later" says one,
"How do you know said OH-what signs are you looking for?" (hoping for some old country saying I think)
"I listened to the weather forecast!" was the reply.
"Ah!" says OH

Tuesday 29 March 2011

I'm late! I'm late!

I booked an appointment in at work yesterday. "See you next week then - that's the 6th April".
6th April next week? How did that happen?

We haven't made many visits to the allotment this year in fact when we visited two weeks ago it looked like this,

Oh dear!
We cleared a bit

but didn't make much of an impression.
So as I had a day off today I thought I 'd better get the season under way.  
I dug and planted and composted and emptied compost (it was lovely stuff!) and dug some more. I had done some gardening so I had things to plant, chitted parsnips, beetroot plants, broad beans, garlic, onions, shallots and chitted potatoes. Oh and a yellow raspberry another blackcurrent and a thornless blackberry.
I also sowed seeds of radish and spinach. After that little lot it looked like this,

Still plenty of work to be done but at least I have made a start. The old boys enjoyed it enormously they kept coming over and admiring my soil - now they could see it.
I pulled some  rhubarb and dug some Jerusalem artichokes - hurrah for first harvests!
Then it was home for a cup of tea and a quick bath before getting the kids from school. A most satisfactory day.