Browsing Posts published in April, 2010

Bonus Edition!

Nick received a text early this morning from Diane asking if he’d like to give her a hand over at the plots this afternoon.  Nick, being bogged down with a particularly boring, difficult and tedious job readily agreed.

The plots on a Tuesday? Bring it on!

So, they arrived back at the plots just before three, and after the obligatory cup of tea began work on some plastic containers for the balcony of Nick’s flat.

chives

chives

First, drainage holes needed to be drilled, then it was decided just what Nick was going to grow.  Being a complete beginner to the art of container growing, it was decided that he should start small and easy with some kitchen herbs, some baby carrots and some spring onions.

Jon very kindly offered Nick a young tomatillo and a young tomato, both grown from seed in his greenhouse, which he gratefully accepted.  These two would have pride of place in two medium sized pots.

Next, Diane suggested he take four quite long containers that would site near the front of the balcony to catch the sun.  In these, Nick will grow salad -probably lettuce, spring onions and baby carrots.

Finally, Diane had ‘rescued’ two quarter-circle type containers from a skip on a nearby street, and as for what to grow in them, well, we’ll see!

gooseberry

gooseberry

The soil used in the containers was ‘home-made’, rather than stuff bought from a garden centre, and was a fifty-fifty mix of sieved top-soil and rotted leaf mould.  Added to this was a handful or two of Perlite, ground up seaweed mix and slow-release guano pellets.

Nick left early, with Diane promising to bring the pots and growing medium round later in her car, and after he’d gone, she and Jon moved some rhubarb into it’s final growing space by the entrance to the therapy plots.  Photos to follow!

 

More very soon…

Wrowl! I’m hungry!

Mitzi

Mitzi

When the Big People came today, they could see that I’m getting a little thin, so Nick fed me in the morning, and Diane fed me again this evening!

This has meant that today, I could relax and enjoy the sunshine and human company I so love, without worrying just what I was going to catch for breakfast or dinner, and get on with the serious tasks of sunbathing, cleaning myself and only quietly burping when I thought no-one was near.

Well, I am a Lady, after all.

Well, the weather today has arguably been the best it has all year!

It had been forecast to be that nice from about last Tuesday, so today down at The Plots, we took full advantage of the utterly gorgeous sunshine, rolled our sleeves up, applied plenty of sun-block, and got firmly stuck in.

With so many volunteers turning up, we were able to get on with and in most cases finish jobs.  These included sanding and painting the lids of the top compost bins to make them suitable for working on -potting seedlings and such, digging over three beds ready for planting, clearing a length of path ready to be wood-chipped early next week, re-inforcing the sides of another bed and fully preparing the soil in it, making excellent ‘Plot soup’ to be later enjoyed by volunteers accompanied by home-made bread and lighting a fire to bake potatoes, amongst others.

All in all, a very busy and fulfilling day!

As a final ‘confirmation’ that spring really is well under way, after some discussion, it was agreed that the bed previously re-inforced and prepared should be planted in. 

So, in one side, in thirteen rows about a foot or so apart, various herbs were planted, and in the other side, thirteen rows of flowering plants.  Strictly speaking, the planting of flowers is not really allowed on allotments, but it was agreed that not only would these plants be very good for the local bee population, and therefore the pollenisation of  our vegetables, many of the plants, being Nasturtiums could be re-planted when large enough to provide us with excellent ‘ground cover’ for the otherwise barren-looking banking at the top of our plots.  They will also be trained to climb around some interesting ornamental features in the Child-Friendly Plot.  Oh, and all the flowers are edible!

Burning the rubbish last thing.

Burning the rubbish last thing.

When Nick left well at after nine this evening, Diane, Jon and Ruth were still busy putting the earlier fire to good use and burning vast amounts of clippings and old brambles, of course always aware of possible smoke and its effect on our neighbours.  Burning of waste is only as a last resort -everything else is used and re-used!

If you click on the image, you’ll see a much-enlarged version, and you’ll notice that we use an old oil drum with the bottom cut out for this kind of fire.

After we’ve eaten our fill of potatoes, we simply put this drum over the still-glowing embers, propped on a few old house-bricks, add a little dry newspaper to the embers to re-started the flames, then simply add anything we need to burn into the top.

We find that the drum has a ‘chimney’ effect, drawing the air in the bottom, and any dry clippings or brambles burn very quickly.  Of course, the last thing we do before leaving for the night is to make sure the fire is totally safe

No-one seemed to have left any washing out!

Spring has sprung!

The long, cold and dark winter is finally over as Nature does her stuff.

Buds

Buds

This is a shot of one of the fruit trees taken on our ‘Orchard’ plot on the 8th of April 2010.

A couple of weeks previously, we invited an expert tree surgeon down and he gave an excellent afternoon’s demonstration and practical session in the correct pruning of our fruit trees.

We hope that this attention and the fact that we have cut the surrounding hedges back to allow more light into the area will mean that this year we have a bumper crop of fruit -mainly apples, pears and a plum tree.

We have also cleared back the undergrowth around the trees, allowing us easy access.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you this:-

Tiny Carrot

Tiny Carrot

Can’t see it?

Click on this image, and on the enlarged version, you’ll see it there in the centre of his palm.

This tiny, but perfect specimen was grown on a plot further down the site by one of our volunteers.

 

 

 


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