Browsing Posts tagged painting

No rain! 07/03/13

The BBC weathermen got it wrong today.  No rain, and certainly not as cold as had been forecast.

Still, with the kind of activities happening today, no-one got a chance to get cold!Gary's digging

To the right here is the bed I mentioned last post that Gary has been working on.  You may think that it’s only a bed, and therefore not all that special, but before Gary took to it, it was an utter mess!

Of course, there was masses of bindweed in it, and this was all horribly intertwined with the inevitable strawberries, but there were also some rather sick-looking chives that looked liked they’d seen better days.

Yes, this bed really was in a state, but as you can now see, it’s all been so skilfully cleared.

Over the coming days, Gary will be weeding the paths around this, so we can actually get to it easily, then in a few months, Gary had the idea of planting runner beans here.

Putting this to ‘The Collective’ (…”Resistance is futile*…), we all agree that this would be a great place for the beans.  It’ll be near our bees, and also we think the flowers will be beautiful when they come out.Parsnips

To the left here is the bed that Jon whacked the parsnips in the other day.

Yes, it just looks like a ‘blank’ bed, but in a few weeks time, it’ll all spring to life as the temperature rises and the seeds get the idea to grow.

That small pile of woodchip in front is the pile that Jordan moved over from the pile of wood chippings the other week.  This will all get spread around as more paths and walkways are finished off.Berry bushes

To the right is the bed that Jon planted the other day with the various berries.

Again, this bed was choked full of strawberries, bindweed and goodness knows what else, and I think it was Gary who worked his magic on it, before Jon finally neatened it up before planting.

These bushes will thicken out considerably in the coming months, so much so that it may almost be like a mini hedge.  Difficult to believe, so we’ll take Jon’s word for it!

After making tea this morning, I put yet another coat of ‘One Coat’ on the two new beds, while Ian (no relation) planted some strawberry plants in the end of the bed nearest the shed.New strawberries!

Jon gave us these plants some time ago, and they’d been sat near the kitchen in a tray, getting sadder and sadder as the days went past.

Now Jon assures me that these things don’t try to spread anything like as badly as the old strawberries, but even so, Ian has put this extra piece of wood in the bed just to make sure.

Any infringement will be met by the ultimate force:  Shears!

In the top shed, Graham was having fun with a Calor gas stove we found as we cleared it all out, and we can now say that should it get really cold and miserable, we can always shelter in there, safe from the rain.

Matt was also busy in the top shed today, moving the huge noticeboard to the end wall, then putting the first of many shelves up in there.

NO!  These will not just be ‘dumping grounds’ for everything we can’t be bothered to put away!

I’ll get some photos of this on Saturday.

…And speaking of which, Matt has taken away the large cooking pot, promising to bring something hot (…and of course, delicious!..) on Saturday for our lunch.

That just leaves me to get the bread, then!

Speak to you Saturday!


*Sorry, but I haven’t got a ‘Star Trek’ quote in for months.

Splash it on all over. 02/03/13

Maybe not quite Henry Cooper in the ‘Brut 33′ advert, but you get the idea.Beforehand

(…And that’s me really showing my age!..)

While Gary cleared the long bed below the new ones, I made a good start on painting both of the new beds.  As I said a couple of posts ago, even though this stuff is meant to be ‘One Coat’, quite frankly: It’s not.

With the glorious sunshine all day, I soon got my coat off, and got stuck in.

As I’ve said before, painting with this stuff really is great fun.  Whopping great brushes, and no worries about spills or drips; you just whack it on.

An hour or so later, and most of a tin of paint, they both looked like this:-Nearly done!

Okay, I need to paint and plant a number of stobs on the outside of these beds to make them robust, but as you can see, they’re certainly getting there.

Not many volunteers showed up today, but given the weather, we weren’t all that surprised.  After all, most people have their own gardens, and they were no doubt tending to these.

Or….  They could have spent the day traipsing around town, ‘shopping’.

Given the choice Dear Reader, between ‘retail therapy’ and root canal dentistry without anaesthetic, I’d have to sit down and have a little think.

This morning, Jon planted up the long bed above these new ones with Logan berries and Worcester berries, and a fine, neat job he made of it.  Next time I’m down, I’ll get some photos to show.

Matt made another compost bin using old pallets for our growing piles of compost, and Pam re-planted some raspberries that had been sat in the middle of the main thoroughfare for about four years.

She also took two wheelbarrow wheels home for her husband to repair their punctures, and I told her that I’d order some more wheels for these barrows that are actually solid, therefore won’t puncture, yet feel like pneumatic ones with the correct ‘bounce’.

So, a fairly quiet day, but we were pretty grateful for that as it meant we weren’t getting interrupted all the time, and it allowed us to get on and do the work.

More on Wednesday!

A slight change of plan. 27/02/13

I said last post that we’d be getting on with the second new bed today, but due to a mix-up (…mea culpa…), we didn’t have the stobs for the corners or side panels in time, but I’m assured they will arrive tomorrow.

So instead, while Ian planted a whole bed of two different types of onions, I got on with giving the bed we’d finished last time its first coat of ‘One Coat*‘ paint.Before painting

As you can see from the photo to the right here, even though all the boards are basically sound, they certainly looked a little on the scabby side.

I found the tins of paint and paintbrushes, and was very soon happily painting away.  I always find that using this paint is very ‘therapeutic’.  It’s water-based, completely non-toxic, and dead good fun to slap on.

The results, while not quite good enough for, say, the Sistine Chapel, are quite good enough for the folks (…and cat…) here at LEAF.Not quite the Sistine Chapel.

Of course, one of my first jobs was making the tea, and once again, the Kelly Kettle came into its own, and I can thankfully say that despite having three cups each, we didn’t have to resort to using the expensive gas hob.Tea's up!

Now we’re starting to get familiar with its little ‘foibles’, we find that setting and successfully lighting it is getting easier and easier.

While I was happily painting, Ian (no relation) was busy on a new bed Gary and I had sorted out on the Therapy Plot, planting two different types of onions.  They’d been sat in bags, quietly going rotten for months, but Ian picked out the best ones and planted them.  Okay, some might not come up, but no worries;  -we can always plant something in their place.  We all agree that the main thing is to get stuff planted!

Jon soon arrived, and he dug over and pre-prepared a bed that will hopefully have parsnips in in the not too distant future.Pre-Prepared for Parsnips

This digging may look ‘rough’, but that’s exactly the way it’s meant to look.  We are no doubt due more than a couple more early morning frosts before Spring finally arrives, so digging this way will help the soil break down naturally.

I couldn’t help noticing that this, along with quite a few other beds, needs re-painting at some point in the near future.  Maybe a Saturday job for someone?

So once again, a quiet day down our Plots, but we still got loads done -probably because there were so few interruptions from visitors!

Tomorrow, the weather looks set to be even nicer than today.  The BBC weather service reckon the Sheffield 5 will have virtually unbroken sunshine all day.

We say:  Bring it on!

*Advertised as ‘One Coat’, we find this paint only gets to the right thickness and finish after five, possibly six coats, but there you go.  It’s fun to put on, though!

As promised. 14/05/11

Here’s a shot of ‘New David’s’ freshly painted ladders, Ladders painted and hung.hung up by Ian somewhere secret, safely out of sight from the road.

Once again, I arrived a little late, but was enthusiastically greeted by Ian, New David and Diane.Bike area clear.

Here you can see the new bike area that Diane finished off last night, minus ‘Unknown Plant’!

While David painted that bed Ian and I had moved and shortened yesterday, Diane carried on clearing out the top shed while Ian and I built some beanpoles ready for us to plant beans by later in the afternoon.Beanpoles ready for plants.

Just as we sat down to lunch, Sara arrived bringing her two girls, Lisa and Chloe with her, and they were a great help later on!

After lunch, Ian and I ‘micro-weeded’ the now ‘famous’ ‘Hospital Bed’ (…where all the small and sick and unloved plants come to either thrive…  …Or die).The 'Hospital Bed', weeded.

Here you can see it after our ‘TLC’, and we think its coming on pretty well.  In a few weeks, it’ll certainly be a riot of colour and greenery.

During an early tea break, I’d noticed Ian sat around from me with a box of watercolour paints and some really small brushes, but didn’t like to ask what he was doing at the far side of me.

Ian's art.It wasn’t ’til much later when he’d packed his stuff up and moved away that I saw this:-

I know I keep using the word ‘Awesome!’ to extreme, but this really should have that adjective added to it.

“Oh, it’ll probably just wash off…” he added nonchalantly.


Well, if it hasn’t by the morning, this is going to get a coat of clear varnish, pronto.  And kept out of the rain!

As all this was happening, Lisa and Chloe were helping David riddle some soil to put in the tops of the newly-moved carrot beds up by the entrance.Lisa and Chloe helping David riddle some soil.

As I walked past, Lisa proudly held up her hands, palms facing towards me;

“Look!!” she exclaimed.  “I’m diiiiuuuuurty!!

Bath-time tonight, I feel!

While Diane was clearing out the top shed, she found some ‘mini-mini-greenhouses’ that had been kindly gifted to us by a couple of well-wishers.Greenhouses for Pixies.

Greenhouses for elves.

One was still boxed and complete with instructions (…cheat-sheets!..), but the other was open with no instructions.  Well, this immediately set up a competition!  Ian, Diane and myself versus Pam and Gary.

Of course, we won -even without instructions, but here you can see Pam exclaiming that we cheated.  We hadn’t built ours properly because we’d forgotten the tie-wraps that hold the covering onto the frame.

Okay.  We’ll call it a draw!

This morning, I’d taken my trusty laptop to transfer some photos that Matt had taken of Kyle at his beekeeping course a few days ago (…I will do an entry for this, but I’m a little short of time at the moment!..), and as we were chatting, Gary mentioned that there is a new ‘Argos’ opened on Kilner Way not a million miles away from our plots.  We’d been talking about getting another collapsible gazebo or two for a while.  Those things are incredible (…Not quite ‘Awesome’, but not far off…), so using Diane’s mobile ‘Dongle’, I logged into their website and found that they still had these gazebos on offer -50% off, no less!  I quickly ‘reserved’ them and they texted me straight back with an order number to use in their shop when we collected them.New top bed painted.

Diane and I went down there to pick them up, and just got them in her car.

While we were away, David had carried on with his painting, and on our return was very keen to show me the bed he’d just finished.  While we were drinking a cup of tea, Sara brought our a ‘practice cake’ she’d made (…its Lisa’s birthday on Tuesday…).

Of course, we just had to try some.  Well, it would be rude not to, eh?

Again, the ‘A’ word springs to mind, but I’ll have to find some more superlatives before the next post.Little Lisa planting beans.

After the cake had been duly demolished (…well, it would have been bad form to leave any, right?  Right!!??…), Sara and the girls had to go, but not before we’d planted up the beanpoles Ian and I had put in earlier.

Here you can see Little Lisa, eagerly getting her hands dirty (…for about the twentieth time!..) as she carefully ‘sits’ the plants in their new home.

Let us pray...And here you can see two thirds of the committee, seemingly ‘At Prayer’ in front of the beans and bean-poles.

Actually, we’re not praying (…except possibly subconsciously for a good harvest?..), we’re just pausing to see our handiwork (…Cheers, Diane for this photo!..)

So, to sum it all up, the weather has stayed dry, though was a little cooler than of late, so we’ve watered everything in very well, and Ian also watered much more that was already in.

A good day had by all.  Good company, good work and good cake!

Hopefully more tomorrow evening, and no, I haven’t forgotten Matt’s photos of Kyle at his bee-keeping (“Bee-Buddies”) course.

I’ll correct any typos or idiot mistakes tomorrow…

And the sun shines on. 30/04/11

And on and on and on. (Though it will be getting a little cooler.)A little visitor.

I arrived a little late this morning, and was greeted by Diane, Derek and New David hard at work.

Diane was making tea (…Yay!..), but Derek was busy with our willow ‘arch’ leading from the ‘main’ top plots you can see from the road into the orchard.

We’d trimmed it back last year, but even though you could walk through it kind of safely, it was looking pretty overgrown on the top.  Large new branches had grown straight upwards, so Derek was cutting these back, of course saving the long cuttings, then using some green string, he ‘trained’ it back into an arch.Training the willow archway.

I think you’ll agree the new arch is much improved, and in the next couple of days, the foliage you can see that’s wilted will spring back to life.

The cuttings have been saved and will make excellent bean-poles for later in the year -more on them in a bit.

Meanwhile New David was busy with the paintbrush and our favourite paint, and we all later agreed, he really has taken to this like a duck to water.

Fully painted beds.Of course, this being LEAF we’re talking about, there’s always painting to be done, and David really enjoys it.

This photo here to right the shows that not only does he enjoy it, but he’s getting very good at it!

After carefully moving all the soil away from the inner surfaces the other day, he’s gone round the outside weeding, then wire-brushed all the outer to get the splatter from last Saturday’s downpour off then very carefully painted it.  Twice. He’ll be back on Wednesday afternoon to finish this off by moving all the soil back, giving it a light ‘furtle’ (…That’s a gardening term we kind of made up, but seems to fit…), then planting either onions or shallots, neither of which you can have too many of in our opinion.

Elsewhere, I planted up a bed of oca next to where Sara and the girls planted potatoes the other day.Six rows of oca.

The far-most row is white oca, then the next five rows are reds.

Of course, I forgot this evening, but tomorrow I’ll make sure these are well watered in.  They’re never going to be in full sunshine because of the trees on the road giving a nice and cool ‘dappled’ shadow effect, so they’ll hopefully never dry our if I forget to water them.Potatoes growing in the cross.

Further down in the Therapy Plot, I noticed these potatoes are about ready to be earthed up for the first time, and I guess they’re going to need a little water at the same time.  Since we had that massive storm a week ago, we’ve had no rain whatsoever, and looking on the forecast this evening, we’re not due any either.

Aah, yes.  I remember it well from last year -the long, late afternoons of trudging back and forth to the water butts then to the beds.  Of course, this is more than offset by the fun to be had when a couple of ‘boys’ (…Well, fully-grown men, actually…) get hold of a hose pipe in the heat of the afternoon sun!

New Sarah arrived just as we were finishing lunch and had brought with her a load of seeds that she said we could have if we planted them.

'Sara's Bed' with peas and broad beans.This was pretty fortuitous because Barry and Sairah had just finished emptying this bed of its gone-to-seed cabbages and broccoli.  So, Sarah and Diane worked their collective magic on here, adding a layer of our compost (..four barrow loads…), some chicken guano pellets and some seaweed mixture, gently working it in, then on the end nearest the camera, they planted two short rows of peas and at the far end, one row of broad beans.  When these come up in a few days time, aside from the frequent watering they’ll need (…Apparently, you can never give peas or beans too much water.  Within limits, of course…), we plan to get them well protected from the greedy pigeons and pop ‘slug traps’ down -old yoghurt pots with a little old beer in them sunk in the soil so the tops are level with the beds.  The slugs go for the beer (…obviously!..), then fall into what for them is a bath of beer, but can’t get out, so drown.

Now, there are two schools of thought about this method of slug-prevention.  One says that its very cruel to drown the slugs, the other says; “What the heck, its beer they’re drowning in!  Way to go!!”

I guess you make your own mind up.Chives in flower.

I couldn’t finish tonight without another shot of some of the chives, now coming into full flower.

I never tire of looking at these.

And of course, they’ll keep on flowering now for ages.  And of course, the bees love them.

So tomorrow, the weather looks like being excellent again, and a few of us ‘allotment-addicts’ will be down at The Plots for the now almost-customary (…I guess a month more and it will be fully customary…) ‘Sunday Brunch’ where we arrive for about 10.00am, do some work, then enjoy a late, fried brunch, all the while talking over plans for the future.

Of course, this being an allotment site, we never have a good gossip.

Perish the thought!

…But not far off.

Unfortunately, Ian couldn’t make it this afternoon, so I was all alone in my work and with him not being around, it was obviously only half-speed.Beds painted.

Still, I managed to get all the painting done.

This shot to the right shows the three top beds on the top-most plot.  The scabby one on the far left is coming out very soon.  You can’t see from this angle, but the wood is totally rotten, so as previously mentioned, we’re moving the bed from directly in front of the wooden shed to here.  We may have to shorten it somewhat to match the other two, but to a couple of ‘Pro-Bodgers’ like myself and Ian, this is no trouble.The top railway-sleeper bed.

On the left here we have the bed to the left of the crumbling one, and as you can see, its ‘properly’ made with new railway sleepers.  The word to watch here is ‘new’.  If you try to use old ones soaked in oil and goodness knows what, you’ll have a devil of a job with leeching into your precious soil.  If someone offers you railway sleepers to raise a bed with, ask politely if they’re unused!

So, these two beds are now fully painted with two coats of ‘One Coat Paint’ (!) and are ready to go.  They look ‘patchy’ because that second coat (…of the ‘one coat’ paint…) hadn’t dried when I took these photos.  Tomorrow, Sara is bringing her girls along and they will hopefully be planting potatoes in one of them, then there are plans for oca in one of the others.  The final one?  I’ll have to consult the ‘master map’ and let you know!

We plan to move that bed from in front of the wooden shed sooner rather than later.  This will give an excellent ‘exercise area’ on which to place the bikes when we’re charging the batteries.  Its on a slight upward slope, but this is ideal as the frames the bikes sit in raises the back wheel slightly.  If you’re on the flat, this has the slightly disconcerting effect of making you feel like you’re forever cycling downhill, but this slight slope will mean that you can point the bike ‘uphill’ towards the road (…and wave excitedly to the passers-by…), and you will in effect by pedaling on the flat.

I plan to ‘secrete’ quite a lot of the electronics near here*, so it’ll keep the cable runs nice and short.

So, today didn’t go quite as planned, but we’ve moved forward nonetheless, albeit more slowly than I’d have liked.

Tomorrow, I have a meeting to attend in the morning, but as soon as I’m able, I’ll be up at The Plots.

This time, I’ll be armed with a big fork.  And an attitude.

Strawberries in a path?  Not for very much longer!

More very soon…


*Note: I could tell you exactly where all the ‘electrickery’ is going to be housed, but as its so secret, I’d then have to kill you.  Sorry.

Bish Bash Bosh… 05/04/11

…and the job’s a good ‘un!

Precisely Ian and myself’s attitude today.  Decide what we’re going to do, do it, admire it, then leave.  No messing.

Tuesday is not normally a Plot day, and as Diane was feeling more than a little worn out, and anyway, today is meant to be her day off, we thought we’d go down there by ourselves and see what trouble we could get into. continue reading…

Gorillas on the loose. 03/04/11

This morning, Diane, Ian and I met for bang on ten down at The Plots.

We had agreed that this would be another ‘Gorilla Day’, meaning we were to plant up at Tesco’s up the road. continue reading…

‘Turbo-Pottering’. 02/04/11

*A bit like ‘Solo Pottering’ (…see yesterday’s example…), but with a whole host of others with you.  And you all get a lot more done in the process.

I haven’t checked the ‘register’, but I’m sure that today alone we must have had at least twenty willing volunteers through the gates. continue reading…

Beautiful sunshine. 31/03/11

Today it certainly was!  Maybe a little on the windy side out up by the road, but down on our Plots, almost wall-to-wall sun and much calmer.

We all arrived much at the same time, so once the kettle was on (…obviously!..), we decided on today’s jobs. continue reading…

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