Monday, January 30, 2006

Day Seven

Bad News....the beans didn't make it! The rubbing of chins and "mmmm" sounds must have sounded the death-knell for the poor old beanies! We're going to make it into a seed bed now as the fleece will have warmed the soil. Poor old beans. :(

Karl dug up the last of the grass near the compost bins and I sat in the dried mud pulling all the bind weed out of the soil. Jenny joined us again but both her and Karl had errr... "alcohol-induced headaches!" so neither were really feeling particularly energetic! We smashed up the rest of the soil blocks and pulled out the worst of the bind weed, potatoes and onions. Found a couple of shallots lurking in the soil too!
Jenny placed composted wood chippings onto the garlic and Karl planted another strawberry plant ready to be moved to a bed which we're still working on. I started forking up the soil near the greenhouse and by the edge of the path to get out the bind weed and couch grass. Honestly... you wouldn't believe how much bind weed there is!! Arrghhh!!

We ended the day discussing the most enjoyable ways of killing slugs. Hot soapy water, beer traps, coffee and vinegar spray. Once I've tackled the bind weed I'll have these blighters to deal with next. Be prepared!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Day Six

Today we decided to get the path laid. We had prolonged it with the height of the soil being wrong and the lack of wood available but today was the day we decided to get the darn thing laid! Karl dug out the path a few inches deep which would allocate the wood chippings nicely. We only had a few planks of wood to work with so we had to get the depth right so that the chips would not overspill into the beds. I've taken "before and after" pics so that you can see how it all worked out.

(Here's that Rosemary that I mentioned last week. Got the picture in focus this time!)

Strawberry plant spread out everywhere!

Bargain at £1.49 a bag!

Garlic is definately growing....

The path is surprisingly soft and bouncy with the wheelbarrow. It's going to get flattened eventually but for the moment it's superb!

It has to be said that the past 2 weekends have been FREEZING!! Absolutely toe-numbinging-so!! We're pretty much leaving around 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays but it's well worth the time and effort as we can see the hard work progressing so well. Just wish Spring would kick in a bit early this year!! Not long until the clocks go forward! Yippee!!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Day Five

We got just ever so slightly muddy today - We moved some of the plastic sheeting from beside the greenhouse to the area where the compost bins are and Karl pushed two wheelbarrow loads of some suspicious black compost (??) to the allotment from the bottom of the hill. (Somebody has left some black, wood chipping, charcoal type compost at the bottom of the hill which nobody seems to know exactly what it is!!) We hope that it's good for the soil but it looks suspicious. Kinda looks like the remains from a bonfire?!! Anyways - we've nabbed some and stuck some onto the plastic by the compost bins until somebody can tell us what to do with it.

We dug the pathway out again to get the remaining weeds out and we are also shifting soil upwards towards the path so that the woodchippings have edges to lean against. I raked the soil out flat and Karl dug some small trenches for some deep planks to be moved into.
As usual - the day was over far too quickly and there's still lots to do.

Hopefully the weather will start to dry a bit as I did a fancy dance by nearly slipping over onto my arse on the wet plastic!! Plastic with mud is not the greatest combination on an allotment!!

Day Four

I don't know why I'm putting these entries in days as Karl has been up the allotment far more times this week than me! (The joys of flexi-time!)
We bought some wood chippings in the B&Q sale (£1.49 for 100 ltr) and we're now trying to get a path underway asap!! Garlic is sprouting nicely although I'm a bit concerned about frost and we're both looking a bit doubtful with the broad beans. No sign of life from under the fleece! Lots of rubbing of chins and worrying "mmmm" sounds whenever the word "bean" is mentioned! We'll see how it goes - fingers crossed!!

Garlic sprouting up by 2 inches....hopefully it will survive the rest of winter!

Jenny & Gwydion came to help out with the digging and removal of bind weed for the afternoon.

Broad bean under wraps...but is it warm enough?

Rhubarb!! It's already sprouting!!


(We also have a small bush of Rosemary but the photo came out blurrrred!) Just need some Parsley!!
"Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme....!" Simon & Garfunkel

Gwiddy digging for worms. The true gardening professional!

Jenny getting stuck in!

Spring onions by the path.

....another worm?....surely not Gwid!
Jenny with a deadly tool - a rake!!
(I say this as she managed to stick a large chunk of it into her hand which we had to pull out with tweezers!! Not a nice splinter!)

Karl & Worm hunter!

We laid down some twine to help us line out the path for our wood chippings.
(You can just about see it behind Gwydion)

As usual we worked until it was dark....beautiful sky over the surrounding houses and Roath lake.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Day Three


I didn't manage to go up the allotment on Saturday but apparently it was light until 5pm! Spring is definately on its way! Karl planted some broad beans yesterday and today we planted some garlic. They are seedlings from the Isle of Man which have already grown by a few weeks by a friend of Karl's who has an allotment in Splott. They smell very strongly of garlic even at an early stage of growth!
We planted them pretty close to 5pm so it was very dark by the time we had them in the ground - hence no photos.
The trick in planting them is to spread the roots as far as possible but keep them 6 inches apart from each other. Their little stems are just poking through the top!

Hopefully next weekend I will be able to finish off the patch of ground I'm digging and start some more beds for future planting. The ground has to be sorted out by the end of February.
Not sure where my sunflowers are going to go yet. Maybe by the greenhouse?

Before I forget - we're going to try and grow potatoes in old car tyres....
I found this article on the BBC website:

Question from Kathy Carter: my husband has accumulated loads of car tyres. I've successfully grown carrots and courgettes in them but potatoes were a disaster, the tyres become a breeding ground for pests galore. What did I do wrong?

Bob: I know some 'allotmenteers' who grow potatoes in car tyres. I recommend this method for people who don't have a garden but do have some space which they can fill some car tyres with compost and grow things in them, first cut the sides out of the tyres so that they no longer trap water.

There should be no problems with growing Maincrop potatoes in car tyres full of compost because they're just like plastic containers, but don't try and grow Earlies because it won't work using this method. Some of the modern, short horn potatoes don't respond well either, the old-fashioned varieties respond the best, such as the 'Up To Date' or the 'Navan'. Finally, if you're trying to get a massive crop of potatoes it's absolutely essential to water them in mid-summer.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Day Two

It's a bit slippy after a small shower of rain but we plodded on none-the-less. I tackled the part on the left whilst Karl moved his fork delicately around the rhubard area which you can just about see on the right. (brown foliage) We were going to plant some beans but with the rain it seemed a bit too wet. Plenty of weeds and worms to dig up anyway! Karl also dug up a beetroot that had been sat in the ground and we also found some spring onions!
I, on the other hand, dug up enough potatoes to make a chip shop blush! Tons of them!!

After a couple of hours we had a some beer but with it being soooo cold we had to drink it quickly before our fingers froze! Perhaps we should have the beer in the summer time and stick to cup-a-soup for the winter!! (The two tyres in the centre of the image are the basis for a pathway which we hope to get wood chips for as well.)

"I have a fork and I know how to use it!"

We're hoping to plant the beans next weekend as there is predicted rain on Tuesday but dry weather in the week up to 11°C. Fingers crossed for the weekend!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Day One

You can't start an allotment without a striking pair of wellies so here I am with the best of British gardening attire! Ta-Daaaa!

Digging commences on the 7th Jan 2006 with my absolute favourite grub in the garden - WORMS!!!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Starting to dig...

This blog has been set-up as a development page for Karl's fabulous allotment! I've decided to take my camera each day to record all the digging, planting and growing throughout the year. (and of course for fun purposes too!) We're starting in January by digging up the weeds and grass that has flourished over the autumn and we are also planning to build some raised beds! I'm hoping that each day will reveal something new and exciting!