Friday, February 29, 2008

This week I will mostly be filling my compost bin...

I've been meaning to get one of these compost caddies for ages but living in a shared house brings issues when you tell your flat mates that you have the desire keep your peelings!
Well - bugger em. I'm keeping my crap and I'm going to make nice rotten goo-ey stuff with it!
Dave got his from Lakeland Limited (the tall green one) for £5. It comes with a filter and a very tight finger slotting system on the handle. My hands fit perfectly but my hands are pretty small tho!

The second caddy is a short, fat one that has a clip lid. It's not too exciting and it's the same type that (if you're lucky enough) your council will deliver for you. Cardiff council is not particularly good at 'environmental' issues so we get nowt. The short caddy costs £3.99 from B&Q.

By the way - many thanks for all your posts about the slug plan! We did sit down in the pub and discuss it. Dave thought that the slugs would go round it. (Are they really that clever?) Karl thought that the cider would be better off in small deep pots rather than guttering as they'll be attracted to the cider anyway and the deeper pots means that they will drown. Only time will tell...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Slug-death Plan

Due to 2007's appalling and pretty much non-existent summer I suspect that slugs on our plot may be more of a challenge than previous years. After all - they've had lots of muddy water to writhe around on and populate like crazy so I need a plan to reduce their numbers significantly.
By the way, if you're interested in how slugs get jiggy with it then this video may be of interest. From the BBC Life in the Undergrowth documentary with David Attenborough.
Right then....this is ze plan.
We have a nice planked up area where we keep the compost bin and chippings which is raised up from the allotment ground. Over the years we have noticed that slugs tend to be the most vicious and pretty much anything planted there gets munch up and slimed over. Yuk! (They must be breeding here)
So, I'm planning on digging a trench with some guttering which I will seal at both ends. I will put some cider in here (Welsh slugs love a bit of 'Bow) but I'll go with Sainsbury's cheapo stuff. Then I'll place a path of chippings next to the first bed so that even if the cider doesn't get them - they'll have dry chippings to contend with. Ah-ha!
I'll top this off with a plank of something that will stop the rain washing away the cider.
Fingers crossed it will work!!

The greenhouse is warm?

I decided to throw myself into the lotty again this weekend and to get it looking like a place where vegetables might in fact grow! At the moment it's trying to look like a football pitch with all the grass growing over it so I think a few hours of work should get it looking good again. I started digging a rather ridiculously grassy part where the onions were last year and got half of that bed done on Saturday. (Finished it on Sunday).
I went up on Sunday and saw Dave there, I had my drill with me so we both had a go at fixing the missing panes on the greenhouse. We had about 4 massive gaps where wind/rodents/rain etc was getting in so we patched up those areas. You can tell it's sealed as the greenhouse is....warm! It's incredible!
I'm afraid to say that we fixed most of the greenhouse with wire but it does work!! I drilled around the panes and tied them up with wire using the metal supports.
Karl dug up the weeds surrounding the pathway and dug over the runner bean patch from last year. I started on the brassica patch by the woodchips and where slugs may be nesting. I have a cider-death plan for March to kill off the blighters!
The lotty is really starting to look great and if we don't have a soggy summer, we should have a good year. I'm a tiddly bit excited!!

No holes...

Yes, I know it's wire but the greenhouse is old and we don't really know how to fix it properly. We're improvising!

You can tell it gets very windy here as one side of the greenhouse is glass and the other side is purely poly! A few smashed panes there from falling clutter!
2 dug patches
After mending the greenhouse, cleaning the greenhouse, digging 2 patches and filling 3 garden bags of weeds it was time for a the wheelbarrow!

Pleasing to see the path again!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Time to clean up the greenhouse - it's been thrown around over winter!

Unfortunately we have a few massive panes of glass / poly missing which encourages the wind to have a mini tornado in our greenhouse / shed over the winter months. Time for a quick clean up and to brush all the tools down.
The plot is looking a bit sorry for itself and the grass has decided to creep over the edges onto our beds which is going to be annoying to remove. The second compost bin needs to be built urgently as our primary one is rather full and we cannot access the lovely rotten stuff at the bottom. The metal compost bin that blew over last year will have to be rebuilt at some point. Dave's made a cracking start on the mare's tail that has taken over the rear of the plot but hopefully that will all be sorted soon and we can possibly put some strawberries in there? Just a few days of hard work should do the trick! :)

A bit grassy...
Grass has creeped over the trenches
Compost bin No 2 needs to be put in here somewhere.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I would like to grow...

I've been having a think...kinda difficult as I have a miserable cold (again!!) but never-the-less a thought about veggies.
What would I like to grow?
Well...we have already discussed in the Albany over a few glasses of port what we can grow but in the back of my mind I know what I'd like to try out.
1) Mange Tout (absolutely got to try this - so long as I am ready to prevent bird-attacks!)
2) Leeks (Infected last year so I want to try again)
3) Herbs (Kitchen window or small towering pots - either will do)
4) Peppers (I have the seeds so this will be a new challenge!)
5) Aubergine (I'm determined to have more than one this year!)
6) Cherry Tomatoes (They were a disaster last year)

In fact - last year was just rubbish in general as it just rained solidly from April until September so I can't really beat myself up over a few vegetable disasters. The UK is just crap at good weather!!
Hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) we'll have a decent plot this year with lots of new veg to try.

NOTE TO SELF: We very rarely need to plant as many runner beans as we did last year. (and the year before!)