Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book signing by Kay Sexton

Earlier in the month I met Kay Sexton, writer of Minding my Peas and Carrots, in one of my favourite shops, White Stuff. She was there to promote her new book with a signing and to demonstrate some fantastic ways to use White Stuff paper bags as part of your harvesting and gardening. We chatted for a good 90 minutes about allotments and she was kind enough to give me some of her own seeds as well. (Wild Garlic and Dill)

I haven't finished reading the book yet but it's all about Kay's allotment experiences which have left me nodding and laughing from page to page. She also adds in recipes between chapters that go beyond most kitchen garden recipe books into practical and tasty dishes that are easy to make from your produce. 

I enjoyed the first few pages so much that I also had a book signed for Karl now that he has a plot over in Pontcanna (west side of Cardiff). 

With special thanks to Kay for signing my book and for the wonderful chat we had about our 'other halves' not understanding why our veggies don't look the same as in the supermarket! 

Sausage-shaped pumpkins indeed! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Allotment Plan 2014

It's coming up for planting season so I've put together a brand-spanking new allotment plan for 2014. I'm not entirely convinced that I'll get everything planted in this drawing (strawberries are looking unlikely due to the perennial weeds creeping up) but it's a rough guide for this year. 

Due to Spring being more punctual this year I managed to get 50 broad bean seeds sown of the Witkiem variety in the new large bed. I don't think I have planted this many broad beans before so it will be an experiment. I've also got Sarpo Mira spuds again as they were pretty good in 2012 and had a lovely flavour (plus they're not prone to blight). They are currently 'chitting' by the lounge window at home. 

I've also got 3 varieties of courgette as they always seem to do so well. I've got ball, yellow and regular courgette seeds. I've also got butternut squash seeds that need to be planted so I'll be sticking those in wherever they will fit. They tend to sprawl anyway so I'm happy for them to do that.  I haven't decided on the mange tout or other beans seeds yet but I have some leftovers from last year so I'll probably finish those off. 

I've also gone for a new logo for The Dig Issue - a rather playful typeface called Festivo that reflects my chaotic gardening style! I've also used the typeface for my new plan below. 

Allotment Plan 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hello 2014!

Happy New Year from The Dig Issue!

This is my 9th year of allotment gardening and this blog has served as a great reminder of what has, and hasn't, been achieved in that time. I'm still no expert gardener, I haven't won the war against weeds (or slugs!), I've never managed to grow a cauliflower and I've never owned an Alan Titchmarsh calendar. I am an eager and experienced, catastrophic gardener!

I started 2013 on a positive note but soon realised that I actually needed a year off to get the beds, weeds, paths and grass sorted. The strawberry bed had sunk too low after having new beds assembled on the plot and I needed to establish a proper home for the fruit trees. Plus the plot was overrun with rotting wood and grass so I decided that everything just needed an extra spring clean. I got fruits and beans last year but that was it.

This year I have started early and decided to get the allotment ready for spring way before spring arrives. By a happy coincidence of events, the good folks at evergreenwales.com have been back on the scene and helped me by putting the extra set of beds on the other side of the allotment. They have even built me new compost bins! The rotten wood has been cleared and I'm thrilled with the results. New beds just waiting for planting! I need to turn over the beds that were built in 2012 but usually that's a pretty easy job. I'm going to put down a new chippings path and then I only have the grass on the paths either side to worry about. (Hopefully!!)

Karl is coming over in the next couple of weeks to grab a rhubarb crown (hopefully before they sprout!) and I'll start to level out the other beds at the same time. I think the strawberries need to move now, it's been about 3 years now so they need a new home. Time to work out a new planting plan!

Pictures below show the newly cleared areas. I might even try and grow in some pots near the front seeing as there is some extra space there.