Monday, 15 June 2015

Mini update - mainly for Joe

Seen as you pointed out I havent done an update for a long while...

Hopefully a proper update will arrive soon :-)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

December/January Update

I have done a few jobs at the allotment over the last few weeks but due to bad weather and time constraints I havent really kept track of them as well as I have done previously and consequently havent posted to this blog in a while.

Here is a quick summary of some of the things I have doing recently:

Back in December I did a couple of small jobs in the shed, the pictures below shows some flooring that I laid and as shelving/storage unit that was kicking around at home that I decided to fix to the wall

And I also chopped down some of the green manure and put it in the compost bins and then covered all the raised beds with actual manure

A few days after Christmas I purchased a large pile of old fencing from someone locally that I intend to use to fence of the new patio area in front of the shed and various other jobs. I dont have any pictures of that, and its not really all that exciting anyway, but its taken a fair bit of time to get it all carried down to the plot and I still need to do a couple more trips before its all finished.

The gales of early-mid January tore some of the roofing felt off the shed so I had to apply a temporary fix to that and will be coming back to do the job properly very soon. My Dad and I did intend on trying to sort it a few days ago but we'd also always planned on adding some extra supports to the underneath of the roof as the limited ones supplied with the shed were utterly pathetic and the entire roof was only held up by four screws.

Again, I havent really got much in the way of photos of any of this but here are some work in progress shots the extra roof supports being fitted (its my Dad in the pic, not me)

Here is a parting shot of the allotment just before I left it on Sunday

Jobs to be done in the coming few weeks include (but are not limited to):

  • Fix roofing felt on shed
  • Transport rest of fencing
  • Remove old plastic and level off uneven ground
  • Plant cherry tree and kiwi plant recently purchased from Wilkos
  • "Chit" my seed potatoes
  • Start sewing various other seeds
  • Acquire a few more paving slabs
  • Start building patio area (various bags of sand and cement will need to be purchased and transported for that one)
  • No doubt loads of other jobs as well but those are the ones I can think of at the moment :-)

Hopefully more regular updates to this blog will resume shortly, thanks for reading :-)


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Allotment Update - November

This is just a mini update really as I havent had a great deal of opportunities to get down to the allotment recently but I did make it down about two weeks ago to plant three apple trees that I picked up from Asda for £5 each

From left to right the trees in the middle picture are: Discovery,  James Grieve and Jonagold. I wasnt really spoilt for choice with what was available but at £5 a tree I couldnt turn them down, all the local garden centres seem to usually be more like £30 per tree.

The trees are planted quite close together as the plan is to put a fence of some kind behind them and grow them in an espalier style. To be perfectly honest I have pretty much no knowledge on how to do this so some frantic googling will probably need to happen next year so that I can learn a bit more about how to do this properly.

I also made it down to the allotment a few days ago to simply have a quick look around and to see how well the drainage trenches have been coping recently. The short answer is that they are coping well so far but they are starting to get very full and the rain still keeps coming

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Allotment Update - November 9th

When I arrived at the plot on sunday morning I was greeted by rather a lot of standing water in the drainage ditches that I have dug over the last few months and more worryingly the main ditch at the bottom of the site was also very full.

I think the digging of the ditches and the use of raised beds has been fairly vindicated in light of the amount of water seen above. Hopefully this will be as bad as the flooding ever gets but Im not very optimistic.

I was also down at the plot the previous weekend but I didnt have the time to take any pictures or blog about any updates as I was too busy building my new shed (with the assistance of my wife and my Dad)

This particular shed will be used as more of a potting/tea shed rather than for tool storage. My main goal for this particular day's work was to get it painted so that it was weather proofed, at some stage soon I also want to come back and brace up the internal supports for the roof as quite frankly the roof of this particular shed is utter crap. Luckily my Dad was on hand again to do a lot of the painting work as the local farmer had delivered me some manure (thanks to Percy, George and Roy for sorting that) but had dropped it off quite a few plots away so I had to shovel and wheel barrow it all to the right place.

And here is the manure in all its glory:

And my Dad working hard on painting:

By the end of the day the shed was fully painted, but it will probably need a second coat at some point soon, and the manure was all shifted so I then started work on tidying up the metal storage shed and this was the end result:

I also found some time to spread some manure over some of the beds and will probably cut down the green manure Im growing at the moment and spread those beds with it as well I think

Here is the shed finished and with a seat in it that Kirsty managed to pickup from a local facebook selling page

Rather a big update this time really as quite a lot has been done in the last couple of weeks. My future plans include, but are most certainly not limited to, the following:
  • Brace the shed roof to support it better
  • Paint the inside of the shed and install a potting table and other shelving and storage
  • Dig over the rest of the plot and start to install more raised beds
  • Buy and plant some apple trees
  • Start planning what Im growing next year and where it will all be going
  • Build patio area in front of the potting shed, including a couple of small raised beds that hopefully Mia (daughter) can play with over the coming years

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Allotment Update - October 19th

My primary focus for this sunday's session at the allotment was do some digging to help re-define a path between my allotment and the one further up the hill as none of the allotments around me have been worked for at least a year or so and the paths have just disappeared. Im hoping that the three surrounding allotments will all be given new owners next year so I wanted to get this bit of work done long before anyone new turns up so that there are no potential issues over the definition of it.

Here are the before pictures:

And here is the newly re-discovered path (set to the same width as all the other paths between the other allotments):

Admittedly not the most exciting bit of work Ive ever done but was still quite pleased with the outcome.

I had a bit of help from my Dad again and he was carrying on his work with fitting out the metal shed with some storage. Im not 100% sure what his plans are, and he has taken away some of the wood to chop up and build at home, but here are a couple of work in progress pictures:

Earlier on in the week I finished off building a couple of planters to go in front of this shed that will each have a blueberry bush in them. I managed to get them both in position but I ran out of ericaceous compost so I only got one of the blueberry bushes planted this time

My garlic and winter onions are starting to come through nicely now, they all have a few weeds coming through as well though so I'll have to take care of that in the near future

The green manure I have planted in several of the beds is looking quite impressive at the moment:

My potatoes are not looking so good though :-( 

Finally, the base I laid for the new shed has turned out pretty well and the shed is now on order and due for delivery at the end of October, right about the time of my birthday so its basically a birthday present to mysel :-)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Allotment Update - October 11th/12th

This weekend I decided I really had to get stuck in to getting all the paving slabs down to the plot and finally laying a nice solid base for my main shed to go on in a few weeks.

The first job was to actually get all the 600x600mm slabs wheelbarrowed from my back garden, I managed to get the last of these done on saturday evening and was pretty shattered after 6 trips with the bloody things (Im lead to believe they weigh over 40kgs each!). Here is how the stack of slabs looked on saturday morning, by this point Id also carried down 4 long bits of wood to make a frame to contain the slabs:

It may not look all that impressive but getting this stack in place at the plot was probably the single most tiring bit of work Id done here so far.

This is how the site looked before work commenced:

The next step was to screw the frame together, Id pre built some of it back at the house, and then to dig some holes for the posts:

Yet more wheelbarrowing ensued after this to bring down the following: 6 bags of sand, 2 bags of concrete and 2 bags of postcrete. I was getting very tired by this point and rather bored of the walk to and from my house, I was very keen to get it finished though so I pressed on.

All four corner posts fixed in with postcrete and starting to level the surface with sand:

I wasnt really taking too many pictures by this point, but its not the most exciting thing to photograph anyway. After the picture above I mixed in the cement and the laid and levelled each slab, I wasnt particularly bothered about doing the most amazing job ever as most of this is just going to sit underneath a shed. 

For the final step I brushed some ready mixed mortar that I had kicking around into the gaps between the slabs and the I watered the whole thing to hopefully let the dry mix of mortar that I had made underneath bond to the slabs and then start to harden. This probably isnt the correct way to do something like this but it seems to work for me and I thought that adding in the cement, rather than just simply using sand, should help with the longevity of the whole base and help to make it more rigid (particularly in damp conditions).

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Potato Problem - Looking for some advice please

I've never actually grown potatoes so if anyone out there can assist with my current issue then please comment below as it would be much appreciated. Basically, I spotted a bit of a problem last night with a couple of leaves not looking very healthy (it was raining heavily at the time so I didnt stay for long) and when I went back tonight for another look they seem to be in a much worse state. It has been suggested to me that it could be potato blight but I really dont have any idea what the looks like so if anyone can see from the photos below what the problem is, if indeed there is a problem, then please let me.