Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday 29 January - The Master Plan

No work on Plot 21 today but here's the plan:

Saturday 29 January - At Last...

We arrived on site just after 10am to find the sun shining and a hard frost making the earth heavy to dig.

The Spouses had been reading the Greenhouse instructions and were confident that they could finish construction work in one day. I could hoe one legged and although Mel's shoulder prevented her from hoeing, she could still dig.
We finally had a plan of the four crop rotation beds marked out with where all the seeds were supposed to go which meant we might do some planting at last.

Within minutes the Spouses were swearing and Mel put her back out. As my one legged hoeing was working well, I carried on clearing what will become the legumes bed while Mel (who could kneel down but not much else) started planting the Longor Shallots and Solent Wight garlic in the already cleared 'onions & roots' bed. As our soil is a little heavy, she added sand to each planting hole which according to our book, the garlic prefers.
Driving home at lunchtime we spotted an ivy clad old wheelbarrow poking out of a skip. After years of watching smug Londoners furnishing their homes with designer skip finds on tv shows we have now furnished Polt 21 with our very own skip wheelbarrow complete with shredded tyre. Hopefully one of the Spouses will fix that post Greenhouse.
Mel finished planting the onions at the same time that I finished the legumes bed and so carried on planting the Aquadulce broad beans. These were supposed to be planted in November so it will be interesting to see how they do.
Meanwhile the Greenhouse was looking really good no thanks to the instruction booklet. The Spouses were finally fitting glass on to the roof and we lit our first allotment fire with the greenhouse packaging as the sun went down. The plot is really taking shape now and the four of us headed off to the pub feeling really happy and very crippled.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thursday 26 January - Courgette Reiki

Clare has promised me that there is some genuine research proving that reiki makes plants grow bigger. Today I brought a courgette into work for her to to practice on and some photos of giant marrows to inspire her. Our marrow is to be called Simon. Please note that Clare keeps the most enormous pink crystal on her desk. Apparently, crystals and 'protective pyramids' will also contribute to Simon's development along with potash. My ultimate secret weapon however is Charles and his biodynamic seed planting techniques, more of which later...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday 22 January - Greenhouse day

Too much Butty Bach ale last night had somewhat dampened the Spouses usually cheery demeanors however they had promised to get our greenhouse erected today and even though it was foggy and cold, they both turned out. Tools at the ready, they fought their way through the instruction booklet, called each other 'mate' a lot and blamed the booklet when they discovered that it was all bolted together back to front. Luckily they were able to dismantle it a lot faster than erecting it and the black plastic weed suppressor came in handy as a temporary cover until next weekend.

Mel and I painted the shed green and think it now looks rather fetching.

Saturday Night - Marrow Wars

I put what Mel did next down to the beer. We had called in the Barrels for a few drinks where we ran into Mark and Tim, a couple of old friends who have their own allotment on a different site. After only a few minutes vegetable talk, Mel threw down the gauntlet and we are now locked in battle to produce:

1. The biggest marrow
2. The longest runner bean
3. The tightest cabbage

My 'Allotment Gardeners Handbook' will become our bible over the next few months. I am ordering some giant marrow seeds and arranging for Clare at work to give the plants reiki.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday 21 January - Shed Erection

Today got off to a slow start with sheds being moved from various locations however with a little help from Lard (on the left of the picture) we now have a shed of our own on site. All three blokes grumbled and moaned a lot but secretly I think they all enjoyed themselves. Nick is turning into Alan Titchmarsh which is rather a worry, he keeps telling us about soil structure and worms. This from a man who has never willingly done any gardening in his life.

Mel & I are looking forward to tomorrow when the greenhouse will go up and we can cover some of the beds with weed suppressing plastic. Nick spotted some daffodils poking up at the front of the plot and we also have some garlic and rhubarb thanks to the previous holder.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Saturday 14 January - An Allotment Injury

The Greenhouse has arrived and Lard has donated his old shed on condition we dismantle it and help him construct his new one, The sun is shining and...
I have 'gone over' on my knee probably when digging as my boss gleefully pointed out with a few hints about not being as young as I think I am! The Doctor proscribed 48 hours of total rest keeping it elevated and ice-packed followed by two weeks of 'being careful'. Mel has a painful arm, Nick broke his elbow in September (falling off a mountain bike up a mountain) and Steve has tennis elbow. This is the closest I have come to vegetables this week.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sunday 8 January - Who stole the rug?

We turned up this morning to find that someone had swiped our rug!

On the bright side - note that the second bed is now weed free

Saturday 7 January 2006

'Allotment Gardening' says that you should cover bare earth with old carpet to prevent weeds from re-growing. Several of the other allotments holders have obviously read the same book as many of them have covered their bare parts with strips of old carpet. We had an old rug that the cats had thrown up on for years and and duly laid it over the soil, weighing it down with some bricks before starting on the second bed.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Later that day

Just as the pubs opened, the Spouses appeared on the allotment horizon and with very little persuasion we joined them for lunch. Happily imbued with beer they then agreed that to purchase a greenhouse as well as a shed for our plot was a good idea.

January 2 2006

A summer drink at the Abergavenny Food Fair and a chat about growing veg has somehow turned into Mel & I taking on allotment No 21 just before Christmas 2005. We will do most of the digging and planting while our Spouses are in charge of cooking the produce and constructing the shed.

January 2 was our first chance to get up there and start weeding. Using cardboard boxes for paths (a tip from Allotment Gardening by Susan Berger) we weeded and forked our way through the first bed.