Sunday, May 30, 2010

First Crop Of The Year.......

I don't understand all the fuss about asaparagus. Or all the waiting. I find you can crop it after just a couple of months....

On arriving at the plot this morning, I was assailed by the sight of a single, huge asparagus spear, slap in the middle of the plot.

It wasn't there on Thursday, but had since risen like some kind of scary, pre-historic creature.

No one has cultivated the ground here in 15 years, but this sleeping giant, awoken by rain and rotavator no doubt, appeared to be making up for lost time by auditioning for a part in a Tolkein movie.

Sadly the proud volunteer has gone to meet its maker......Right after meeting a chicken breast and some new potatoes.

A short but busy life.....

Flying Rats......

Pigeons to you maybe. Agents of Satan in my book.

I've never known them to scramble under netting, or inside tunnels before, but apparently the pigeons round here are more ruthless than their soft, southern, Kentish cousins, and have effected an escape from Alcatraz, in reverse... Sort of.

They breached my defences sometime in the last two days and have stripped half my cabbages.

I have improved the netting, and am considering resigning my job in order to mount a round-the-clock vigil.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wig Wam Bam....

.....But not a facial star or a flared lurex jumpsuit in sight.

Just beans... And buckets with holes in them.

I've sown my usual reliable Red Flame variety in the polytunnel, but being an impatient sort of soul, I bought a few plants at the local garden centre to be getting on with. (One man's impatience is another man's sequential sowing!) They are a mystery variety, being labelled "Streamline" on the pots, and "Enorma" on the plant labels.....Ho hum.

Given the cost of the manure & compost I bought from the site shop, the canes, and the plants themselves, these are going to be pampered and very expensive runners, but that's starting from scratch for you.

The soil needed improving though, and the buried bucket system is a tried and tested way of delivering water to the roots; so I'm confident that despite the dry ground they will do well.

And that I suppose is main the difference between me and The Sweet (though there are plenty I assure you.)

I have the rocks you see.... but not the glam.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Speculate To Accumulate....

I'm sure I can't be the only allotmenteer, who despite repeatedly swearing to do things on a tight budget, somehow keeps on aquiring more plot related stuff.

On the way from my friends' site to my own on Sunday, I passed a house with a hand written sign outside reading "Tool Sale". Cue the screeching of tyres as I pulled up in a cloud of smoking rubber, and rushed headlong up the garden path. (In every sense of the words).

I have a fork already... Well I have two actually, because the second one was a bargain. But still I managed to buy these beauties, eulogised by the sharp witted salesman, who was in his waistcoat and slippers, and scarely a day under ninety.

A really useful long handled number, so I can turn over my clay/rock/stones without bending my back, and a fabulous old, flat tined potato fork. For all the potatoes that won't grow in my soil... At only £5.00 each, who could resist!

If I only had a shed at the plot, the back of my car might stop looking like a tool sale in transit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

If I Could Turn Back Time....

The fact that Cher hasn't entirely managed it yet, despite all the surgery, does not discourage my stubborn pretence that I can cheat the clock, and that May is in fact still March. A ploy that has been made all the more convincing by the unseasonably cold weather we've been having.

Yesterday, it being the weekend closest to the 17th, I celebrated St. Patrick's Day by planting my first early potatoes. Before you snigger though, hands up who's plants got frost bitten this week? ..... Hah, not so crazy now am I!

I put in two rows of Rocket, and one each of Pentland Javelin and Maris Peer. And because even after rotovating, there is only about 5 inches of loose topsoil, I spaced the rows twice as far apart as normal, leaving more bare soil between them. What I lack in depth of trench I shall endeavour to make up in height of hillock.

The shockingly lumpy, hard stony looking ground is a pretty accurate impression of what it is like at the moment. I raked top layer off at the bottom of the plot to put out some cabbages, but there is no way to get a tilth fine enough for seed sowing, so I shall have to draw out rows for things like radishes & beetroots, and fill them with multipurpose compost to give them a start.

The cabbages are all the better for being (mostly) freeman's, from my friends The Polytunnel Pair, at another plot in town. I have Savoy, Red Something -they forgot the variety- and some makeweights from Focus DIY (other brands are available) helpfully labelled as " Cabbage".

Bigger, Better, Faster.........

Thus was the work of the alternative rotavator man, organised by Chairman Eric, our site supremo. A good soaking of rain, and beefier machine finally broke down the hard pan to something approaching a workable consistency. It's chunky, and clumpy, and sets off hard as soon your back is turned, but at least we can get something in the ground this year.

Alas the machine only penetrated about 4-6 inches, underneath which is still a hard, claggy layer that's going nowhere without a fight. It has also of course, chopped up all the root weed into a million exquisitely fine pieces, which will soon see me hoe-hoeing harder than a whole Santa Claus convention.

Nonethless...."The concrete and the clay beneath my feet begin to crumble..."

And whilst tomatoes most assuredly will die, love, apparently, will not.

And boy must I fucking love allotments to be persevering with this one!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Unmissable Offer....

By popular demand our Urtica Dioica plants are now available to the general public.....

No allotment, garden or small holding is complete with this classic hardy perennial.

Bare rooted stock available now, or alternatively, "in the green" any time soon. (Subject to to 15% handling charge)

Plentiful stocks - Guaranteed to be vigorous doers.

Ask about our generous bulk discounts!

Companion plants also available: Rumex Obtusifolius, Equisetum Arvense, Elytrigia Repens