Spring is sprung

Spring is sprung, the grass is rizz, I wonder where the birdies is!

That silly little rhyme always reminds me of my Dad, he always used to say it to us when we were children, and I still say it to myself when I see the first bursts of spring.

lots of things are now bursting into life on the plot and it is all looking glorious.

a few weeks ago I gave the rhubarb a top dressing of horse manure and it absolutely loved it.

the daffodils I planted in the autumn are now flowering, the tulips are up but the flowers haven’t appeared yet.

The bushes in the fruit cage are starting to come to life so hopefully I will have a decent crop this summer.

I was able to harvest some goodies for our Easter Sunday lunch, some cavelo nero, a small spring cabbage and a few leeks, with a hefty amount of rhubarb to make a crimble crumble for afters.

I made my first crumble of the year a couple of weeks ago and it went down a treat, so I do see a lot more on the horizon. I used a touch of cinnamon in the crumble topping and it was really lovely.

I will leave you with a couple of pictures of the plot coming to life.

until next time chaps, Toodle pip from Ruby and I

Muck Glorious Muck

You know you are an allotmenteer, when you get incredibly excited by a delivery of manure.
I got a call from Jan, my allotment secretary saying there had been a delivery of manure and did I want some?……..er, yes please!
With some trepidation, I took Ruby to the plot with me. I had visions of her rolling around in the pile and coming home smelling of Eau de poo, but she was incredibly well behaved, after a couple of cursory sniffs, she left it alone.

I was able to give two of the beds a lovely thick mulch of this glorious stuff.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find no damage at all to the plot, as the UK has recently been battered by two storms, Storm Ciara followed a week later by Storm Dennis, I was thoroughly expecting to find my arches had been blown away, but no, there they were still standing proud!

I was also thrilled to see signs of life bursting through, the broad beans, garlic, elephant garlic and shallots I had planted earlier in the winter were doing splendidly.

The various bulbs I have planted around the plot were also bursting into life and it won’t be long before I have another dazzling display of tulips and daffodils and I can’t wait.

Everything is also springing to life in the teeny tiny garden at Sleepy Cottage.

until next time, Toodle pip

Garden bargains galore

The growing season is well underway and I have had some successes and some spectacular failures, including my sweetpeas which in fact turned out to be just peas, and the courgettes that just failed to grow.

I also paid a visit to Poundland and got some great garden bargains, some practical but mostly decorative items, but as I have mentioned before, I want my plot to be an attractive space as well as a productive one.

I was super pleased with my haul, especially when everything is just a pound each, apart from the milk churn, but even that was a bargain!

The flowers and wildlife are rife on the plot at the moment, and I love seeing the beautiful colours dotted here and there.

One of my little projects was to utilise a large roof slate that I had been gifted, so I used my acrylic paint pens and made an apt sign for the plot

And finally before I bid you toodle pip, I will leave you with the results of wearing my sandals to the plot. Please try to tear your eyes away from my funny little toes (I was born with them like that) and behold the glory of my bad tan! spectacular isn’t it?

Until next time, toodle pip for now.

The growing season begins

I have planted out most of the things I have planned to grow this year, a few bits are still being nurtured in the greenhouse at home such as some of the munchkin pumpkins that were planted later.

Some things are thriving and some seem to be struggling a bit, but as this is my first growing season as a beginner allotmenteer, I’m not going to worry if things fail, it will be a learning curve for me.

When I see pictures of my plot of when I first got the keys compared to how it looks now, I can really see just how far I have actually come with it. On those days when I think it looks messy because a whole host of new marestail or bindweed has sprung up, or another of my plants has been munched; I look at the comparison photos and I don’t feel quite so bad.

One of the things I love about my plot is that is such a peaceful place to be. My plot is at the top of the lane, away from the road and backing on to the woods, so all you can hear is birdsong. I have a little regular visitor in a robin, who comes to see me every time I am at the plot, he watches carefully to see whether I put some seed on the feeders or whether I will be doing any digging to expose some nice juicy fat worms for his dinner, he really is adorable. There is also a Buzzard who lives on Bidston Hill and I watch it flying over the plot, it really is a magnificent sight to see. I also encountered a frog when trying to sort the weeds at the back of the plot, he was a cute little fellow.

Sometimes, I just like to bask in the sun and do a spot of crochet and not worry about the weeds.

Before I say toodle pip once more I will leave you with some more pictures of the flowers and wildlife that inhabit 38B.

The fruit cage arises

Just in front of the compost bin I made, there was a large space. It was just filled with couch grass and surrounded by small trees that had been planted before I arrived. Mostly Hazel I think, but I discovered a cherry tree and an apple too (wahoo!).

I decided this would be an ideal space for fruit, so I duly cleared it bit by bit and planted raspberries (Yellow and red Autumn fruiting), blackcurrants and yellow and red gooseberries.

Now all these delicious fruits will be just too tempting for the birds and I want to be able to eat what I grow. A friend of Mr Inker said he would build me a fruit cage to protect the precious berries. so one weekend he came along and set to work.

Doesn’t it look amazing? All I need to do now it cover it with net and we’re good to go!

I have been busy myself with lots of planting, and of course weeding. The site is unfortunately riddled with marestail, so it is a constant battle with it as this stuff has been around since prehistoric times.

In my perennial bed, I have planted Babington leeks, Perennial leeks and perennial nine star broccoli. Now it is called broccoli but it is a sort of cross between a cauliflower and a sprouting broccoli in the fact that it produces a small head of cauliflower and numerous smaller florets. Let’s see how I get on with this.

I also planted out lots of other goodies that had been nurtured in my small half greenhouse at home.

Alongside the middle arch I planted some climbing French beans and some borlotti beans. The maypole, I planted with sugar snap peas, which will hopefully scramble up and create a green wigwam.

It was also a momentous occasion for me as I made my first harvest. I was able to pick some of the broad beans that had overwintered and a couple of leeks, the leeks were only small but delicious nonetheless.

Before I say toodle pip, I will leave you with a bee bum.

Motorshed……Place of spades

Over the winter, I discovered a distressing fact. My little allotment shed had a leak in the roof. Ruby and I were sheltering from a particularly heavy downpour, when I noticed a constant drip, drip, drip coming from the corner of the ceiling……disaster.

Luckily a friend of Mr Inker’s was able to fix this for me, but it gave us the push we needed to fix the outside. It was covered in roof felt, but this was starting to become patchy in places and it was only a matter of time before I had leaks coming from the sides too.

Again, I had been gifted some fencing panels from one of the chaps on the site. It was one of those ‘ooh yes. I’ll take them, they will come in useful at some point’ moments, and this was the useful point. Mr Inker spent a weekend up at the plot with me and used the panels to clad the shed for me, and my goodness, what a difference it made!

Before………….
…………and after

Ok, so it is patchy in places and we had to leave a gap for the bar to go across the door, but I love the rustic look of it and it is a bazillion times better than it was previously, it makes me think of ‘Little house on the Prairie’. I had crocheted lots of bunting that I had hung around the plot and I popped some up on the overhang of the shed to finish it off.

I have put many decorative touches around my allotment as I want it to be an attractive space as well as a productive one.

Bird house and crochet bunting
Sweetpea towers, with a Rose at the end of the path
The cottage garden starting to look prettier
Crocheted blanket over the chair
The sprout house

Already I have come so far on my plot, from the weed filled space it once was to what it is now. There is still tonnes to do, but I have many years to keep pottering along with it.

Here are some pictures of some of the spaces where the biggest changes have taken place.

Brassica bed and arches

And in honour of my new look shed, I treated myself to an allotment T-shirt

Dig for Victory

The next stage of the transformation of the plot was a whole lot of digging. Mr Inker had already made a start for me at the side of the shed, so our next job was to dig out the paths I had marked out. Baring in mind that the Summer of 2018 was on par with the Summer of 1976, this was no mean feat.

Ruby inspecting our workmanship

my plan was that these beds would be edged with scaffolding boards and the paths would be covered with woodchip as we have that delivered to the site, but I knew it would be a while before that happened.

We started to dig the beds over, the plot was covered in a lot of couch grass so we had to make sure we got the roots out as we were digging.

Ruby working hard again……she just never stops!

Everything was starting to come together now and i could see my vision on what the plot should look like come to life.

I also had a sign made for the gate of my plot, it had now arrived in the post so I popped it up on the gate.

I now felt that my plot was officially named!

Next stop was doing something with the shed. I knew I wanted somewhere nice and cosy to sit to shelter from the sun during the long hot summers of years to come………..who was I kidding, it was to shelter from the rain we would undoubtedly have.

The shed was a typical allotment shed, made from bits and pieces that had been gathered, unfortunately most of it was made from chipboard, hence why it was covered in roof felting, not very attractive but serviceable for now.

I started with the inside by painting it in a light colour to brighten it up; it already had a table in there, which I was able to put my camping stove and kettle on for those all important cups of tea that I would inevitably quaff on a regular basis. I brought a little cabinet to store the cups and other bits and bobs out of the way and started to put up little metal signs and other decorative items to really girlify it.

I now had somewhere nice and dry to sit when the winter started to set in, totally unnecessary, but it would be a place I would enjoy being in.