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


Sign of the times

The hard work has been continuing on my new plot, the good news is that I have managed to finish the first six beds and have been able to plant them up, I have winter cabbage, leeks, Cavelo Nero Kale and Swiss chard.
I managed to get all of the dreaded plastic up from this entire section, I then laid cardboard on the paths and topped off with wood chip. On the beds themselves I made netted covers from blue water pipe and scaffold netting.

The progress of this first section

The next section I tackled was part of the back section, again I laid the trusty cardboard with a layer of wood chip.

In the fruit cage, I have planted some blackcurrants, and I have also planted something a little more unusual a honey berry, which produces elongated blue fruits and a Chilean guava, which produces small round red berries which are supposed to have a sweet sherbety taste. I thought I would have a go at growing something which was not readily available in the shops, we will see how I get on with them.
The next step will be to attach the netting to the cage.

I have also made the number sign for my plot, as it didn’t have one. For this I purchased two flat wood blanks in the shape of an apple and a pumpkin, painted them and added the numbers, before sealing them with varnish, ready for attaching to the gate, and hey presto, my plot has it’s name.

Carrying on with the homemade theme, Ali, the lady who had the plot before me had a flag on a flagpole, so I decided to make a flag to adorn the flagpole. I bought a plain flag and used fabric paint to decorate it, we will see how it holds up to the weather.

Silly, but I like it!

So there we have it, the progress made so far and some decorative touches. I will leave you with some action shots of Ruby as we all know she is the one who does all the work on the allotment!

Toodle pip for now

Welcome back to the jungle

Well goodness me, it is a long time since I last posted. The world pretty much stood still for a while as we were all confined to our homes. Allotment visits were allowed during lockdown but I was working from home so still only managed to get down of a weekend.

I didn’t have a huge amount of luck with my crops, as almost everything I planted, was decimated by hungry wildlife, courgettes, gone! Sweet corn, gone! The munchkin pumpkins I had so much success with last year, I think you get the idea.

I was however ok with my peas, I was able to get a good few harvests from those and they were delicious, so sweet! My shallots did well also and I was able to get a good harvest of those.

But, I also have some other news. Back to the title of this post, I now have a new plot, I swapped my half plot with a lovely lady called Ali, the paperwork was completed at the beginning of this week and I am now the proud tenant of a full plot.

It is very large, and there is lots of work to do on it, but it has huge potential. The photos below, show only a portion of the plot, as it actually extends beyond the greenhouse!

Ali, the lady I swapped with, very kindly cut down the weeds at the front for me before the big move. And Jan, the site secretary, enlisted the help of Brushcutter Dave and tackled the back section, which was six foot high with brambles and nettles.

I started bringing my things down from the old plot on Saturday with the help of Mr Inker, which gave me the opportunity to have a good old mooch at what was there.

I have a good size shed, a greenhouse, a patio, a cold frame, a huge water tank at the back of the shed, a pond, two massive clumps of rhubarb and a vast amount of strawberries.

First things first, I needed to make a plan. Unfortunately, the whole front of the plot is covered in clear plastic under about six inches of soil, even under the raised beds. The thought of removing it was daunting to say the least, so my plan of action is to tackle one bed at time, so I have somewhere to get planting and then when they are done I will do the paths bit by bit so that I am not overwhelmed.

I made a start on the first bed today, I took out some of the soil at the end of the bed and cut and peeled away the plastic, removing weed roots as I went, I then popped some cardboard down and moved soil from the next part to cover the gap, again removing weed roots as I went, I continued in this fashion until I reached the end of the bed and finally tipped in the first lot of soil I had removed.

So there we have it, exciting news. Ruby loves the new plot, there was lots of new sniffs for her to explore and I leave you with a bonus photo of Ruby having a shampoo and set after working hard on the allotment.

until next time, toddle pip.

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

Winter wonderland

Winter is now here, nipping at my fingers as I tend to my allotment. I have a huge amount of tidying up to do, there are a few things still growing, my perennial bed is doing extremely well and I have been harvesting my leeks, some of which went in my turkey soup over Christmas (it tasted awesome by the way!)

A couple of weeks ago, I went up to my plot after a heavy frost and it looked so pretty.

The birds were happy as I filled the feeders for them,I have a variety of birds that come to visit, from the shy blue tits and coal tits to the super friendly robins that watch me keenly.

An inquisitive squirrel also came to visit and was pleased to discover the seeds on the feeder, so sat quite contentedly and ate his fill, Ruby was intrigued with his strange looking bird!

Christmas was a lovely time over a Sleepy Cottage, I was thoroughly spoilt by Mr Inked who gave me some incredible gifts, including some lovely gardening items. I love Christmas, the tree, the lights, the cosiness of curling up in front of the fire with a cup of tea listening to the wind and rain outside.

My tree this year has a vintage/frosty winter berry theme, with vintage onion baubles from the fifties, handmade baubles that I crocheted myself, little robins, icicles, berries, twigs and candle fairy lights, I even crocheted a little scarf for the stag ornament on the mantelpiece!

Ruby is exhausted with all the Christmas excitement

I hope your Yuletide was merry and bright and you had a wonderful time.

Toodle pip

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.

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!

…………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