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Evening all.  I’ve spoken about the ‘other’ plot, which is nearest to us.  We took ownership of it back in late May last year, so this will be our first ‘proper’ year with this new plot.  We did a fair bit of clearing last year, and grew leeks and potatoes there.  We haven’t been there since the autumn.  Fortunately, the part we had cleared isn’t so bad, but there are still a few brambles which will need to be removed over the coming days.  Now the clocks have gone forward we have time after work to do these things! …it’s 7:40pm and it’s only just getting dark.

Taken some video footage on the phone again, so you can get a good idea of the site.  Apologies again for the crap quality – please turn the volume down a wee bit because there may be wind noise from the microphone!

 

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Today I’ve managed to finish getting all the first early potatoes planted.  I didn’t spend forever like last year getting the soil prepared, as it’s counter productive.  Instead, I get it reasonable and will rely on regular use of the hoe to kill all the weeds when they try to break through.

Preparing the ground

Preparing the ground

If you look just above our plot in the photo above, you’ll note that our neighbours have neglected their plot.  Their shed disappeared over the winter, so we think they have abandoned their plot – shame as they left loads of good food go to waste.  I’m going to relocate their rhubarb over to our plot.  Unfortunately, unless someone takes it over soon, it’s going to be a haven for all sorts of weeds which we will have to fight back.

We had a load of onion sets from last year.  Some of them look dodgy, but we shall see – we planted all of them.  We don’t like waste, so we’ll see what happens here before going out a buying a load more.

The partridges are still on the rampage around our site, although I have only spotted a couple today – this is down from 6 last weekend.  I’ve put fleece over all the onion sets to stop the little devils going to town on the onion shoots when they start to (hopefully) come through!

 

Onion sets under fleece

Onion sets under fleece

We must have left some of our garlic from last year in the ground over the winter, as they have starting coming through!  We seem to have loads of them.  I have attempted to thin them out, and I have also broken a couple of them up into individual segments, and then planted these.  This will be interesting to see how well these do.

 

Garlic

Garlic

Video anyone?

We haven’t tried this before on the bog, but I’ve taken some video footage on the phone.  The quality is a bit poor, and the microphone picks up a bit of wind noise, so please turn your sound down a bit.

Whether or not you have a butchers at plot 1, please scroll down to the bottom of this post and place your vote!

 

I was going through all my seeds sorting out what to do last night.  I’ve come across quite a few with ‘use by 2009’, but some as early as 2007.  I’m not sure whether these will germinate or not – last year we just threw them straight into the ground, with varying success.  This year we have decided to see if they are alright first by planting them in some compost in old egg cartons.  If they germinate they will obviously be transplanted into something bigger, and gradually moved outside to avoid shock.

Does anyone else have good success with old seeds?

Dodgy seeds
Old seeds planted up in egg cartons – will anything happen?

We managed to kill our banana plant this winter, partly because the cat loved it, and we had to move it out of his way.

Yesterday we got ourselves a ‘cocos nucifera palm’  (coconut palm tree).  It is massive – about 4/5 feet tall, and has fantastic looking leaves.  If I ever get a leaky shed roof, I’ll know how to patch it. 

Coconut

Cocos nucifera palm

Anyone fancy partridge?

 

A partridge

Anyone fancy this for dinner?

Sunday afternoon we managed to get a few hours in down the garden.  Weather wasn’t too bad, with white clouds blocking the sun for most of the day but occasional sunny bursts and hazy sunlight all day.  Finished digging over about half of the plot today, and I’ve planted a further 20 potatoe plants.  Our earlies along are probably taking up a quarter of the plot!  …Esther was digging over a smaller patch down near the soft fruits, and has planted some onion sets.  These onion sets were from last year, and some looked dodgy but we’ll see in a couple of weeks.

We invested in some protective covers from Poundland so we’ve used one of these to cover the onion sets.  Onion sets should be planted leaving the tips poking through the top of the soil, and birds love to come along and have a go at them.

We seem to be inundated with partridges over the site this year.  I counted at least 4 and that was just in our half of the site.  They’re not really that bothered by humans, and none of the bird scarers seem to work!  Apparently the local farmer breeds them, so it seems clear that a few have escaped this year as we’ve never had this problem before.  They love to go for anything small and particularly the greens.

If anyone fancies some fresh partridge, please bring a gun.

Yes, Spring seems to finally be here after a rather early, and rather harsh winter.  The growing season really started in earnest today and the site where we have our allotment was packed!  It was a beautiful wall-to-wall sunny day down here in South East Essex.  There was no wind, and it was about 15C in the afternoon.  Esther was having a driving lesson, so it was a solo effort today, but I managed a fair few square metres dug over.

About three weeks ago I got a deal on some seed potatoes from our local Wilko.  They’re usually £3 per 3kg sack, but they were doing 2 for £5.  I bought 4 sacks – 2 of first earlies, and 2 maincrop.  The earlies are Rocket, which we have grown before, whilst the maincrop are Maris Piper.  The Rocket is excellent for a salad companion, and also make great potatoe salad.  I’m sure everyone has heard of, and tasted Maris Pipers before!

I started chitting one of the sacks of Rocket 2 weeks ago, and I got these all planted today.  I believe I planted roughly 30 plants.  I’ve started chitting the other sack of Rocket and they should be ready for planting soon – hopefully I will get them in either next weekend, or the following weekend.

Seed potatoes
‘Rocket’ seed potatoes – after 2 weeks chitting

Hopefully the lovely weather will continue tomorrow, as I know Esther wants to get out in the sun.  We struggle at this time of year to get down the garden enough, because of the early evenings.  Once the clocks ‘spring forward’ at the end of this month we’ll be able to really get cracking!

New Year – New Site!

As if one allotment isn’t enough.  We got offered a plot much nearer to home, with excellent soil.  So we took it, but we got it in May 2010 so didn’tget much done apart from leeks and potatoes.  Last year we didn’t bother with the garden so much cos we had other things – work, wedding preparations, and a good month of holidays over the peak season.  This year I shall be making up for it!  Now we have two plots the idea is to put the slower, easier growing stuff at Wakering (further away) so we don’t need to continually be making trips down there.  At the moment we are concentrating on Wakering, but we’ll soon be cracking at the local site, so be patient, and we’ll get some pics and posts up about it.

I may even give readers some of the plot – you tell me what you want, and I’ll grow, and document, taking guidance from you lot…

Watch this espace.