Archive for ‘Allotment’

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Few Things…

On Tuesday (06/05/2008) my sister had another baby boy, named Billy, by c-section. He was very (6 weeks) early, like his brother, but seems to be healthy. My mum hasn’t seen him yet as due to hospital infections etc only the parents are allowed in the room ‘o’ babies. I’m going down to Brighton on the 22nd, hopefully he’ll be out by then.

On Wednesday, we had an attempted fraud at work. As I was the cashier who dealt with the guy, I got to stay almost an hour late to give the police a statement. Bah.

On Friday, some numbskull asked for a receipt at the paying in machine. The receipt was then left lying around for anyone to find – it included the persons name, account number, address, signature, and the fact that they’d paid in a 5k cheque. No wonder we have so much fraud.

On the bright side, however, I’m off work for the next 15 days, it’s hot and sunny, and the plants are doing fantastically. The peas have all burst into flower, as have the strawberries, and the tomatoes are developing their first trusses so need putting in their final pots ASAP. Despite not having a greenhouse, heated propagator etc, I’ve managed to get EVERYTHING to germinate this year – including chillies, peppers, squash, cucumbers and melons. The challenge will be to actually grow them… and to find space!

I’ve just started planning my time off as I don’t want to waste it doing nothing.

Sun 11th – Plant out sunflowers, cut grass edging bed, mow? plant more peas?
Mon 12th – Various errands to run in town
Tues 13th – Driving lesson
Wed 14th – Driving Exam
Thurs 15th
Fri 16th – My birthday! Kethry arrives, out for dinner
Sat 17th – with keth, out somewhere, possibly the seaside, possibly Lincoln
Sun 18th – as above
Mon 19th – keth goes home :(
Tues 20th
Wed 21st
Thurs 22nd – Travel to Brighton
Mon 23rd – Back from Brighton

I’ve been offered a new allotment, which I have yet to even look at. So tomorrow I think I’ll head down there to check it out, and then up to the council office (which is in a rather out of the way place and only open mon-fri, 9-5. Handy for those of us who have full time jobs) to sign for it. At the moment, I don’t really have any enthusiasm for it .. the thought of starting over now it’s hot and things should have already been planted is horrible. I don’t know. I might end up covering the lot in plastic and just planting spuds or something this year, and gradually working bits over.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I have to give my lottie up :( The previous occupant hadn’t given it up, and it’s his shed, and he’s creating hell over it. The council have offered me what they say is the only other plot – they now have a waiting list – but I think it’s full of weeds :( I’ve asked them to rotavate and it depends if they can get the machine up the narrow side path the new one is on. Sigh. Not happy. I have to go tomorrow with Chris and empty my stuff out of the shed :(

However, a couple of positives to prove I’m not letting it get me down:

~ I’ve just been offered some large pots on freecycle (collecting tomorrow). Hopefully theyll be suitable for my needs :)

~ My plants indoors are doing extremely well – the first lot of tomatoes have now gone into their final large pots before going out in may. I have far far more tomatoes and peppers than I can ever use – excess will be going to Chris’ mum and on freecycle. The peas outside are doing ok, if a little slug-bitten. I have tons of strawberry plants.. and the ones I thinned out at the allotment are looking really healthy but don’t know if previous occupant will want them back. I also sowed some salad bits in the bed the other day – radishes, mixed salad leaves, spinach, spring onions, rocket and spinach beet. Probably far too much of them too but I like baby leaves so have to use more ‘plants’ to make the same amount of grub!

~ We are FINALLY managing to get the quantity of landfill-rubbish we produce down – collection day has snuck up on me (we have alternate weekly collections of plastic/card/compostables and waste/glass/tins/paper) and we’ve only filled about 1/3-1/2 of the bin! :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I took over my plot at the beginning of march – signed a contract until the end of the year ie april. I turned up today to do some more digging and bumped into my neighbours, who asked if I’ve spoken to the council this week. It turns out that the previous owner turned up last week and asked who had been on his lottie… he never officially gave it up! So it seems the council have let the same plot twice! I’m pretty sure it must be the council that have rung my phone 5 times this week during working hours on a withheld number and not once left an answerphone message.. I’ve not received any post from them either.

I am absolutely LIVID. It’s not the previous guy’s fault… though he did leave it with stuff rotting in the ground and the shed waist high in rubbish, cobwebs etc as well as tools. I now have to try and get in touch with a council department that’s open 9-5 (handy for those of us with jobs) and don’t tend to bother picking the phone up. I can’t believe that I’ve probably just poured all that effort down the drain.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Plant Progress – Fruiting Veg (early sown)

Sub Arctic Tomato

Nice healthy plants, about 10-12cm tall with plenty of leaves, not leggy.

Tomatillo, Sweet Mini Red Peppers

Jalapeno, Bolivian Rainbow, Meek and Mild Chillies

Mini Bambino and Caliope Aubergines

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A mostly picture update today, as I can’t be bothered to write ;) Today we drove out to a freecycler’s farm, to pick up some bits and bobs for the lottie – came away with a stack of plant pots, big roll of UV (polytunnel type) polythene, loads of fleece, large sheet of enviromesh and a sheet of weed suppressing stuff. All for free! I do love freecycle as this stuff would have been landfilled eventually otherwise, as the pieces are too small for her large scale production, but loads for a lottie! We were also meant to pick up a compost bin from another freecycler and friend, but hit a slight snag in the form of not being able to get the f**king car seats to fold down at the back. So no compost bin :( Then we drove over to a huge carboot sale for a nosey round, didn’t really get anything in the end though, we got there a bit late and people were starting to go home.

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After some lunch at home I nipped down to the lottie for a couple of hours as the weather was gorgeous. Got a few spuds (9x ‘Nicola’) planted, half a bed’s worth, went through all the plastic etc from earlier and folded it up, and dismantled the previous owner’s brassica protection. I started digging that bed over but just did it roughly as I was somewhat lagging in energy. I left the lotties at half five, still brilliant sunshine and wearing a tshirt it was that warm – everyone else had gone home!

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The shed – rather messy, but useable til I have the free time to make it a bit more homely :)

 

 

 

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lottie Update

~ Went to Simpsons (local garden/pet shop) for garden pegs for holding down fleece etc. Came out after half an hour and a good chat with 2 potato sacks (25p each, very useful), white sprouting broccoli seeds, 6 meters of fleece @ 60p a meter, and a dozen seed potatoes of which I’ve forgotten the name (highly recommended by the shop assistant). Also in the post this morning I got seeds – ‘Alderman’ tall climbing peas from a grapevine forum swap, climbing borlotti beans (to attempt to dry after harvesting, for soups/stews), carrot fly resistant carrots, and two types of sunflower, a standard yellow one and a deep reddy-purple one.

~ Cleared out the shed – 6×4′ of tools, cardboard, plastic, rubbish, and SPIDERS. Big big spiders. The whole inside of the shed was covered in spiderwebs/cobwebs. A couple of hours later with a stiff broom and it’s now habitable. It was, however, a DEEPLY unpleasant job *shudder*.

~ Dug the second potato bed, added compost, and marked out that and the bed next to it with pegs and twine. I’m hoping to get some weed suppressing membrane and cover it in chipped bark (for the paths) but I’ll have to research the costs involved.

~ Put my plot number on the shed door (metal numbers). Little touches that make it feel more like ‘mine’ :)

On the way home I was gasping for something to drink so I went via the Westcliff shopping precinct. Scary, scary place. The (open for business) offlicense was boarded up! But, rather randomly, the Co-Op had a really good selection of vegetarian stuff (mince, ‘chicken’ pieces, burgers, sausages, and about 5-6 of the ‘grassingtons’ range of premade stuff ie filled pastry lattices, bean burgers). Very very odd, wouldn’t have thought the Westcliff estate would have much of a veggie population! While I was there I had my first craving for meat in a good long time – I was just about drooling over sausage rolls til I recognised it for the protein craving it was and bought some peanuts instead.

Today’s excercise has resulted in the first activity-caused pain in my ‘bad’ ankle in quite a long time. That’s probably a good thing (the excercise part!). However the fact that I can barely walk now really isn’t ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I have to say, despite using computers and other digital stuff a lot (cameras, etc), I don’t really ‘do’ mobile phones. I got myself a new pay as you go phone today, complete with £10 of credit. Got home and ring Orange up to find out that they can’t transfer a contract/monthly phone number to the sim card that comes with the new phone. So I spent half an hour digging out the PAYG sim I got them to send me a while ago (I’ve been meaning to transfer to PAYG, this just accelerated it!). Rang them up and my old number should be transferred to the sim they sent me. So now I have 3 sim cards on the go – my old one (which still works to receive calls, but has lost its memory for phone numbers), new one (which I’ll be using), and the one that came with the phone (which I won’t, but should have £10 worth of credit on it that I’ll have to get transferred). Cue a very confused Sarah!

On the plus side – Orange customer service are excellent, friendly and helpful. It’s not often I have the pleasure of dealing with people that want to help you rather than push sales on you that you don’t want or need! The guy on the phone also managed to figure out my rather complicated story and give me a step by step idiots guide to what I need to do ;)

Another plus point – the 512mb M2 memory card I had in the old phone when it went in the washing machine works!!! I’m rather amazed by that. It still has my photos on it, and it means although I’ve downgraded to a phone with a rubbish camera (I very rarely used the excellent camera on the k8001), I can use the memory card to store music and thus can use my phone as an MP3 player.

… phone blurb over :)

Nothing especially interesting has happened today – we did however get a car! It’s a corsa (I think!), a very nice blue, and absolutely pristine inside and out. We think we got quite a good deal on it, time will tell :) I’ve also managed to get some free bits for the lottie off freecycle which we’ll collect this weekend:

– A ‘dalek’ compost bin which i ‘saved’ with a friend agggges ago before I got the lottie and the wooden compost bins – but I’m sure I’ll still find a use for it!
– Hopefully quite a large amount of fleece, enviromesh, netting, plastic pots etc from someone who runs a veg box scheme – the enviromesh etc are too small for her needs but plenty for an allotment. Should save me quite a bit!

Monday, March 24, 2008

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Looking at the right hand side of the plot – I dug my first bed today, which will be the second bed in the row and will hold early potatoes. The right hasn’t been covered so it’s technically the side that needs a lot more digging, so I’m starting with the potato beds (spuds don’t mind weeds!). I’m splitting each side of the plot into 5 beds, with a path between – hopefully this will mean I can avoid compacting the soil (not that thats a major problem, its very sandy) and will make rotation easier.

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And the left hand side. This was covered when I got to it, so has very little weeds – I’m hoping the end closest to me in the picture will be for beans/peas, and will be the next bit to be dug, so I’ll add in plenty of compost and shredded paper to try and combat the problem of sandy soil – doesn’t hold water or nutrients.

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A couple more pics for my records – a view of the whole plot with my pileo’ compost, and the ground that’s not been used – seems a bit of a waste? I’ve had vague thoughts of putting in a flower/herb bed, leaving wide paths around it. I think I’ll also add in another bed on the right hand side – at the moment it’s just got a small square bed which I think was used for salad crops.

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And here’s a basic plan of the lottie, with the beds-to-bed marked out. I’m working on what goes where!

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And finally, something non lottie related – yesterday afternoon I managed to put my mobile phone through a washing machine cycle. No surprise that it’s completely and utterly dead, which is a bit of a bugger as it was an expensive phone (Sony K8001). Thankfully, the contract period to ‘buy’ the phone is up, and I can thus cancel the contract straight away. I was planning on switching to pay as you go anyway, I guess I’ll just have to buy another phone (a much much cheaper one!). I’m mostly upset about it as I don’t have a backup of my phone numbers – and I need to look into if I can transfer my old number as that’s the one everyone (absolutely everyone, inc businesses etc – we have a landline but my mobile is the number I give out) has.

… really, really stupid thing to do.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I’m absolutely knackered but I now have a big pile of compost (covered with tarpaulin) on my plot – a trailer’s worth. Lovely lovely bloke from Freecycle spent an hour loading it up with me, then drove me and it down to the lottie and unloaded. As it’s now raining i’m probably gonna get back to a load of mud as the tarp only covers about 1/2-3/4 of the pile.

Today I also uncovered the left hand side of the plot and covered the right (quite a job in high winds!), had an experimental dig (soil’s not bad at all, slightly sandy so needs stuff adding, but at least its not solid clay), and set a waterbutt up. Helpfully one of the waterbutts on the plot is usable, so I’ve righted it, put the lid on, and banged in some stakes round it to try and stop it going flying! I also attempted to start clearing the shed (it’s one big pile of STUFF inside – I now have a ‘new’ fork, spade, hoe, trowel, push lawnmower, strimmer (dont know if it works), cordless screwdriver (works :D ) folding chair, and some sheets of thick plastic which should come in handy. Oh. And a lot of spiders. BIG ones. By that point I was getting fed up of the cold wind anyway so I shut the spiders back in and went home… I might have to go back armed with a broom to clear it out! I’m not overly girly about spiders but these beasties were huge.

Apparently the choice to come home at 12.30 was a good one as it’s now hurling down with rain outside.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quick plot update

Just a quick update, more a note for myself for the future I guess.

I went to the council office to get my lottie key today – problem being the office is a bus ride and a 20 min walk each way, and I had to be at work for 12.30. With military precision, I got the right bus to be there shortly after the office opened. Realised on getting off the bus that its more like a 20 min walk rather than 5-10 as I thought. Realise after 20 mins I’d walked down the wrong verylongroad, and had to add another 5-10 mins on to get round to the identical spot in parallel road. Get key, get completely the wrong bus back, that takes bloody ages. Finally get to lottie at 10.25…. THE BL@@DY KEY DOESN’T WORK! Not impressed one bit. I ended up yelling through the fence and some lovely bloke let me in, had a look at the padlock with me and agreed its either a badly cut key or completely the wrong one, and couldn’t really risk getting it stuck in the lock (last time that happened they had the fire brigade out…). I ended up ringing up my mother ‘in law’ and begging her to give me a lift back there, as it’s my only weekday off for a while, and there’s no way I could get back there to get the key, get home for work uniform at some point, and be at work for 12.30 using public transport. So I’ve now got a new key which I reallyreallyhope works, for reasons below…

During the 15 mins I was at the lottie, I met my neighbours (two lovely ladies), hacksaw-ed off the shed padlock, discovered a shed full of rubbish and TOOLS (yay!), and lifted the tarpaulin that covered half the plot. The soil underneath aint bad at all. Apparently the previous owners turned up for a few months, added lots of manure, planted a few things, and never came back. I hope that won’t apply to me! I also found out that the 4 bushes at the end of the plot are some rather lethal (thorny) goosberries. Not sure about that one, last time I tried them I didn’t like goosgogs!

So, plan for the next few days

Thurs – pick up a wheelbarrow after work, go straight to plot with it (taxi?), test the new key works (so as not to wreck friday morning’s plans) and lock the wheelbarrow in the shed.

Friday (AM) – go to the house of someone on freecycle, who is donating me a verybigpile of compost, and taking it to the plot for me in his trailer. YES! I just have to help with the shoveling. This is why I need a working key, or I’m stuffed!

Friday (PM) – (start) picking up all the broken glass thats languishing at the side of the lottie from a long-demolished greenhouse. Previous owner = lazy sod. I need to stick it all in a cardboard box to hopefully take to the tip on saturday…

Saturday – Chris is having his mum’s car over friday night as he’s helping her decorate this weekend, so we plan to nip to Wilkinsons for a waterbutt in the morning, and hopefully drop off the broken glass? Not sure if this is doable as I have to be at work fbefore 10. But hopefully over the weekend I’ll get a waterbutt :)

Sunday/Monday – get started clearing the lottie ready for planting! I’m going to start the earlier stuff (potatoes, peas, broccoli etc) on the side thats been covered, and hopefully I’ll have the uncovered-and-therefore-weedy half done in time for the things that go out in may/june.