Friday, 28 September 2012

The Leaning Tower of Beansa

It's been raining on and off all week, some very heavy down pours too. Got down to the plot today, just to check on everything. The wind and rain have had an effect and luckily it wasn't too bad.

Leaning tower of beansa
 Play on words there, sorry couldn't resist. Not sure how well you can see it from this photo but the beans are really leaning to the right. It's heavier on that side as the bean plants grew better there, I think they preferred the shade of the other plants. The sun comes from the left of the picture so not sure what that means directionally for the plot, I think it means I've made the beds North/South facing, no maybe East/West. Depends on which way you look at it. The shorter sides face the sun, they would have been the other way round if I had kept to my original plans. I don't think the plants mind.

Butternut Squash bed
I thought I would put some plastic sheeting over the Butternut Squashes to help raise the temperature and therefore help ripening. I don't know if it's the right thing to do as I've never grown them before. We will have to see if it helps. I've made sure there is plenty of ventilation, I can always use the plastic for something else later.
Tyre stack
Whilst I was at B&Q I nipped over to Kwick Fit and asked them for some tyres. They were really helpful, I hadn't expected that. They are currently having a re-fit so they are working under some difficult conditions there, but they found some tyres that I could have, and they gave me large ones too. Now I've stacked them at the plot so I hope no-one complains, I will fill with compost and manure and use them to grow pumpkins in next year.  At the moment I've put my netting in one to stop it getting blown away. Hopefully I will get a shed soon and I will be able to store it all in there when I'm not using it.

Today's harvest

Well there is still lots to do down the plot, but I am getting there. To be honest though I think my plot is the neatest, I have less weeds and even the bit that isn't dug over yet is tidy. Some of the plots are overgrown and have lots of mess on them, but so far all the owners are very nice. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Bee watering hole

Remember the blue storage box that was left behind by the last tenants? I finally got round to doing something about it. I dug a hole and buried it. Then I filled it with stones and rocks, so now the bees can drink without drowning and hopefully frogs can also drink here and eat my slugs. All I need to do now is put some plants around it, I want some to trail into it not tall plants to hide it. It didn't take long to do it and it's just at the edge of my patio, I don't think it will be in the way there. It's raining out now, a bit too fine so I don't think it's going to be enough to water the plants. There is a water mains that has burst, all the water is coming down the little river that runs along the plot. It is lovely as for the first time it's actually flowing and you can hear it. Sitting on the bench was so nice having a babbling brook behind me.

I don't know why but blogger wants to put my photo in sideways. Just tilt your head or computer, that's what it really looks like. Need to sweep the dirt off my nice new patio.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blogger bad

No, not I'm a bad blogger, blogger is bad. I've been forced over to the new look and I don't like it. It's messed everything up and now I've lost all my favourite blogs I follow. I have to re-enter all the sites now and there are some who's addresses I can't remember, at least I have some of them listed on the main page so those I can do, but there are others I follow that I didn't put down because they weren't about gardening. Oh well.

I got down the plot yesterday and finally met the man who's plot is next to mine. He hasn't done much to it but he is old and uses a stick so it must be difficult for him. Mind you my knees still hurt and I can't kneel down still so have been sitting on an upturned box to weed.

I raided the neighbour's (at home) skip for rubble and laid the patio. It's not too bad. It still doesn't look exactly flat but I did use a spirit level. There looks to me like there is a bump at one point.  I also grabbed the pallet that was there and put that at the front of the compost bay. I don't know if I will get down there today as I am very stiff and my knees are really hurting today. I think I can be forgiven.

One of the other plot holders from further down came and had a chat to me. He was telling me that the people who run the site (on behalf of the council) want the guy who has the first plot to leave as they don't like him putting down cardboard, odd, they haven't moaned at me with the carpet and he seems a nice person, he keeps it going unlike some of the others. There are a lot of untended plots, maybe they aught to put their energy into making the owners tend them or give them up and finding new people to take them over.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Another day (well yesterday was)

Yes, I did go down to the plot today, and yesterday. I had a big bonfire yesterday and cut back loads of nettles and brambles. It looks very clear behind the compost heap now. I also managed to put the two pallets up to form another bay to the compost area. This time though I dig out the roots of the weeds that were there. I still haven't managed to lay the paving slabs. I will try and sort something out tomorrow.

Now I left the bonfire smouldering yesterday and when I got there today there was a little bit that hadn't burned so I just quickly piled it back into the middle ready to sort out another fire later in the week. Except what I didn't expect was for the wind to blow and the fire started up again. Bloody hell. Talk about dangerous.

Any way it's looking good. I have got onion sets and garlic to plant at some point. All I need to do now is figure out some winter planting. Haven't got a clue what to grow. It needs to be something that I can sow now in the greenhouse and plant out in a month or sow. I think I can also sow peas directly into the soil and over winter them, broad beans too. I have never grown anything over winter before so I really haven't got a clue. I do have Kale in already and some of my broccoli were supposed to be purple sprouting but I can't figure out which ones they are as they all seem to be green. I think it's too late now to sow some more.

Clear behind the compost bays

New bay added to existing heap.

Now All I need to do there is clear the bit in front so it's easier to get to. I also want to find somewhere to bury the blue box and put some stones in for the bees. Some of them have drowned trying to get a drink and I don't want that to happen. I will raid my neighbours skip tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Where did it all go

Well I can't believe it's already half way through September. It's flown by. I have been popping down to the plot but keep forgetting to take photos and updating the blog. I did remember to take photos of my harvest today but forgot to take them of the stuff I took to mum's. She had a bag of Desiree potatoes, loads of tomatoes and some courgettes which were more like marrows (dad loves marrow). I picked one of my pumpkins as the plant had died, it is nearly ripe so I have put it in the greenhouse to harden off.

I pulled out all the pea plants, they were all dead, hoed and pulled out all the weeds. The chard is still growing so I have left them in and I have taken the netting off that was there. Looks a bit neater now.

I picked all the beans I could, some had been hiding from me so they had got quite large. I don't like them when they get big as they get hard and don't taste as nice as the baby ones. I let Dale eat the big ones as he never complains, he loves runner beans. I hoed around them too.

Now even though I put net and a barrier in place the badgers have been back and had the last of my sweetcorn. So to date we have managed to only get two very small cobs. I'm not sure if it is badgers, I found another shrew (alive this time) and wonder if it is this that is eating them. The Butternut Squash are getting very big and there are lots of little squashes on the plants. I'm hoping there is enough good weather to get them a bit bigger. I pulled up the remains of the sweetcorn so there is plenty of room there for them. I got hold of a load more horse manure so have dumped that on one of the beds and will sort it out later. There is still a lot to dig over and I will do this if we get a good spell in the winter. I cut a lot back and have piled this up and will burn it when it gets a bit drier.

Now I have to also finish off the patio ready to get a shed. I will also have to think about what I can do for some fencing to keep all these pests off my plot.

So this is my harvest for today, the last two pea pods, some overgrown zucchini, lots of beans and some calabrese.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Famous at last

Ha! I forgot to tell you all. I made the FB page in Amateur Gardening (magazine). My bird scarers were in the mag on page 47 dated 25 August.

I have some more ideas, I like making things, especially if they don't cost anything.


I don't know what happened to last week, one moment it was there, the next, gone. I didn't manage to get down to the plot until today. The weeds have grown, so they had to come out. There were beans to pick and zucchini (ok, marrows) to cut. My pumpkins are getting bigger, one is beginning to ripen. I have 2 Butternut squashes too. The sweetcorn hasn't done too well, at least the badgers haven't been able to get to them.

The beans are running away with me. They have grown so tall I've had to trim the tops. I missed picking them this week so a lot of them have got too big and stringy.

The main reason I didn't get down there was I bought a freezer and had to install it. Well that was a story and a half. First of all I had found a lovely one for sale (£35 pre-loved) and e-mailed to ask if she still had it, by the time I called there was someone else interested. So I looked elsewhere and found one for £20, phoned and they still had it, asked me to call round after 3pm on Friday. So there's me ringing their doorbell at 3.40pm but no answer, so I phoned the number but no-one answered. Next thing I know she's opening the door. Well first, there were 2 fat, lazy blokes in the front room with 2 noisy, vicious Jack Russell dogs, the later of which decided to bite me (not happy).  The freezer was still in use, so I had to wait whilst they emptied it and carried it out of the cupboard. What apiece of junk, but me being me and not liking confrontation paid and left with it. Now the lady had told me on the phone that they were moving and needed to get rid of it, from the looks of things I think they thought I was the bailiffs and that's why they didn't open the door. It took 2 hours with the hairdryer to defrost it and another hour to clean it. The seal is broken, that's why it was so frosted up. Well I called LEC and they said the model was obsolete so I have to call them back on monday to see if they can find a similar seal. Then to top it all, the first lady phones back to say she still has the freezer available (oh bollocks I bet that one was clean). Any way this one is clean now and working (just).

My knees are still troubling me. I have an appointment with the doc on friday. I managed to get down the plot for 4 hours today. I dug up some more potatoes for mum. Cleared away weeds, got bitten by ants (hurts) and picked lots of veg. The peas have had it but I did get some (see photo). I don't think I will buy them again, they really didn't do very well at all. There is still plenty of seed so when that runs out I will try another type.

The sewage spill is still there, the council obviously didn't find the source. It stinks and it's all the way down to my plot now.

The beetroot that I sowed earlier in the year has finally started to sprout. I did grow some in modules and planted them out, they are the larger ones in the photo. They are all still too small to harvest. I hope they grow a bit more before winter gets here.

I also cleaned out my greenhouse and sowed some cauliflower into pots. I now need to think of some more veg I can plant to go through the winter. My cabbages are doing well and some of them are winter type so that will be something. I also have kale.

I spent the rest of the day slicing runner beans and freezing them.