Tuesday, 19 May 2009

And here's mine...

It's based on the now famous(!) Munty design, which you can read all about on here. (See page 3 for a good example without beans, page 4 for one with beans growing - gorgeous!). You may not see any similarity at first, but the principle is the same: the open side of the structure faces south and the beans grow towards the light. As the beans grow they are supposed to dangle down from the underside of the slope, making them easier to see and pick. I will post another picture when the beans have climbed to the top, so you can see whether it works!

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Mean Green Bean Machine

This is a picture of my dad's home made bean support frame. As I understand it, it is securely anchored into the ground so it won't blow away, and at the end of the summer, you can fold it flat for storage - genius! Unfortunately it is not on my allotment, but in my parents' garden. Actually I wouldn't dare put something that posh on my allotment, that would be asking for trouble.

Here is a very rare picture of me, in fact probably one of only two pictures of me, on the allotment, looks like I'm weeding the peas. Everything has grown a lot since this was taken about two weeks ago. Notice how the peas and broad beans are leaning right over in the gale force winds...

I have put up my support canes for my tomatoes, and today's mission is to get some wood to make my own bean frame. If there's time and it isn't raining I might even try and construct it. I have decided to try and plant out the runner beans before we go on holiday too. They are already outgrowing their pots.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Vandalism update

Two more attacks:
Saturday, half the netting had been removed from my brassicas - nowhere to be found, presumed stolen - also hoops and pegs pulled out, some missing. This took about one and a half hours and £10 to put right.
Today, cane removed from pea supports, canes pushed over and wire netting semi-mangled.
Apparently the police had been patrolling every night until Friday night.
I decided it was time I contacted the police again, as this has been getting more frequent recently. I told them I was concerned that unless this was nipped in the bud, these little toe-rags are going to keep coming back for more, as they obviously know they are getting away with it.
I then phoned Pauline (site manager) to let her know I had reported it, and to find out what security measures are being planned. Apparently they have had quotes for security fencing (about £20,000 !!!!) and they are applying for lottery funding to pay for it. It's a private site, not council owned. In the meantime they are thinking of putting a few cameras up along the path, as a deterrent. So, things are being done which is good to know and we will just have to keep our fingers crossed that we get the funding.

However, although I must admit on Saturday it did cross my mind, for the first time, to give it all up, of course I won't, I'm keeping a stiff upper lip. And today I planted out my celeriac. Unfortunately there wasn't room for all of it, so some had to be composted (gasp, sob!) Also planted out were the marigolds, in all the little gaps. Here's one by the peas:

Some flowers are starting to come out now, here are some poached eggs looking charming next to some chives:

All the signs are that it's going to be a bumper year for soft fruit, after that really cold winter. The strawberries are certainly flowering prolifically:

We could really do with some rain soon, with all this dry windy weather the top 2 - 3" of soil are just dust, which blows around everywhere. Not ideal conditions for planting really, but needs must.

I have done lots of weeding too, there is now only the leek patch, the onions, and a few in-betweeny gaps that need seeing to. Otherwise it's all looking quite tidy and organised.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Another one bites the dust

Oh dear. Another cucumber has keeled over. I think I may have overwatered it - the stem looks a bit rotten at soil level. That's only two left now out of five. I have sown another two, and I've got four seeds left which I will sow in a few weeks time.

I'm not very impressed with this variety (Melen F1). Not only have most of them died, they are also growing much more slowly than usual. The new seeds are Prima Top F1 (mini ones).

I have put the outdoor tomatoes out today to start the hardening off process. They are all tied to canes and it's quite sheltered down in this corner so I don't think they are getting too blown about.

The celeriac is also being hardened off, and so are the marigolds.

The parsley has been planted out in a shady spot next to the lettuce.

Finally, a gratuitous pretty flower picture.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Shed partially vandal-proofed. What will they do next?

While my parents were here at the weekend, helping me out with various gardening/allotment jobs (including felling a tree, and lopping 4 ft off a hedge) A BIG THANK YOU MUM AND DAD!!! we implemented my shed-securing plan, ie screwing the back of the shed to two posts driven into the ground behind it. I also removed the remaining corrugated plastic and secured the guttering. I don't know if the roofing felt surface will be as effective at collecting the water, but it's better than nothing. Certainly less easy to break. So, now that the shed cannot be pushed over, and the roof covering cannot be snapped off, what will they come up with to do to it next I wonder?

Yesterday I managed to find a window of an hour and a half to go and plant a second row of peas, some more sunflowers and some teasel seedlings.

Today I have had to put up a makeshift stake for my cherry tree, which was getting blown over practically bent double in the wind. It is in a half barrel, and I didn't put a stake in when I planted it, it was so small I didn't think it needed one - stupid. I have screwed a post to the side of the barrel and tied the tree to it with the leg of a pair of tights. So far so good.

It is now less than three weeks until we go away for a week at half term, and I am planning to get my outdoor tomatoes planted out before we go, as there are far too many to expect my neighbour to water for me. Which means I need to start hardening them off this week, which means I will have to find enough canes to tie them to, to stop them getting damaged in the wind.

A gardner's work is never done.