Tuesday, 19 April 2011

An Easter Holiday Project

We are making a wildlife pond at the far end of our garden, in front of the cabin. Unfortunately my husband broke his wrist last night, playing tennis, so that has impeded our progress a little, but fortunately he had done a lot of the preliminary excavations before it happened (as well as the hoovering, luckily!) This morning I finished the digging and shaping, and this is where we have got to by mid afternoon today. Now we just have to leave it for a few days to settle, and then we can set about trimming and concealing the edges of the liner.

There is a very deep bit in the middle (nearly a meter I should think), some 'shelving' around the edges, and a 'beach' at one end for creatures to climb in and out, and to sunbathe on. There were a number of large boulders around the garden, left over from a rockery that some previous owners built, as well as quite a few smaller stones, which we will arrange around the edges. I'll keep you posted and put up some more pictures when it's all finished.

Thank you for the encouraging comments after my last post, nobody has said anything discouraging so far, so I think/hope I am doing the right thing in taking on the new plot, and I am going to ask for a couple of months of overlap period, while I move all my stuff over and finish off any crops that are left.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Another new plot?

So I've just finished clearing the last patch of my new allotment, and it's looking really tidy, and I've sown/planted a few crops. The crop rotation plan is all worked out, and I'm beginning to feel I'm in control of the situation. So imagine my reaction when just the other day, the site manager comes over and tells me that there's a great plot becoming vacant - a full one as opposed to my half one - in the autumn. As they have been so impressed with how well I've done with mine, they wanted me to have first refusal on it!

Well my first thought was: I'll have to transplant all that fruit again! It will take even longer before it's established and producing a decent yield. I didn't really think I wanted a bigger plot, as I've got enough to do with the one I've got. Until I was offered one that was. Now I'm beginning to like the idea....

This is the plot, above. The current tenant is a chrysanthemum fanatic, apparently most of his plot is devoted to them and he has even written books on the subject. That's what all those iron stakes are for, his chrysanth support structure. They will all be removed before the next tenant takes over, as will the oak and ash trees which have seeded themselves right in the middle of the plot. Unfortunately he is now on his last legs and is being forced to give it all up, poor old chap.

However his loss could be my gain, because what has really swung me is all these lovely FRUIT bushes! There are a few strawberries, lots of raspberries, gooseberries and currants (can't tell yet which colour) and blackberries. I reckon about one third of the plot is already full of fruit, and if I move mine over as well I will have an instant supply of the stuff, and even more when mine has matured.

And there will still be plenty of space for growing LOTS more veggies, and maybe even some flowers as well. Even my husband is starting to mutter things about helping, and growing grapes.... but we'll see.

The only thing that worries me is the amount of work there will be. But if one third is taken up with fruit, and that is all mulched and weed-proofed, it needn't be that much more than I have to do now. So I have more or less told him I will take it, although I haven't actually signed on the dotted line yet....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

An early spring

It seems to me to have been a long time since we had such warm weather so early in the year, but I'm not complaining. Now that it's April, it's unlikely we will get any more really cold snaps, but I probably shouldn't speak too soon.

Needless to say I have been taking advantage of the weather, and the fact that I am now on my Easter break, to 'get things done'. So, at the allotment potatoes are now all in, peas are in, carrots and spinach are also in. Broad beans are up and away.

I have begun clearing the final bed, the summer veg bed, but you can't quite see that bit in the picture below, as I'm standing on it.

At home the greenhouse crops have now all been moved out to the greenhouse, with sheets of fleece, bubble wrap and polystyrene sheeting all at the ready just in case. Although yesterday I had to hang an old sheet on the outside of the greenhouse - to provide shade as it got so hot in there!

I have sown some lettuce and spinach seeds in a big tub and next project is to get some herbs going.

Ooh sunshine!