Sunday, 10 June 2012

2012 and Strawberries already.........

It has been some time since I last had a chance to update my blog.  To be fair I tend to post photos and short info on facebook and/or twitter, but for those of you not on them, here's a few photo's of the allotment.

Lots and lots of fruit coming and I've just had to cover some of the strawberries as they are already starting to ripen. First lot brought home yesterday. I have more netting to put up and that will be a job for the coming week or so.

The tomato and sweetcorn are settling in and the potatoes are coming through.  In addition, the recent purchase of a battery powered strimmer is proving really useful in keeping the grass and weeds down a bit. Well, here are some of the photo's, so see what you think..........

The netting on the strawberries and strimmed path....

First batch of strawberries....delicious !!!!!

Potatoes, tomatoes & sweetcorn around the kids wigwam tent they made.....

More potatoes and strawberries, with the raspberries in front of the shed. Note the strimmed path!

Dug, cleared and ready for some planting.........

A close up of the sweetcorn and tent...might be fun when they grow as I left a little path for the kids to get into it......this was taken a week or two ago.

OK, that's just about it. I will keep you posted as the Summer progresses!!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Just in time

Amazingly, I've just realised my last blog was all the way back in July when we were picking the strawberries as I've barely had a chance to get down to the plot and get things all cleared up ready for winter.

Well, taking the chance to 'work from home', with the weather being kind, I set out to tidy all the strawberries, which had provided such a massive crop this year. I had so many runners and new plants that the original section of rows had become a massive clump. Not one to want to throw much away and knowing we love the strawberries so much, I set about rescuing as many as I could and replanting them in other parts of the plot. In addition, as there were plenty of wood chippings, I covered most of the established area to help protect them over the winter and keep the weeds down.

As you can see from the photo's I have now extended the original strawberry plot on one side, as well as an almost identical sized area on the other side and although you can't see them, I also have some right down the bottom near the compost bins.

In addition, I've cut down my summer fruiting raspberries, dug over some of the plot and cleared away all the remains of the tomato plants and cabbages, as well as tons and tons of weeding. I do still have some potatoes in the ground, but as we've so many at home already, I think I'll leave them there for the time being.

I was there fairly early on and even found time to use my Kelly Kettle, which brewed up nicely and gave me a great cup of tea. It was so windy I had to shelter in the shed with it and my treats.

So now with some awful weather on it's way and no doubt plenty of cold temperatures, I've done enough to keep me going until the Spring. I've only got about a third of the plot to dig and the soil is in pretty good condition still, so it wont be too hard. I even dug over the raised bed, as next year, I'm actually going to grow something in that, for once!

One final photo looking back up from the bottom of the plot. Even the scarecrow has managed to survive...just. He'll be needing some new clothes for next year!

Have a great Christmas all.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

What a lot!

I think the photo's tell the story. We have been really lucky this year with the strawberries and raspberries. This was just from one of our picking trips to the allotment over the last few weeks and although the strawberries seem pretty much done, the raspberries continue to ripen nicely. We've tried all sorts of recipes too with them, including raspberry cheesecake (well Karen did this one!) and raspberry and custard cake!

I caught up with the weeding this last week or so and as you can see the sweetcorn and tomatoes have established themselves and are starting to make some headway.

Also, all of the seeds I planted have really come on well. I picked my first lot of lettuce and have been digging up the new potatoes. I tried a different variety this year, not that I can remember the name, but they seem pretty good. The carrots, peas, dwarf beans and spinach all look good. Bit of trouble with the black fly, but hopefully it wont get too bad.

The courgettes are doing well too..........

Here's the view from the bottom of the allotment from the new potatoes up to the shed and raspberries at the top.

Here's Ricky looking out for the cabbages. Not that he was doing a great job, so I have now covered them with netting and with luck they'll stop getting eaten.

With the lavender starting to come into flower on the site, it all looks really good and with the mixture of sun and rain, I expect to continue to have a fairly good crop of most things.

All good. Long may it continue.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Strawberries, Strawberries everywhere.

Strawberries looking good.

Wow, that's the best description I have. So far a bumper crop of strawberries, full of flavour. They smell just amazing and when you are working on the plot, it's great to smell them on the breeze. I've picked loads and if it hadn't rained so hard on Sunday, I would have got even more. Looking forward to getting down there one night this week.

Following my last post, we've been away for a couple of weeks, so thank you to Ali for kindly watering my plot during the dry spell. Thank you!! All seems well and as soon as we returned, we dashed to my parents and my Dad gave me the plants he had been bringing along in his greenhouse. It's little late, but what with going away and it being so dry, I didn't want to risk putting them in before we went away. I've planted sweetcorn, tomatoes, cabbage and some courgette.

You can see all of the plants I have put in below and from the other photo you can also see them behind the peas which are coming along well too.

Ricky is keeping the birds away from the cabbages!!!

The plot is filling up nicely and I still have a little more room for some additional planting, which is great.

The recent heavy downpour on Sunday and Monday should really help these plants and no doubt the weeds will love it too....gggrrrrrrrr. I'll see how it all looks this week some time and get down at the weekend to tidy it up and cover the raspberries with netting as they are starting to ripen too.

So all looking good and I expect to dig up a few new potatoes over the coming week or two as well. All good news. Long may it continue and hopefully this year the sweetcorn wont be ruined. I've put canes next to each one and as they grow, I'll support them. Lesson learned there.

Happy Days.

Monday, 9 May 2011

The strawberries are coming

With our recent good fortune of the beautiful sunny days these last few weeks, followed by some nice showers over the last couple of days, I wanted to get down to the plot and see how the seeds were coming along and get on top of any weeds.

I was amazed to see 2 red strawberries, as you can see below and as a result dug out the netting I used last year and have now covered the strawberry patch, otherwise those birds will enjoy all of that tasty fruit. This took a little while in the wind, but got there in the end and with a little weeding, this is looking great. I hope we get a bumper crop this year.

In addition, I cut down some more of the grass on the paths edging the plot and will continue this next week, to get it looking respectable.

Other than that, I weeded around the peas and dwarf beans that have shot up in this last week, earthed up the Earlies and planted the last of my Mains. I was going to plant some other veg, but ran out of time, so will try that next week.

All in all, the effort I put in over the last few weeks has paid off and we are looking good, ready for the season. After a quick tidy of the shed, I then set off home to watch the Grand Prix. Excellent stuff.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Early May and it's looking good....

As you can see from the photo above, I've really succeeded in catching up on the plot over the last couple of weeks and we are starting to make headway for this years growing season.

To summarise, having dug all the plot and spread 6 bags of manure over some of it, I planted the Early Pots and have now done most of the Mains too. Weeded and mulched the strawberries and raspberries and planted out over 12 new strawberry plants from the shoots to extend the strawberry patch. Cleared the grass and weeds from the shed and area outside, as well as some of the path, put down weed cover and used the shredded wood to cover the ground, so with luck this will keep the weeds and grass down a bit. On the growing front, I put in peas, dwarf beans and carrots and the kids came with me on Sunday to plant some of their plants and seeds in the raised bed, so with luck this will be full of colour over the summer.

Here's the raised bed with some netting and wire to try and stop the birds getting their beaks on the seeds.

Lots and lots of strawberry flowers and new fruits starting to grow. Once all the flowers have gone, I'll cover them with the netting and wait for those lovely red fruits to show themselves.

Ricky stayed up, even in all the wind, so we pushed him down a bit more. You can see the rows of potatoes behind him and the Earlies, which I had to start earthing up are behind him to the left. (his right)

Finally, here are my two helpers, happy to be out and about on their bikes, racing each other down the tracks.....luckily no accidents.
Next step is a little more planting, cut down the grass paths, stain the shed and sort the guttering out, all before I (hopefully) get some gifts from my Dad.

Happy Growing.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ricky is on guard!

Had an opportunity to go to the plot again on Wednesday, so managed to get a little bit more done, ahead of the Easter weekend. Also, 'Ricky', my scarecrow that we made last weekend was keen to get out in the fields and start having a go at the birds, so I took him down with me too.

Here he is!!

Cleared all around the shed and laid down some plastic sheeting and also covered some of it with the wood chips, so this is starting to take shape. The water butt has been moved to the rear of the shed in preparation for the guttering.

Finally, spent some time weeding and clearing the strawberries, as well as mulching them and also, doing the same for the last row of raspberries.

This leaves me to complete the strawberries, plant the potatoes and also some peas and dwarf beans at the weekend. I'll also try to finish off the area by the shed and weed the raised bed too. Lots to do, but we are getting there!