Allotment Update 7th November 2015

2015-11-07 08.13.52The weather this week has been pretty mild, but with it has come rain. Pretty much non-stop rain most of the week.

I was hoping it was going to clear up by the weekend, but alas it was still raining hard when I took the dogs out for their morning walk. I decided to walk down the plot to check everything was okay, but it didn’t look as though I was going to get much done there.

In a way I don’t mind. I’m ahead of where I want to be at the moment, particularly as I got the fruit bed weeded last weekend, so having a weekend off isn’t going to do me much harm or the plot.

IMG_20151107_081247198Both the broad beans and (finally) the sprouts look like their coming good. The latter might mean that we have some in time for Christmas! I’ve had my doubts that the sprouts were ever going to come good, but it looks like we might get some, although they are still looking rather small. I don’t recall them being a small variety although the description on the suppliers website says:

“The small, tight buttons are a lovely dark green with good flavour.”

So maybe they’re not going to get much bigger. I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with growing sprouts, as they are something that I can’t seem to grow consistently (either well or badly) and so don’t always bother.

I think a harvest might be in order to check out that flavour!

I do need to also check out the celeriac plants next to them too, to see if there is any improvement with them.

IMG_20151107_081129929The broad beans are an overwintering variety (Aquadulce Claudia), which I sowed several weeks ago. If the mild weather keeps up they will continue to grow, but ideally I’d like them to stop around about now. They big enough to get through the winter, but if they get too big, and then it gets very cold, they might suffer. We’ll see.

I note that something has had a peck or a nibble on some of the leaves though, so I’ll need to keep an eye on that, I’ve never had to cover them before, but maybe I might need to.

If the weather clears, I’ll be down on the plot later in the week. I have everything I need now to do the repairs / upgrade to the timber frame cloche, so I want to get cracking with that as the materials are taking up room and getting in the way a bit. I’m aiming to try and video that if I can.

Frosty Start – The First of the Season & Allotment Short Clips

Not This Mornings Weather!
Not This Mornings Weather!

I think last night / this morning was the first proper frost of the season. When I took the dogs for their morning walk, the grass was still crispy and white. I haven’t noticed any signs in the garden yet, but I’ll have another look later in the day and see if there are any plants that look damaged. A sign that winter isn’t very far away.

Video below from the allotment and garden, just a few short clips of things that are happening. At this time of year there isn’t a lot going on so it’s easier to do short clips rather than a long tour, which just shows dug over beds. I will do a longer video before the end of the year though, just to mark the end of 2015!

Weekend Round-Up

Ruby keeping an eye on proceedings
Ruby keeping an eye on proceedings

We’ve been having a few issues with our broadband connection, which has meant limited internet time and speed, so although I was going to try and upload a video this weekend, I’ve not been able to. I will however try a few photographs.

It’s another bank holiday weekend so it’s meant an opportunity to spend more time than a regular weekend on the allotment. The weeds seem be growing exponentially, and are certainly growing faster than the food crops at the moment. I spent some time on Saturday just weeding. I’d planned to do some other things, but at the moment, it’s important to try and get ahead of the weeds, otherwise they’re going to crowd out the other plants. I feel like I made good progress, but there is always more to do!

Last weekend I planted some Cavolo Nero and Brussels Sprout plants which seem to have all taken well. These were followed this weekend with some Celeriac. The plot is looking quite full now, which is good. I harvested the first of the broad beans, which although were probably on the small side, were very sweet tasting.

Tomatoes Ready To Go
Tomatoes Ready To Go
Tomato Already Fruiting
Tomato Already Fruiting

Back in the garden I moved on the tomato plants that I’d been given, into their final growing spot. To do so, I had to move the last of the overwintering plants out of the potting shed to make room for them.

I wasn’t going to bother with tomatoes this year, having had such a bad season last year and I didn’t therefore grow any from seed, however as a fellow allotmenteer gave me some plants, I thought why not. One of the plants even has a small tomato on it already!

Monday is a Bank Holiday, so that’s given me more garden time. I’ve spent this morning clearing around the slabs in the back garden. I checked back through my notes and it’s only three weeks since I last did this, so I can see it’s going to be a regular occurrence if I want to keep the backyard pristine through the summer and not use any chemicals (which I don’t want to do).

I know the time span because I’ve been journalling more than I ever have done before. I’m finding that I’m quite enjoying recording my thoughts and observations, and I haven’t kept a proper paper journal for many years, probably since I took up blogging. I think it means that I remember far more when I come to sit down in front of the computer than I would otherwise.

I took a break from the gardening to finish a job application. My redundancy date isn’t that far away, so I’m taking more time to job hunt. I’m hoping to get a bit of a break over the summer, but don’t plan or want to be out of work for too long.

Anyway there’s still a lot of Monday left, and I’m intending to tackle the front garden this afternoon. I need to clear back some of the front border as it’s encroaching on the pavement a little, and again there is some clearing around paving slabs to be done as well as a few other tasks.

The Dogs Are Quite Content To Watch What's Going On.
The Dogs Are Quite Content To Watch What’s Going On.

Catch Up

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve managed to post here and there are a few things to catch up with.


 It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the plot, with lots of the seeds I’ve sown germinating and coming along well. The potatoes have shot ahead, and are now earthed up in their final ridges. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we won’t have any hard frosts because they are a little exposed. I’m sowing and planting most weeks now, and by the end of May most things should be in, and then succession sowing can begin. It’s also been a great couple of weeks for seeing birds on the plot. Buzzards, heron and kestrel have been some of the highlights.

I’ve also written and submitted my first blog for Regatta. I won a competition to write for them, in return for the exposure and free kit. Writing for them stopped me from writing here last week as I was up against a deadline, but hopefully normal service can resume. I’ll post a link to that post when it’s live.

The last few weeks have also been pretty dry, with little rain, so it’s meant hand watering the plot. As most of the seedlings are under cover this takes a bit of time, as they have to be uncovered first. Yesterday we had a lot of rain though, which has even things out a bit. Not sure what the long range forecast predicts for the next few months but hopefully it won’t be too hot and dry, and although it’s an old wives tale the Oak was out before the Ash this year.


Probably most significantly in the last two weeks is that I’ve found out I’m going to be made redundant at the end of July. This is partly voluntary, so I have at least been able to make some short term plans, but it means I’m going to be job hunting soon, which I’m not particularly looking forward too, having pretty much been continuously employed for the last twenty years!


Has been a pretty mixed bag. I finished reading “The Peregrine: The Hill of Summer and Diaries. The Complete Works of J. A. Baker” which was a fantastic read. It was an Easter present, and a book (The Peregrine) that I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I have another copy of the single book, but have never gotten around to reading it until now. I’d recommend if you like nature books.

Seeds Are Sprouting

Radish Are Go!

The first of the seeds that I sowed a couple of weeks ago are starting to sprout. Great news!

So far; radish, lettuce, peas, rainbow chard and broad beans are all poking through the soil. Most of these are under cover, so I spent quite a bit of time watering them. The parsnips haven’t shown any sign yet, but they’re always slow to get going. The cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower plants are also doing well so far.

The wind was back again yesterday, although quite mild generally, it was keen and kept things distinctly chilly.

Purple Sprouting & Kale

I also harvested some of the kale and purple sprouting broccoli, I’m pleased how this has done over the winter and I’m looking forward to my Easter Sunday lunch!

Allotment Video Update 12th March 2014 & 14th March 2014

I finally managed to get the video I recorded earlier in the week to upload so here it is, scroll down for more recent updates.

Since then I’ve been busy planting broad bean seeds (eight rows), peas and rainbow chard. I’ve also dug trenches for my early potatoes, which weather permitting will probably go in on Monday. The temperature however has dropped from a balmy 11° when I shot the video above to around 2° this morning.

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