Welcome to our allotment blog. We've got a plot, now we're trying to figure out what we're doing! So please join us - put the kettle on, sit back, and dream about Living The Good Life...

Monday, 29 December 2008

Curiouser and curiouser

The chooks are getting mischievous.


Cocky, even, if you'll permit the pun.

We were tidying the garden (hence the state of the kitchen floor in the pic below) and not only were they determined to get their heads between the sledgehammer and the stake we were removing from the ground, or underneath the spade and the dirt we were attempting to shovel, but Lola then tottered into the house to see if Adam had found any treats while he was doing the washing up.

Oh, and you really should see them jump for worms (or spaghetti). I'll try and post a video one day.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Festive foodstuffs

So, we went to the allotment on Christmas morning, when all was nice and peaceful, to pick some brussels sprouts, swede, leeks and red cabbage to have for lunch. Delicious. Especially the red cabbage, stewed up with apple and cinnamon. We also roasted the last of our potatoes, and the last of our carrots, which were pathetic-looking, if I'm honest, but tasted GREAT! Which is the main point, I suppose.

Bad news on the cauliflower front though. They mostly seems to be going mouldy, not sure why, as we've done everything the books tell us to. And if you can't trust the books any more, then what is the world coming to?! Maybe it's global warming...

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

Sarah and Adam x

Sunday, 14 December 2008

In the bleak mid-winter...

...frosty winds, earth hard as iron, water like a stone? I wonder if whoever wrote that carol was a gardener?

Anyway, I'd better bring you up to date on the plot, hadn't I? Obviously the chooks have been the most exciting thing of the past few weeks in terms of producing our own food, but the allotment is still chuntering away in the background.

Looks a bit bleak though, doesn't it? And that front left bed definitely needs weeding before the grass takes over completely... (add to To Do list...)

At home, we're still eating our own potatoes, onions and shallots, although supplies of each are starting to get a bit low. We've got two small pumpkins left, and Adam is working through a batch of courgette chutney in his cheese sandwiches for lunch. In the freezer we've still got frozen broad beans and runner beans too. All in all, most pleasing. The damsons were the main disappointment - a distinct lack of them anywhere in the world (it seems) means we'll have no damson gin this Christmas. Apparently it was A Bad Year for damsons...

We went to the plot last weekend and did a bit of tidying. And pillaging, if I'm to be truthful. The plot next door had been paid for but (as you can just about see on the picture above - to the left of out plot) nothing's been done. Now their rent has expired the secretary can re-let the plot, which shouldn't be too hard - it's got a shed and everything! - but also said people could take any of the 'stuff' the previous occupants had left behind. There was some wood and some corrugated metal sheets which went to be recycled into someone's new shed, and we nabbed a gargantuan water tank (with a hole in, as it happens, but we'll patch it, oh yes). Plus there is a compost bin half full of luscious, crumbly goodness which *might* work its way over to our patch. I feel slightly guilty about taking things, but maybe that's part of what allotmenteering is all about - making use of other people's unwanted 'junk'. You should see some of the sheds going up on the plot- one of them is - so far - tied together with old rags (I kid you not!).

My dad brought us three large drums to use as water butts (Dad - we still owe you a beer) so now we can set up a nice system round the back of the shed and we'll have no problems with water storage. It's not really something we've had to worry about so far. Since we've had the plot we haven't even really had to think about watering in the summer, as the summers have been, well, wet, to say the least. But it's always been on our minds that we don't have quite enough water butts about.

Our garlic and onions are doing ok, all poking their little pointy shoots through the soil. Our different types of garlic have shown an obvious difference. The garden centre bought bulbs emerged first, with bright green shoots, but only now have the bulbs we bought from Pat's deli on the corner put in an appearance. The garden centre bulbs were white, so we tried to buy pinker bulbs from Pat's and, indeed, the shoots do have a pink tinge.

And here's the cauli. Beautiful curly whirly shapes. Some of the others - the yellowish varieties - are looking a bit sick, and slightly browned. Maybe they got frosted a couple of weeks ago? I'm not sure what's up, never having grown cauliflowers. But we've tied up the leaves which is supposed to protect them so hopefully they'll be decent enough for us to eat. The purple ones are still looking good. Oh, and we should have just enough brussels sprouts for Christmas. After trying to be so careful and grow more plants this year, we've actually ended up with less than last year! Damn slugs... Watch out, or we'll set the chickens on you!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Here come the girls

Well, the chickens are named... Lola and Ruby Tuesday. Thanks to everyone who gave us ideas - lots of food for thought. Henna was a particular favourite...

Here's Lola, scrummaging around in the garden...

"Her name was Lola,
she was a showgirl,
with yellow feathers in her hair,
and a dress cut down to there... "

...no dress, but she's got the yellow feathers. She's very friendly, and will always come over and see what you're up to. She seems to think that fingernails and rings are edible.

Here's Ruby, striking a pose in the run. She's much more reddish around the head than Lola, with less gold on her front. She seems to be the bossy one of the two. She's a bit more wary of us humanfolk but is always first to the food and treats.

Lola lays her eggs in the morning, and Ruby seems to lay about lunchtime.