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...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Mud, mud, glorious mud

We popped to the allotment last weekend, only for it to start raining and the ground slowly turn to mud under our boots. I guess everything was still waterlogged from the rain, sleet and snow the previous week. We picked some brussels sprouts and Adam put some manure on a few more of the beds, but really it wasn't the weather to be outside. There's nothing worse than tramping around a muddy allotment, your feet twice their usual size because of the clogging, oozing, sticky, gloopy, murky, mucky mud, and three times as heavy, and the rain somehow seeping down the back of your trousers when you bend over to dig. Yuck! So we went home.

But today we've spent a couple of hours catching up. Adam carried the compost bin from home to be added to the big heap - all that chicken poo (chickens poo a lot!) is going to do some good - and I carried the last of three big ex-olive-importing drums to use as a water butts. After getting the cricks out of our backs we sowed the first double row of broad beans, and also planted about 100 Centurion onions and sixty-something shallots too. In the picture above, the first three beds on the right are now full of onions, shallots and garlic... plus a patch of chard which went in before the winter.

The rhubarb is starting to make an appearance, breaking through the earth like some kind of weird creature. We'll have to find a big bucket and force it again as it was really tasty last year.

It's a good feeling to have got some things in the ground, especially as it's Six Nations season now, so we keep getting distracted at the weekends. Ah well, as long as we get the parsnips sown in time, I'm sure everything else can manage without us for a little bit.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

I've got that song going round and round in my head... "Woah, the weather outside is frightful..."

I ended up making rock cakes and a chicken and mushroom pie on Monday. Managed to get to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, didn't get to the office on Thursday as the buses weren't running (so I made onion chutney and a curry), and am home again on Friday, sounding a bit like a Craig David song.

Adam got out of work early on Monday too, so we went to the allotment to build a snowman. A fine specimen, I think you'll agree.

(Adam's the one on the right...)

So, maybe I need to do more house organising since the weather's not really of the gardening variety. I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards yesterday. Fun.

It's still snowing.

But I helped to push a van and a car up the hill on my walk back from the station, so I'm feeling quite Good Samaritan-y today.

'What about the chooks?' I hear you cry... Well - Ruby T doesn't like the snow very much, and stays in the run, but it doesn't seem to bother Lola, who was out exploring as usual.

Monday, 2 February 2009

I long for a wood-burning stove

It's snowing today. My boss rang me as I was walking to the train station this morning to say she was stuck - but then she does live in the middle of nowhere. Other colleagues who live in London and get the train up to Luton are also stuck as the trains weren't running. And it turned out that although there were a very few trains running from Bedford, the surprisingly friendly railway people said not to travel as they could almost guarantee that (and I quote) "you won't be able to get home again tonight."


So I've come home and given the chickens some hot porridge to warm them up. I've left the door to their run open too, but they don't seem to want to venture out into the garden today.

Sensible creatures.

I'm going to put the kettle on and organise our seeds. Then maybe this afternoon I'll make some chutney and some stew. Or a pie. Something warming and heartening, anyway...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Lots of stuff

We've been shopping. Yesterday we went to the allotment shop to buy our seed potatoes. We've ended up with 'Arran Pilot' first earlies, 'Wilja' second earlies and 'Cara' maincrop. I'd post some pictures, but I think you can all just imagine what a string bag of potatoes look like...

We also got a bag of 'Green Windsor' broad beans, ready to sow when the weather warms up a little bit. And we got some 'Centurion' onions and 'Yellow Moon' shallots. We've already planted some red and some white onions on the plot, but we use onions in everything so a few more won't go to waste!

We had some garden centre vouchers from Christmas so today we decided to use them to buy our seeds, rather than send off a big long list and pay postage. And - extra bonus - the garden centre had 25% off all seeds! Excellent! We had a list of things we'd chosen from a catalogue, but there weren't as many varieties available on the shelves so we didn't always get the exact variety we wanted. But then, a beetroot's a beetroot, when it comes down to it. As long as it grows and can be eaten, I'll be happy.

Ready for a list? We've bought...

  • 'Cobra' climbing french bean
  • 'Firetongue' borlotti beans
  • 'Oasis' and 'Twinkle' peas
  • 'Cobnut' butternut squash
  • A mixed selection of winter squash
  • 'Marmande' beef tomato
  • 'Alicante' regular tomato
  • 'Golden Sunrise' yellow tomato
  • 'Marketmore' cucumber
  • 'Sundance' sweetcorn
  • 'Bosworth' brussels sprouts
  • 'Autumn Giant 2' leeks
  • Perpetual spinach / leaf beet
  • 'Kilaton' autumn cabbage
  • 'Ruby Ball' red cabbage
  • 'Neapolitan' basil
  • Mixed leaf salad
  • Rocket (great on pizza!)
  • Swiss chard 'Bright Lights'
  • 'Parador' yellow courgette
  • 'Defender' green courgette
  • 'Globe 2' beetroot
  • 'Purple Haze' carrots (purple!)
  • 'New Red Intermediate' carrots

And left over from last year we have:

  • 'Scarlet Emperor' runner beans
  • 'Panache' parsnip
  • 'April' spring cabbage
  • 'Rainbow' mixed radish
  • Dwarf green curly kale
  • 'Marian' swede
  • Acorn mixed summer squash
  • 'Tasty Trio' beetroot
  • 'Emilia' spinach
  • 'Rainbow' mixed carrots
  • 'Golden Ball' turnip
Plus (plus!) Suttons were offering a free pack of certain seeds when you bought two other packs... so we've also got three (three!) packs of 'Purple Dragon' carrots, two (two!) packs of 'Hilton' Chinese cabbage and a pack of poppy seeds, called lilac pompom.

Can't blame a girl for sneaking in some flowers...