I paid a visit to the allotment. I worked very hard and fast to get as much as possible done in a very short space of time. I have so many jobs to tackle it is always difficult to know where to begin. I started by removing a few side shoots from some of the many tomato plants I have growing in pots and I staked up a few plants with bamboo canes. It really is amazing how much they have grown in a very short space of time. We have been blessed with some very good growing weather of late, lots of rain mixed with warm sunshine. Then watering, I started on the pots, then I quickly moved on to the seed beds, making a mental note of my next jobs as I moved around the plot. I started to pick some delicious strawberries, the plants were heavy with fruit and I filled three containers. However I noticed the beds were full of weeds and I decided to pick the fruit and pull the weeds at the same time. This worked very well and I think I have managed to catch the weeds before they grow out of control. This job lasted up until it came time for me to leave for home. The Magpies were chattering and feeding on the grass on the open space next to the plot, I cannot imagine what they find to feed on there.
I managed to cut the grass on my front lawn, I had intended to cut the grass at the back of the house until a fairly heavy shower of rain sent me scurrying back into the house. I did not want to risk clogging the blades of my lawnmower. There are quite a number of jobs to be done in the back garden and I will have to set aside some time to get them all done soon. It has been a wonderful year for the roses, we have had some wonderful blooms on most of our small number of bushes.
A great start to the day today, I got to the allotment a bit later than usual. The weather was brilliant, warm and dry and ideal for gardening. My first job as ever was to harvest the goodies that are ready to eat. I picked a whole punnet of wonderful succulent red coloured gooseberries. I have been quite lucky really as the gooseberry saw fly that started to strip the leaves off my bushes, suddenly stopped eating them. I was advised to spray the bushes but I decided to ignore that advice and leave them alone. It's surreal to see the leafless bushes with fruit hanging from totally stripped branches. My luck continued to hold out as a friend pointed out that there was some goosberry mildew on a couple of bushes at the edge of the bed. Fortunately that never went any further and I was able to get away with that as well. The goosberry crop is beautiful, I like my variety of gooseberry bushes as they have a very faint appetising trace of the colour red and they always taste as good as they look.
I continued to weed around the courgettes at the top end of the plot, I must admit that area is looking very good now.
Then a woman's voice halloed me and asked if I could direct her to plot 34, I wasn't sure where that was and I asked her who owns the plot?
'Chris,' She replied!
Then I remembered that my friend Chris had said he would be going away on a a cruise, and I directed her to his plot.
I looked up from my work a little while later and noticed her on the wrong plot merrily picking someone else's strawberries. I rushed over to stop her......
'Hey! You are picking fruit on the wrong plot!' I exclaimed.
'I thought you said his plot went right to the road,' replied my new friend, 'I thought it was a massive plot' she smiled. 'I have picked these already.'
I said 'Don't worry, they will never be noticed, but we don't want you to get into trouble. Do we?'
I then re-directed her to the right allotment and I carried on working on my courgette beds.
I finished hoeing over the beds and I then began to clear up the tools ready to go home. I noticed a pair of magpies pecking around the open space next to the plot, they seemed to be carelessly very close to me, this is very unusual as they are normally very shy birds.
Not a bit like flaming June on the allotment this morning, it felt flaming cold and there was a very slight shower of rain. I actually wore my winter hat today to combat this unseasonal start to the day. Tony, my next door neighbour came over to the allotment on his way to the gym, he gave me a couple of really nice Pak Choi plants that he had spare. I haven't grown any of these this year, I think I had run out of space. Tony asked me to give a message relating to bowls to a mutual friend. I watered my pots and some of the seedbeds, as we have had very little rain for the past few days. I harvested some Gooseberries, Strawberries, and some Onions and spent the rest of my time weeding around the Runner-bean wigwams.
In the evening I spent some time watering my pots in the back garden, the Blueberry fruits are swelling up very nicely now and the tomato plants look very healthy indeed. The lawns, back and front look great after their cut yesterday and the new grass seeds I planted in the front lawn have taken very well. The grass looks so beautifully green. I am overwhelmed with the beauty of the blue rose I purchased for Margaret several years ago. It is covered in big beautiful blooms and I just had to grab my camera and take some wonderful photographs. I must remember to give the roses some rose food when I get some time time to spare.
These are two pictures of a single red rose, blooming in our garden on the other bush that we bought at the same time as Margaret's Blue rose.
I reached the allotment at about 5.30 this morning. We had a quite a nice shower of rain overnight and the soil was lovely and damp, further watering of the plants will not be needed today.
My first job of the day was to water the last few plants in my cold frame. While I was busy with this I thought I would have a good clear out and plant some of these remaining plants in the ground. I had the last two courgette plants left, along with two cucumber plants that seemed to be doing alright where they were. I transplanted the courgettes into the squash bed, then I added some potting compost to the soil in the bottom of the cold frame and I re-planted the cucumbers there. I still have several tomato plants in the cold frame but I will wait until I have some pots to deal with them. My next job was to pick some more beautiful strawberries, I am very happy with the crop this year. I noticed that several of the plants have already produced some runners and I potted up eight of these into potting compost and I should have some new, early fruit producing plants next year. The weeds are growing faster than the crops and the rest of the time I was controlling those, before I left for the day at 8.30.
I snapped these beautiful wild flowers on the allotments this morning. I love to see the Poppies and the Foxgloves growing wild.
Finally a couple of memorable photographs of Margaret's Blue Rose and my Red Rose in flower in the back garden at home.
The day started with brilliant sunshine as I headed for the allotment at about 5am. I had planned to feed the plants with a good mixture of Miracle Grow and with everything looking very healthy, I began straight away filling my watering cans and feeding everything starting with my Asparagus bed.That is the one bugbear at the allotments there is a permanent hosepipe ban and everything is watered by hand. Mind you I do not grumble about this as it certainly keeps me fit.
The three fruit bushes I planted yesterday are looking great and I gave they a feed to boost them up a bit. It is amazing how a little plant food helps the plants as they immediately perk up. Next I planted some young bean plants around the canes, filling up the gaps. I tried to grow quite a few from seed in pots but I was a little disappointed when just a few of them germinated.
My friend David on the plot next to me arrived to plant some Asparagus plants that he has grown from seed, I am very impressed with how many had germinated and he gave me some spare plants. I gleaned a couple of good tips from David about growing Onions.
(1) It is best to cut the seed pods off the Onions that have bolted early to slow the growth down.
(2) When you store Onions it is best to turn them upside down to prevent neck-rot.
I spent an hour weeding between the beds and then went off home.
SATURDAY on the ALLOTMENT
I was on my allotment at 5.30 am, when the sun had not long risen and the world was resounding with a variety of bird life. A veritable cacophony of sound, the raucous squabbling Rooks were in the ascendancy with a very loud chorus resonating from the trees that make up the rookery situated alongside the cemetery that adjoins the allotments.
My first job was to cut some Asparagus spears, I had a very good crop as I have not been there for the previous two days. I filled a plastic fruit container with luscious red strawberries, some half-ripe that will ripen off nicely on the kitchen window-sill at home. Fresh baby new potatoes, dug straight from beneath the healthy looking foliage of my first-early potato plants were bagged and deposited in the car ready to transport home. I then foraged further and collected some Spring Cabbage leaves, Rocket leaves and I was delighted to harvest some amazing White Radishes. I also picked some Coriander leaves that have self-sewn from last year.
Next I watered all my pots and baby plants and the seedlings in my seed-beds. It is really important to keep the young growing plants moist. I then planted three fruit bushes that I purchased from the Wilkinson's store I visited in Norwich yesterday. A Blackcurrant ~ A Redcurrant ~ A Whitecurrant. I will not get fruit from these until next year. There was quite a stiff Norfolk wind this morning and I thought it best to support my new fruit bushes with some short bamboo canes. Then after a short blitz on the infernal weeds it was time to call it a day.
My friend Tony arrived while I was busy and we passed a good few minutes discussing the bowls match he is playing in this afternoon. Another very good allotment friend Linda arrived to feed her chickens and we passed a few minutes bemoaning the lack of rainfall and the effect of the variable weather on her Corgettes.
John~~Battling with the elements, pests and diseases in my struggle to keep the garden growing. A constant daily struggle that will be recorded here.
Gardening is such a delightful pastime. I spend time on my allotment almost every day of my life, and the sensation of pure satisfaction never ceases to amaze me. I get so much out of this pleasure, I think the benefits are so huge that the government should legislate and make it more available to everyone. I will list just some of the obvious reasons here. ~~
1) Fresh fruit and vegetables and other produce.
2) Fresh air and an intense feeling of getting close to Nature.
3) Healthy exercise without the necessity of machines that are found inside a gym.
4) The satisfaction obtained by growing plants and watching and caring for them through to maturity.
5) A regular occupation that you can make into a routine, somewhere to go to at a certain time every day.
6) The companionship of like-minded people, with whom you can get ideas and swap tips on your mutual interests.