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  • Today I needed to go shopping for a water butt and assorted bits to go on the left side of the shed. Currently water is dripping off the roof into an open blue barrel, but because there is no top the water is filthy and in summer will be full of mosquitoes. Problem - the butt the other side, made by Blackwall, has a slightly dipped lid with holes in for the water to run into the butt, but I can't find anything like that in the local shops. All have mounded lids positioned in such a way that the water dripping from the new gutter arrangement will simply run off the top. I gave up having looked in 4 different shops, and came home with 2 paving slabs, 2 dustbins and 9 tennis balls to put into the butts to stop them cracking when they freeze next week.

    I'd been at home only a few minutes when a wheelbarrow I had ordered arrived. This needs assembling, and is completely beyond my capabilities. Help may be at hand tomorrow .

    I took the bits of barrow to the plot to find 2 buses apparently fighting over the bus stop, causing traffic chaos. I think one of the drivers was probably wanting his lunch. My parked car was definitely not welcome, so I took it home and walked back. No sooner had I got there than it started to rain. I'd checked the forecast (dry) and the radar (showing showers moving away to the south), so I wasn't best pleased. I filled a trug with weeds and took them into the wood store to chop while I waited for the rain to stop.

    I then decided to alter the entrance to the tunnel, which had been made in a very peculiar way. There were various gaps in the mesh and part of it was secured so that you had to bend double while squeezing past a large post which was attached to absolutely nothing and simply in the way. I removed the post and a piece of mesh which wasn't doing anything useful, bashed in another post further along and secured the door flap to that to make a fixed side. I then cut off the roll of mesh that was still attached (probably several metres of this) and attached the other side of the door flap to a useful metal pole which had holes in it using cable ties. I pushed this into the ground near the supporting post that forms the edge of the doorway. All I need now is some sort of spring clip to hole the top corner of the mesh onto a strategically placed cable tie around part of the pipe framework and its done.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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    • I now have proper gutters on both sides of the shed and water butts and dustbins to hold plenty of water, standing on level paving slabs. I've also got a nice new wheelbarrow which is no longer in bits - much better than the rusty, cracked old metal one that came with the allotment, which has some very sharp edges. Many thanks to Geepee for yet more help .

      This afternoon I went back to the plot and removed some couch grass that was growing back in the tunnel, along with some annual weeds. I also cleared the last of the shallots from the tunnel and put some weed fabric down so both sides are now covered.

      Very pleased with how things are coming along. I just hope everything doesn't freeze solid for weeks now!
      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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      • You are doing brilliant Pen,well done lass,
        sigpicAnother nutter ,wife,mother, nan and nanan,love my growing places,seed collection and sharing,also one of these

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        • A few photos of yesterday's progress:

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          The top 2 photos show the much better gutters, water butt arrangement (now room to get a barrow between the shed and tunnel) and the new wheelbarrow. The lid on the blue barrel has holes drilled in it to allow the water to drip through. The other 2 photos show the 2 ends of the tunnel, with the new doorway in the bottom photo. There is a piece of spare mesh dangling down which I haven't quite decided whether to leave to create a better seal on the opening side or remove completely.

          Today's job was to continue filling the raised beds. The various forecast models couldn't agree on whether the rain was going to reach this far east or not, with the more reliable, higher resolution ones tending to think not, while the standard GFS model had us wet all day. Unfortunately on this occasion the GFS was right, and it was already raining when it got light.

          I decided that it wasn't all that wet and I should get on with the job, so I went down to the garden centre and got 3 bags of compost which I dropped off at the allotment on the way to the stables. After mucking out I collected a car load of rotted muck, which was enough to half fill one of the remaining empty beds.

          I'd stuck a compost thermometer into the hotbed earlier, and it read 10C which isn't bad considering that the air temperature was about 3 and the rain was turning to sleet. I peeled back the bubble wrap and put the compost onto the top of the bed, where it made a layer about 1-2 inches thick. I then put the bubble wrap back on and put up the plastic tunnel cover that I've had ready for the last week or so.

          By the time I'd done that I was cold, wet and hungry so I went home for a nice bowl of home made soup. That'll do for today, and I may sow some seeds in the hotbed tomorrow.
          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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          • Today's jobs were to add more rotted muck to the beds and to sow some seeds in the hotbed.

            After 2 car loads of muck there are just 2 beds left to fill, plus the 2 that need more digging for the fruit bushes. This is how it looks now:

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            The hotbed is an experiment, and I have no idea if it will work. My doubts mainly revolve around the plastic cover, which is a little higher off the surface of the bed, and rather thinner than the usually recommended glass, but I don't fancy trying to lift glass lights around, and the cover is otherwise a perfect fit. The bed now catches a little midday sun, and I have put the bubble wrap that was over the top round the edges secured with string for extra insulation during the cold spell. The compost is covered with a layer of fleece, and the middle of the bed measured 10C this morning with the surface of the compost clearly slightly warm even though there was ice on the cover.
            I sowed the following seeds in rows 7 inches apart (roughly):
            2 rows spinach Amazon
            3 rows carrot Marion
            3 rows lettuce, 1 each of crispy salad mix, Lollo Rossa and Dixter
            2 rows beetroot, 1 each of Boltardy and Boldor.

            These were sown in the order spinach, carrot, lettuce, carrot, lettuce, carrot, spinach, beetroot, lettuce, beetroot, the idea being that the lettuces and spinach can be harvested early to leave bigger gaps for the carrots and beetroot.

            I am not expecting miracles here. I've done my best to provide a "clean" environment with fresh horse manure and new compost, but I do anticipate problems with slugs and there may be hay seeds germinating from the manure. If I can grow some baby carrots and nice beetroot, with a few salad leaves and end up with a suitable bed for a couple of courgette plants I will be more than happy.
            Last edited by Penellype; 04-02-2018, 04:33 PM.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • Looks amazing Penellype, well done you

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              • Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                Today's jobs were to add more rotted muck to the beds and to sow some seeds in the hotbed.

                After 2 car loads of muck there are just 2 beds left to fill, plus the 2 that need more digging for the fruit bushes. This is how it looks now:

                [ATTACH=CONFIG]78496[/ATTACH]

                The hotbed is an experiment, and I have no idea if it will work. My doubts mainly revolve around the plastic cover, which is a little higher off the surface of the bed, and rather thinner than the usually recommended glass, but I don't fancy trying to lift glass lights around, and the cover is otherwise a perfect fit. The bed now catches a little midday sun, and I have put the bubble wrap that was over the top round the edges secured with string for extra insulation during the cold spell. The compost is covered with a layer of fleece, and the middle of the bed measured 10C this morning with the surface of the compost clearly slightly warm even though there was ice on the cover.
                I sowed the following seeds in rows 7 inches apart (roughly):
                2 rows spinach Amazon
                3 rows carrot Marion
                3 rows lettuce, 1 each of crispy salad mix, Lollo Rossa and Dixter
                2 rows beetroot, 1 each of Boltardy and Boldor.

                These were sown in the order spinach, carrot, lettuce, carrot, lettuce, carrot, spinach, beetroot, lettuce, beetroot, the idea being that the lettuces and spinach can be harvested early to leave bigger gaps for the carrots and beetroot.

                I am not expecting miracles here. I've done my best to provide a "clean" environment with fresh horse manure and new compost, but I do anticipate problems with slugs and there may be hay seeds germinating from the manure. If I can grow some baby carrots and nice beetroot, with a few salad leaves and end up with a suitable bed for a couple of courgette plants I will be more than happy.
                Started to come together now Pen' ....Amazing result so far for all your hard work.

                Enjoy the new Barrow.
                Gp
                Never Let the BAD be the Enemy of the GOOD

                Conservation and Preservation for the Future Generation

                Comment


                • Nothing much doing yesterday, although I did pop down for 1/2 an hour to chop up some brambles and more of the pile of weeds. The green composter is now about half full of chopped weeds and I'm probably about half way through the pile (which of course keeps being added to).

                  As anticipated we had a sharp frost last night and it is now snowing lightly, with about 8 hours of snow to come if the radar picture is to be believed. Nothing is settling for now - the dew point is very low (very dry air), which means that as the snow comes down and lands a lot of it "sublimes" (solid turns to gas without liquid in between). I'm not sure how the mesh tunnel would cope with a thick layer of snow, so I am keeping a close eye on things.

                  So today I am making more detailed plans of what I am going to grow in each bed, as I really have only a vague idea of onions here, peas and beans there... The areas are so much bigger than I am used to (6ft 6in x 3ft beds as opposed to 15 inch buckets!) that I am finding it hard to visualize how much space things will need in each bed. A pencil, ruler and paper seems the best way to go.
                  Last edited by Penellype; 06-02-2018, 11:25 AM.
                  A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                    Nothing much doing yesterday, although I did pop down for 1/2 an hour to chop up some brambles and more of the pile of weeds. The green composter is now about half full of chopped weeds and I'm probably about half way through the pile (which of course keeps being added to).

                    As anticipated we had a sharp frost last night and it is now snowing lightly, with about 8 hours of snow to come if the radar picture is to be believed. Nothing is settling for now - the dew point is very low (very dry air), which means that as the snow comes down and lands a lot of it "sublimes" (solid turns to gas without liquid in between). I'm not sure how the mesh tunnel would cope with a thick layer of snow, so I am keeping a close eye on things.

                    So today I am making more detailed plans of what I am going to grow in each bed, as I really have only a vague idea of onions here, peas and beans there... The areas are so much bigger than I am used to (6ft 6in x 3ft beds as opposed to 15 inch buckets!) that I am finding it hard to visualize how much space things will need in each bed. A pencil, ruler and paper seems the best way to go.
                    I,m sure you know , you will get the equivalent of 10 x 5 x 15'' buckets in each bed.......also ,the fact your beds are rectangular you gain a bit in the corners.

                    Beds also allow growing in rows as you have already described .

                    So you should have more scope to grow stuff that needs a little more space / compost etc by having the ability to stretch them out a little....as we know .....quality is more important than quantity.
                    Gp

                    I'm eager to know what your next major project is....
                    Never Let the BAD be the Enemy of the GOOD

                    Conservation and Preservation for the Future Generation

                    Comment


                    • I think the difficulty I am having is that I am used to shoving far more into the buckets than is recommended on the packets because space has been at an absolute premium, and suddenly it isn't. For example I normally sow 15 parsnips (pre-chitted, so all will grow) in a bucket, yet the packet is telling me to sow in rows 16" apart and thin to 8"! That is telling me I "should" be growing 1 or possibly 2 parsnips per bucket. Its just a completely different system of growing.

                      Next major project? I think this one is going to keep me occupied for some time!
                      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                        I think the difficulty I am having is that I am used to shoving far more into the buckets than is recommended on the packets because space has been at an absolute premium, and suddenly it isn't. For example I normally sow 15 parsnips (pre-chitted, so all will grow) in a bucket, yet the packet is telling me to sow in rows 16" apart and thin to 8"! That is telling me I "should" be growing 1 or possibly 2 parsnips per bucket. Its just a completely different system of growing.

                        Next major project? I think this one is going to keep me occupied for some time!
                        I know exactly where your coming from...!

                        I grow my Parsnips in my Beds ....about 4-5'' apart and rows 6'' apart, in a MFB I put 8 seeds.

                        I believe in thinking of the eventual diameter of roots as in parsnips and Carrots and leaving sufficient space between plant to allow them to grow shoulder to shoulder.
                        Given enough Nutrient etc they should survive at that , do a 'Happy medium ' between seed packet instructions and common sense really.
                        Gp


                        A circle of 1'' mesh cut to fit the top of a bucket gives a good guide as to seed placement for carrots in particular, I tend to use 'Pelleted' carrot seed and place with tweasers ( Approx 25/30 per bucket)for this reason.
                        You can use Raw /natural seed if you can stand the 'Tedium of sowing individuals.
                        Nantes type rarely make more than 1''/1.5'' dia,they tend to do Length instead given good soil depth and conditions.
                        Early Nantes types etc do exceptionally well with this method.

                        Also gives early sweet baby carrots without taking up 'Bed space' which can be used for Autumn King,Eskimo etc overwintered varieties, they can always be covered with straw to protect from Harsh weather during winter months and the remaining straw makes good return to the bed .

                        My aim is to produce carrots for every month of the year, freshly harvested.

                        Nothing in my opinion tastes as good as a Carrot FRESHLY pulled from the soil.
                        Never Let the BAD be the Enemy of the GOOD

                        Conservation and Preservation for the Future Generation

                        Comment


                        • I agree, if I could only grow one type of veg it would probably be carrots. I am still eating last year's Eskimo and a bucket of May-sown Nantes Frubund. I have a pot of about 9 Nantes Frubund sown in November which are currently growing well on the kitchen windowsill and a similar pot sown in January which are just germinating - they will also spend their whole lives indoors. I've just sown 3 1m rows in the hotbed (Marion) and I plan on 3 more rows at the allotment later (Flyaway). At home I will be growing 2 buckets of Nandor, 3 of Nantes Frubund and 1 each of Eskimo, Sweet Candle and Samurai.

                          I don't think this will give me carrots all year - there is likely to be a gap in late spring, but I'm getting there slowly.
                          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                          • Having had a day away from the allotment yesterday because it was snowing I went down to have a look today. As expected it was pretty much frozen solid.

                            Even so, it was a lovely sunny day and I was pleased to see that my hotbed is getting 2 or 3 hours of sunshine now (when the sun is out). I decided to try chopping some more weeds, and found that this was much easier when the weeds were frozen and brittle than when wet and floppy. I got through about half the pile before the weeds defrosted enough to make it hard work again. The green compost bin is now about 3/4 full of chopped weeds.

                            I moved the rest of the pile out of the way and put all of the leylandii trimmings into the big compost bay - these have been lying in piles near the hedges waiting for a space. Ideally I will shred these and put them on the paths, but I have to work out a way of shredding them first!

                            Finally I cut back the buddleia bush that was overhanging the path near the compost area.

                            That will do for now. I won't be down there tomorrow as I have a meeting all day. Its probably going to rain anyway.
                            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                            • Managed to sneak down to the allotment at lunchtime today once it had stopped snowing. Collected up the rain water and melted snow from the wheelbarrow and various dustbin lids and tipped it into the water butt. Gradually accumulating a reasonable amount of water now.

                              Unloaded some sacks of leaf mould and shredded paper from my Mum's and emptied them into raised bed 7, which is now about half full. Another load of rotted muck at the weekend should fill this one, which will probably grow leeks. The remaining 3 beds don't need filling yet - one is for buckets of potatoes and the other 2 need perennial roots digging out for fruit bushes, but the soil was far too wet for digging today.

                              Cut off some more overhanging branches in the hedge and removed some brambles and dead flower stalks. Chopped these up and then it was time to go home.

                              I had a quick look in the hotbed. No sign of any germination yet (its far too soon) but it was pleasantly warm in there.
                              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                              • I had 2 alternative plans today, depending on the weather. One was to go to Wyevale and get some flower seeds (and the odd packet of veg seed) and the other was to collect another car load of rotted muck to fill bed 7.

                                Although it was raining, it was mostly drizzle and I decided to get on with collecting the muck. I set off with my tubs, barrow and fork on the long trek up the field, rounded the corner and... no muck heap! The farmer has spread it all on the land. I had a feeling this might happen soon, which is one of the reasons why I have been working so hard at filling these beds as soon as possible. I went to investigate and managed to scrape up a little muck off the ground, enough to fill 3 tubs, which was just about what I needed for the raised bed. I had hoped to be able to collect a bit more for the potato buckets, but I will have to do without.

                                I had a poke at the weeds in the fruit bed, but the half frozen mud made extracting grass impossible without large clods of frozen soil and I soon gave that up as a bad job. Instead I trimmed back the hawthorn hedge along the road end - the council cut the road side and the top, but I have to do the allotment side, and I wanted to get it done before birds decide to nest in it. Considering my only tool was a pair of secateurs, I think I did well to finish it.

                                More rain forecast tonight but hopefully tomorrow will be dry and I can do a bit more hedge pruning.
                                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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