Sunday, 31 August 2008

A Strimming we will go......

We have bricks - kindly donated by the allotment in-laws! As they have been weighing the back of the car down for the last two days - we thought we'd best do something with them before we start to wheelie. They were intended for a raised bed on the home patch but we decided a shed base at the plot was a bigger priority as already it's a little weakening carting tools backwards and forwards, and I don't always remember everything.

To solve this little frustration I've made a checklist in my notebook of things always needed (water, gloves, snacks, camera, phone etc) and also a list of likely tools to consider. Seems to be doing the trick so far.

Once we - (yes we! Despite a tricky hangover the dearly beloved was a brave and determined little soldier not to let me down on the arrangement) had moved all the bricks (which took minutes) we scratched our heads a bit and decided to make a start on the strawberry patch. Andrew cut the turf into rough squares and i began forking them out.

With some gentle persuasion he then tooled up with the strimmer, safety visor and ear plugs and started slashing about in the long grass.

An impressive vision of manliness - I'm sure you agree!

We are now agreed that a mower is the way to make lighter work of this situation - so far 'freecycle' has not yet come up with a neglected machine that could use a new home, but we also have our network of friends and family keeping an ear to the ground for such an opportunity. If we are no nearer to acquiring said item before mid September, we may have to consider purchasing one - nothing fancy just a pretty basic machine that does the job. Mr Culture has volunteered himself (with some enthusiasm) as chief mower - a happy arrangement for me and good exercise for him. We just need to watch out for all the forgotten debris of plot owners past.....such as this!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Ou est la shed??

After feeling considerably guilty for not getting to the allotment this week - today I went in earnest determined to finish clearing, levelling and measuring for the shed. And this I did.

Whilst there, it gave me the opportunity to survey the area that will blossom into our allotment garden. Since the initial scalping, and subsequent rain it is now very clear what 'undesirables' have had a fresh flush of growth. I see we have a number of bramble patches, nettles, docks, brier not to mention the bindweed and a clump of horseradish, oh and did I mention the dreaded couch grass. All these will have to be removed by hand on a regular basis, as we clear and cultivate along with the various rubbish that has been buried under this neglected plot for many years.

We aim to make life as easy as possible for ourselves by keeping the grass cut and only clearing areas we intend to use immediately - ie the planting of fruit, herbs and over wintering onion sets and garlic.

As a bit of an aside - look at this huge potato I grew at work. It's a monster!

It was enough to feed two people!!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Birthday plants

With renewed enthusiasm for 'green-fingers' on the home patch, I'm again considering what to do with our little terraced garden. Hubby and I seem to agree that it would be a good idea to use as a mini nursery to raise the kind of plants that require a little more attention and tender loving care. We have begun talks on the possibility of installing an 8x6 glasshouse for this purpose.
For now (with ideas in embryo form), I'm indulging a desire to see some colour in the garden after randomly choosing five alpines (my birthday plants) at Katie's garden (independent local nursery near Ipswich). With any luck these will fill the gap at the base of the fence we had boshed up last year and soften the edges of our boundary.

Plant List - Dianthus deltoides Artic Fire (delicate and yet striking), Geranium incanum (again with the geraniums - these are my fav genus), Potentilla x tonguei (pretty flowers - bright apricot yellow), Aubretia ( I like purple), Sedum Voodoo (looked kinda sexy).

Lawn gone! Lawn gone! (Most likely location for glasshouse).

Yay - wheelbarrow! And I rebuilt the poly-shelf thingy.
All this I did on Saturday morning before 'the man' was out of bed!!! Yay for me. Boo hiss to him.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Very little progress

Sadly, the earth is no longer scorched as there has been much rainfall over the last week (fabalous sound and light shows too) and the grass is back - lush and green. Think we will be needing to purchase a reconditioned mower or borrow one to keep on top of things. Ho hum. Have also noticed today there are a number of fresh bramble shoots making an appearance through the grass.

For the coming week we have a bit of a plan -
- purchase/borrow mower or get to work with a strimmer
- clear area for shed base
- purchase or acquire paving slabs
- begin clearing an area to plant Comfrey and maybe transplant some leeks from my workplace
- support open day on the 16th
With a job application to submit this week also, looks like we are set for a busy time.

In other news - contributions to our cause are as follows:
- £15 towards fruit at Ken Muir (a gift from lovely sister in law)
- a redcurrant bush 'Jonkheer Van Tets' (a gift from lovely friends)
- 40 strawberry plants - origin possibly 'Rosie' or 'Cambridge Favourite' or a mixture
- as many Comfrey cuttings as I can get get my hands on
- a wheelbarrow
- a mini cloche/greenhouse/shelf thing

I am now 32 having had a birthday (08-08-08) on one of the luckiest days ever according to the Chinese people. Am I wiser.......who knows - but there is still so much to learn!!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Scorched earth!

It was something of a surprise when we tripped down to the plot to do a bit of measuring, only to find that around half the area was black and charred!
At first we considered it might be intentional as, for the most part, the scorching appeared to be tidily restricted to the recently mown areas. On further investigation, however, we discovered we'd missed quite a drama involving 3 fire engines to extinguish a bonfire that had leapt a little out of control. Fortunately for us we have not yet built (or even ordered) the said shed - the location of which would have been engulfed in flames! Gasp!

I guess many a lesson can be learnt by other folks 'oopsies' -

A bonfire:
adjacent to mown grass that has not seen rain in weeks fueled with an unpredictable wind = lots of firemen with hoses, some embarrassment and grumbling plot holders.
Think I could bear the embarrassment and grumbling plot holders to admire the fire service at work.....sigh.