The Goose Roost Sprung A Leek!

I am so busy over the next few weeks that I thought I would spend my Sunday dong some ab-muscle-blasting pulling up some of the weeds that have sprung up on the plot. That’s not quite all that happened though…

I am very pleased with the haul so far this year. The toms were ripening, the beans swelling, and look!

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I am not entirely sure what it is, as it is just labelled “winter squash”. I think I may have picked it a bit early but I was too excited and it wasn’t getting any bigger so I will try roasting it later in the week.

I met a lovely old gentleman who had some leek plants for sale, and spent a long time speaking to him about the best way of growing them and also about what else I can do around the plot. He was so knowledgeable and even gave me his email address so that I can run by him any queries I may have.

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I also got a free load of winter brassicas… he was so adorable – like a little garden Yoda. 

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I am going to make up my plot plan for winter 2018/spring 2019 one evening this week and send it across to him for approval, but apparently my first job is to get my Christmas Spuds in! That’s going to be Wednesdays job I reckon!

He gave me a little factsheet, beautifully handwritten with instructions on how to plant my leeks up, so I set to work.

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It was one of the hottest days of the year, but he said I needed to dig a trench so dig a trench I did. I did not, however, bank on him giving me almost double to amount of leeks he said he would, resulting in a total of 3 trenches and some spare baby leeks. I was sweating buckets and about keeled over from the work but I got there… and dug up some brambles whilst I was at it!

37670607_497836490660797_8529974434776219648_nI planted my little baby leeks the length of my dibber (broken wooden mallet!) apart, placed them in the holes and the watered them in. No firming or anything as apparently that how you get mud in your dinner!

So rather than just stop there, I thought I had better get the brassicas in…

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Then the 3 different types of kale…

 

Then thinned my apples and watered everything…

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Then picked some cucumbers from the triffids in the greenhouse….

By which time it was 8.30pm and I had not eaten since breakfast! Oh how time flies when having a ball!

My nails no longer look so pretty though and I am at a wedding over the weekend so I went home to scrub myself as clean as possible with a stiff brush and some Swarfega!

Why didn’t anyone laugh at the gardener’s jokes? Because they were too corney.

Morning All!
I hope you have all managed to get out and make use of the first proper sunshine of 2018?

Over the weekend, I had such plans for the allotment… I managed to get one thing done.

Oh well, slowly but surely eh?!

This is what it looked like on Friday evening, before my big Saturday Blowout;

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Photo quality is shocking, but this is how it looked

I had aimed to get that first (very large) bed dug over, all the roots removed, and my spuds and onions in. I also wanted to get that big bonfire burned, and string up my wires for my raspberry canes.

Unfortunately, my plot is covered in perennial nettles and bindweed, as well as a carpet of bramble roots which seem to sprout up new shoots if the roots are cut! Its a nightmare!

So when MrT headed off to work, out came my trusty fork and off I started. I found several garlic cloves which were sprouting up well. These must have been left over from last year, so I carefully uplifted them and stored them to replant when my clearing was done.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

It was 17 degrees on Saturday, which for an April weekend I didn’t think was too bad! What I didn’t realise was that my little blonde self was getting sunburned… again. Not a good look. You’d think i would have learned by now.

So I kept on trudging through.

Lunch Break

Stopped for lunch. maybe a third of the bed is dug here

It took me over 2 hours to do a third of the bed. This was going to be a long job. I stopped for lunch and a cuppa, only to find that my trusty camping stove had given up the ghost. The gas was still working but the spark that lit the stove was gone. So no brew for me.

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Every line of digging created a barrow full of roots!

At this point, I really wasn’t hopeful that i would be able to get my spuds in, let alone the bonfire built. Everything was taking much longer than I thought! The only saving grace was that doing it this way once over would save me the constant weeding that would’ve been caused by rotivating.

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Bonnie was loving the sunbathing time though

People kept taking a wander up to see how it was all going, and as lovely as the encouragement was I really did just want to get on! I was starting to get really tired and frustrated but I wasn’t going to let it beat me!

And I finally got there!

I’m not going to lie, I almost collapsed in a pile of shakey limbs and tears, but I was so proud of myself.

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You can’t see how big it is here!

The photos really don’t show the enormity of it, but it’s 25ft by 29.5ft. Also known as bloody huge!

I managed to get in my onions and garlic, but at this point I just really wanted a massive pile of cheese on toast so the spuds would have to wait until Sunday.

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Little did I know it would rain all day Sunday, so I stayed in instead.

I am certainly not a wet weather gardener!

Hard work doesn’t harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances.

Every evening i have been up here weeding my beds with care, and locking up my chickies for the night. They have finally learned to take themselves to bed so now i just shut the door before i leave. It does mean i have to stay till dark though so I have started walking RicoDog down here to keep me company. He has made friends with them now. Isn’t he cute? If you ignore the drool…

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The sun is out, the plants are growing, and my Flatcap Friends have left me more goodies!

One day I will grow my own, but this year I will leave it to the pro’s.

Look at all of these that have been left over my nice new “sociable” gates;

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Green Beans i think?!

These all got planted up immediately. Mr Flatcap came to show me how to build a tipi for them. A tipi makes the beans hang down and means they are easier to pick than those hidden in the foliage.

You get a piece of string and two little sticks. Then you tie a string to one of the sticks, and decide how big you want your tipi. Hold the string in the middle of your tipi space and use the stick to draw a perfect circle around it.

Then tie the other stick 1 foot away from the other stick, basically a bendy ruler! Use your stick/string contraption to mark the distance between each pole, and then stick your bamboo poles in. You can make it as big or as small as you want. but these would be great for kids to hide from the sun when they’ve fully grown!

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Tin roofing sheets to give my chickies so shade

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Lettuce leafage for chickies!

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Bedding for chickes!

I think there is a theme to these presents… I am not sure if its me they like or my birds?!

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Some sort of squash? Needs a good feed apparently. Just like me.

So many goodies!

Some courgettes we bought from the garden centre on sale are starting to flower too! I had to cover them with netting as some creature of the night had chewed all the leaves when they were little… it’s not on. One day i will find out who did it and ‘av ‘um.

But the best thing about this visit?! LOOK!!

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Babies!

I have been feeding my tommy plants as instructed by Molly’s Dad on a regular basis and now they have made beautiful little baby tommys! Are they not adorable?

I’m so excited to try them.. not long now

What kind of apple isn’t an apple? A pineapple.

As you all know by now, my favourite type of gardening is maintenance free gardening.

This means as little weeding as possible, and as many ‘long lasting’ investments as I can find.

This weeks (ok more like fortnight!) project was clearing out the side of my greenhouse, and i had found the perfect thing to put there. An ‘orchard’.

We eat so much fruit, especially in the autumn, and it is one of the things I spend the most money on. So when I saw some fruit trees on sale, I had to grab them.

Looking back, i see now why they were so cheap. You are supposed to plant trees between November and February when they are dormant. You are NOT supposed to plant trees in the height of summer like I did. I really hope they live…

So this is the area i wanted to put them. Its a little raised bed area around the back of my greenhouse. This does mean that it gets pretty hot, but it also gets a lovely breeze blown through from the school field next door, so fingers crossed.

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Between the two greenhouses

Messy right? Well underneath those nettles is a shin height brick wall running right around to the front of that greenhouse.

So I began the long arduous job of clearing all of those nettles and brambles. You see those whiteish flowers right in the middle of the back? That’s rhubarb! Now I’m not a fan of shop bought rhubarb, but I’ll give home grown a go. I dug it up, keeping as much of it together as I could and hoped it would survive when I decided where to put it.

(Spolier alert – It did. And it spread. And now it is everywhere.)

It took me a fortnight of evening digging after work, but I finally managed to get the area clear. Just on a side note, if you get stung by nettles enough times, it doesn’t hurt any more. It just tingles. Not recommended, but I would love to know why this is!

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Getting there…

If you have noticed the sudden appearance of the pallets, they were a ‘present’ from work which will eventually become fencing. I currently have nowhere to put them so there they sit.

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Completely clear!

Finally I was ready for planting, just in time for my cheap trees to arrive. Also managed to pick up some super cheap strawberry plants while I was at it so they will go around the base of my trees this year and get moved next year to where I want them. When i have decided where i want them that is.

I began digging my holes, and i sprinkled a little of the same fungi i used on my tomatoes around the base of the hole to try and encourage the roots. I also drove a stake in for the larger trees at this stage, but ran out so fingers crossed the others live! Plonked the trees in, and covered the holes back over with soil. Firmed this in gently, but I didnt ‘stamp’ them in for fear of breaking what little roots these trees had. I then made my little moat around the root area and gave them a right good soaking when the sun went down.

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Trees!

I have always been told not to water when the sun is high as it can cause burns and shock to your plants. I don’t know how true this is, but it makes me feel like i know what I’m doing so I’ve stuck with that rule.

Next in went the strawberries. While I was doing all of this, Mr AcrossTheLane arrived and scared the life out of me lurking around the greenhouse. Turns out he did shout me several times, but I’m deaf when I’m in my own world. He bought some gorgeous homegrown strawbs with him, some huge! He had a glut and I had a rumbly tummy so it all worked out well. They were very tasty, but it did bring home just how late I was having to plant everything.

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All in!!

If I were a clever woman I would have probably done all of the clearing and long jobs this year and not planted anything at all. But I have always been impatient. Oh well, hindsight and all that!

My biggest recommendation though?
Suncream.

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Ouchy!!!


Time Travel!

I am now writing this is April 2018, having only just discovered the joys of WordPress.

My trees seem to have survived and have little buds on, and my strawberry plants got moved to the greenhouse for storage over winter while I reorganised their home.

I have now covered my trees bed in weedguard to try and kill off the last of the Rhubarb (not working by the way!) and have covered it in chippings.

Look how beautiful it is! Unfortunately they do keep getting attacked by the windows falling out of my greenhouse, but that is a project for another day.

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Low maintenance, and beautiful. I cant wait to site there with a brew under the leaves when they get a bit bigger. And when i have moved those pesky pallets…