Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Grounds for divorce?

Uh-oh. Had to bribe hubby to agree that we have room for a greenhouse by offering to buy him a new barbeque. Now the concrete base for the greenhouse has been installed (requiring demolition of the old brick barbie) and there isn't room on the patio for the new BBQ. What to do???

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The greenhouse is coming!

I am so excited! Sad or what? I have wanted a greenhouse for years and years but this year I am having one. Must have been another "carpe diem: seize the day" moment. The builder is coming tomorrow to put in the base, and the greenhouse itself should be delivered on Saturday. It needs to look good as we only have a relatively small garden. So I have chosen a lovely, hexagonal wooden one. I'm like a child counting down to Christmas!

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Phantom Weeder

Now I know that many of you would love to have one of these but this is getting a bit odd. I have many weeds at my allotment and some of them are really rather pretty at the moment: a hangover from my first year when I scattered wild flower seeds over a section of the plot which I hadn't got around to clearing. They now pop up all over the place, of course.
Someone (and I have my suspicions who) is uprooting them and laying them out ever-so-carefully alongside my compost bin. Not chucking them in the bin or leaving them in a heap alongside, but arranging them in very neat, parallel lines right in front of the bin. And not in a helpful kind of way either. More in a: "Tut tut you really ought to do something about these weeds before they set seed."
Now I know that those little daisies aren't supposed to be there in the middle of a row of potatoes and I know they will set seed. But they really are very pretty. There are far worse weeds that that to deal with else where on the plot. Perhaps I should leave a sign out: "Fairies: please weed here and leave anything with flowers on..."?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

What to do about watering?

What to do indeed, when there is no water source at the allotment. We have the River Witham flowing by, about 100 metres away. But other than that nada. Zilch. Rien. 100 metres is a long way if you are carrying 2 full watering cans and are going to need 10-15 trips!
In previous years I have followed my lottie neighbours' advice: he waters well at planting time, looks after the soil with plenty of good stuff, and doesn't bother about water again. But this year we are officially in the drought area and it became clear that I was either going to have to water or watch stuff die. Hence this afternoon found me driving to the lottie with 71 litres of water in containers of various sizes stashed in the boot of my car.
The water is rainwater from a water butt and the containers are largely recycled so all fairly green so far. But driving it there??? If anyone can calculate the carbon footprint of that one I would love to hear from them!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Blackcurrant Vodka and Sister Elizabeth

I planted two very small currant bushes in my garden at home this spring, as part of my dabbling with permaculture. The redcurrant has yielded nothing - I think the birds got there before me. But the blackcurrant produced a couple of handfuls of lovely juicy fruit. Not enough to make a pudding with but it was early evening as I picked them, the barbie was lit and thoughts were turning to pre-dinner drinks. So I indulged myself and made a blackcurrant syrup mixed with crushed ice and a shot or two of vodka. Or, at the risk of being sued again, a grown-up alcoholic Ribena. 

The rose in the background is Rosa Sister Elizabeth - a beautiful if floppy low-growing rose which is simply smothered in the most gorgeous pink blooms. Planted in memory of my own sister, Liz. I think she would have appreciated the alcoholic Ribena, too.

Where did today go?

Well the lottie has played second-fiddle to other things today. The dog was dominating things first thing. He was in full-on terrior mode. All guns blazing and not one of them pointing in the right direction. Our early morning walk started like real quality time but rapidly descended into chaos when he picked up the scent of first a rabbit, second some poor feckless cat which got more than a run for its money, and finally the delights of a ditch. Left me standing like a chump in the middle of a field with a pocket full of dog biscuits he couldn't have been less interested in.
Although it is Saturday and the weeds are crying out for attention the only time I have managed to spend at the plot was a few minutes picking broad beans for supper. They came to table in a salad with beetroot, onion and mint in a garlicky dressing (still have 62 bulbs to go...). All home grown and so pretty on the plate. Really good.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Let me introduce you to the other men in my life

Meet my scarecrow - and the one on the allotment next door. Credit for ours has to go to the rest of the family including the in-laws who master-minded a fabulous papier-mache head. Unfortunately I am still finding traces of its hair made from some noxious synthetic substance which will never, ever, biodegrade in a million years, but there you go...
Unfortuately my other man aka the scarecrow did not survive the winter of 2009/10. Despite our best efforts the wind funnelling up from the Vale of Belvoir got the better of him, as it does of so many things. He was fun while he lasted though!

This is the Good Life. At least it was on Monday

What a lovely day I had on Monday. The rest of the week, unfortunatly, has to be spent at work. But between dropping my two daughters off at school on Monday and picking them up again at the end of the day, I had a good 7 hours to myself. I walked the dog, baked some bread, and had a few hours at the allotment. The 60-something bulbs of garlic (Cristo - planted in the Autumn) previously mentionned was ready to lift so out they came and boy had they enjoyed the harsh winter! I was delighted to see some enormous bulbs and only a very small number of failures.

This week's menus, therefore, have been inspired by the garlic. Homemade hummous was particularly good - leftovers tonight. Roll on the weekend when I have time to do some proper garlic bread. Most stuff you buy always seems heavy on the garlic salt. (Will I get sued for that...?) It leaves a nasty aftertaste and a raging thirst. The real thing made with newly-lifted garlic is fabulous. Buschetta on the barbie rubbed with a freshly-cut clove is pretty good too.

After the garlic came out, the spinach went in. (My approach to rotation gardening is a bit basic but I do always ensure I don't plant the same thing in the same patch straight away). I have a glut of perpetual spinach plants raised from seed. I am keeping some in a pot in the garden to use as baby leaves in salad, which seems to be working well so far. I have also given quite a bit away in that lovely share-and-share-alike gardeners' bounty. And the rest got planted and well-watered, both by myself and the ensuing downpour which we had later in the week.

Water and watering, meanwhile, is a whole other subject. What to do when there is no water supply at the lottie? More to follow

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Where it all started

“Bitten the bullet at last. After 10 years of finding reasons not to, I have had a “carpe diem” moment and taken an allotment. It is waist-high with weeds at present but the soil looks promising”

That was the beginning of an article which I was lucky enough to be asked to write for Lincolnshire's "Good Taste" magazine a couple of years ago. Once the weeds were cleared this is what it looked like  - with hubby helping with some of the soil preparation, thank goodness. The first few weeks were extremely hard work as we decided to do it the hard way, without weedkillers, rotavators or other short-cuts.

That was mid-September 2008. Since then there have been successes and failures. But I came home on Monday with 63 fantastic bulbs of garlic which I had lifted that morning. That makes it all feel worthwhile.


Wow I have created a blog! I will be blogging (get me!) about the trials and tribulations of trying to look after an allotment, a family, a dog and a job (maybe I got those in the wrong order? I'm sure some people will have a view...?)
Anyway, let's see where we go with it.

Lincolnshire Sky

Lincolnshire Sky