Monday, 23 January 2012

180 Packets of Seeds Sunday 22nd January 2012

 Well finally I have finished entering my seed collection in to the database and the results are 130 Packets of vegetable/herb/fruit/salad seeds and 50 packets of various flowers . Now I just need enough space and time to germinate them all and grow them on . There are 20 varieties that can be sown in January according to the packets so I shall sow some daily. It looks like it will be Tuesday before I return to the allotment .

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wednesday 18th January 2012

Well this morning I continued cataloguing my seed collection inputting the details in to the newly created database. In the afternoon I managed to bag up some of the rubbish in to rubble sacks ready to put in my wheelie bin at home this friday. The blue sack in the yellow bed is full of glass that I unearthed this afternoon after thinking I had already removed all the glass on Sunday . How wrong was I? I've moved the remains of Saturday's garden waste to the front where eventually the compost heap with hopefully go.
 The only other job done on the allotment today was to mark out a bed on the left of the apple tree at the back ready to dig before next weekend.

Tuesday 17th January 2012

Cataloguing began today of my seed collection and in some areas it appears to have got out of control with 11 different varieties if carrot seeds alone . Too many just to write them all down and seeing as it is too frosty to do much outside I created a database using OpenOffice and began inputting the catalogue . Time consuming yes but once it is done it will be easier to update and refer to.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Sunday 15th January 2012

 I didn't spend more than a hour at the allotment today as time was stretched. I collected as much glass as I could find and brought that home to put in the bin . Whilst I was there I marked out the bed next to the 'yellow tub' and quickly dug that over ready for the frost.

Saturday 14th January 2012

With the amount of brambles I had removed from the rear fence there was nothing left to do but set fire to them then at least the ashes could be used to fertilise the soil.  2 hours I ended up staying for just to ensure that the fire didn't go out of control or cause a nuisance.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Brambles and Billy Thursday 12th January 2012

 Today my task was to continue clearing the brambles that were dominating the area in front of the rear fence . I was working quite well pruning out all the branches as the first photograph shows . I then began digging out the roots which was when Billy , the guy who had started me off digging beds on Friday , appeared .

Just some of the bramble and weeds I removed from near the fence.
View from the left once I'd removed the brambles.
View from the right once I'd removed the brambles.

After praising me on what I had managed to complete so far he warned me that I was in danger of losing my paths to weeds if I didn't do something to protect them such as using old carpet . He also said that my beds going front to back might not be as productive as beds going side to side due to the sun being on them  longer in the latter position. He had a dig in the soil where the brambles had been removed from and was satisfied with the condition of the soil. He also warned me about pruning the lower apple tree branches before I lose an eye.
Anyway just when I thought I might be allowed to continue he took me on a tour of the site , after all he had been there since the site opened in 1976.

View from the left once I'd removed the weeds and turned the earth over

View from the left once I'd removed the weeds and turned the earth over.
View from the front - that mound on the left-hand side has been levelled ready for where the shed will go.

My Big Sweat Wednesday 11th January 2012

Well this morning started off wet but the rain quickly stopped allowing more work to be done.
I had planned on only doing a quick hour and a half's work on the plot but once I got started digging out beds that I had marked out last weekend I was well away in my elements and by the time I eventually went home nearly three hours had passed and I had been working so hard that I was looking very red in the face as if I had just done an intense work out at the gym . Still no ground frost though!
The plot at the start of 11-Jan-2012
Admittedly I was talking to Dave the owner of plot 2 for nearly 30 minutes discussing the future possibilities of chickens etc. 
The plot after I had finished for the day.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Saturday 7th January 2012 Digging solo

 The way other tasks were going today I thought any chances of me doing any work down at the allotment were gone . I did however manage to do a hours work early afternoon and although I was digging solo today it was amazing how after being shown the way the previous day how easy it was for me to focus on the task in hand. I ended up completing the digging of the bed that contained the apple tree as well as completing a new bed on the right hand side and marking out for another bed. I pruned some branches off the apple tree as it's canopy seems to cover the whole plot . At the rear of the plot I cleared away about a sixth of the brambles . Time may have been short there but hopefully several days like this should get plot 44 ready for the spring.

Plot 44 begins to look like an allotment on Friday 6th January 2012

Friday 6th January 2012 can go down as the day when those plans I had drawn on paper at home began to take shape.
 I had been eager to begin work on the plot but as with anything task like this it is knowing where to start and staying focused on the task in hand.
 A few previous attempts had had me doing bits all over the place without actually achieving any change . Well today was the beginning of the change .
 I arrived on my own mid afternoon armed with a tape measure , the plans I had drawn up , a spade and a pallet with the intention of putting the pallet in the ground to act as the start of a fence.
Before I knew what was happening a friendly chap ,called Billy, had introduced himself, told me I was digging in to drainage ditch ,viewed my plans and began digging . It was perhaps what I needed to get me going. He told me to lay a plank down to mark out straight edges and then turn the ground over in the marked out area. In less than two hours what had once seemed a mountain now felt like a mole hill . I had been set on a course and now it was up to me to make it possible.

Not quite to plan but at least it is beginning to take shape.

Finally showing the plot to my wife

Well I had had the keys and contract for nearly a month now but between the horrible weather and Christmas with everything that festive period includes I hadn't had the chance to show  my wife what we would be letting ourselves in for. I wanted to be absolutely certain that she would be supportive if we were to proceed with plot 44 . Spurred on by a reminder letter from the council saying I might have a key but until the signed contract is returned plot 44 was not 100% mine yet.
 After a quick 10 minute visit the verdict was positive and that afternoon I signed and posted the contract.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Years Eve and the first bit of work

View from left hand corner with a huge mound where I would like to situate a shed.
New Years Eve and the first bit of work . It was like , where do I start ? I ended up doing small amounts and completing nothing.

The Key arrives for Plot 44 , December 2011

Well after accepting the allotment plot over the phone without actually having set foot on it when the key arrived in the post on December 9th 2011 I had to see what I had let myself in for. 

View from the left-hand side front corner.
View from the right-hand side front corner. 
Afterwards I focused on picking out some of the positives . At least the plot is mainly flat and there is a mature apple tree already established on the plot and there was a yellow plastic 'thingy'. So using my feet as a measure I measured up the plot's widths and lengths to aid me in drawing up a design at home. The big daunting task would be those weeds and where to begin.

The Offer of Plot 44 at the end of November 2011

After thinking I would never get my own allotment close to where I live and not really wanting to endure travelling a ten mile round trip to work on my mother's allotment ,the local council offered me plot 44.
 Without even viewing it (possibly my biggest mistake!) I accepted it and all the challenges it would involve to start from scratch.
 The plot had never been cultivated . The previous tenant only grew items in a yellow plastic "raised bed" . I was about to tackle weeds and brambles on a scale I had never come across before . There were areas of poor drainage , a lack of top soil and clay within a spade's depth. Not ideal but then most allotments are daunting and hard work to begin with.

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