Plot Notes

A personal journal, open for the world to read, recording the progress of a novice allotmenteer on his allotment.

Weed it and reap.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Proceeds of Crime

There are quite a few remote barns and isolated farm buildings in the countryside around our village. Last year the police raided a few of these places and found large scale cannabis production was taking place in hidden rooms above false ceilings.

Some arrests were made and the police seized the horticultural equipment which was being used in the cultivation of cannabis plants. The Court ordered that the equipment must be either destroyed or donated to local good causes.

Our allotment association falls into the category of local good cause and so arrangements were made for the drug barons' gardening equipment to be distributed to allotmenteers this morning. I gratefully received a very large Stewart propagator with lid, a hefty container of liquid organic plant and vegetable bio-feed, and a sachet of fertilizer which, by all accounts, is plant rocket fuel which retails at about £10 a packet.

Now, what to grow? Probably best not to start with cannabis plants!

I heard this week that we have had the first theft from our allotment site. A wheelbarrow left outside on a plot overnight had gone the next day. I'd like to think that the distribution of seized gear this morning has gone some way towards balancing the scales of justice.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Has Beans

Note to self: Just remember next year that as of 13th May 2010 we have had three consecutive frosty nights and yesterday was the coldest May night for 15 years. So, even if in late April next year you have a cold frame full of big strong healthy runner beans and french beans which are pushing up the lid of the cold frame in a bid to escape into the big wide allotment you must be resolute and patient. Tough love is called for. If you love them don't set them free. Keep them tucked up in the cold frame or greenhouse. Pamper them with a warm candle lantern on cold nights. Don't cave in to their pleas to be let out no matter how big, strong and hardy they may pretend to be. They are really just nesh wimps who are not ready for the outside world and they will shiver and die on the first starry night with a chill in the air.

This year's beans are no more. They are ex-beans. They have had it. They are not merely stunned or dormant. They are not pining for the cold frame. They have been and gone. The runners have run out. The french have stopped working. They are now climbing the great bean frame in the sky. Their shoots have shot up and shot off. They will push up the daisies but for them there will be no flowers. They have popped off without podding. The closest to toast they will ever get is brown bread. They have gone from beanage to carnage,  bean bed to deathbed. They are has-beans. It has Bean nice knowing them.

Now all my hopes rest upon the back-up beans I have sown just in case of this eventuality.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Aow wouldn't it be loverly?

 As Eliza Doolittle once said,
"All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?"

Well Eliza, now I've got it, the room, the chair, the plot!. The greenhouse is up and running. Big thanks go to Blogger Zeb from Zeb's Plot for kindly donating the 10 panes of glass I needed to finish the glazing and also to fellow allotmenteer Rick for giving me a handful of spare "W" glazing clips which saved me another trip to the garden centre.

I have placed the greenhouse on an 8 inch high wooden base-frame into which I have incorporated a couple of 6ft by 2ft beds. One of the beds now has a couple of growbags with tomatoes and chillis in them. The other bed has a few trays of various seedlings in it at the moment but eventually will be used for cucumbers.

 Best of all, I have installed an armchair in the greenhouse. Not quite the enormous one from Eliza's dreams but it really is a comfortable one and it beats the perching on the edge of a compost box or squatting on the floor which I've been doing for the last couple of months when I have needed somewhere to sit while I have a cup of tea from my flask.

I went up to the plot on Sunday afternoon with the intention of hoeing a few weeds but accidentally left the hoe at home. There was nothing I could do other than pour myself a cup of tea, put the football commentary on the radio and sit back in the armchair and watch the weeds grow. Now that's what I call leisure gardening; I could get used to this.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Brown Stuff

My 8 year old daughter loves painting. Not painting pictures in an artistic way but just painting, painting anything, slapping it on in the style of a decorator. If there is nothing for her to paint she is happy to take a paint-brush and a bucket of water and spread a thin coat of water across the garden wall, the garage or the patio slabs and once it has dried she will start all over again.

It was no surprise last weekend when she volunteered to paint my compost boxes. I provided her with a tub of paint, a nice wide brush and a flask of orange juice and left her to it.

Unhappy with the colour of the paint she complained, "It looks like poo!". I did not really have much choice. Site rules stipulate that structures on the allotments must be painted only in natural colours by which they mean various shades of brown and maybe a delicate shade of green for the daringly flamboyant types.

My daughter argued that as flowers can be such colours as pink, red, purple and orange and as the sky is blue these must all be natural colours. I have to agree with her. I think the site would look great if all the sheds and boxes were painted like multi-coloured beach huts but I could not allow her to paint my compost boxes in pink and sky-blue stripes.

For a while she could not bring herself to touch the brown paint. She lounged around in the sun for a  few minutes and sat with an allotment book over her face absorbing gardening knowledge by osmosis. She watered her strawberries and did a bit of hoeing around the vines. Eventually she was overcome by the compulsion to paint and despite constant complaints about the colour she did a really good job.

Whilst my daughter painted I was able to prepare a bean bed and frame for the French Beans and Runner Beans and plant another row of potatoes.