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Showing posts from 2012



Rooko's January Top 10 Tryouts & Tips

1. Are you a pet owner? Dogs Cats Rabbits etc. When you have groomed them save up the hair/fur. This can be deposited around your garden/allotment so that birds can use it for lining their nests. If the birds don't use it up, it may well discourage slugs from the area.

2. Slugs and Snails will be loving the wet weather we have experienced in UK this year and know doubt their populations will have drastically increased. One good method of killing them off is to spread oatmeal around on slug infested areas. Cheap and effective this method it be! (thanks Yoda).

3. Some allotment holders say they have little work to do on the allotment during the Winter months. If your soil is dry enough digging and/or rotavating it and adding compost or manure, will add nutrients and structure to it. This will give you a head start by the time Spring arrives.

4. Apply some mulch to your garden plants before any permanent frost sets in. The contents of used grow bags can be re-used for this. Lettuce …

Reindeers Make Good Compost

The continuing rain finally eased off during mid morning today. With my Christmas celebrations over for another year and the last of the minced pies eaten, I decided to visit my plots. It has become a post Christmas ritual for me to take the used, discarded Christmas wrapping paper, cardboard and kitchen waste down to the plot, before new year and deposit it onto the compost heap. Having checked over the mass of paper and cardboard for any none compost able materials it was duly loaded into the back of my car, along with the bagged up kitchen waste and I set off for the allotments.

Two of my fellow allotmenteers arrived at the same time as I did, with the intention of checking over their plots for flooding and wind damage. They remarked that not much work would be possible due to the saturated condition of the ground. Leaving my car on the allotment road next to Plot N2, (my grass parking areas were far too wet and soggy to park on), I unloaded the car and deposited the paper, card …

Fantasy Allotment Plans For 2013

Many of the gardening/allotment blog posts I have read over this past Christmas week had a similar theme of either planning for next years sowing and planting, or re-capping on this years successes and failures. Despite the common factor of too much rain, all of them were interesting in their own way. One or two blogs mentioned the possibility that gardeners and indeed farmers, may have to grow different types of crops to the "norm", in future, to offset the effects of both flooding and climate change. 2 gardening magazines which I have read recently expressed the same opinions.

 Are you attempting to grow different crops next year? Leave me a comment, I would be interested to know what differences may be taking place into the future. I will publish a post in mid 2013, on the outcome, if enough people are interested in commenting.

As for my 2 plots, (If I ever get plot N2 cleared of weeds), I will be sticking to the usual crops, I normally grow, next year. I usually order l…

Don't Drink and Drive

Well after an extremely frustrating gardening year  for most gardeners and "allotmenteers" in UK,I would just like to wish all of my readers and followers a very happy and merry Christmas.
 Don't Lose the Plot at Christmas !!

Still Digging (Part 7)!! Restarted !

I had fully expected the digging and removal of the Dandelions, Creeping Buttercups and other weeds, from the main, central bed on N2 plot to have been completed before Christmas. Up until Sunday last, the soil was still too wet to walk or work on. I finally managed to resume digging by late morning on Sunday the 9th, which was a cold but gloriously sunny day. By late afternoon, working across the bed, I had double dug, back approximately 2 feet of ground, removing roots, weeds and debris as I turned over the damp clay soil.

 Heavy overnight ground frosts have been a feature of our local weather, for a week or so recently. Any newly dug soil is breaking down nicely thanks to the effects of the frost, although the weak Winter sunshine has left the grounds' surface fairly damp and sticky, as it melted away the frost. I spent most of last Monday continuing the work on the central bed. Many of the large Dandelion roots were slightly easier to remove from the soil encasing them, due t…

Baahh Humbug!!

I ventured down to my plots again, last Saturday in the hope that I could achieve some constructive work there, after a dry cold week with most days being breezy and sunny. Not a bit of it. The ground was still incredibly wet with even the grass paths squelching underfoot. After a quick perusal of the situation I deposited more kitchen waste on the compost heap and left for home in my car which skidded in the mud, as I reversed out of my parking space at the top end of plot N2.

Last Wednesday night I attended a regular pub quiz at one of our local rural pubs. Four of the regular teams couldn't make the quiz, due to the fact that their villages were still cut off from the rest of civilization by the recent floods.

At present 16 huge extra pumps (along with 20 other pumping stations) are pumping excess rain water from the Somerset levels (3rd time this year) at a rate of 10 tonnes per second, into the local rivers. If there is no further rainfall, it will take a full month to bring…

Rooko's December Top 10 Tryouts & Tips!!

1. Most Brassica require the presence of Boron in the soil for their healthy growth. Boron deficiency occurs more quickly in dry light, sandy soils and leaches out of soils fairly easily. Some of the ways that Boron aids plant development are in pollination, moving sugars within the plants and fixing nitrogen. A high concentration of organic matter in the soil where Brassicas are being grown will help to retain Boron. If you are having difficulty with your Cauliflower curds not developing or going brown, Boron deficiency could be the cause. Turnips and Swedes also react badly to Boron deficiency.

2. If you are one of those kind people who feed wild birds during the Winter, ensure that they also have a supply of drinking water and that it does not freeze over.

3. Try the following method to keep Wood Pigeons off your vegetables. Place canes/sticks in the ground upright, spaced approximately 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20cm) apart, around the perimeter of the growing area. This method is prob…

Still Digging (Part 6)!!
Not Bl***y Likely!

Although I appreciate that many parts of the UK are again suffering from the ravages of continuous rain and high winds, we are certainly taking a hammering south and south west of Bristol. With even more flood warnings issued for Somerset tonight there's more wind and rain to come. Cornwall and Devon are badly affected too, with danger to life warnings issued by the Environment Agency, earlier this evening, for parts of Cornwall. The rain is torrential here as I write this post and the winds are expected to reach 70 mph later on tonight. Although we have received many and frequent weather updates, from our local news bulletins and weather forecasters, there seems to be a distinct lack of so called experts to tell us WHY we are being subjected to such dramatic weather conditions. I expect if and when the rain finally stops, the usual comment will be "we have lessons to learn".

What's your opinion about the recent deluges? Is it just another "typical British Win…

Ceasefire (But Still Digging Part 5)!!

The battle against the Dandelions on the central bed of my new plot was put on hold last week, mainly due to 2 factors. The first being misty damp weather making the soil just a bit too sticky to work with, using a garden fork or spade. The second reason was that my main plot was being neglected in favour of the new plot, over the last four weeks. Having "Hamassed" approximately 140 hours digging over the new plot recently I decided it "Israelly" time to finish preparing my main plot for next year, before the Winter weather takes a turn for the worse, so a standoff was implemented and the ground forces moved to the main plot.

 Last Tuesday was spent digging over this years roots bed, removing 2 part rows of unusable carrots and a few annual weeds. The soil over most of my main plot is far more "workable" than that of my new plot, despite the overnight foggy and misty weather of late. Having completed this bed I then cleared out my old compost bin, depos…

Pirate, Cricketer or Lion Tamer
Still Digging (Part 4)

Anyone who has compiled their own C.V. will know that 2 of the "required fields" on a C.V. are, qualifications and experiences. It's also quite a common phenomenon that when you are carrying out continual repeated tasks, such as digging, that your mind ponders over other subjects at the same time. It's been slow progress again this week down the plot, only turning over another 4 feet of ground to remove the weeds from the central bed on plot N2. As I progress down the slightly sloping ground more and more of the Dandelion roots are reaching down into the sub-soil levels. There have been 3 or 4 pleasant dry days since last Monday but with overnight and evening rain, torrential again last night, the soil has been too wet and sticky to achieve much consistent digging. This brings me back to my opening comment about C.V.'s. Having to dig down well over 2 spits to remove many of the roots embedded in the sub-soils, I was thinking about how Pirates felt when they were…

Still Digging (Not)!! (Part 3)

O.K. so the post title is still boring, well so was this past week in the main, for me anyway. With only 2 and a half days spent down the plot since the beginning of last week, thanks to the rainy weather, particularly over the weekend. At least there's been no snow in this area, as there has been in many surrounding areas with 3 inches (8cm) in some places yesterday. By mid-week the soil was still unworkable so I decided to do a little maintenance on some garden furniture which had been standing neglected on my new plot for quite some time.

  I brushed off the dirt, mould, spiders, snails and various other grime and left the 2 chairs and bench inside my shed to dry out. By Thursday afternoon the furniture was dry and after a couple of hours cleaning and rubbing the wood down it was ready to be treated with waterproof wood preserver (dark mahogany in colour). The finished articles now looks almost as good as new, hopefully the preservative will do what it says on the tin.   I man…

Rooko's November Top 10 Tryouts & Tips!!

1. Don't forget the yearly ritual of checking over bonfires, before they are lit, to ensure any wildlife is not hibernating inside them.

2. Although the weather is wet cold and dreary over most of the UK, if you can collect fallen leaves from trees and shrubs, it will make good leaf mould for later use in the garden or down the plot.

3. Probably your last chance to plant the following in November. Garlic, Broad beans, Overwintering Peas, Overwintering Onion and Shallot sets. Try the following in a frost free greenhouse or under protection. Winter Lettuce, Endive, Pak-Choi, Spinach.

4. Save those long plastic containers discarded from curtain poles or window blinds. Cut away one side of the container and use them for light weight cloches to cover seeds/seedlings.

5. If you have a fish pond in your garden which may become frozen during the Winter, put a tennis ball, or 2, into the water to prevent it completely freezing over. Keep any water movement going during the Winter months.

Still Digging (Part 2)

Meticulously the removal of the myriad of Dandelions continues on the center bed of my new plot. Monday and Tuesday of last week were wet and rainy so the war against the weeds was delayed yet again. Wednesday was sunny but cold along with Thursday. A fresh wind was drying out the soil by Thursday afternoon, helping the soil to break up more quickly as I continued digging. The rain returned on Friday, making the soil too wet to do much digging on Saturday morning which I spent moving the remaining items of my gardening equipment from my old 2nd plot to the new one. On completion of this some time was spent tidying up the shed on my new plot, installing various hooks and a potting bench in one corner of the shed. I have now officially handed back my old 2nd plot to our site representative. I understand that the plot will be split into 2 halves for letting out to the next 2 tenants.  One of the main complaints I've heard, in the past,  from new tenants is about the untidy condition…

Still Digging

First of all many thanks to everyone who has looked in on my blog in the past week. Not enough hours in each day over the past week, but I've been busy waging war against the Dandelions growing in my central bed on my new plot. This bed is the largest in area, equivalent to approximately a half plot in its own right. Up until Friday the clay soil was still wet and sticky, which meant that every fork full of soil turned had to be picked up by hand to remove hoards of Dandelions, roots and all. Generally the weather has been quite pleasant with a few sunny spells. Saturday and Sunday was breezy and reasonably warm and the soil was beginning to dry out as I continued digging the bed and removing weeds and any large stones I came across. The drying soil was breaking up better than earlier in the week which made the digging easier, good news, especially after putting in about 6 hours digging per day since last Monday. 

Not much else of interest (if digging can be considered interesti…