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Showing posts from 2013

Happy New Year


Down At Christmas

With power lines, trees, fences, roofs and goodness knows what else, brought down with this weeks storms it was time to go down the plots today, to check out the damage there. Oddly enough most of the small lightweight items of allotment equipment, situated on the majority of plots, such as compost bins, wheelbarrows, plastic fencing and the like, seemed to have been unaffected by the 2 storms of Monday/Tuesday and Thursday night of this week. I was extremely lucky to have only suffered some minor damage on my plots. 3 plant pots in my poly tunnel were blown over with their contents deposited across the tunnel's floor. There was a slight tear in one of the tunnel vents caused by the wind and apart from the lower ends of N2's 2 main beds being underwater, the only other damage was to a dustbin which had been blown over by the wind.

Having checked out my plots for damage, I took a walk around the allotments' road to see what other damage the destructive high winds and driv…

Seasons Greetings.

Seasons Greetings To Everyone

"We go, in winter's biting wind,
On many a short-lived winter day,
With aching back but willing mind
To dig and double dig the clay."
  Ruth Pitter, (The Diehards)

Plugs & Carbs All Jammed Up

With both my plots ready for next season its been a leisurely few weeks for me, pottering about in my back garden for several days. The borders have been weeded, shrubs trees and plants pruned or cut back and the Autumn leaves from neighbouring trees have been raked up and added to my compost heaps on N1 Plot. The lawn has been raked, aerated and a mix of soil and sand has been applied to fill in a few dips in its surface. Just the greenhouse to tidy with some cleaning and disinfecting to do on it, before it again sees the addition of some early sown vegetable seeds in their pots and trays. Oh! and some fence painting to finish off.

With the M.O.T. Test being due last month on my trusty 20 years old Vauxhall Astra I was wondering if it would pass its test this time. Deciding not to wait for the test I bought another car, deciding to keep the Astra as a "spare". A few days after the purchase, the Astra, for the first time ever, refused to start. Several hours of tinkering wi…

Rooko's Decembers Top 10 Tryouts & Tips

1.  If you have done the final cut of the year to your lawn, clean off the lawnmower and remember if you are using unleaded petrol it does not "keep" so drain off any fuel left in the mower before storing the mower until next year.

2. Red & white currants, Gooseberries, Autumn raspberries & outdoor grapevines can be pruned this month but not if heavy frosts are expected. Seal any pruning wounds.

3. Most summer bulbs are not Winter hardy so dig them up, remove excess soil and store them in a cool dry place indoors, ready for re-planting next year.

4. If your outdoor plant containers are too large or heavy to move to a frost free place, make sure they are insulated for the Winter. Fleece, bubble wrap or (polythene sheeting over cardboard sheets) can be used.

5. Hardwood cuttings from Currants & Gooseberries can be taken this month.

6. Order your fruit and veg catalogues now.

7. If the soil on your allotment is still reasonably dry, digging/rotavating compost or ma…

A Lazy Week Or So

With plenty of heavy rain, rain showers and misty drizzles of rain over the last 7 days or so, my plots have been too damp and wet to achieve anything positive on, without getting covered in mud or becoming soaking wet. As I was awaiting delivery of a parcel, which I expected to arrive by the end of last week but didn't, plus the weather was cold anyway, I opted to spend a lazy week indoors not achieving much. I did manage to catch up with my blog reading, commenting, updating and correcting errors on my blog and finally clearing a full email inbox.
Many other allotment posts I have read this week, have rightly centered on the Autumn clean up and the preparation of next years planting areas of all different shapes and sizes, in gardens as well as allotments. Having, myself, spent the past 2 to 3 years digging over, clearing, preparing and re-designing new and old plots, I am now finding I have little to do as far as "ground work" is concerned and the various clean up an…

Allotment Book Review

Having received my first allotment gardening book for review, in the post last week, I thought it was time to post my thoughts & opinions about it.

 The Allotment Planner (more than 200 ways to enjoy your plot month by month) is a neat hard backed book measuring 6 inches (15cm) by just over 8 inches (21cm). An ideal size for keeping/carrying around the plot.

 The author Matthew Appleby has covered over 200 aspects of allotment gardening in a way that makes the book easy and quick to read. Many different methods of gardening and designing allotments are written about, some being established concepts, also many that would make you think, "I must try that one on my plot". Containing lined pages for each month of the year where notes can be written, the book can also be used as a diary/planner by the gardener. The text of individual topics is enhanced with a multitude of photographic pictures. There are also many internet addresses, to be found throughout the book, for vari…

Rooko's November Top 10 Tryouts & Tips

1. With less time being spent gardening over the Autumn & Winter think about collecting re-usable items that can be used in the garden or down the plot next season. Plastic bottles with the spray tops, for example, can be cleaned after they are used up, and re-used for garden sprays.

2. If you are lucky enough to have poly tunnels and cloches, try using the cloches inside the tunnels to doubly protect crops sown over the Winter months from the cold weather.

3. Provided that the ground is not too wet, November is a good time to divide various plants, as well as adding a good layer of mulch to plants in borders and beds.

4. Bulb planting should be completed by the end of November. Hint plant bulbs to a depth equal to 3 times their diameter.

5. Kale, Broad beans, Oriental veg and Garlic can still be sown/planted in November. Some roots and over wintering greens can also be grown under protection, as well as Sweet peas, cyclamen and Lupins.

6. Many garden centres are selling discoun…

If It Moves Fasten It Down

Well it looks like I spoke too soon in my last blog post about pleasant Autumn afternoons with some good spells of sunshine breaking through, almost daily. Since then we've had plenty of rain here, mainly heavy showers but with some extremely heavy downpours, overnight. In fact last Friday when I visited my plots in the afternoon No 2 bed on N2 Plot had about 3 inches (75 mm) of standing water on the lower end of it. This took about a day and a half to drain away and its not even Winter yet. With severe weather warnings already issued for most parts of the country for tonight and tomorrow, its still not too late to check your plots and secure those loose items of equipment before it gets blown away. In my experience of "allotmenteering" I've seen many different items strewn around the allotments after high winds have caused havoc, such as: Wheelbarrows, cloches, polythene and plastic sheeting, netting, rainwater barrels and even plant pots with plants in them. Sheds…

It Ain't Half Hot Mum!!

Nine days since my last blog post and with a few exceptions the Autumn weather here has been warm with many beautifully sunny afternoons, which I have spent, preparing my plots for next season, as well as tidying and cleaning the usual gardening paraphernalia away for the onset of Winter. Although rain has been plentiful enough to re-fill most of my water butts and tanks recently, it has been raining either early on a morning or later in the day after I had left the plots for home. So much for the predicted wet weather forecasts again. (Bring back Selwin Frogget and his pine cones)??
  Both N1 & N2 Plots are almost fully prepared for next years sowing and planting. Now that the heavy digging is complete the other tasks preparing the beds have been leisurely and enjoyable for a change. The 4 main beds of N1 Plot have been turned using a garden fork. The soil being easy to manage with just enough rain lately leaving it in easily workable condition. 2 of the beds have had compost ad…