Back to the plot and we were in for a shock!

We’ve had a glorious six weeks of summer holiday off including a perfect week in beautiful Crete. Here we got to sample authentic foods and relax in true Med style.

Back to the plot and we were in for a shock! It’d been a couple of weeks since we visited and things have gone a little mad! In short there’s stacks to be getting on with, mainly weeding and tidying but lots of harvesting too!

We’ve brought home plenty of runner beans, an amusing amount of courgettes, cucumbers a pumpkin, raspberries, lettuce and cabbage.

Now to work on the prep, food will either be cooked with this week or stored in the chest freezer. All good stuff!

Sarah X

A Busy Little Plot!

The plot has been fantastically busy of late and we are taking home lots of fresh fruit and veg! Such a great feeling after so much work! There’s even been enough to share with friends. I thought I’d give you a little update of how things are going!

Firstly, like most other gardeners we have been tackling the weeds and lots of them, I don’t think this has been helped though by our decision to use horse manure, we now have lots and lots of grass in big clumps that constantly need trimming and turning over. In some places this is fine, as it serves to create grassy areas where we want them but in others, it’s a nightmare. I will be using other means of soil improvement in the future.

IMG_8449.jpg

The Fruit Cage
Around the fruit cage we threw down some poppy seeds which have given a good show but they are now going over, the bees seemed to love them at their peak though. In the fruit cage the gooseberry bush is looking healthy, no fruit yet though. The new redcurrant and blueberry buses that we planted are looking strong and much bigger, I’m hoping they will fruit next year. There’s quite a bit of open ground in the fruit cage, where I am allowing the grass to grow around the bushes, I’m keeping this down by strimming.

The Rhubarb Patch
Now, I have been told that I probably have too many rhubarb plants and I must admit, we haven’t gone short! It is something that seems to be gratefully received by friends, so until I feel that I need the additional space, I’ll let the current plants do their thing. Around the rhubarb we managed to squeeze an early row of crimson flowering broad beans, but I did make the mistake of not giving them enough support and they did get rather battered by winds earlier in the season. Along side the rhubarb we also managed a couple of teepee structures, one for runner beans and one for kelvedon wonder peas, both of which are producing aplenty! We also have two rows of red onions in that are too, which we are now taking as required.

IMG_8566

The Herb Patch
The herbs are one of the few things that we haven’t moved around since the first layout of the plot. We find that it’s working well having the herb garden next to the entrance to the plot, for those days when you just want to dash and grab for tea! So far we have rosemary, thyme, peppermint, marjoram, sage, a gorgeous lemon balm (great for tea), oregano and curry leaf. I’m also going to move the bay tree up into this area, when I take the peas out.

Potatoes
To the right of the entrance, up until last week we had our early potatoes which we are now eating. There are also two other locations on the plot which have a healthy show of spuds, we haven’t touched these yet though. Next year this funny shaped bed will be our cut flower area I think (I have been know to change my mind though!).

The Children’s Plots
I have been amazed at how well the kids have responded to having a little piece of ground of their own. Their plots have been entirely planted and maintained by themselves, giving them a huge sense of pride in their areas and a grin from ear to ear when anything actually produces food! All they were given were a few seeds or young plants and some basic instructions as to what that plant would need and away they went! I will be moving them onto another area in the spring to ensure good rotation.

Mixed Veg Areas
We have probably been a little unconventional in our layout, in that much of our plot is a mish mash! Down the right hand side we now have shallots, radish (not doing to well), corn on the cob, beetroot, dwarf runner beans and broccoli. These are all youngish plants that I’m not quite sure if they will produce much at this time of year, but it’s worth giving it a go! To the left we have celery, more peas, kale, tomatoes, courgettes and leeks and potatoes.

IMG_8668

Brassicas
I’m really pleased to say that this year we are having much more luck with our cabbages, in that we have cabbages! Edible cabbages! We also have some healthy looking romanesco, cauliflower, sprouts and more broccoli.

Salad
This has been an ongoing thing for us, we are slowly improving with our succession growing and have had some really tasty lettuce and spring onions. We have unfortunately had an entire batch of baby gem wiped out by slugs, so armed with ‘slug gone’ are giving them another go. In the communal greenhouse, we have some slow to get going toms, but are now looking great and will hopefully ripen before then end of the season. We also have toms on the plot that are looking good too. I really must label things with a little more detail now that we are getting into it though as I really can’t remember what varieties we are growing. There are clearly differences, but I labelled them all ‘toms’!

Fruit
Aside from the fruit cage bushes we are also growing summer and autumn raspberries and strawberries. The strawberry runners are working themselves into a row of peas so that’s top of my to-do list to pot some of those runners and get rid of the unwanted ones, seems a shame but there’s so many it’s difficult to keep them all. I may add in strawberry plants in between my raspberry canes though.

IMG_8225.jpg

The Wildlife Area
I think this little spot deserves a post of it’s own, but in short, I couldn’t be happier with the way it has turned out, poppy’s, nasturtiums, cornflowers, lots of wildflowers and weeds have completely brought the area to life. We have been rewarded with little frogs and many different mini beasts, I’m hoping this little corner will give great balance to our plot naturally (I hope the frogs eat the slugs!).

IMG_8833

The Shed
Since taking on the plot I have been desperate for a shed! Finally we got there, after a day of flatpack hell, I now have a little spot to shelter from the rain, grab a brew and change my wellies. It’s made a big difference in our ability to ‘pop in’ to the allotment rather than hauling lots of stuff with us each time. The shed warming party went down a treat too! Next on my shopping list is a greenhouse, maybe in the sales…we’ll see!

IMG_8308

There’s lots of other little growing nooks that we have created including out teepee grow house but I’ll cover some more in another post. Well done and thank you if you have read down this far! I’d love to hear how you are getting on too!

Sarah x

IMG_8448.jpg

 

Walks in the Rain

A birthday party invite last weekend took us out into the pouring rain to drop our little man off for fun in the woods (great party idea by the way). Not having a lot else to do myself, hubby and little lady thought we’d take a nature walk of our own.

IMG_7853.jpg

Despite the opening of the heavens we donned our coats and wellies and headed of into the woods in the area of Milltown, Derbyshire, the home of an old quarry “Milltown Quarry”. A gorgeously green and lush area that still bore the marks of quarrying days gone by with some ironworks and tunnels that nature has long since claimed back.

IMG_7872.jpg

We came across lots of easily accessible streams which proved a great hit for a paddle (wellies on!) and a huge amount of wild garlic that filled the air with it’s scent, amplified by the rain. Some gorgeous trees and flowers were also spotted (please comment if you know what they are).

IMG_7865

The rain eventually went off and the walkways began steaming, all in all, I think we were reminded of this quote…

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
Alfred Wainwright, A Coast to Coast Walk: A Pictorial Guide

…and in future, we’re not going to let a bit of rain stop us from getting out and about!

Sarah.

 

The Allotment in Spring Time! 

A frosty morning in Derbyshire

It’s been a busy time of things here! This spring is the first that I’ve actually been able to get some seeds started ready for the allotment and we’re all finding it very exciting!

Our first spring on the plot was a little less organised, not for lack of hard work, but we just didn’t have enough ground dug to think about much else. This time last year was all about the clearing!

I’m really pleased to say that at this current point in time we are pretty much in top of things! There’s still so much that I’d like to do with the space and obviously get lots of food growing but that feeling of being completely overwhelmed has begun to subside. With my experience gained last year  I now realise that just a couple of weeks of neglect and the weeds will be back in charge so I’m doing my very best not to let that happen!

The past month or so we have managed to get a good amount of seeds started, flowers and veg. I’m going to experiment with getting some started early in our little greenhouses and starting others a little later straight outside. We’ll see!

We’ve managed to start shaping our wildlife area too, this is going to be a fun project that the kids are really enthusiastic about!

I had managed to clear much of my  compost heap, using much of the fab stuff that came from it to shape the area where the pond will be. That was until the very spot was filled with a trailer load off free horse muck! Too good an offer to be fussy about my freshly cleared ground!

I’m not sure if the muck has rotted down enough to use straight where I’m growing but I have plenty of areas that would welcome a good layer of muck mulch, which can be dug in later in the year!

I mentioned to my husband when I wondered how things had changed in life that I was so excited at the prospect of a truckload of free poo!

Our Allotment Plan 2016

I’ve had lots of fun over the past couple of months creating my plan for our dream allotment and here it is!

There’s no hard and fast rules about sticking to this but I’m happy to have a great guide in my pocket of how I saw things fitting in at the beginning of the year.

We’ll also be dotting in little homes for wildlife along our way too!

I look forward to taking photos throughout the year and let you know how we get on with each area.

Sarah x

allotment-plan.jpg

Making a Hedgehog Home

I have to say that I have become totally obsessed with Pinterest, I began to use it for work purposes (Evoke Visual) that then progressed to ideas for our home and now I have opened up a whole new world  by utilising many many “boards” for allotment ideas and inspiration!

As I have mentioned, we’re keen to encourage wildlife to our plot and we would love some spikey little hedgehog friends! I have put together a great collection of inspiration that we will be drawing upon to create our hog house. There are some brilliantly creative ideas in there so I thought it would be only right to share!

I would love to hear about the little homes that you have created! You can take a look at the board by clicking here

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 11.59.42 am