Pond Update | New Residents

It’s been very quiet in the wildlife pond over winter but I had a surprise waiting for me on Good Friday, followed by an even more rewarding surprise last night! It’s only a small pond, one that I upcycled from a Belfast sink last summer. As you open the garden gate the pond sits next to the main path just passed the brick, herb bed so it’s always the first and last thing I check. Continue reading “Pond Update | New Residents”

Potato Plans

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Preparation
The potatoes are chitting away nicely and while they develop knobbly, vivid shoots I’m frantically clearing and digging what will be their enormous bed to grow in. The bed is about 6m x 3.5m which is at least four times the size of what I grew my spuds in last year. The lack of space was probably the reason my Maris Pipers weren’t very big, but the Charlottes were brilliant and so delicious that I’m definitely growing these again.
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🌹 Rose Cuttings

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You know how familiar you become to your local surroundings that when something new appears, it suddenly leaps out at you? Well there’s a beautiful house just down the road from me that I’ve always admired and appreciated. It’s a gorgeous Victorian red-brick, three story build that sits on the corner of a narrow dead end lane with a grand turret on the side. Everyday I pass that house and in the peak of summer I was struck the the gorgeous deep, velvety roses that gradually bloomed along the old brick wall.

I hadn’t noticed the roses in that garden before and I had never seen roses so big and so rich as those! It bloomed for weeks on end and I appreciated it everyday. Of course the flowers didn’t last though autumn and the crimson petals were soon replaced with rose hips.
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My First Barrow

IMG_3240I don’t often splash a lot of cash into tools and materials for the allotment if I can go without. For over a year and a half I’ve had my plot but no proper wheelbarrow. I was left an old rusty one when I took on the plot.  It had a hole in the bottom and was missing the tyre, so it was very cumbersome to move about. Instead I used a slim wheelie bin, also left by the previous tenant. But with the very rough terrain even this was difficult to move, but I made do.

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Longer Days Are Coming

We’ll soon be rolling the clocks forward to British Summer Time which means longer days, warmer evenings and lots more lovely sunshine! Ok, so we loose an hour of sleep in bed but at least the clocks change over the Easter Bank holiday this year so I won’t be at work on the Monday -yipee! You can guess where I’ll be! Probably planting some potatoes no doubt.

After such a dull, grey winter I never been so excited for the evening to be brighter. I don’t know about you, but being trapped indoors for too long makes me feel so grumpy and achey – I itch to be outside with the sun beaming down on my face. The longer days means I’ll be able to pop to the allotment after work, take evening strolls to the sound of the bird chorus, have BBQ’s as soon as it gets warmer, make the most of the glorious sunshine and enjoy the sweet smells that come with Spring and summer.

I really can’t wait.

Black Gold!

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I’ve been able to tick a few major things from the to-do list this week. One of which was to find and pick up some free manure. Not one of the nicest of jobs, but it needed to be done. My allotment soil isn’t particularly poor in quality in fact it’s very rich, to the point that my neighbour jealously shows everyone how dark it is. So I’m very grateful to have such fertile ground, but I know must look after and replenish the soil if I am to be rewarded with bumper crops later in the year.
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Let’s Talk Chillies…

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Last year I attempted to grow a couple of chilli plants from seed with little success. Reasons why? I started them too late and didn’t give them enough light and heat. Spring last year wasn’t particularly warm which didn’t help matters and even summer wasn’t hot for very long.

Anyway. Lessons learnt (chillies won’t develop grow well in a shed, no matter how many windows it has) this year I’m growing chillies again but I hope to get their growing conditions right. A few weeks ago I picked up a mini greenhouse from Wilkinsons on offer for £25, as a temporary measure until I get a polytunnel – I’ll save that for a later post! The greenhouse isn’t up yet so and it’s still too cold out, so I started some seeds off in a propagator at home.
Continue reading “Let’s Talk Chillies…”

Cyril

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Before unloading a bunch of heavy stuff from my car to the allotment the other day, I stopped to photograph some daffodils in the hedgerow along the main path. I could hear a key jingling as I was crouched on the ground taking photos, when the gate next to me suddenly swung open and for the first time, I met Cyril. Continue reading “Cyril”

New Season | Introduction

It’s been a freakishly mild, wet winter – in fact the warmest since records began in 1659! This explains the confused flowers and trees that don’t know if its winter or Spring. We’ve had daffodils flowering together with snowdrops and crocuses as early as February, and even the cherry blossom is in bloom despite the late cold snap.

I’m excited for a new growing season, which will be my second year at St. Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham, UK. So decided to start this blog to keep track of my progress, log observations, share useful tips and the mistakes I’ve learnt from, as a beginner gardener. I’m also a photographer, so expect to see lots of photograph of people I’ve met, the seedlings sprouting, and gallery posts of my plot – 152a where I’ll be growing all kinds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and shrubs.

I feel very lucky to have my allotment at the renowned site at St. Ann’s because it’s thought to be the biggest and oldest in all of Europe. It’s an incredibly beautiful space, with around 500 plots set over 75 acres of land, over a hill that’s right in the city centre – not that you would believe it. The Grade II listed site holds a lot of history and hidden treasures that I look forward to sharing.

How are things on my allotment now? Well it’s not very pretty as I’ve got a lots of odd-jobs to be done and wooden debris to remove. What’s kept me busy is all the digging! Not just turning over the soil, but preparing new areas from ground that was not preciously used. I’m going to have a lot more growing space than I did last year – since it was my first year I was busy clearing all the debris and weeds. But I’m feeling pretty organised and keen to get growing!

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Plot 152a | 27th February 2016.