Thursday, 31 January 2013

Pick 'n' Mix!

Nope, SEEDS yayyy!
I really really love buying my seeds from Premier Seeds on EBay. I'm in no way connected to them in any finacial way I'm just sharing the love for something that is 'much cheapness', no nonsense and very easy.
After buying from them last year and having a 100% germination rate I decided to go for it again.
Most are 99p a pack and only about 50p P&P no matter how many you buy.
They arrive only a couple of days later in teeny little see through bags, they look like sweeties...good enough to eat even 😉 well let's hope I actually get to eat the finished product this year...and not like last '2012-the year of the SLUG!'
Thanks for reading folks.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

How much wood would a wood chopper chop...

...if a wood chopper chopped up wood?!!

Well actually, it's a bloomin' lot!

I lost count how many barrow loads I've heaved up and down the muddy hill today. I hope it's going to be worth it and keep the horrendously muddy paths covered for a while.

Said wood choppings, AKA chippings, were a bargain too. I traded them for the remaining Halloween sweets ;-)

Thanks for reading

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A wild life for wildlife?

Don't all die of shock!!
I'm here again...just like buses as the saying goes.
Right, well as the title suggests this post is along the lines of wildlife and the wild life they may lead if they come to live on our patch.
Well, I say may...if I show you something secret I hope you'll keep it under your hat.
Mind you, I believe it's not keep it under your hat!  Even to touch I do believe.
But we can look...

Any guesses?  Oh OK you Facebook friends, you already know.
I found a Great Crested Newt on my plot this week.
A protected species and you need a licence to handle them, but if you're lucky to come across one you're obviously welcome to watch.
I'm as happy as a pig in muck!
(or should that be happy as a newt in a squelchy part of the plot?)
Well, as planned we cracked on with our wildlife area seeing as we already had an important guest.
Only made on the cheap as with the rest of the plot.
We were given the liner and after making the pond at home we had plenty
left to make one here too.
In the first photo above you can see the stack of pallets, this will become
a 'Bug hotel' completed in the next few weeks so any more visitors can make reservations
for the coming Winter.
Oh, and yes, I took my wellies off and hopped into the pond to get the liner straight.
The rain will soon fill it up.
(to think I even worried about water on the plot when I took it on!  I live in Macclesfield for goodness RAINS!)
A trip to B&Q for some eye hooks (another planned project) and I spied
the plant hospital.  The boys laugh how
we call it that and it's the first place I stop at.  That place is so MEAN to little plants :o( They have a week, like a sell by date, on them and if they're still there after that week  then they have to go...and cheap!  I often ask the chap in the garden bit to make them even cheaper...and he does!  So I got 3 Coreopsis Sunray for only £1.50. Butterflies like them apparently.
I also had a rescued Angelica (from a local garden centre) that needed planting so that went in too.
Hope the pond and plants survive this monster...
He's always checking I've got things right.
Well after all that hard work it was brew time. 
Tidying up the shed was the best idea I'd had that day...
(It's vintage darling! The stove.)
I've hardly seen a soul this weekend and I've LOVED it!
Life sometimes deals you tricky moments to live with and the last few weeks
have been a huge strain.
Who needs therapy when you have an allotment eh?
Right...well that's it for now.
Lets hope I can get down there again soon.
Thanks for reading.
Love Claire. x

Friday, 14 September 2012

Long time no see...!

Well I'm not going to fib,
but the allotment has been way down
at the bottom of the list this Summer.
Not the usual way things should be for families
that have an allotment but that's how it was this year.
Saying that...things have picked up again over the last month and we've been busy tackling the jungle that has covered most of it. Unfortunately for you guys there are no photos of said jungle, nor is there any of it now after I've tried to bring it back into shape.  But I do have this...
Does it remind you of anywhere?
Yep, it's my shed!  Due to the lack of Veg to enter into the village show I looked at the other categories and entered them instead.
Not only is this ink drawing hung in my home it got me a 3rd!  I was thrilled.
I also won a 2nd for my rhubarb and vanilla jam against a huge class full of the local W.I.
Fruit scones are things my Mum is a champion at knocking out. So I asked her for a recipe and advice and although I made 2 batches at midnight the night before both couldn't be more different in taste and looks...same recipe, same technique but anyhow, I chose the ones I liked best and they got a commendable 3rd. Again, against the formidable W.I. ladies :o)
A plate of 8 plums, stalks intact!!  Well, it's been a bad year for fruit trees apparently and my normally laden plum tree was a bit thin on the ground for fruits but I picked what I had and chose the best and guess what?  I got a 1st!  Oh OK, so what if I was the only entry, hee hee.
My big win of the day was a photograph I'd taken of the canal bridge near my house. A strong class with many entries but guess who won?  ME!
Right, well I've been a busy bee on the plot today (ouch!)
Finally, the terrible paths have got the better of me and although I'd hoped for lush grass all I've got are horrid stumpy weeds that make you trip and twist and hurt yourself... (remember the poorly hip a few months back? Grrrr!) and MUD, oh crumbs the mud!!  To visit my plot without coming home looking like a mud monster from the deep would be luxury. So I've splashed out and bought heavy duty membrane and pegs and have been busy playing working on putting that down today in hope that the local tree surgeon will drop me some wood chippings off to lay over it.
I've also made a list of all the things I'd like to change before next year. So as we near the end of this season, my first on this plot I feel happy and confident that although I haven't had much of a harvest I still love my little life on the plot.
(just a shame I don't live in the village...soooooo far away!)
Right, well I'm sorry I have rambled on for too long and not shown enough pictures..
Here's a couple of the plot looking better than it does now...early Summer.
...and again.

Right, I will be back.
Thanks for reading.
Love Claire. x

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Calm before the storm?

If I stand right up on my tippytoes I can just about see Summer over the horizon.
If I listen really carefully I can almost hear plants growing,
and if I close my eyes I can almost remember what my house used to look like before it became Kew gardens!! Hee hee.

We're bursting at the seams with trays full of pots housing my little babies. Note the use of the word'd think they were human the way I chat away to them all day, how I peer intensely at them inspecting every new leaf. I seriously 'heart' my little plantlings.

Being so precious over them means I'm not ready to let them go out in to that big world outside just yet, I think we have more wild weather coming in and although my plot is fairly sheltered compared to most I don't think they'd manage well enough.

Saying that I have managed to plant some things out and the night I spent tossing and turning worrying about them should be embarrassing for a normal person...but you see, that's just it....I'm no longer normal! (come to think about it, was I ever?)

Have a peep at the Brassica bed,

...spuds.  All 7 varieties!

Broad beans.

...and look,

Live-in security guard!

Sleeping on the job!

Next up is the Allium department.
Onions at the rear, Shallots to the front/right, Leeks to the front/left.
These little leeks are what I lay awake worrying about. Did I plant them too early, had I planted them incorrectly and would they survive?  Well they're all doing OK up to now.

Now this bit is tricky for you to see, but look carefully and you should be able to make out some kind of cane structure, possibly for beans (as yet unplanted, gulp!)
I've got a big disadvantage to many gardeners, that being I'm such a midget!  So I had heard that this X frame is good for easier harvesting and also easier for me to build. It's VERY sturdy too, I'm impressed with my little self. Lets just hope I manage to encourage the little beggars up and along the right poles and they don't end up in a tangled mess.

Finally a shot of everything.

Well that's it for now.
Thanks for reading.

Love Claire. xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Birds with beards?!

Just a quickie but I couldn't resist putting this picture here for all to see.
If you enjoy feeding your garden birds and have a dog or a friend has a dog, try collecting the hair you would normally throw away (or compost!) and put it out for the birds to line their nests with...
Check out my army of Sparrows growing beards.

Love Claire xx

What has become of me...?

There was once was a time I would wear varnish on my nails and be known to stand waiting outside a pub for it to open. But here I was, stood waiting for Wickes to open so I could buy a bag of nails with no varnish insight!
But the sun was shining and I'd already been to collect a whole load of measured and sawn wood (kind friend's Dad I heart you!!) so was eager to get down on the plot and get hammering.
I am the first to admit I don't know what is best or where to start but I'll have to learn from mistakes and grab help offered when I can. I think my patch is doing alright with this method for now.

Right, off I go to the plot and I get busy banging in huge nails and before long I have the middle tier/step in place and a couple of the beds organised. A chum rings about midday and offers his help so I jump at the chance and he pops over and gets busy with the aforementioned nails. We have a good laugh and all the bits of wood are soon fastened in place.

I dug over the strawberry patch and this summer I'm going to be busy trying to catch the runners to produce some free plants for next year as I think these are on their last legs.
Did I tell you I'd dug over a new bed and put most of the potatoes in too? I'm so worried that although I'd worked so hard digging and weeding that I may have put them in too close together :-(
But we'll see and they are earlies so let's hope it won't matter. On the other hand they may be at the correct spacing and I need to just stop worrying...time will tell but I like to mention it here so I can look back and learn.

The seeds are coming along ok, I may have lost some to the cold snap recently (SNOW!!) but again, we'll see.

Well, thanks for reading and happy digging folks!

Love Claire xx