Wednesday, April 20, 2011

seeds seeds seeds seeds seeds

OH is a demon cultivator it seems. I haven't blogged on her seed planting exploits before, but every time I text or come home she seems to have compost on the table and pots in her hand. If shes not sewing new stuff she;s pricking out or transplanting. Glad someone knows what they're doing :)

Tomatoes, runners, broad beans, rocket, spring onions, rosemary parsley, sweet peas, lots of other flowers,leeks, chives, spinach and I'm sure I've missed some out too. Trays all over the windowledgs and in the polythene greenhouse thingy outside.

Australian asparagus still in it's tray, but it will need to go out soon I'm sure - the shoots are getting taller and taller.

Note to self - get a composter made..

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shedding Tears (3)

4 more bags of sand mixed and tipped. Yesterdays dry mix has started to go off, but is still a bit crumbly, so I can break this up with the rake, at least enough so there should be some adhesion between the two layers. Make sure that this time there's plenty of dry mix, and here we go again.

Why is it that one slab can go in almost perfectly first time, but the next slab takes twenty minutes, breaks your nails, crushes your fingers and you still end up unhappy with how it lays ?

Never mind, by 20:00 darkness is looming but the slabs are in ! Ramped up some drymix around the sides for water falloff - not sure if this is what you do but it's what I did anyway.

Car all packed up 15 minutes later and even though its dark, a good days work and just 10 minutes from beer.

ps - Rhubarb went in a few days ago, just can't remember when

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shedding Tears (2)

8 bags of sand and some cement later I've filled in my rectangle with dry mix @ 8:1 (or so).
- "What are you planting there ?" from Paul @ next plot.
Not quite enough dry mix, but I'm sure it will be ok. Two hours later and a few slabs down and 'levelled' - OH kindly advised that it wasn't straight. Minor grumbles later (it is hard work!) and I guess I have to agree with her, so up come half the slabs, only breaking one or two. Tomorrow will need to get some more materials and have another go.

OH has now manged to get rows 2 and 3 of the spuds in, and the first apple tree. Now we're in a groove !

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Allot 2 - Loads more Taters

3 more rows - done and dusted. Would like to do more but time time time ! If we have any surplus seedlings we will plant here I think. Came away with a jar of gramoxone and some well intentioned advice to 'don't let the kids play with that ......... !''.
footnote - in the future I ordered an 8L Sprayer from eBay for a price that was less than a watering can from high street shops - will report on how that performs.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shedding Tears (1)

Bit the bullet and started on the shed base. Never having laid one before some internet research showed just how easy it was. Half a dozen peggings out later, we had finally decided exactly where the shed was to be located, and 5 minutes with a spirit level showed just how slopey the ground was ! An hour or so with the spade to dig in the top end, then (stupid decision) a good soaking so that I could stamp the ground compact where I'd dug. Forgetting just how much wet mud can stick to trainers ! But - there's a brown patch amongst the green that shows progress.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gluttons for punishment - Allot 2

Somehow we've agreed to do some work on partners dads plot. It's 15 miles away, but joy of joys the soil is in little grains like it shows in gardenning manuals ! So after the obligatory cups of tea, over the wall and out with the machinery. This time a 'proper rotovator' , and the Mantis again. Two rows of taters in and more to come

Saturday, April 9, 2011

First plantings

Borrowed a Mantis Tiller, and finished off the first bed. Couch grass all over half of the bed, but the field side half miraculously free of the stuff. The ground is so dry and compacted that digging, even with mechanical assistance, is Hard Work. Got the first row of spuds in and watered, no idea what type though we were just trying to get things finished. Now that we have something planted, attention needs to move to the shed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A whole lot of slabs

Collected the freecycle 18" square slabs. Not too bad these, can pick up two at a time. Just managed to get all 30 into the car without overloading it, so just one trip - things aren't so free if you use 2 gallons of diesel to collect ! Dropped off at lottie, and then back to get the eBay slabs. Hmm. These are the proper 24" square concrete jobbies and weigh a ton ! Ten of twenty loaded up and delivered - the rest will just have to wait. Aching limbs

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lazy days

Guilt setting in. Lovely couple of days in Edinburgh - managed to walk the Castle and Royal Mile on crutches without too much payback, then back home on Sunday, before Monday morning dash to Hampshire on a course for four days. Would really rather be digging and turning and tilling and raking.

Slabs (some paid for some freecycle), and bricks (paid for) should be here at the weekend, so it will be time to regroup and see what I've got. The oak will come here when I have time. Sacrilege really, for ease of access the builders chainsawed a perfect pitch oak building framework into "manageable chunks". At least I benefit - otherwise someone somewhere would be having a beautiful oak framed barn erected !

By the way, the Australian asparagus (see earlier posts) is doing fab and will shortly have to go into the garden proper.

Fingers crossed too for the automatic spade - awaiting ebay countdown !

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Slab day Saturday

Brought some slabs on eBay in preparation for the shed base. The next day I found some on freecycle, what irony

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Greenhouse plans (1)

I managed to delete the page, and the comment from Paul and Melanie - apologies ! Hopefully this is the link to greenhouse plans draft 1

Initial budget was £200, but it's looking like more than £300. Not too bad though for bespoke structure, as long as you forget the days it will take me to work out and build....
BaseSlabs - Freecycled !£0
WallBricks - 250 single or 500 double wall£100
OROak Beams - Fingers crossed on sourcing here£0
Structure2"*2"*@300ft pressure treated timber£100
Glazing4mm twinwall polycarbonate, mostly precut 610mm*1220mm for ease£150
MiscFixtures and fittings£30

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Digging Starts

Well we've made a start  on the soil. Black polythene, courtesy of polyfast (good price fantastic delivery) over one of the beds-to-be and the barrows of turf, and half of one bed dug and tillered. So 10% of primary digging completed - doesn't look a lot but feels massive. Spuds !

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our first bags of manure and a free shed

A dozen or so bags of well rotted horse manure - who ever would have thought that would be an exciting event ? And they will be perfect for weiging down the plastic over the barrows when we get around to that task.

A free shed ! Well almost. It won't cost anything as it's our own shed, from the garden - we will just move the shed contents into the garage (huh? where will we put all the junk in the garage - need to work that one out first), and then dismantle the shed and move to the allotment. Then we get to fill up the space where the shed was with a greenhouse. Only, it's right next to the trampoline so glass is out and polycarb is in - meaning a design and build greenhouse. Bring on visio.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Start of the hard work

Finally decisions made (turfcut !) and the weather with us, we made a start on the physical work. Needless to say I left my carefully designed computer generated plans at home so just went with the flow.
  • 20 foot patch at the top for chickens, shed, compost and all that
  • 5 lots of 9 foot wide beds with 2 foot paths between. 9 foot width totally arbitrary of course and based only on 'that looks a bit narrow better make it a bit wider !' - the 2 foot path width because that's just slightly wider than the mower wheels.
  • 15 foot patch at the bottom for fruit trees (?)
After 10 minutes of pulling the starter cord on the turfer I found the on-off switch but we won't mention that again. Totally hard work, but the beds were pretty much de-turfed on Saturday, and most of the turf rolled up and moved off the beds on Sunday.

Side View

Giant ! Late sunshine

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scavenging #3 - a car load of timber

Followed up scavenging #2 and came back with a much more satisfactory pile of timber of all sizes. And a promise that I would saw up loads of firewood next visit

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Money well spent - local businesses

Support your local garden centre rather than the big boys if you can - just picked up 3 crowns of asparagus, a bag of vermiculite and 4 hessian sacks for £3.50. Planted the asparagus out for OH and pleased with a job well done until she pointed out it was upside down. Australian anyone ?
I also found that I would save around 30% by buying tanalised timber from my local supplier who has a limited website, against a less local supplier with a much swisher website. If you're in the East Midlands then try contacting Gary/Graham from Coltman Bros

Paid up and staked out

Although it feels like ages I guess its only been a few days. Subs are paid and the plot is staked out. Of course this has left lots of time for research and planning. To kill and rotovate, or cover to suppress and do things bit by bit, or - current favourite - turfcut first then rotovate.
Found some nice pages of others who've done just that, together with ideas on what to do with the turf (form a barrow 2ft high, grass down, then plant spuds - great loam next year), designing for beds (leave some turf to allow barrows).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scavenging #2

Found a source for some timber (partners mom) - came back with one piece of 3*2 ! At least it will do to fashion a saw-table in preparation for all the other jobs I plan to do. Cold frames and compost bins and raised beds and planters ... and all that.

In hindsight I will revisit and be a little more acquisitive :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Scavenging #1

Buying stuff new can be pricey :( so I'm relying on a couple of workmates who are always DIYing/building. I knew they would come good, and sure enough an offer of 60ft of 2x6 Tanalised, 30 ft of 2x5 Tanalised and 30 ft of 2x4 non-treated came along in a late email
Note to self - must link in Marks pages especially the bit where he loses an entire JCB digging the foundations for his shed :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ours ?

Yesterdays determination unfaded, I phoned and (eventually) reserved the plot. An interesting and somewhat prolonged conversation with the Head Honcho about:

  • rules and regulations (apparently none except those in the allotments act)
  • how to pay the subs (cheques not accepted)
  • how many families could be fed from 300 square yards
So now we're just waiting for confirmation that the plot is marked out and we can get cracking !

Time to start scavenging things .....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The first post

We had been looking at making the most out of our smallish garden - shared with dogs cats guinea pigs and children - and had come up with a few ideas to get the most out of what we'd got when, leafing through the Parish Magazine we noticed two allotments were available. After five minutes of thinking and a quick wander around thee site we were convinced we should go for it and would reserve on the morrow !