Monday, 24 December 2007

Storage Box

The storage box is now finished and in place - it looks really good. It has blue waterproof lining and 2 shelves. It also has some decking in front of it and my mum has already christened it by sitting on a deck chair and surveying the site.

Each time I go down to the allotment now (which is not so often because of the season and weather) I take more garden items down and it is filling up nicely. It is so nice not to have to make several trips to the car when I want to do a few hours work.

Here are my pictures:

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Berried Treasure

This week (in the very cold weather) I have managed to plant 8 raspberry canes. Here's what I did.

I banged in two scaffolding poles so that I now have a line of them all along the top of the trench and wound galvanised wire around them so that I now have a "trellis" of wire for the raspberries to grow up against.

I uncovered the trench that I had prepared earlier (see blog "berry good") and dug in the leaves that had covered it. They have been composting down nicely into a rich thick dark mulch. I dug the trench about 12" deep and and gave it a very generous covering of blood, fish and bone which I very lightly forked in. Next I got one of my £1 compost bags and emptied it all along the trench and then lightly forked that in too. Next I placed the raspberries (which had been soaking for about an hour) along the trench, two to each scaffolding pole - one either side - and back filled the trench with the earth/leaf mould mixture. On top of all that I emptied another 4 bags of leaf mould mixture and gave the raspberries a good watering.

Next I turned my attention to the blackcurrant bush. I dug a big hole about 10" deep and added some more compost and leaf mould mixture. I placed the bush into the hole and back filled with compost. I placed a generous amount of leaf mould mulch all around the base of the bush and gave it a good water too.

Hopefully with all this preparation and some TLC we will have good harvests of berries for many years to come. I took a photo of the trench after I had mulched it with leaf mould, and although you can't really see the raspberry canes, but you get the idea.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Still harvesting

I'm very pleased to say that we are still harvesting at the allotment, albeit only potatoes, onions (red & white) and chillies. The potatoes are called Sante and have been very productive, the only downside is that some of them have been attacked by something eating them - I suspect it is eelworm or something like that - however it is more than made up for by the fact that they are absolutely delicious roasted, boiled, chipped, mashed or made into tuna potato salad.

The onions are great tasting too, especially the red ones Red Baron and are excellent in salads. The chillies Cherry Bomb are of medium heat and I think we have done pretty well to get approximately 15 of them considering the lack of summer sun this year.

I still get a thrill when I am harvesting anything and I guess that will always be the case. I'm always so amazed at the fact that you plant seeds, sets or tubers and with a little care and nuture from me, and rain and sun from above, that after the appropriate period of time you have an abundant crop.

All the chillies and onions have now been harvested, so that leaves one row of potatoes left to dig up - so maybe I will get my wish and have home grown potatoes for Christmas dinner. Will let you know.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Berry Good

The section at the end of the allotment is a perfect place for raspberries. I have dug the part which meets the main path from top to bottom to a width of about 2 ft. Before the earth was dug it was full of trampled grass, loads of bindweed and buttercups and the ground was very compacted. It needed at least half a dozen thorough digs to get it into some reasonable state. The earth is now nice and crumbly and has about 4" of leaves on top of it which were well watered. On top of all that is a length of thick black plastic so that the leaves will "sweat" and break down and hopefully produce a good mulch/soil enhancer so that the raspberries are given a good start in life. Today I went to the local recycling centre and picked up 3 "fill a bag of compost" sacks (they are quite large and it took some effort) for £1 each. Bargain! These will be put at the bottom of the trench I shall dig so that the raspberries will be putting their roots into some good, wholesome muck.

I have ordered 2 types of raspberries - summer fruiting and autumn fruiting. Glen Ample and Glen Moy are both summer fruiting and should be ready to harvest between mid/late June and early August. Autumn Bliss is the autumn variety that I have chosen and that should be ready to harvest from late August until mid October. So hopefully there will be a steady supply of fruit for about 5 months of the year. My mind is already running away with me - raspberry jam, raspberry ice cream, fresh raspberries, raspberry jelly.....