A Smile Award, raspberries and roses

Many thanks to my delightful friend Daffy for not only giving me a Smile Award make-bme-bsmile.jpg
but also making me the top of her list! I’m honoured.

I’ve long said that I intend growing raspberries, which are my favourite soft fruit. My Saturday newspaper had a special reader offer of 3 of 3 each Glen Moy, Glen Ample and Autumn Bliss for a bargain price so I placed my order this morning. Hopefully next year I will be eating my own raspberries from mid-June through to September.

It is also my intention to grow a few roses on Plot 124. After much deliberation, and chatting with a couple of keen rose growers, I’ve placed an order for one of each Iceberg, Pretty Lady and Valentine Heart.

Tomorrow I’ll be thinking about my rosey friend and her lovely cat, and hoping that all goes well.

Lastly if you’re having a fireworks party tonight then enjoy yourselves, but please have a read of TJMum’s entry Guy Fawkes Night for some timely and welcome advice.

Plot progress

I’m still busy on Plot 124, having made the most of the generally fine weather.

Yesterday I did the paths, being wood chippings over trodden down earth. Today I added lots of wheelbarrow loads of compost to all the vegetable areas, and partly elsewhere, which I then raked over.

I’ll do a full progress report entry, with photos, within a couple of weeks when the shed is in situ and a few more features and plants have been added.

I really can’t believe that it’s just four months since I started work on the plot, and I’m well pleased with what I’ve achieved so far. The next four months will be spent just pottering in preparation for next Spring when the real fun begins!

This week

I’ve had an unintentional week off from working on Plot 124. I was there Sunday morning for a couple of hours, but spent most of it chatting! Tuesday morning it was pouring with rain and today, when I’m usually not working, I was at the bookshop until after lunch.

After a very misty start it brightened up into a warm, sunny day so I detoured to the site on the way to the shops earlier this afternoon.

Much to my delight the grass I sowed along the verge is now clearly visible, and elsewhere I can see plenty of other tiny seedlings, both flower and vegetable.

I shall be there again on Sunday, after an early lunch, as there is still plenty of digging and weeding to do.

Yesterday evening I missed the first part of The Nature of Britain, which I mentioned last week, but it is being repeated Sunday on BBC2 at 6.10pm, when I shall watch it. 2/8 Farmland Britain is on Wednesday BBC1 at 9.00pm.

Have a good weekend !

It’s been raining

all day here in London today, which I don’t mind. That and the still mild temperatures have got to be good for the plot.

Following on from a week ago Sunday I did a couple of hours work last Tuesday and Thursday. The first thing I did was to plant the daffodil bulbs that I had been given in clumps around the flower half of the plot.

In the vegetable half I planted two short rows of onions, and sowed a short row each of Corn Salad Verte de Cambrai, Japanese Greens Mizuna, Kale Dwarf Green Curled and Lettuce Winter Density.

I broadcast some more flower seeds – Cornflower 513-cornflower-large.jpg Tall Mixed , Eschscholzia Single Mixed, Larkspur Hyacinth Dwarf Mixed and Nigella Persian Jewels Mixed.

That’s about it apart from the planned roses and raspberries, and a couple of promised donations from my kind neighbours.

From now on I’ll finish forking and weeding the areas that I only turned over once a while back, sort out where the paths are going to be and just keep the plot ticking over.

On days when the weather is like today then I’ll be at home continuing to compile a flower seed list from the Chiltern Seeds Catalogue and a vegetable one from The Organic Gardening Catalogue. More about these another time!

Happy gardening!

Fingers crossed!

Last Sunday was a glorious day, being sunny and warm. There had been some rain a couple of days earlier which was just what I wanted.

For the first couple of hours it was just the birds that kept me company whilst I raked over a two foot wide strip alongside the road edge. I then planted plenty of Crocus, and a few Narcissi, bulbs before sowing grass seed over the area.

On an adjacent patch along the eastern edge I sowed some wildflower seed mixture and Nigella love in a mist.

A couple of weeks back a large tree on the main road almost outside the allotment site gates had toppled over. I noticed a log under the branches which I thought would look good on the plot. On my way back from the horticultural society hut I saw that it was still there so I borrowed a wheelbarrow and now have my first plot feature (photo to follow). I’ve planted some Daffodil bulbs that I was kindly given in a clump alongside one end of it and behind it I’ve sowed a packet of Briza maxima seeds.

After a long, leisurely lunch I went back for another couple of hours making the most of the good weather. This time I was pondering and pottering, going for a stroll around the site chatting with some of the neighbours.

Trevor has a plot, at the other end to mine, which is nearer the trees. He was saying that he’s seen a Green Woodpecker, a couple of Greater Spotted ones and two different birds of prey one of which is a Sparrowhawk.

Lorna on the other side of the road was telling me about the resident foxes, including Newton who’s very friendly and tame.

All in all it was a brilliant day and now I’ve got to wait to see how everything I planted and sowed grows…fingers crossed!

Uphilldowndale’s Poetic Discovery entry today reminded me to remind you that Thursday is National Poetry Day with the theme Dreams. I’ve found several wonderful poems which I’ll be sharing with you.

When you don’t want it to

it does, and when you do want it to it doesn’t ! It hasn’t rained here to speak of for at least three weeks and I want it to.

I’m waiting to sow some seeds but really want to do so after it’s rained. The weather forecast shows no sign of any so it looks like I may have to resort to borrowing a hose.

[It’s now Monday morning and absolutely pouring down! So much for the forecast!]

Last Sunday was a glorious day. I spent the morning moving six comfrey plants to the far corner of the plot beyond the compost heap. That means that my blackberry now has the area between that and the pallet patio to itself. It has grown noticably over the past two weeks.

Today has been another fine day so this morning I worked along the top, northern edge, alongside the roadway. I intend having a grass verge there along with crocus and dwarf narcissi

Midway along that strip is a Common Hawthorn only a few inches tall which I shall leave for the present and see how it grows.

As I was packing up to come home I heard a gentle rumble in the air and looked up to see this wonderful classic aeroplane turning to land at nearby RAF Northolt.

In the bookshop yesterday I was looking for poems for National Poetry Day and found several gardening ones including this one.

The Vegetable Plot

Remember, remember in dreary September

The fate of the vegetable plot:

Where, all through the season,

For some puzzling reason,

Though weeds have grown, your seeds have not.

Lucky me !

The good weather continued throughout last week which meant that I was able to prepare an area for sowing some flower seeds and partly prepare a smaller area for some vegetable seeds. That I shall do in the next week or two.

Between the pallet patio and the compost heap are a handful of comfrey plants which I’ve left for the bees to make the most of the flowers.

Today I cut them right back adding it all to the compost heap and hidden away found this  dscn0182.jpg Lucky me as it’s a blackberry, which along with raspberries, are my favourite soft fruits. It can stay where it is and grow away so that hopefully next year there’ll be plenty of dscn0181.jpg for me to pick and eat.

I was at the Horticultural Society’s hut this morning buying a few things including a packet of Green Manure Winter Tares which I shall sow on the vegetable patch area that I don’t intend cultivating until next spring.

It was two months ago

that I started clearing Plot 124. I’ve worked slowly and steadily a couple of hours two days of each week since then and I’m well pleased with what I’ve done so far.dscn0179.jpg

This photo was taken today from the southern end of the plot looking north. It’s all been forked over once and the top half has been gone over again. To the right you can see the edge of the compost heap and the pallet patio.

The latter looks like this dscn0176.jpg It’s on bricks and you can see that I’ve given it a coat of green wood preserver. It’s 6 by 4 feet which gives plenty of room for the planned shed, which is 3 by 2 feet, and a deckchair.

I’m planning on sowing some flower and a few vegetable seeds sometime soon, planting bulbs and then later on the roses. I’m still thinking about what and where though!

I like this time of year and given good weather can see me continuing to make further good progress.

Change and progress

I keep losing track of weeks so I’m stopping doing specific entries titled Week …

As well as week-to-week entries I shall do a round-up one at, or soon after, the end of each month for anything I’ve not mentioned, along with a photo or two showing how it’s coming along.

All the rubbish has now gone, partly cleared by the council and the rest taken by other plot holders for their own use. The pile of weeds has also gone, either burnt or moved to the communal compost heap.

Just about the entire plot has now been forked over once, and perhaps about a third has been worked over a second time.

Following my thoughts mentioned previously I’ve moved the pallet patio to it’s new position. Hopefully tomorrow I shall stand it on bricks and ensure that it’s level. Later on I intend giving it a coat of green wood preserver, which I think will make it blend in with its future surroundings better.

A temporary cardboard walled compost bin will also be erected which will suffice until I can do a timber one.

The forecast is looking ideal for the next few days at least which is good news as it means I can hopefully make further good process.

Weeks 6 and 7

were a bit lax with little digging and weeding being done. My excuses include it being too hot, too wet or doing other things!

Having looked through the pile of assorted items that are sitting in the north-west corner of the plot I’ve decided that I can’t use, or don’t need, any of it so the council are going to remove it all. Hopefully that will be on Monday.

Where I’ve started digging over ground that I’ve already forked I’m finding it fairly easy going. Roots, weeds and sundry items, like rusty nails, are being picked up as I go. As yet I’ve found nothing of interest such as any coins.

I’ve had second thoughts about where I’m going to put my pallet patio and sentry box shed. Instead of being in the north-east corner I’m thinking of putting them about a third of the way down the eastern edge.

I’ve been browsing through several of the gardening books on the bookshop shelf and have made a list of annual flowers that can be sown direct onto the ground in the autumn. I shall check these in the seed catalogue* that I received earlier in the week.

I’ve also been looking at floribunda roses, in books and on websites. I particularly like the look of Valentine Heart among the handful that, for me, stand out.

[* I shall be doing a separate entry, hopefully sometime soon, on the joy of looking through a seed catalogue. ]