A Time to Plant! A Time to Paint, and a Time to Ponder.

Hello again to those who may still be following, I have been very hit and miss here over at my garden blog this year, compared with previous years.  It is looking like once a month post, so this one may be a bit longer than my usual post, we will see how it goes, so  if you are still with me at the end~  Many thanks for sticking with it and reading, 

To be honest with you, blogging has taken a back seat for a while, as I felt the need to just go within my own silent space and create and concentrate upon my well-being for a time. So I did more painting. A tiger this time, I thought I would challenge myself, as I have always put off doing a detailed painting of tiger for fear of not getting its stripes right.. So it was time to face my fears, and just let be what will be.. And this was the result. 

This was my Tiger painting in Acrylics making my trilogy of Big Cats now hung on my wall.

 

I am sure those who live here in the UK are at last glad to see a little blue sky peep between the grey blankets of cloud that have hung over us far too long.. The weather is certainly a talking point across the world as we had yet more snow at Easter followed by more rain and almost a week of fog here last week that never seemed to move..

In the distance you can see the headstocks of the Clipstone Pit which closed in 1993 More about the coal mine HERE

This was the weather Yesterday as we went for a walk Skies have been grey for so long!.. Believe it or not this was once a big ugly slag heap of waste from the coal mining days. It was turned into a nature reserve called Vicars Water Country Park  many years ago and provides a sanctuary for birds, swans ,geese and ducks.  This was the view from the top looking down.  The mist is still hanging low, but not as bad as it was last week.  To see more photos of the Park click the blue link where you can see the lake and the golden hand which symbolises a miners hand reaching out of the earth. 

While further along the yellow gorse was out along with pussy-willow

 

 At the end of last week, my hubby was feeling well enough after a nasty bout of flu over Easter to tackle the allotment.. We just had a few weeds to clear, as we had already dug over the ground in the autumn in preparation.  So while Hubby got to grips with putting in the potatoes. I got busy planting seeds. We both had lots of rest in-between, and had hot drinks, Hubby coffee, while I had drinking chocolate. 

While the weather was snowing things were busy growing in the greenhouse. Peas, Shallots and Brussels and Cabbage plants growing

Here the shallots went in last week, we covered with mesh as we have a fox who seems to like to play and dig for worms as well as deep holes into our potato rows. You can see the purple sprouting broccoli which the pigeons have devoured on the left.. They stripped nearly all of them,

We have  now put out the shallots which started life in pots in the green house, and I planted two rows of beetroot, different varieties, two rows of parsnips.. I also planted out the corms of Gladioli into a new position.

Here I planted the gladioli. many of last years corms had rotted and gone soft.. You win some and lose some.. I put the small corms in another row. hopefully they will gradually mature to larger ones to salvage for another year.

I pruned back the dead wood of the raspberries and some of the overgrown blackberries, along with pruning out the middle of the redcurrant bush and the gooseberry bush which was hard last year to pick because it was so tightly packed with thorns.

As soon as the Rhubarb showed signs of sprouting we covered with bin, and we have had two tasty crumbles so far from young shoots.

 

Here you see the peas now planted from the greenhouse, much bigger now.. I covered up the rows of beetroot and parsnips seeds I planted to protect from the fox scratching the earth.. There were a pile of chicken feathers on next doors allotment when we arrived. And a large hole in the potato row.. Looks like he likes chicken and chips.. 😉

A closer view of peas now with mesh around we use mesh instead of sticks to support them as they grow.

In the autumn we planted what was left over of the leeks, in the spaces, and we planted some garlic from a bulb.  In the space you now see created I am going to plant some of my dahlias in this patch and some further at the top of the allotment.

The following day  while hubby planted out the peas above, and put more rows of potatoes in, I set to and weeded this patch below. 

 Before: This piece took me two hours to completely clear of weeds and grass.

 After: Here you can now see the leeks I planted around the edge, and garlic in the middle

We still have to clear behind the sheds, and it looks like we may have some bees nesting below the shed again.. So I am happy about that.. And I have to straighten up between the fruit bushes. But we are at last mainly on top of the planting for now. Then I have my home garden to start on.. 

How are things growing where you are? and have you noticed big changes in your own weather patterns?  And how are your Spring Blooms doing? 

Until Next time.. 

Happy Gardening! 

 

 

Easter Weekend Gardening~Marigold tips

Easter is a time many of us get out into our gardens and start to think about planting out our bedding plants.. But its also that time of year that the weather often takes an unexpected turn and plunges back into the cold..

Last year we went away the end of April beginning of May for a week and left our sweetcorn in the cold frame.  However a sharp frost and unexpected snow killed it, so we had to start again.. So do keep an eye out on the forecasts for frosts and low temps etc… And keep those tender plants protected..  The cabbages and Brassica family should be fine if you have hardened them off sufficiently though.. And next week I think we will be putting ours into the prepared limed positions..

So  what have we been doing all week? The best way I think is in picture format..

First my Hubby dug two trenches and filled them with manure. We then carried the old swing frame we use to support the canes to its new position in the garden. The beans are in in the greenhouse thriving.

This piece of land my hubby lightly sprinkled some Manure over and then forked it over.. This is where this year we will plant sweetcorn and Leeks and the Dahlias are going nearer the potatoes this year.

 I set too and started to weed this section out. The line is to help me see where the Gladioli’s are, as they are just starting to shoot through.. Last year we decided to see how they went if we left them all in the ground. But you can see how overgrown they are.. Lots of poppies, which I love, had to come up.

Now you can see the weeding almost done one side of the line. I leave in the marigolds.. You will see these flowers dotted all over the allotment, They are very good at keeping some bugs at bay..

Now you can see I also cleared the path leading up to the greenhouse

 

I also weeded out the ground between the raspberries and loganberries. All shooting nicely now.

Below you can see the view as I stand with my back to the sheds. I left in lots of marigold seedlings I will leave many of these in and also use to transplant back in my home garden and dot around the allotments as they act as  good pest control to certain bugs..

  When you are not using chemical pest controls, these tips and  more can be found on the BBC Gardening  Guide  on why marigolds and Nasturtiums are good for pest control.  Link to the below quote can be found HERE 

Plant combinations

  • Grow French marigolds among tomatoes. Marigolds emit a strong odour that will repel greenfly and blackfly.
  • Grow sage with carrots or plants in the cabbage family to ward off pests. Both have strong scents that drive away each other’s pests.
  • Plant nasturtium with cabbages – they’re a magnet for caterpillars that will then leave the cabbages alone.
  • Garlic planted among roses will ward off aphids.
  • Plant carrots and leeks together on the allotment or vegetable patch to protect against a number of pests. Leeks repel carrot fly and carrots repel onion fly and leek moth.

Make sure companion plants are planted at the same time as your edible crops to prevent pests from getting a foothold.

In the foreground are the Autumn fruiting Raspberries and the tall Blueberries, .. The loganberries are on the framework and behind those are the raspberry canes that fruit early summer.

Click onto the images this will take you into the slide module where you can read more. 

 

So Wishing you a very Happy Easter

and Happy Gardening

~Sue~

Keeping Weed Free

Purple sprouting broccoliAllotment

Click photo’s to enlarge them.

I love this time of year when we begin to harvest the crops. And covering our Brassica family up to stop pests from Spring with nets has certainly reduced the influx of caterpillars and white fly.

Broccoli and Cauliflowers

Broccoli and Cauliflowers

We are also happy with the way our Allotment Greenhouse is ripening our tomatoes and they are further forward than our greenhouse tomatoes at home.

We uncovered the Chard from the nets and I set too to weed between them. This veggie is so versatile. we enjoy the young leaves in Salads, but its wonderful steamed like spinach

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Peas

Peas

The Pea rows are now in flower and producing pods, But to be honest this is not our best year for peas, the small covered  cloche  to the right is another Pea row. Again these have not germinated well. It appears many of us got our peas from the allotment association and many of us have had the same problem of poor germination. I had to re-set the row you see growing as it began life as two rows of 3 a breast.. But so many didn’t grow I transferred into one long row.   I will be  uncovering weeding and seeing how these have done this week.

 

New rows of Beets and carrots, You can also see how the sweetcorn is growing and you may just make out the thin blades of Leeks .

New rows of Beets and carrots, You can also see how the sweetcorn is growing and you may just make out the thin blades of Leeks . The plants in the foreground are  Celeriac . In the background are the potatoes  and manure heap under the blue tarpaulin 

Keeping the above weed free is a full-time job. no sooner have you finished one part of the allotment than another is ready for clearing.  This is what I have been up to most days of this week. And my back now knows about it.

Turnips

Turnips

The blue tarpaulin you can see at the top of the large picture above on our plot is the left over manure from the trailer load we had delivered last year.  We were amazed at how much was still left over.

My Hubby decided to move it as we had several empty compost bins.. He filled seven and still there was some left over. Each Bin contains 8 barrow loads of Muck, He moved around 60 barrow loads over a two-day period.

Some of you have been asking for an idea of how large the allotments are and how big our plots are..

I hope in the next post to have taken a few pictures to give a better understanding of our Allotments Association . And how because most of us have not got fences, how difficult it is to stop those wishing to take what you have grown.

Until next Time

Happy Gardening !

~Sue~

 

 

It’s June but with Temperatures of December.

I set too and weeded out all of the grass that had grown.

I set too and weeded out all of the grass that had grown  among the raspberries.

Hello my fellow gardener’s, well it is June already, although someone forgot to tell Mother Nature, as the Temperature here in our part of the UK was 2 deg’s lower than on Christmas Day on June the 1st.

But it has not stopped the work going on in the Allotment Plot. Click onto photo’s to enlarge.

I have been weeding none stop every morning all week, while Hubby has dug the piece  behind the shed, preparing it for butternut squash. We also put up a net around our redcurrents, and a lock was put in to stop the greenhouse door being opened.. Sadly we still have a thief who is helping themselves to various things, A fellow allotment holder a few plots away from us had his Green house heater stolen, ( while it was lit ) and they helped themselves to some slab stones. If they really want things a lock will not stop them but it makes things a bit more difficult to steal. 

There has been lots of rain towards the end of May so its been good for the garden, meaning we have not had to carry buckets of water. The Brassica’s have all really grown.

The strawberry plants this year are doing much better than last year.. We dug up last years bed and repositioned it, and used the runners off of last years plants for the new plants.. They are coming into flower now. As are the Loganberries and the Raspberries.

 

 

The sweetcorn now is in.

The sweetcorn now is in.

Above you see the sweetcorn is now planted, we were a bit worried when the temperatures dropped, they have turned a little yellow since taking this photo but they are growing.. We have since added in front of it carrots  of various colours. and some leeks

I weeded out the Turnips and the beetroot. to the right is parsnips, I weeded those out today as now I can see them to weed between.

I weeded out the Turnips and the beetroot. to the right is parsnips, I weeded those out today as now I can see them to weed between.

It has been a busy week with lots of aches, but I have slept like a baby.. Its been good to get back on the plot and get it looking more ship shape.

Have a wonderful weekend  and

Happy Gardening!

~Sue~

 

May time in the Allotments

Its been a while since I posted here. Life is certainly busy. And I am just about getting myself organised again after returning from  a lovely holiday in Scotland.

Garden shed

So for those who can remember, that shed my husband bought from a fellow allotmenteer is now standing proud and upright with the help of my Son who did most of the hard work.

Here you see the Old 'Lean too' shed in the background which is going to be pulled down. The base of the new shed is laid out, Using old concrete fence posts

Here you see the Old ‘Lean too’ shed in the background which is going to be pulled down. The base of the new shed is laid out, Using old concrete fence posts

The shed now errected and with new felt roof and I gave it two coats of wood preserve paint.

The shed now errected and with new felt roof and I gave it two coats of wood preserve paint. The old one is still behind it and is awaiting being pulled down.

You can see how dry the wood was on the shed as you see from my painting it with wood preserve the contrast in colours

You can see how dry the wood was on the shed  from my painting it with wood preserve, the contrast in colours.

When I got back after our vacaction, I set to and weeded. Along with thinning out of plants.  Click to enlarge photo’s and read.

If you look closely you can see the blossom on my young eating apple tree. I have yet to weed this section of the allotment

If you look closely you can see the blossom on my young cooking apple tree. I have yet to weed this section of the allotment The eating apple still has no blossom so hopefully next year it will

This part was where I had all the Gladioli last year.. You can see where the small corms had started to grow, so I set to to weed.

This part was where I had all the Gladioli last year.. You can see where the small corms had started to grow, so I set to to weed.

Now you can see the Gladioli after I weeded.. The main bulbs have been planted nearer the new green house this year as I have moved the flowers around this year.

Now you can see the Gladioli after I weeded.. The main bulbs have been planted nearer the new green house this year as I have moved the flowers around this year.

Here you can see what my hubby has been up to.. He took some old metal ladders that were rickerty apart. Taking out the step runners.. He has laid them out and staked them into the ground..

Here you can see what my hubby has been up to.. He took some old metal ladders that were rickerty apart. Taking out the step runners.. He has laid them out and staked them into the ground.. In the background the canes with the bottles on top are where we have put the Dahlia’s this year. .

The next stage was to get lengths of pipe and bend over putting into the runner holes.. then using canes stabilize the arches using ties to hold firm.

The next stage was to get lengths of pipe and bend over putting into the runner holes.. then using canes stabilize the arches using ties to hold firm.

The next stage we covered the rows with netting.. So as to keep butterflies away and hopefully stop caterpillars eating.

The next stage we covered the rows with netting.. So as to keep butterflies away and hopefully stop caterpillars eating.

Here are two tunnels now completed protecting brassica's and Chard.. The small net, I used to cover the peas, as the birds and pigeons just love young pea shoots, ( as do I in a salad )

Here are two tunnels now completed protecting brassica’s and Chard.. The small net, I used to cover the peas, as the birds and pigeons just love young pea shoots, ( as do I in a salad ) In the forground you can see the Garlic which I also weeded out.

Tomato plants are thriving and will be planted in the allotment green house next week

Tomato plants are thriving and are much larger than this now and will be planted in the allotment green house next week

As you can see, I have been busy planting up hanging baskets and wall hangers,

As you can see, I have been busy planting up hanging baskets and wall hangers in the home Greenhouse. These will go out when the threat of any over night frost is gone at the end of May.

Wishing you all

HAPPY GARDENING

~Sue~

Clearing and Creating

As promised I will tell you what I have been up to this will take the form of Two posts over the next couple of days,  and I will let the pictures tell their own story. 

The flag stones were dug up from near the shed and moved to form a base for greenhouse

The flag stones were dug up from near the shed and moved to form the base.

We were lucky enough to buy a second hand greenhouse recently, it had a few panes of glass missing.. but it was a great bargain not to be missed.

Both Hubby and I erected the frame.. The sides are up!

Both Hubby and I erected the frame.. The sides are up!

Roof now on and some panes of glass are in on the roof

Roof now on and some panes of glass are in on the roof

Hooks placed between flag stones to help secure frame

Hooks placed between flag stones to help secure frame

I now have 3 trays such as this ripening in the greenhouse. These tomatoes were grown outdoors among the veggies, and as its going colder would not finish ripening without help .. Looks like chutney is on the menu :-)

I now have 3 trays such as this ripening in the greenhouse. These tomatoes were grown outdoors among the veggies, and as its going colder would not finish ripening without help .. Looks like chutney is on the menu 🙂

The Greenhouse complete with glass and sheets of hard plastic which hubby cut to size to fill in the panes which were missing. Tomatoes are ripening in trays at the bottom. These were just grown in the allotment and there will be lots for Chutney I think :-)

The Greenhouse complete the roof window in, with glass and sheets of hard plastic which hubby cut to size to fill in the 5 panes which were missing. Also we added a water barrel.. Tomatoes are ripening in trays at the bottom. These were just grown in the allotment and there will be lots for Chutney I think 🙂  You can see Hubby put a fence panel up behind the greenhouse.. This is because the  shared path has an almost 1 and a Half foot drop onto our allotment side and if you were to slip!!? So Health and Safety first!.. 

Long view of the allotments looking back on my hoeing weeds all morning.. The greenhouse can now be seen a third of the way down on the right .

Long view of the allotments looking back on my hoeing weeds all morning.. The greenhouse can now be seen a third of the way down on the right .

The Dwarf beans the seeds are drying out for next years planting on these that are left over

The Dwarf beans the seeds are drying out for next years planting on these that are left over Also Red Cabbage

The allotments are looking bare, in the forground are my wallflowers which are for my home garden. I just hoed through this.. Isn't it weed free :-)

The allotments are looking bare, in the foreground are my wallflowers which are for my home garden. I just hoed through this.. Isn’t it weed free!  🙂

 

The last of sweetpeas I saved a lot of the seeds, before dismantling and composting

The last of sweetpeas I saved a lot of the seeds, before dismantling and composting

 

Happy Gardening to you All 

Have a wonderful Week 

~Sue~