July 2007

Globe artichokes are looking fantastic, see picture on left (click to enlarge). I put the plant in last year in the middle of one of the diamond beds in the hope that it would be a prominent feature… it’s certainly that! About 7’ high & almost as wide. Didn’t cut any flower heads off to eat this year, wanted to see what the flowers were like. My neighbours have a smaller variety with even bigger heads. Must see if I can get the same type.

At the beginning of the month I managed to get the roof up & fixed. Yet again kicking myself I didn’t save various bits when taking the conservatory down that the roof came from… this time it was the parts for fixing the screws through the roof. Made some wooden plugs, bought big washers & used some tar spray I had in the garage to waterproof the screw holes. Worked perfectly. Chose a particularly windy day to manoeuvre the roof parts onto the top of the shed (why does it always happen that way?) & had been pondering how I’d fix the screws right in the middle of the roof, the ones I couldn’t reach from the edge. Nothing for it but to climb up on top & flatten myself out. Got up via the old shed & was really glad when that bit was finished.

Of course I couldn’t just fit the guttering up & have done with it. Made three attempts
o With water butts to the left, until I realised was too narrow down that side to access all three butts
o With water butts to the front, & I was half way to the shop to buy yet more gutter bits when realised I wouldn’t be able to open the front windows if the butts were there
o With water butts to the right, which was final configuration since I’d have plenty of access when the old shed came down

Photo on right shows final result.

About now you’ll be thinking this is a building, & not an allotment, site. So just to reassure you, I’ve been harvesting some lettuces, beetroot & broad beans at the beginning of the month. Bit disappointing generally, & short of produce in last couple of weeks or so. Tomatoes have been poor & look at least a couple of weeks behind last year. Ate a couple of small ones that had turned red… delicious! Pumpkins have been great disappointment. They’re only just starting to flower so may be too late for anything significant.

Didn’t get my strimmer back until the middle of the month. Had a bit of a set to when I tried it outside shop only to find it didn’t seem much different. Turned out to be battery needed recharging, but got a bit sticky in the shop for a few minutes when I went back in & ‘expressed’ my disappointment. There followed a week of regular strimming (& getting bites all over my legs in the process) to get the plot back to some kind of tidy state.

The green woodpecker mentioned last month has multiplied. First two appeared on the favourite telegraph pole. A week or so later there was much squawking & flapping of wings back & forth & a third appeared! Guess it was junior out for his first flight.

Finally got first water butt operational. Bit puzzled as to why, when it had rained several times overnight, the barrel wasn’t filling up… until I realised I had the tap in the open position. Divot! But a great mystery is still unsolved. I’d stacked a few bricks under the tap so a watering can fits snugly under the tap (as can be seen in the shed picture above). One morning arrived to find no bricks there… they’d been neatly (very neatly) placed along the bottom of the new shed door, which I leave propped open with a stick of wood until the whole shed is secure. Asked all the likely family visitors, all claim their innocence. Very strange!

Started to lift onions & shallots, as shown in picture on right. Good to lift produce looking great after disappointments this year from poor weather. Tried growing shallots from seed & they’ve turned out at least as good as the sets I planted, so I’ll try onion seed as well next year. Yet to lift garlic, which have suffered from rust. Planted out beetroot, carrots, spinach & cabbage, swedes & radish, the latter two coming up already.

Finished fitting all the big glass windows in the shed during month, involving lots of heaving & huffing. Had to refit parts of frame since each of the glass panes turned out to be a different height! During week’s holiday turned the really nice greenhouse we’ve got at home into a sun lounge, so everything was moved out & up to the new shed. It’s a bit crowded at the moment! Am now at the stage of filling in all the frame spaces in between the windows. Starting to look like a real shed now, & making really good progress since not much opportunity to mess up.

Chris, my carpenter son in law, gave me a couple of really big sections of marine quality chipboard towards end of the month, which has activated the brain cells on what to use them for. Chicken shed was the first thought. I’d really like to have some chickens next year (thinking having four & calling them after my grandchildren aged between 4 & 1 year, which will amuse them no end). Still aiming to do that, but thoughts have now developed to using the chipboard for a shed floor.

Finally, have started training for a new sport that I think may be eligible for a London 2012 Olympic entry… slug slinging. Tried putting out beers traps in jam jars since I didn’t want to use chemicals to dispatch the little blighters. Downside of beer traps is you have to empty them, not pleasant… especially when you’ve left it a bit too long as I did. What a pong! So I now have an early morning routine of gathering up all the slugs casually wandering back home from their overnight activities. They then get flung into the spare ground at the back of my plot using a trowel. Record so far is 20 metres. Reckon I’ll have to get up to 50 metres to stand a chance of representing Great Britain. But with 37 gathered up the other morning I’m not short of materials to practice with.

Finally, having become the proud owner of a new camera (from which this month’s ‘photos have come) I’m hoping to include a link to a video clip of my plot. Bit rushed to do it at mo, may be in later version for this month.

Thanks for reading my blog. You can leave a comment at the bottom of this month’s pictures. John

This month's 'photos (click to enlarge)

Sun rise over shed McKinnie... another 6:30am start

Progress by the end of the month; filling in the framework is going much faster than anything else

Tomatoes looking a bit feeble, probably becuase they're in the boggiest part of the plot

Peas & Jerusalem Artichokes

Sample of output from compst bins

Radishes & cabbage coming up

View of plot at end of month

Sweetcorn flourishing

Compost bins nice & warm

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:23 pm

    Just took a peek at your blog site and think it is excellant.I am a newbie at blogging but I am trying.

    Philomena ellis


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