September 2007

Here’s one of the ‘rogue’ flowers growing in my beds (click to enlarge). Don’t know where this snapdragon came from but it’s really beautiful & a welcome visitor, reminding me there’s no reason why I can’t devote some of my plot to flowers as well as raising some for my garden. So I’ve been planting lots of flower seeds ready for next year… hollyhocks, sweet peas & marigolds, as well as raising lots of cuttings, geraniums for example. And they seem to be going much better than in my green house at home, which I think was too hot & certainly too small for what I needed.

I’ve also been taking advantage during the lull in construction work between finishing the shed & starting the chicken coop to plant chicory, spring onions, beetroot & spinach, onions & winter lettuce. Started them off in seed trays on the shed, moved out to shelves at the shed front & am now moving into beds, see lettuce below. Working really well. Additionally enjoyed fresh sweetcorn, hurriedly harvested before the mice could scoff the lot.

Only a small amount of construction this month… just couldn’t help myself! Put up extra shelves in the shed using brackets & chipboard scrounged from skips. Can’t drive past a skip these days without my eyes being diverted to see if there’s anything useful in there. Sad or what, but I’ve really caught the allotment recycling craze (alternatively called ‘something for nothing’… probably more about my Scottish heritage). So the inside of the shed is really looking the business now & feels great when I’m in there, surrounded by shelves of seedlings & cuttings, with onions hanging from the rafters as shown below. And when the weather is a bit miserable (it’s got to be REALLY miserable to stop me from being outside… force 9 gale & thunderstorm will only just force me indoors) I’m happily in the shed sorting seed packets & tidying up.

With construction stopped for a while there’s no need to haul toolbox & drill with me, so I’ve been biking it most days… really relaxing. Takes me just over 5 minutes from home to plot. Normally give the rabbits a fright since generally I’m first up there & don’t make a lot of noise on the bike. Bought a new one a few months ago on my employers ‘Bike to Work’ scheme. Since it meant I could get the bike for about half price I picked one I’d enjoy for life, as pictured below. It’s a Gazelle Impala, a Dutch bike costing about £600 full price, but it’s great to ride, really well built & with everything on it (automatic dynamo lights for example).

Had a good tidy up on the plot. Moved the piles of bricks & paving slabs from the front to back of the plot & took the old shed apart; also took up tomato plants & poles. Been a poor tomato season, very wet start. But as we moved into September there’d been no rain for over 3 weeks, so the one water butt I’d managed to fill was emptied by the middle of the month. Sure using rainwater much better than the piped in water I’m back to use again.

A highlight mid month was having a sausage sizzle one evening in the dark with my two grandsons & their dads. Did some preparation by laying out log seats & a brick surround for the fire as shown below. When I tested out how well the fire would work it brought childhood memories flooding back, when I always used to be lighting fires & my mum would grab me when I returned home with the immortal words ‘Come here & let me smell you, you’ve been lighting a fire again!’

The evening started with a lighting of the fire, then we all trooped of through the nearby woods with torches shining, returning after 30 minutes to toast sausages & marshmallows over hot coals. The grown ups had a great time, so goodness knows what great memories it gave Connor & Sammy.

As the month ends the daylight hours are definitely closing in. No more digging at 5:30 am, since it doesn’t get light till after 7. Getting cold as well, again wearing the hat my mum gave me last year. Yet another plot has got chickens now, so keen to get cracking soon building the coop. Lots more beds to dig over ready for winter frosts. Garlic to plant out. Good news is I’m reducing my hours at work from beginning of October from 37 to 25 hours a week. Should help make a difference.

More pictures below from this month. Please fell free to leave a comment by clicking ‘Comment’ at the foot of this page.

Thanks for reading my blog. John

This month's photos (click to enlarge)
Bed with winter lettuce & chicory
Current batch of compost; the mixture of kitchen waste, shredded paper, garden waste & horse manure results in a fantastic worm filled compost after a couple of months
Front of shed with trays out
One of extra shelves I've added
Extra shelf on other side of shed
Solitary pumpkin hiding away... grandchildren will have to buy their own for Halloween this year
Jerusalem Artichokes now flowering & are about 3 metres tall... as usual I've gone overboard & will probably be giving the knobbly roots away over winter
And here's what the plot looks like at the end of the month


  1. I particularly like your onions haning up in the shed photo. That really says it all this time of year! I love your pumpkin photo as well. Would you like to contribute to my 'squashblog' in any way? Please come have a look. xx Matron

  2. Am considering starting an allotment myself and have found your blog most inspiring.Hope I can maintain your level of persistence.

  3. Hi John, just came across your site from a link from another blog. Excellent reading, funny how these plots start to become part of your life. Well it's 0720 on Sunday morning, and I'm away to my allotment for 2 hours before the wife wakes up!


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