Thursday November 22nd – the last working day up at the plot…

We started the day at the cafe for a cup of tea before heading to the allotment and facing the colder weather…
Our first job was to clear the old brassica bed of weeds, as you can see from these photo’s below;

We found this huge long happy worm too….
We turned the grass onto itself to expose the roots and allow the green tops to compost below the soil

 And we cut the paths straight too…

Finally we used a dibber to make holes in which we planted the beans we brought from the garden centre

Below: we are pinning the strawberry runners to the soil to allow them to root in…

We then took a break to get warm in the community building… one of the team took the time to draw this Magpie Moth from a book from the community library…

And lastly we chose some seeds from the catalogue using the money we won from the competitions in the summer at the Rosendale Allotment…

November 1st, 8th, 15th – Mud! Planting onions, garlic, strawberries – fires & fixing the path!

So – The past few weeks we have been lucky enough to have reasonable weather and managed to get up to the allotment and do some planting, some woodwork, some path fixing, a fire with waste wood, turned the compost heap, and managed to get our boots very… very… muddy!

The main jobs were;

  • Planting ‘Elephant Garlic’
  • Planting some of the strawberry runners from this year – a runner is a piece of strawberry plant that ‘runs’ from the plant and puts roots into the soil when it finds some… they were potted, and are now back planted in the strawberry patch!
  • Burning off some old wood that had been on site since we took over the plot
  • Making a barrier at the end of the path to prevent soil loss from when we cut back the bottom path to pass the survey
  • Turning the compost heap – to allow the compost to ‘breathe’ – letting air in so it can compost down further
  • Harvest : we harvested the last of the squashes and a couple of cucumbers and some salad for the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project

A late season cucumber

Onion (electric) in it’s new hole

Last of the squashes…

Harvested squashes

Turning the compost

Lighting the bonfire
Cutting the path straight
Cutting the wood for the stakes

Knocking the barrier into place
Nailing the boards to the stakes
Planting out the potted strawberry runners in the extended strawberry bed

Last of the strawberry runners in before the winter
View from the plot, November 15th 2012

Hopefully more to report from the allotment if the weather stay fine next time…

October 2012 – the month in a single post…

A busy month in terms of harvesting and planting some veg for over wintering… the photographs below will tell the story, but here is a summary of how the month went;

  • Harvesting! Beetroot, sweetcorn, carrots, salads (little gem, mixed salad), tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers
  • Linking with the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project…
  • Preparing the soil for over-wintering garlic and onions
  • Preparing the soil for the extension of the strawberry plot
  • Planting over-wintering garlic and onions…
  • Animal spot; baby rat visit

The salad is still coming and provides a healthy starter or side dish for the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project at Rathbone

The squashes are doing well – this one was taken (and eaten!) at the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project!

Water on leaf…

Manuring the strawberry bed in preparation for planting an extension of the strawberry bed 🙂

Leeks set in and doing well…
Ready to prune the raspberries, cutting the branches down to encourage new growth for next year…
Chopped!

Sorting through the garlic bulbs for planting overwinter…

…a guide for spacing the bulbs when planting…

…planting the garlic bulbs along a line beside a board…

…the root section at the bottom of the hole, the tip of the bulb at the top.
End of the sweetcorn> starting to clear the site in preparation for planting some over wintering Onions…

Sweetcorn! We took some home and some to the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project…

The green manure Rye Grass starting to pop up…

Some of the harvest this year taken over (and eaten!) by the ‘Come Dine With Me’ project…

Visiting baby rat near the compost bins…

Cabbage popping up on a raised bed on the site

raking over the strawberry bed in preparation for planting after the manure has settled

Thursday 27th September 2012 – Last of the potatoes…

Yes – that’s it for the spuds this year, all the potatoes are dug up and everyone took a bag home with them to be cooked, and the remainder was donated to the Rathbone ‘Come Dine With Me’ project…

Look! Spuds!

We also did some weeding (as usual) around the lettace and sweetcorn, which is almost ready to harvest now…
We picked some of the green tomatoes from the plants that were not looking healthy anymore and set them in the greenhouse shed with an apple to help turn them red…
We also found when we had arrived that our shelter from the rain was demolished by the recent weather and set about clearing the fallen gazebo…
We also made a handrail next to the step at the back of the allotment to make it safer for those who have mobility problems to get up to the shed and decking areas…
Sawing the handrail to size…
Finished handrail… 
And finally, before we left, we raked the old potato patch and sowed some ‘green manure’ (http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=373) to occupy the space for the winter – ours is a rye grass mix.
This manure will help to break up the soil and then be ‘dug in’ to the soil to help put back organic matter (compost) and nutrients like nitrogen – very important for plants to grow, so important for the soil to contain…
Old potato bed, now sowed with green manure for the winter…
And thats it for this week! See you next week…..

August and September – in mostly pictures!

Ok – Various people, staff and members, have been here, there, and around and not around – so things have been moving along with the site, and photos taken, but not time to put it all up on the blog – so here is a condensed version of the last couple of months…

Important events! The community building grand opening BBQ at Rosendale Allotments which members and staff attended from Rathbone… clearing the site of plastic waste… digging the ground ready for strawberry planting and over-wintering garlic and onions… leek planting… award winning scarecrows from Rathbone (see photo’s below) – 1st Prize at the Rosendale Allotment competition (and Rathbones salad, again designed by Sandra – 1st prize!) the scarecrow Elfrida (named after the educationist Elfrida Rathbone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfrida_Rathbone) who the Rathbone Society are named after, also won 2nd prize at the Lambeth Country Show 2012! Go Elfrida!

Separating the roots of baby leeks…

Trimming baby leeks…
Taking the excess growths off tomato plants
Planting baby leeks in the soil – straight into holes, not filled with soil but just water
Finding weeds…
Community building opening BBQ at Rosendale Allotments
Elizabeth/ Elfrida – Rathbone’s Award winning scarecrow with designer Sandra  in blue

Cutting the Ivy back…

More weeding! The sweetcorn this time gets a weeding

Stripping the ivy leaves for the compost bin

Moving our path back to comply with regulations at the allotments
Digging up the spuds…
Some of our potatoes!

Our new plot number – and designer Sandra again on the right!

A busy time, it’s time to get harvesting our allotment again, and hopefully weekly blogs will follow…

Thanks for reading! Rathbone Gardening Project

Thursday 9th August 2012 – Planting out the pea’s, pumpkins and okra!

Today was spent getting the allotment in good shape, and planting out the okra, pea’s and pumpkins we had been keeping indoors in pots away from the dreaded slugs and snails…
It was time to plant them out, and we managed to cover the good part of a large area left aside for them > good stuff! they look great – no photographs again unfortunately, will try to get some in for next week.
The rest of the time was spent on weeding and cutting the grass, and we spotted another visitor to the plot, a ‘Garden Tiger Moth’  no photo from us, but it looks like this;
Garden Tiger Moth – photo from http://www.ox.ac.uk/images/hi_res/6561_Maarten_Jacobs_-_Garden_Tiger_-_89__decline_over_35_years.jpg

More to follow – watch this space…

Thursday 2nd August 2012 – Grass cutting, weeding and … digging!

Yes digging is back! We are preparing the pumpkin and brassica bed for some transplanted plants which we re-potted last week..

Oh, and this time the post will be just me typing because we had no camera to take photo’s with…

So on with the day! On arrival, we got stuck in as usual with weeding our plot and raised beds, picking out the weeds and ensuring the plants we wanted there stayed safe from bindweed.

After this, we gave them a well deserved watering, and began on tidying the plot up, namely cutting the overgrown grass so the edges of the paths are visible.

This is important because there are a lot of uneven paths with some drops to the edges, so it is good to be able to see the paths properly. We all helped with this task.

Some of us dug and turned the soil on the pumpkin and brassica patches: you can’t see them, but they are looking good!

Others continued to maintain the paths by taking out material like grass tufts, stones and bumps which can be tripped over.

It rained a few times during our visit today, but everyone left in good spirits, and we are getting ready for planting out the pumpkins, squashes and peas next week!

Thursday 26th July 2012 – Frogs, beans, pea’s, pots and… poison

So, today was the day we introduced poison onto the plot. It was not a light decision, but we decided the slugs and snails had just eaten tooooooooo much of our plants.

 We go a couple of surprises when we arrived > As you can see from the photo on the left, we have our first pea! And the photo on the right shows our first beans! Good going team… Now hopefully these will be followed by more vegetables!

After looking at our plants, we ventured down to the garden centre and proceeded to buy a large pot of slug pellets, here is a link to the brand; http://www.bayeradvanced.com/insects-pests/products/dual-action-snail-slug-killer-bait/questions-answers – as you can see, it say’s it is safe to use on edible crops, and although not everyone at the allotment uses them, most do, and most people seem to be fine there…

 So. Before we applied the pellets, we decided to re-pot some of the plants we had re-grown from seed – the pumpkins, squashes, okra and pea plants.

We put some compost into pots, then made holes for the plant to rest into, before carefully transplanting the seedling and its roots into its own pot and firming the soil around it… lots of transplanting today…

Re-potted Okra…
…pumpkins and squashes…
… and pea’s!

After finishing the re-potting, and on our tidy up of the plot, we found the little fella above (can you find him?) – in the ‘pond’ (bucket underground) the last group left at the plot… he was happy to be photographed briefly… then, it was about time to leave the activity and go home.
Raised beds on 26th July 2012

Thursday 19th July 2012 – bird protection and grass cutting

Well, apart from the slugs from last week (they returned indeed to have a couple of feasts on some more of our plants…) we had some birds attack our sweetcorn – we went straight down to the garden centre, otherwise we’re being attacked on all sides!

At the garden centre

 We set about buying some netting from the garden centre, and then used some plastic pipes found in a skip a few months ago to create the general structure for the protection.

We measured out the netting and cut it to size, before pulling the netting over the pipes, securing it with sticks, stones and large lengths of wood.

It’ll keep the birds off while the corn establishes and can cope with a small attack or too…

Finished ‘corn protection’
Finally, we brought a pair of extendible shears – an investment tool where we can keep the paths clear from overgrown grass and tidy around the raised beds…

Finally, here’s hows the allotment looks as of 19th July 2012;

Thursday 12th July 2012 – slugs! and eaten plants…

So! The slugs have truely declared war on our plot – yes, a few tomato plants were eaten, a few (lots actually) strawberries, and this and that. But they ate all the pumpkins and courgettes! Look!

eaten…

…yum, said the slug…

…mmmm said the snail

Well, this was not a good find! We blame the harsh constantly wet weather, allowing a smooth path for the slugs and snails to slime over, and find our plants. And the fact we have not used any chemicals yet – the will is strong now…
Instead of accepting defeat, we decided to retreat for a while – planting the tomato plants we had fortunately stockpiled into bigger pots and storing them in the potting shed; as you can see below…

We then went about weeding and clearing up the plot somewhat, and took advantage of the dry weather to paint our handrail with weatherproofing to keep it from rotting…