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…

Thursday 5th July 2012 – compost bin, sweetcorn bed and more potatoes!

Nice sunny day today, quite warm too for a change…

We began the day by checking how the plants in the potting shed were getting along – they look pretty good as you can see – some ready to plant out! (Especially the sweetcorn…)

We started by planting the pumpkins and courgettes we had grown from seed (and brought a few from the shop) in the pumpkin patch (no photo yet!) using plastic bottles for protection.

Here on the left is one of the team helping to build the wooden compost bin we were given when we started the project.

It will be situated near the raised beds so any weeds and grass cuttings can be composted straight away without having to go all the way to the top of the allotment.

… and here on the right is one of the new members planting some potatoes into the ground – its a bit late for them but we are going to give them a go.

They should be a good second crop to the first we planted out a few weeks before.

Also, we created and used a patch by the raised beds to prepare a bed for the sweetcorn we brought the week before from the local garden shop on Croxted Road.


As you can see from the next few photographs, we cleared the space, then set about making holes for the sweetcorn, ensuring to fill each hole with a small amount of water and compost, and finally the plant.


The last photograph shows us firming the plant in, so it’s roots make good contact with the soil and the plant stays upright.

And last but not least – here’s a photograph of all the members of the project together at last! The first time we were all there!

Thursday 28th June 2012 – seeds, earthing up potatoes and … a newt!

The day started as usual, bit of sun… bit of rain…

We began earthing up the potatoes. This means literally what it sounds like – we add earth around the base and cover up to two thirds of the plant’s leaves which then begin to grow out again. We do this to ensure there are no tubers – or potatoes – growing above the soil.

Next we planted some seeds out in our raised beds –

To do this, we used a board which is the same width as the raised bed and used it to guide the side of a trowel along to create a small trench in which to sow the seeds…

Before sowing, we added some compost to the bottom of the trench and a little bit of water to give them a good start.

Then the seeds were sown and gently covered, hopefully they will begin to pop out in a couple of weeks…

Lastly, for this week, we discovered a little visitor to the project – a newt!

It looks like, from basic identification by a less than qualified newt practitioner to be a palmate newt – however – these are easy to mix up with smooth (or common) newts – either way, a welcome visitor to the plot!

Thursday 21st June 2012 – growing in the shed…

Hi –

Mostly weeding this week, some other bits and bobs going on including finishing off the raised beds fully and cutting some of the grass which has taken over the plot and the paths!

Here’s a photograph of what it looks like inside the shed…

We have put a tray of tomato plants in the Rathbone office in the hope of selling them to staff on donation basis… lets see how it goes!

Inside the converted shed…