Wednesday 28 November 2007

We have a winner!

Thanks to 'Star' on Allotments4All for telling me the tree is a Cotoneaster Frigidus Vicary (see here)

So there we go, now I know what's dropping berries all over my garlic!

Quick question...

Quick question for anyone reading this, can you tell me what tree this is? We’ve got two of them the other side of the wall around our garden and they’re dropping berries everywhere at the moment. I’m just wondering what it is and are the berries poisonous?

Ta muchly… :)

Monday 26 November 2007

Onions! At last....

Better late than never we finally managed to get the onions planted out this weekend. Ok, so they're a few weeks late and the ground will be that little bit colder now but at least they're in. With any luck they'll soon catch up as they're in a pretty sheltered place in the garden.

I also spent an age trying, with the 'help' of the kittens, to clear all the leaves from the garden. There ended up being two large black bags full, quite impressive for a small garden I thought! I know I should be composting them really but I don't have the space for a leaf compost 'thing' this year. All being well, when we've got an allotment next year things will be different, then the plentiful supply of leaves will be a blessing rather than a curse.

We're trying to encourage some more wildlife info the garden at the mo so we've got some fat balls and nuts hanging on the apple tree to entice the birds. We've seen a few Blue Tits on them already and yesterday we saw our first Robin. He stayed around for quite a while, flitting from branch to branch seemingly quite happy for me to carry on working close by, he even helpfully posed for a picture.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, we're currently debating asking my parents for a subscription to 'Grow Your Own' magazine as a Christmas present as we've found the few issues we've bought really handy, not to mention the fact youget a free copy of 'The Allotment Book' by Andi Clevely if you subscribe at the mo. Has anyone read it? Is it any good?

Sunday 18 November 2007

The good old British weather

Someone far wiser than me once said you should never put off till tomorrow that which you can do today, not a motto I tend to live by most of the time, preferring instead to put off jobs till tomorrow in order to enjoy today, unfortunately it appears they may have had a point. Last weekend I decided not to perform the weekly leaf raking ritual in favour of, well, pretty much anything if I'm honest, although a beer played a part in the decision if I remember rightly. Anyway, clearly my theory that by waiting a week I'd be able to one big clear up and that would be it for a while clearly caused a certain amount of amusement somewhere ‘up there’ because last night brought with it not only rain but, worst of all, gale force winds.

Waking up this morning I found that the large but relatively self contained pile of leaves surrounding the apple tree had now been spread evenly across the entire garden, as if scattered by some malevolent hand. The only plus point was that the rain was (and still is) coming down so hard that any thoughts of venturing outside to deal with the mess have been delayed for a later date (March perhaps...).

Let it not be said I give up my principles without a fight.

In brighter news, this week also saw the arrival of the over wintering onions that Dobies seem to have been doing their best to keep from me for as long as possible. They should have gone into the ground by now but since as we've already seen the weather doesn't like me they'll have to wait till later this week when I can pop them in before work. Another delivery this week also saw the first batch of next years seeds arrive, along with the realisation that if for some reason we don't get an allotment we're going to have a huge amount of seed going spare...

Ah well, think positive, the worst comes to the worst we could always dig up the lawn...

Sunday 11 November 2007

Exciting garlic

One of the best things about growing anything has to be that moment when you see the first sign of life poking through the earth. The little seed that seemed so lifeless in your hand a week or so earlier has woken up, giving birth to a seedling that's fought against the odds to get through the soil and into the light. The whole concept is a source of endless wonder to me and I never cease to be amazed when things I've planted actually grow.

So, you'll have to excuse me being a little excited as this last week has seen the first signs of life in our little garlic patch. We had room to plant about twenty five cloves of Solent Wight a couple of weeks ago and a good three quarters of them have suddenly appeared above the soil over the last few days. This means that, with any luck, come next summer we'll be cooking with our own home grown garlic while also saving a few bulbs to grow from next year.

Oh, and a fresh garlic shoot also provides the new header at the top of this page, I hope you like it.

Aside from that not much has been happening really, the soft fruit bushes I put in the ground last weekend (only £1 each, thank you Lidl) are looking no different a week on and the onion sets I've ordered from Dobies have still not arrived.

Autumn is well and truly here though, the appearance of an ever increasing quantity of leaves being dropped in our garden by all the surrounding trees doing a fine job of alerting us to its looming presence. Of course, while this means a load of regular raking on my part it does provide endless hours of fun for our two kittens who seem to think the falling leaves are part of the worlds continual quest to entertain them.

Daft beggers…

Thursday 8 November 2007

And so it begins...

Well here we are, the start of a brand new blog. Welcome one and all, we hope you keep coming back to see how things progress. First up a little background is probably in order. I'm Paul, my fiancée is Melanie and together we've spent most of the spring and summer turning our horribly overgrown mess of a back garden into somewhere we'd like to spend our spare time.

Here's a glance back to how things were early this year

And here's a picture from a bit later when thing were at their clearest

Although we didn't really set out with a plan we ended up using a lot of the space we cleared for growing vegetables and before long we were well and truly bitten by the 'grow your own' bug. Neither of us had any real experience but that proved to be half the fun and surprisingly we ended up doing rather well (even if we do say so ourselves). While we didn't have enough room to grow large quantities of anything during the summer months we managed to dine on home grown sweet corn, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, runner beans and sweet peppers as well as a few potatoes.

We had so much fun we've decided to go bigger and better for next year and have put our names down on the waiting lists for a couple of local allotments. All being well, come the spring, we'll have been allocated a slot at least one of the two sites and be all set for an exciting year. That's where this blog comes in, we plan to document the trials and tribulations we face (and conquer...) while we wait for, renovate and finally use whatever allotment we end up with. In the meantime we're continuing to work our own garden just incase the allotment waiting lists don't move as fast as we're hoping so either way there should be some fun with nature to be had in the coming months. Hope you keep tuned to find out.