Category Archives: Gardening

In Praise of Poo…

I have to confess, I wasn’t that keen on the idea of piling a heap of manure on the raised beds as I thought it would be unpleasantly smelly. About autumn last year (I think) my husband went and got a small trailer load of (free!) horse manure and dug most of it into two of our three raised beds. There was still something growing in the other bed so instead I sowed some green manure when everything was finished.

I’d forgotten all about it though until I was trying to work out why some crops
grew exceptionally well this year and others not so. My stand out plant this year has
been the cucumber plant I thought I’d killed, which ended up producing a huge number of
cucumbers throughout the summer. I have only just taken the last ones off the plant and
cleared the bed.

The poo fuelled bed has also been home to a triffid like butternut squash plant, the first time I’ve had any success with them, as well as some sweet corn so it has done very well.

But the bed without the heap of manure has been a disaster this year – peas came and went, several rows of carrots failed altogether and I ended up harvesting no more than 10 weird and knobbly specimens. The only plants that did produce anything were the broad beans but they got rust early on and that was the end of them.

So I think we’ll be digging in some of the smelly stuff again this year, but this time will make sure all three beds get some…

From this:

To this:

To these:

And final harvest today:


Waste not, want not…

I’ve been harvesting so many tomatoes and cucumbers we just can’t keep up with them! So my resident chef has been busy in the kitchen – pickling cucumbers (with some of the dill I’ve also grown):


And making passata – using up some of the tomato harvest and including basil, also homegrown:


We also have a glut of chilli peppers but haven’t done anything with them yet – so watch this space…

More allotment progress…

A productive day at the allotment – took some water down in containers so I could finally get round to doing some planting.

Brussels and cabbages at one end of the new bed and onions further down.


I’m hoping all the netting will protect against all the creatures that nibble away at my crops…

On my way past the neighbouring plots, I took this photo of pumpkins – think I’ll be trying to grow some of these next year:


And also these beautiful Cosmos – I’m really looking forward to growing lots of flowers.


Hoping for rain…

Crazy I know, but I’d really like a few downpours, preferably overnight to avoid spoiling the
lovely weather we are having at the moment. Our allotment has no water, so every plot has a
variety of receptacles to collect rain water – but of course we have only just taken over our half plot so our containers are empty!

I think we’re going to have to get some containers we can carry and take them down there from home as I can’t plant my cabbages and sprouts without watering them. Really can’t wait to get them in as Gary has worked wonders on the plot.


Those are raspberries on the right, we’re keeping them, as well as some asparagus which was just about covered up by the long grass before we cleared it.

Some of the nearby plots look fantastic, I’m getting lots of ideas about what to grow next year. Definitely some flowers, I fancy having a cut flower patch as well as some giant sunflowers. I fished out some of the free packets of seeds I’ve been collecting hoarding and will make a start with them I think.


We also saw that quite a few of our plot neighbours are growing things in car tyres which looks like a great idea – something else for Gary to look for on Freecycle…


My two butternut squash plants have turned into triffids in one of the raised beds – I’ve got two squash plants and a cucumber here, plus a few sweet corn plants – they aren’t doing quite so well though.


The cucumber is going great guns, with four cucumbers at various stages of growth but until now there didn’t seem to be much going on in the squash department – all flowers and no fruit. But I’ve just spotted this hiding away under a leaf:


I think it should be a bit further forward by now, but hopefully it still has time to grow and ripen.

Tree Following: September update

We’ve had a few weeks now of trying to avoid standing on fallen apples on the path and grass – as mentioned in my last update, this is probably my least favourite time for this crab apple tree.

It is beginning to look a bit bedraggled now, past its prime.




We have collected two boxes of the apples with a view to making something with them – but no great inspiration yet, crab apple jam doesn’t appeal much. If you have any ideas or recipes, please feel free to put them in the comments…

If you want more details of the Tree Following challenge and to have a look at a wide variety of trees that are being tracked, head over to the Loose and Leafy blog. If you click on my Tree
Following category you can see my original post in March, as well as the monthly updates to compare the difference.

Meanwhile, down at the allotments…

The farm tenancy contract for our half an allotment plot has been signed and we have taken possession of the field of dreams*



The aim is to get one bed planted up at the weekend, I’ve got some cabbages, brussels and onions ready to go in and can’t delay too long as my man with the spade (and rotavator) has been busy:


He’s also sourced some pallets and is planning to build a shed…watch this space!


Now the hard work begins…

Major excitement finding out that we have after all been allocated an allotment in the village where we live! Half a plot, as someone has agreed to give up the unused half of his so we can take over.

The half plot is 0.1 of an acre so I don’t think we’re going to worry about not getting a whole plot. We also have to sign a Farm Tenancy agreement which came as a bit of a surprise, as did the £75 charge for the surveyors who look after the allotment plots for processing the
paperwork… We then have to pay the ongoing charge of £45 a year for our half which seems like a bargain.

However, the reality of this huge undertaking came home to me when we had a walk round our new domain. I suspect that this part of the plot has been left to itself for many years.


We have found some asparagus under all the weeds as well as some raspberries and right down at the far end there are apple and pear trees and lots of blackberries.



Luckily for me, my husband is very excited about this new project. He has been scouring Ebay and Freecycle for useful allotment accessories and can’t wait to get rotovating, digging, burning and building!


Wish us luck, I think we’re going to need it…

Pepper progress

Harvesting plenty of peppers at the moment – as mentioned in an earlier post though, I had a labelling mishap so until the peppers started appearing, it wasn’t altogether clear what we were going to get.



The three sets of seeds I originally sowed were Hotscotch, Hot Devil’s Brew & Cayenne but no idea now which ones are which.