Busy busy bees

Nice bushy plants Lucy washing glass Cleaning the cold frame Replacing the top panels Glass back in...only slightly broken

Compost for the beds The windswept look The growing bonfire heap Really? Re-laying the path

Potatoes ready for action Arran Pilot Potatoes Kestral Potatoes Picasso Potatoes Charlotte Potatoes

Lucy heating her soup Lucy eating her soup Fresh from the thermos Scary black spider Looking out into the cold

Digging out a stubborn elderflower Exposing the roots The evil elderflower finally defeated Burning weeds Nice warm bonfire

Adding more rubbish Mesmerized Keeping the darkness at bay

Lucy and I have been down to the allotment the last couple of weekends. Last weekend we went down on Saturday & Sunday and managed to get quite a lot done. The weekend before that we did some general tidying and put the cold frame back together.

On Saturday we went and picked up the four varieties of potato that we’d ordered last year from the allotment shop. Talking to one of the men working at the shop was slightly worrying. When I told he we had four different types of potato he said “Oooooh…that’s a lot of potatoes you’ve got there” which wasn’t really the response we’d been hoping for. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I ordred them, so I thought it’d be best to spread the risk and order earlies, second-earlies, main crop and salad potatoes - these being Arran Pilot, Kestrel, Picasso and Charlotte, respectively. We need to ‘chit‘ these now, although they seem to have been chitting themselves in the meantime. This basically involves standing the potatoes up in an egg-box or similar with the ‘eyes’ facing upwards and letting stalks grow out to a length of 1 inch or so, then they can be planted.

After picking up our potatoes we were on a mission to clear some of the huge glass stockpiles that Old Bob had lovingly saved for us. We piled the glass up into large green recycling bins and buckets, then rounded up some of the scraggy bits of chicken wire and took it all to the tip. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere to recycle the glass as it was a mix of types so it had to go in with the general waste, which seemed a shame. We didn’t have time to take all the glass on Saturday so we did another run on Sunday too. All in all we took 4 large green recycling bins full to the top with large sheets and a number of buckets chocked with finger-ripping shards. We kept some of the useful sized bits that were in good condition, so we’re not totally glass free, but it still feels good to have got rid of enough glass to build a 1:1 scale replica of The Crystal Palace.

Later in the day we prepared two areas at the top of the plot for growing herbs and salad and Lucy cleared out an area behind the shed that was hiding more junk. We found out from the people on the plot behind that previously it’d been hiding a family of foxes!

Next I started digging out the elderflower plant that was taking advantage of the lovely rich soil in the compost heap. We made 6 litres of elderflower champagne last year, and as nice as it was, having a huge plant sucking up nutrients from our compost wouldn’t be ideal.  If I’ve learnt anything from watching Ray Mears, it’s that digging out plants with complex roots can be best accomplished with a pointy stick. Using a bit of old iron pole I scraped around the base, exposing the roots until they could be cut with a saw. It took a good couple of hours and in the end a bit of brute force broke it free.

One of the other things we got done over the weekend was to level out the paving slabs between the shed and greenhouse. Somehow when we put the slabs back down after levelling the earth underneath, they wouldn’t go back in a straight line, but being tired and cold we decided it was a good enough job and moved onto something a bit warmer - namely burning things.

It was too windy to build a fire out in the open so I made an enclosure out of the scrap corrugated iron we had lying about pinned into place with some of the scrap iron bars we had lying about (it’s still very messy down there). We managed to burn nearly half of the ever growing weed pile before we got too cold and hungry to do any more. After covering it over with another piece of the corrugated iron we left for home….only to return a few hours later so that Lucy could quell the fears she had that we’d burnt the entire allotment to the ground with our slowly smoldering embers. We hadn’t of course and everybody lived happily ever after.

3 Responses to “Busy busy bees”

  1. Paul Says:


    Just found your blog (somehow… no idea where I got here from lol) and it’s been a great read. You seem to be in a similar position to us with a new plot, just a few months down the line in terms of digging and with a few more fixtures and fittings inherited on your plot.
    Looks like you’re ready for your first growing season though, bet you can’t wait! It’ll be a bit of a rush for us to get all our beds dug in time but we’re on track. I hope…. ;)

    How’s that garlic doing?


  2. Lucy Says:

    It’s coming along quite nicely thanks. Well we hope so anyway! Can’t wait to munch it, but I suppose we’ll have to :) We’re going to get a few more varieties I think. Thanks for looking!

  3. Sarah Says:

    Hiya -
    Lovely blog.
    We had a similar ‘Oooh, that’s a lot….’ response when we went to our local allotment shop to buy onions… I think they can spot newbies a mile away and delight in making us feel like the novices we are. We planted our early potatoes (home guard) a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve also got Picasso potatoes, they’re chitting away nicely. We were told that they’d grow to be baking potato size (which is what we ideally want) so I’ll be interested to see how you get on with yours!

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