Ideas for Stealing

This weekend I was lucky enough to have tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show (a Christmas present form the children) so spent most of the weekend in the London area.  One of the places we visited was RHS Garden Wisley, which contains one of the largest plant collections in the world.

However I’m sure many people have written about the wonders contained in the gardens but I’m focussing on (and stealing) a few details of interest to an allotmenteer.

The first was a blackcurrant bush pruned into a standard – freeing up some all important space underneath for a few pots perhaps!

Standard Blackcurrant Tree

The next two are simple…pretty planting!  Allotments don’t have to be ugly.  A little thought to the planting can add interest. How about a multi-coloured lettuce bed?!

Pretty Planting Lettuce

A Chive spiral.  Why leave it at that?  I’m thinking a multi-herb spiral ensuring every space is used.

Chives

Plant supports also caught my eye at the gardens… a basic four legged support with a twig spiral.

Support 1

Pea support…they look fab don’t they?

DSCN2104

Look at the detail…so clever!

Pea Branches

Another one for peas…

Support 2

I was keen to find out how the RHS gardeners protected their crops from the ‘Wee Beasties’ too. They protected cabbages by earthing over the mesh!

Earthing up

Stopped ‘net sag’ by stringing up…

String and hoops

This method was used with hoops, wire and wood.

Wooden posts

I’m definitely stealing a few of the ideas for my allotment!

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Twins

I have twins! Not identical twins, of course but I’m pleased to announce that Plot 4A is finally all mine!  I now have Plot 5A and Plot 4A…perfect!  I’ve loads of work to do (once again) however I also have loads of wonderful planting space.

Plot 4A
Plot 4A
9
Raspberries
7
Remains of raised beds and rubbish
10
Compost bin, more rubbish and a water tap between the two halves
11
Docks, bindweed, couch grass and assorted weeds
16
Strawberry patch
6
Rainbow over the ‘twins’ (after a hailstorm!)

Roll on the weekend 🙂

Worzel Scrappage

Over the last few weeks I’ve been potting up the seedlings that are growing fast in my greenhouses.  The greenhouse tomato plants are getting pretty big. I’m still giving them the odd spray with aspirin, as recommended by James Wong and it really does seem to be doing the trick!

I’ve have managed to harden off and plant out a little more…runner beans, Mexican tree spinach, electric daisies and some red onions.  I’ve also planted my Chilean Guava and Jostaberry plants.

To tell the truth, I’m spending most of my free time at Plot 5A. There’s always loads to be done – watering, sowing, pricking out, potting on, planting out and fighting the ‘wee beasties’. However, this Sunday I took a bit of a break. Just a couple of hours – to make a scarecrow.  You see ‘Tiddler A’ really loves the allotment and has requested a scarecrow. Not any old scarecrow, mind you – it had to be made of tin!  So, for weeks, I’ve been collecting tins, lids and all kinds of ‘bits’ with the job in mind. Armed with an electric drill, my son and I set about creating a tin man from the bag of ‘scrap’.  A few hours later we have…Worzel Scrappage!  He needs a little more work but he’s beginning to look like a tin scarecrow.  Fingers crossed Worzel will meet ‘Tiddler A’s’ exacting standards!!

Scarecrow
Worzel Scrappage

Landscaping with…Mesh, Net and Fleece!

Upon checking my seedlings this weekend it became apparent that I could no longer hang on.The beans, peas, cauliflowers and sprouts were literally bursting out of their peat pots.  Nature has forced my hand, even the ‘potted on’ seedlings are sprouting roots from their ‘grown up pots‘!

Exciting times!  Images of Plot 5A looking beautiful whilst displaying prized fruit and vegetables came to mind.  The coloured felt pen drawings of my little allotment were starting to become a reality – it was time to get busy.

Firstly, I planted up the beans and peas thinking ‘well they’ll just have to tough it out’ – ‘it’ being the rather harsh weather conditions!  The weather, predominately the wind, is still a little brutal for a young seedling on Plot 5A so a kind allotmenteer offered some ‘mesh protection’ which I gratefully accepted and swaddled the ‘babies.’

Pea and Been Swaddling
Pea and Bean Swaddling

The second job was planting the cauliflowers and sprouts however, whilst popping on their collars, I noticed the tell-tale marks of wood pigeons lunching on my mini cabbages…two cabbages stripped down to their stalks! The giant fleece tunnel was quickly pressed into action until an alternative ‘cover’ can be found.  The birds have noticed Plot 5A….

Cabbage Tunnel
Cabbage Tunnel

… time to put up the fruit cage. I’m not losing my fruit to our ‘peckish’ feathered friends!

Fruit Cage
Fruit Cage

At the end of January, when I first picked up the keys to Plot 5A, I remember a neighbouring allotmenteer telling me that he had lost 60% of his crops during his first year at the site to birds, slugs and bugs.  60%!!

Net, mesh, fleece…not quite the look I had in mind but I’m determined to take home more than 40% of the crops that I’ve sown and grown!

Exodus 20:17

Plot 5A is coming along nicely.

Plot 5A

So far, I’ve planted daffodils, tulips, dahlias, herbs, sunflowers, borage, comfrey, chard, cabbage, broad beans, onions, garlic, shallots, carrots, rhubarb, lettuce, peas, potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, a cardoon, a boysenberry and a blackberry but I’ve so much more waiting in the wings…

Purple Climbing Beans

Purple Climbing Beans (or windscreen wiper beans, as we call them – because of the ‘squeak when you eat’!!!)

Tomatilos

Tomatillos

Sweet Peas and Electric Daisies

Sweet Peas and Electric Daisies

Sweet Corn and Mini Pumpkins

Sweetcorn and mini pumpkins

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

Sunflowers and Peas

Giant Sunflowers and Peas (Wando)

Mexican Tree Spinach

Mexican Tree Spinach

Amaranthus and Marigolds

Amaranthus and Marigolds

Marigolds and Goji Berries

Goji Berries and Marigolds

Marigolds

and more Marigolds (I may have a few too many…96 potted up so far…I ran out of pots!)

Electric Daisies

Errrrrm…a few more Electric Daisies…

Cucumber

Cucumber

Cucamelons

Cucamelons

Cauliflower

Cauliflowers

Cape Gooseberry

Cape Gooseberry

Gardeners Delight

Gardeners Delight tomatoes

Tumblers

Tumbling tomatoes – I actually might have gone a little over board on the tomato front too…with 3 Tumblers, 1 Shirley, 1 Alicante, 3 Gardeners Delight, 2 Sweet Millions, 1 Rosella and 1 Black Russian (I intend to try this one outside) – between two greenhouses!!!

I’m also waiting for a few plants…an Inca Berry, a Chilean Guava – Ka Pow, a Jostaberry, a Black Raspberry and some Beetroot plugs!

There’s also a seed box full of seeds waiting for me to sow!!!!

Needless to say, I will need plenty of water so Mr D bought me an IBC tank which used to contain fruit concentrate – it needs a good scrub but for £10, I think it’s fab!!

Water Butt

I need more land!!!!! It’s no joke. Haha…I know – ‘Thou shalt not covert’ but is it wrong to covert land if the current owner is neglectful?!!

Plot 4A

Plot 4A next door to my Plot 5A…it would be perfect! Don’t you agree?