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Another busy week

April 29th, 2007 by Karsten

What a week! Back into the daily grind? You bet! As you might guess, being a gardener, this time of the year is quite busy for me on and off the plot - yet I managed to get a good bit done. Not as much as I wanted to - but then - is that ever going to happen? :-)

Started my saturday digging! I had the equivalent of 40 binbags of grass-cuttings - from the previous day in work - that I didn’t manage to get to the skip in time before they closed. Ah well - it will do for not having any other manure on the site until the end of the coming week.

I’m nowhere near done digging my plot over, like I intended to do, but I think I have enough space to put in the plants that I’m growing this year.

Once the digging was done, I went to see my college tutor, and check on the progress of the plants that I have growing in their greenhouse. They are coming on very nicely! The marrows and the sweetcorn has now been moved from the greenhouses to a polytunnel for hardening off, and should be ready for planting out in a weeks time.

I then moved my wormery from my back garden to my allotment. The main reason for this is that my son and his mates have a very hard time leaving the worms alone (!) - and then I have a wast amount of food for them on my plot anyway. Or so I thought! I found out that a lot of the bags of leaves that I gathered last year - and was hoping to use for worm composting this summer - has been home to lots of slugs and snails! They are now being dug in!

All in all a quite busy day - so today sunday I’m going to rest - and stay away from the plot! Should be interesting to see how I’ll manage…. :-)

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Back again

April 22nd, 2007 by Karsten

Our little family break is over - time to get stuck in with the daily routine again - until I go away for another holiday in 3 weeks :-)

You could be forgiven for thinking that I’m doing nothing but going on holiday. I wish! But then life would get boring - and my plot would end up overgrown! We can’t have that now - can we? :-)

Well - as you would expect - things has kept on happening in spite of me being away. First thing is - the last bit of plants I ordered from Dobies (my soft fruit bushes) had arrived. Great! Although I’ve known for the bestpart of a month that they would arrive sooner or later, I’ve been to busy to really prepare for them, so they are now temporarily planted in one corner of my plot.

Back on my plot yesterday afternoon - and delighted to see that I’ve had a new neighbour! Last year his plot was completely overgrown with thistles that shed truckloads of seeds on my plot. Not this year they won’t! Had a small chat over the fence - welcoming him on site. He’s a great guy! A good bit of his plot is cleared and dug over already, though he’s only been on for just over a week, and it looks great. He’s trying to do things organically as well.

While we’re still waiting for some more manure to be delivered to our site, I had a chance to do some more clearing up. Finished clearing a space behind my derelict greenhouse, where the former plotholder put down some timber that has played host to more than a few bugs, slugs and snails. Not anymore!

A well I managed to start preparing seedbeds in the soil I’ve dug over in winter. First impression - my hard work has paid off! I hope I’ll have the crops to prove that later in the year as well.

All in all a good and productive afternoon on my plot. Hopefully I’ll get quite a few more of them in the next few weeks!

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Wormery update

April 11th, 2007 by Karsten

Remember me telling about buying a wormery about 6 weeks ago? If that’s not the case - have a look here!

I thought I would take some time to update you on how things are with my wormery, to give you an idea whether getting your own would be an idea or not.

First of all - I love the idea of cutting down on the amount of waste that goes into landfill from UK households - and I’m trying to do my bit to ensure that it happens. From that point of view every household should have a wormery.

Secondly, for the gardener, providing good food for your plants is very important. Well - you’ll struggle to buy better plant food than natures own thing - it’s been proven for thousands of years!

So how much work is involved with having a wormery? Next to none! The worms are quite happy to look after themselves, and munch away at the rubbish you throw at them. They will eat quite a big variety of it as well.

The worms that comes with most wormeries are Dendrobaena worms. They should be able to eat up to half their bodyweight every day in waste. So far my worms have eaten nowhere near that amount - but I recon it’s just a matter of the temperature going up a bit.

When turning over the compost, something you should do 2-3 times a month, I’ve noticed a few baby worms and several worm cocoons. In other words - my worms are busy reproducing - which is a good sign they are quite happy where they are.

Overall - I would definately recommend any allotmenteer to start a wormery of their own. It’s relatively cheap - it’s very easy - it will provide the best compost money can buy - and taking out the rubbish will be more fun :-) .

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Busy weekend

April 10th, 2007 by Karsten

With the easter weekend being two days longer than what a normal weekend would be, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a good bit of time on my allotment, and best of all I have something to show for it!

I nearly finished digging the half of my plot I have been working on for far too long - only we ran out of manure on the site - so from now on I’m back to picking more up from the riding school myself, until they can deliver a new load. Should be in a weeks time or so.

On thursday - on my way back from work - I did something I’ve been planning for some time. I went to a local garage - and asked them did they have an empty oil barrel. They were more than happy to give me one. Saves them getting rid of it I suppose!

I got my grinder out - took the lid off it - and made a couple of holes (10cmx10cm) in the bottom third. Woopie Doo! I got myself a rubbish burner for free by adding just over an hours work. In my opinion no allotment site should be without a couple of these - and my plot has certainly benefited from it.

As well - I got my seed potatoes put out in trays for chitting. A bit late I know - at least for the early varieties - but then I’ve only got a few of them from a “starter pack” I decided to order with my seeds, just to try them out. My maincrop potatoes this year will be Maris Piper and King Edward. I love them for making excellent chips and roast potates.

All in all a very productive weekend. I could do with another 5 of them :-)

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My little helper

April 9th, 2007 by Karsten

samwatering2.jpgLast weekend I decided to start introducing my little 3-year old to the allotmenteer lifestyle, and brought him for an afternoon to my plot.

We had a great time! It’s funny just to see him toddle around, doing his own thing, and enjoying himself. I would like him to “take ownership” of something on the plot this year - and maybe make a tradition out of it - so before going to th plot we went to a garden center and bought him a few packs of sunflower seeds.

Before I knew it we had enough seeds to plant well over 100 plants - but I think I might just let him - for the fun of it more than anything! I won’t be able to use the full plot anyway :-) .

The laugh of the day I had when he came up to me and asked me for a seed. I gave him one! He went somewhere on the plot and dug it in with his little trowel, came back up to me saying: “Daddy! It hasn’t growed yet!” You’ve got to love them!

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Seeds sprouting

April 8th, 2007 by Karsten

sweetcornsprouts.jpgRemember I told about planting my first seeds while going to college on thursday last week?

On thursday this week I went back to do coursework again - and was rather surprised to see that the vast majority of my sweetcorn had sprouted, as can be seen on the top picture to the right (click for full image).

marrowsprouts.jpgAlso, the marrows and the butternut squashes was starting to peek through the soil, as shown on the bottom picture.

I find it quite amazing that things has happened so fast. Goes to show what benefits can be had of a heated greenhouse.

I wouldn’t mind one of them myself :-) .

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First seeds planted!

March 30th, 2007 by Karsten

As part of my job, I take some of the trainees employed within the organisation I work for to college once a week. My job is to oversee their training, do my own training, and give a helping hand as and when required.

The training course takes place within the walled garden of Croxteth Hall, Liverpool, Merseyside.

A part of my training is “Propagating plants from seeds and cuttings”, so the head gardener at Croxteth has kindly let me use some space within their heated greenhouses to get some plants growing. I will of cause “pay him back” by letting him have some of them for their own vegetable plot.

Yesterday I started off my Squash, Marrows and Sweetcorn in pots - while my Leeks and Onions was put into seed trays. I hope to see the first sprouts in a couple of weeks - and hopefully I’ll have my plot ready for planting out as planned by the end of april.

Previously I started off a wide range of tomatoes and chilli peppers, most of which are growing fine at the moment. Some of them I’ll transfer to my plot - while the rest of them will probably keep growing somewhere in Croxteth - probably in the college’s polytunnels on site.

As for the rest of my seeds - I’ve decided to put them straight into the ground - once I finish preparing it.

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A heap of muck!

March 29th, 2007 by Karsten

No one - but the enthusiastic vegetable growers among allotmenteers - can get excited about muck! Yesterday I had a phonecall from the chairman of our allotment association - and he was very excited indeed!

“He has delivered… My boy - has he delivered! It’s good stuff as well - and there’s lots of it!”

I figured he was telling me about the horsemanure I had organised to be delivered to our site had finally arrived. I had to take some old flags away from a landscaping job I’m doing at the moment - which I’ll be able to use on my plot - so I decided to go and have a look for myself! Talking about being excited - huh?

The main thing for me is that it’s going to make things a whole lot easier, since I now can take the manure from the site, rather than go down the riding scool and pick it up.

I’m going to go back to my plot after work these next few weeks - just to spend an hour digging some more stuff in - and I’m well on track to have my whole plot dug over by the end of april! Yeah!

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My seeds have arrived

March 27th, 2007 by Karsten

Actually this happened on thursday last week - but I haven’t had much time to write about it - and I wanted to finish my series on weeds before starting on other subjects.

So, what am I going to be growing this coming season? The list is long - so I will not be going into details at this time - but here goes:

Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Leek, Onion, Parsnips, Sweetcorn, Squash (butternut), Marrow, Peas and French Beans.

On top of this I’m still awaiting delivery of my seed potatoes (King Edwards and Maris Piper), a Redcurrant bush and a pack of 21 Raspberry canes (3 varieties) - so the next few weeks will be very busy in trying to get my plot ready for all the seeds, while still making room for other stuff that I still plan on growing.

I can’t wait…….

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Seeds on their way…..

March 17th, 2007 by Karsten

This week I ordered the majority of my seeds for the coming season, together with some fruit (raspberry and red currant) that I want to grow in the coming season.

When I say “majority” it’s because I’m not exactly sure how much I’ll be able to fit in - and there’s still one or two things I wouldn’t mind growing - but I’ll have to wait and see.

I decided to try out one of the online shops that I’m recommending here on the site, Dobies of Devon, and will of cause keep you all updated on the progress.

The shopping interface on their site worked very well - and working through their 18 pages of vegetable seeds while deciding on varieties etc. - was a pleasant experience.

Their pricing seems to be fair - certainly compared to the supermarkets and DIY shops - where you don’t get half the choice of varieties that you get online.

If you haven’t got your seeds for the coming season - why not give Dobies a try? You can access their site from the banner below - or from the link in the right hand side menu.

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