Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Smoke without fire?

Not exactly smoke, but I had to do a double take when I opened the kitchen blinds this morning and saw the steam rising from the fence and bird table!

The robin on the washing line pole has become very friendly and happily loiters close by when I'm out there digging- hoping for a worm or two.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

One month after 1st planting......

There is life on my plot- in addition to the worms & weeds!

One month on and the broad beans, garlic and shallots are all doing well.
The plastic cover to my cloche blew away in high winds and although my plot neighbour and I both searched, it has vanished without a trace!

With a little help from Erica from Freecycle, I now have a stack of old floorboards to finish off the raised beds. Four beds done- only eight more to go!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

He Who Does Dig (with machinery only!)

As you can see from the photos, HWDD & I were out on the plot early Saturday morning to take delivery of a rotivator for 3 hours. The site looked magical with the sun glinting off the frost & dew!

We moved the carpet off, dug out all the docks that were pushing up underneath and relocated three frogs that had been hiding. I was amazed at how long the dock roots were- some nearly 40cm and as fat as a large parsnip!

HHDD was more than happy to fire up the rotivator and get stuck in. He has, like many men, a fondness for powered tools and much prefers using mechanical things to manual ones!

I have a strange fondness for the look, texture and smell of freshly dug earth. It’s cleanliness (of weeds!) and freshness inspires me to want to sow, nurture and care for all the lovely things I plan to grow to feed us next year!

The weeds will probably grow back with vengeance in spring, but for now I feel very proud of what we have achieved together, and it was lovely to have some help and company from HWDD to achieve it! I couldn't have done it without him!

Once the machinery had been collected, I raked & levelled the plot, measured and marked out the other 12 beds and cut the carpet into strips to cover the paths temporarily. This will allow me to work through the winter building the wooden beds without getting plastered in mud! The carpet will be replaced with weed control matting as they are constructed, as I’ve found it’s best to tuck this under the wood, and secure with homemade metal staples.

Boy did I ache on Sunday!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Finally the seeds are sown

It was actually quite exciting and very satisfying to actually plant something in the ground, rather than just weed, weed & weed!

I planted Grovelands Jermor - Long shallot onion (over wintering)
Organic gardening catalogue GARLIC Thermidrome and
Wyvale T&M Broad Bean Aquadulce Claudia

I cobbled together a cloche structure out of canes and old hosepipe, to cover up the broad beans to help them germinate. If it doesn't blow away it should keep the worst of the weather off!
I'm contemplating hiring a rotivator and doing the whole plot and then leveling it out to make the beds- covering back up with carpet where necessary. It is actually on quite a slope, which I didn’t realize at first, but is apparent now I've started the third bed.

Hopefully this clear, cold sunny weather will hold for the weekend and I will be able to do a bit more on both the plot & in the garden.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I haven’t forgotten that I’ve got an allotment and BLOG, it’s just that we’ve been so busy with friends visiting and family gatherings, I’ve just not been able to keep up with it all! Regrettably I’ve not been able to do any more on the allotment, but have managed to clear some more dead sweet peas from the garden, plant some daffodils and get some bargain perennials for £1 each at a local nursery!

The passion flowers have been fantastic this year and there are lots of ripe fruit on them now. This one was already partly open when I came to photograph it, but I’m not sure whether it had split open, or something had helped it!

The Clematis armandii which I thought I’d killed after flowering back in April is actually in flower this week! (Look closely!)Is this global warming on action I wonder?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Had rather a domestic day Saturday as I managed to get the washing dry outdoors, the second bed weeded and made 6 pounds of ginger & marrow chutney! Love it when a plan comes together. The weeding took me 90 minutes solid and was rather boring, as I had forgotten to take my new digital wind up radio with me! (birthday present from WWDD as my old one was worn out!)
I think most of the weeds were broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) whose seeds apparently contain a chemical that inhibits microbial decay and are capable of surviving in undisturbed soil for over 50 years! Eeek I’d better not let them establish!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Not so magic carpet....

Over the weekend, the man who has supplied my used carpet for the plot delivered a load more and I mean LOADS! I only discovered this today when went over there after work, and was confronted by a HUGE stinky pile. Apparently another plot holder let him and his lorry through the double gates so that he could un- load. It took me an hour to sort through it and you can see the surplus on the left of the picture- three big piles.

He had arranged to return and collect it today, but didn’t turn up, so I have a sinking feeling that I may be stuck with it! It’s already been offered on Hastings-Freecycle and I will do a sign so that any other plot holders know they can take it if they wish.

I weeded bed 1 and spread 7 sacks of manure out over the soil. I must remember to return soon and cover it up with the weed control fabric I bought dirt cheap earlier in the summer. The whole plot is now covered with carpet, so that I can just concentrate on getting each bed prepared in turn, without the continual battle against weed growth. Just hope my crops will grow as well as they seem to!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Overnight rain

Earlier this week we had some rain overnight and I had time before work to take some pictures around the garden. At the moment, when viewed from the house, the garden seems predominately green with little other colour, but the closer you get, the more you see the beauty of the shades of green and the smaller stuff not visible when standing at the kitchen sink looking out!

This is the Clematis armandii I thought had died (I'd killed!) earlier in the year after it flowered. I think I over did it with the chicken manure pellets, but it has sprouted back to life and will hopefully bloom again! (The brown leaves are the immature ones)

This is the rose we were given for our wedding by James & Marie. I'll add the name later as it's too dark to go into the garden now.

I love the vivid green of the new banana leaves as they uncurl. HWDD gave this to me on my birthday last year and it was cosseted in the back bedroom over winter. It's amazing how fast the leaves grow!

Not my favourite garden beastie, but I do admire spiders for their intricate webs. Sadly I inadvertantly destroyed all his hard work, as it was attached to the line I had to hang the washing on. This morning however he has remade it, so all is well!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Magic Carpet!

My carpet has arrived! What looked like a huge pile has actually only really covered about half the plot, but I’m sure my supplier John will be able to provide some more. He has to pay for it to go to landfill, so I’m doing him and the environment a favour! I hope that when I’ve finished with it, I can pass it on to another plot holder before the spring.
The only drawback is how smelly it is to work next to, having been made wet by the rain!

The compost heap is coming on and I've managed to almost fill the first section with stuff from the garden and unwarnted lawn turfs from Hastings-Freecycle.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tasty Toms in Neglect Horror Exclusive!

These are my self sown, un-fed, un-watered, drought tolerant tomatoes and they taste delicious!
I’ve not tended them in any way and they are still producing a bountiful crop.

I grew toms in the greenhouse last year- which is where they must have seeded from, but considering the extremely high temperatures the greenhouse must have endured this summer- without any shading either- it just proves how adaptable nature can be!

Made my bed...won't lie in it though!

Saturday, HWDD was working so I was able to spend most of the day on the plot. First I went to collect wood from the industrial estate. There were a few men from the factory still working, who offered to help break up the old pallets, but I proved that I’m stronger than I look! (The Body Pump classes are paying off!)

I had enough to finish the sides of the compost bin and complete one and a half 5m x 1m beds before I ran out of time! I also dispatched the weeds with a freshly sharpened hoe- showing no mercy, with threats of ‘smothering’ given to the larger one’s as I intend to cover them with carpet very soon!
It’s all starting to take shape at last!

Thanks to my neighbours on plot 27 who kindly gave be a bundle of runner beans- they were lovely!

Friday, September 08, 2006


I’ve found a wonderful free supply of extremely well rotted horse manure. As you can see from the picture it’s a HUGE pile! Rich & crumbly, I was able to cut through it with my spade as if cutting peat sods and filled the car with 15 bags which are now stacked next to the almost finished, compost bin.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

:-( Weeds..

You turn your back for 2 weeks and next thing you know the little blighters have gained a hold! The Hungarian rye grass has failed to germinate, but the weeds don't seem to have had any trouble!!
Any idea what they are? Should I be worried about them being perennial with 1m tap roots?

I'm seriously thinking about following Steve's example and covering the pathways with weed suppressant fabric. He has told me that it allows more time for growing crops and that you can also work on it when the weather is bad- without getting too muddy.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

To Let: Ladybird Homes- Brand New, Close to all amenities…..

If you’re interested here’s how to make a winter hideaway for welcome insects on the allotment.

Take the stems of your allium flowers and cut into 10cm pieces.
Bind together with an elastic band.

Cut an old 2litre plastic drink bottle in half, then cut off the top and bottom.
Slit each ring so that you can roll the plastic around the bundles and secure with staples.

Thread some garden wire through the tube and secure to make a handle to hang somewhere sheltered in the garden plot. Hey presto!

It's been too wet and windy this weekend to get onto the allotment or in the garden, but hopefully some sunshine is on its way!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Three more hours...a lot less weeds

Three more hours and it’s coming on in leaps and bounds! It’s easy to clear where it’s been rotorvated, but rock solid elsewhere. I prepared the second bed on Saturday morning and cleared the area where the compost bin will go.

All the wood has come from the factory next to where I work, who have said I can help myself to anything off the ‘broken’ pile in front of their skip. Just need the time to finish it …………..

Just got back from ½ an hour on my knees using the hand shears to cut down all the weeds from the rest of the plot. Made sure I disturbed the greenery first, and caught & re-located 3 frogs. Couldn’t bear to chop one up by mistake. The light ran out so had to come home. HWDD has fixed us up to broadband tonight so there is no excuse for infrequent postings now now!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Honeymoon Safari- Wet & Wild (animals)!!

We booked everything through Divesouth in South Africa and they really looked after us incredibly well. We would highly recommend them if you are planning a diving trip to South Africa. They arranged scuba diving at Aliwal Shoal with Aliwal Dive Charters and thanks to them I sorted out my mask problems and finally got to see some ragged tooth sharks!

The Great White shark diving was probably the best (and the coldest!) but worth every minute. We may be there to watch them, but considering the look in this one’s eye, I’m sure they’re just as curious of us - or maybe they are just thinking of food!

This is me in the cage! Photo credits goes to He Who Doesn't Dig.

From our window at De Kelders B&B we saw plenty of Southern Wright Whales 'spyhopping' as in the picture and also breeching.

On safari at Hluhluwe we saw so many animals it was just amazing, but here are a few:

Pictures continued..

A lone giraffe blended well into it's surroundings.
Suddenly we rounded a corner and there was a group of over 30 elephants! (Most are grazing in the bush)
Not a zebra crossing- a White Rhino!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My first planting on my plot.

After two and a half hours of working mainly on my hand and knees, I came away very satisfied, if a little achy and wet after the rain set in. I’ve made my first bed (1m x 5.25m) and planted Hungarian Rye seeds in 6 drills as green manure and winter cover. Should I cover it to deter the birds?
Where the soil had been rotorvated (before it packed up) it was very spongy and crumbly- so the weeds that had grown in the last 5 weeks lifted up really easily. This is also due to the previous plot holder adding organic matter in vast quantities for x number of years! Thank you!
I desperately want to get over there and continue, but the rain today is constant and looks set to last. Instead I will sort out our honeymoon photos for printing, and maybe post a few later.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gulity of gross neglect...

I couldn't put if off any longer- last night I visited my allotment and was faced with this!

I managed to pick most of the inherited raspberries (at the back of the picture) before the wedding (over 1Ib in weight) and there were a few late ones that I ate yesterday straight from the bush.
In the first 5m of the foreground you can just make out where my fellow plot holder tried out his new reconditioned rotorvator (before it died) but that is the only bit that's been dug so far.
I now have some serious weeding and digging to do, as the bindweed and some sort of thistly weed seem to have sprouted up everywhere!
I was a little disheartened, but have to remind myself that this year is really only about preparing the plot for planting next spring. (But if I can get some plants in sooner I'll be very pleased!)

Guess where I’ll be this weekend….!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pretty maids all in a row (plus the Groom!)

We got married at Swallows Oast and this was taken out in the pasture near the two large oak trees. My beautiful bridesmaids are all nieces, who literally took my breath away when I first saw them together.
He Who Doesn't Dig looks quite short in this photo- but I assure you it's just the way he is sitting!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Back to reality!

Hello everyone the new Mrs She Who Digs is back!
Thank you for all your kind words and best wishes re the flowers and our marriage!
I will be posting some pictures of our fabulous day and also some of our honeymoon in South Africa, so please check back soon if you want to see sweet peas, sharks, elephants, white rhino, zebra and more!!

PS the picture of me paddling in the sea in my wedding dress was taken on Hastings beach, just as the sun was setting!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Perfect End To A Perfect Day

The Sweet Peas did me proud, though I cheated and bought the Gyp from Morrisons! (Special thanks to Tracy for helping me pick & arrange them )

Monday, July 10, 2006

Losing count...

I have given up counting how many sweet peas I cut now, as there are thankfully just too many!
They have grown from this…

to this in only 12 weeks!

The hanging baskets to decorate the doorway are also doing well

Friday, June 30, 2006

More photos....

The B&Q bargain clematis seems to be doing well in it's second year- but the armandii died after I posted a photo of it in flower!

The black spot rose (special unique variety!) is happy to share with the sweet peas.

These are beautiful white lillies to be- another end of season bargain planted next to the pond!

I've no idea what this is, but it's very pretty when in bloom. The flowers start of as pink buds and open into white blossom. Please let me know it you know what it is.