Tag Archives: Note to self

October 2017

BULBS, ROBINS AND TRASHING LEEKS

Bulb planting time and I am joined by a cute little robin. I had only recently learned why robins like to accompany you whilst gardening. Obviously I have just disturbed the top layer of soil and by doing so made all those tiny insects and worms available to feed on.
But where did this little chap learn that if it hung around with the humans maybe it’ll get a cheap dinner? In ancient times robins used to follow wild boars as they scavenged the top layer of ground for roots, fruits and maybe a truffle or two for tea. Robins learnt not to be afraid of these large animals and so grew confident with their company. Now don’t you go and compare me to a wild boar though my hair has been particularly ravaged on this gusty October day. You could say I’m sporting a wild look, but that’s where it ends.
I’m happy for my little robin to follow me about. It makes a funny little chirp and curious vibrating flutter when it’s about to join me. I don’t hesitate to talk to it either. That’s not because of modern folklore’s theory that it’s a dead relative visiting. It’s a robin wanting a good old feed before winter and I’m happy to oblige.

Oh leeks why for art thou ruined?
The allium leaf miner is the culprit. It has munched its way through my lovely leeks! i done lots of research and basically I need to destroy the lot to break this little critters life cycle. plus in future not only do I need to cover brassicas and carrots in netting but now alliums too. This teeny little thug reached the UK in 2002 and has spread around the country at an alarming rate.

So how am I going to beat this pest?

Autumn leaf miner has ruined the entire crop!

So how am I going to beat this pest?
This beastie appears in March and April having overwinter in the soil. The female flies lay eggs near the base of young leek plants and makes small punctures in the onion/leek leaves in order to feed on the sap. This is where further rot can get in too and so when I harvested my leeks I notice a brown trail where the grub had munched its way into the juicy fleshy bit. When I pulled off the outer layers a small dark rice-grain-sized brown pupae wedged was between the rotting layers.
Preventing the allium leaf miner from causing damage is to prevent the flies laying eggs. I’m going to cover the crop with insect proof mesh / fleece during the two risk periods that is March to  April and mid September to mid October.
Or plant onion sets and leeks after the first danger period has passed and harvest before the second danger period occurs in September / October.

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Here are the pupae. Do not compost, and if you mistakenly put some in there get them out!

Halloween!
You may have noticed that Halloween has revved up a gear this year. Don’t be tempted to buy one of those fake pumpkins down the garden center, please buy a real one and carve it yourself. Its so much fun, really cheap and a chance to be creative. Plus when you’ve finished you can leave the pumpkin out for the wildlife to feed as squirrels love them. It doesnt stop there either you can plant one up with with plants for a dramatic effect and lastly they make good compost. So just do it!

 

Lets end of a high
Or at least on the vertical….

My pink and grey autumn wall planter!

 

 

 

OCTOBER 2015

ENVY, FOOLISHNESS AND TRIUMPHS

Oh cobblers!
Oh cobblers!

Why has it been extra hard this year at the allotment? Some of it has been my fault, I’ll grant you. Like daring to go on holiday without inspecting the sweet corn. Then discovering that they had rotted on their cobs. Damn! Then I had great hopes for my pumpkins, as previous years have been good. But no, three tiddly ones, and to rub it in the neighbours pumpkin sits there all fat and proud. Grrr!

So what can I do to console myself? Harvest my successes and arrange them dramatically on the potting bench. See now I’m happier.

Hours of fun arranging this lot
Hours of fun arranging this lot
Potting bench cum wood store is a useful space for your pride and joy.
Potting bench cum wood store is a useful space for your pride and joy.

I am pleased with the tomatoes, chilies, peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash and spinach. But feel rotten about the courgettes, parsnips that did not show, or carrots, or French beans, or potatoes, ugly cauliflowers, stringy mange tout and sweet peas that died a papery death.

I haven’t given up hope on the broccoli, or leeks, then onions were OK, but strawberries weren’t. It’s had its ups and downs all right. Not to mention kids vandalizing behavior, aaagh!

All the ingredients for a yummy sauce.
All the ingredients for a yummy sauce.

The glut of tomatoes have been a treasure as I’ve discovered that slow roasting them with a dash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil has resulted in splendid tomato sauce. And last but not least cosmos, you beauty! Weeks of neglect and you still carry on blooming. My lovely succulents, the wreath, all gorgeous.

Phew, there is hope after all. (Had me going just then)

Cosmos cupcake

Succulent wreath is thriving well.
Succulent wreath is thriving well.

Pumpkin plan
It can’t have escaped your notice that pretty soon we will all be carving pumpkins. But what shall I do with such sorry specimens? Hmm, I’ve been thinking and researching and have compiled a board on pintrest. And here they are, no carving but a planters instead.

What do you do when your pumpkins, that you spent all summer growing, don't make the grade? Plant them up and they'll last all though November!
What do you do when your pumpkins, that you spent all summer growing, don’t make the grade? Plant them up and they’ll last all though November!

Gill

OCTOBER 2015

ENVY, FOOLISHNESS AND TRIUMPHS

Oh cobblers!
Oh cobblers!

Why has it been extra hard this year at the allotment? Some of it has been my fault, I’ll grant you. Like daring to go on holiday without inspecting the sweet corn. Then discovering that they had rotted on their cobs. Damn! Then I had great hopes for my pumpkins, as previous years have been good. But no, three tiddly ones, and to rub it in the neighbours pumpkin sits there all fat and proud. Grrr!

So what can I do to console myself? Harvest my successes and arrange them dramatically on the potting bench. See now I’m happier.

Hours of fun arranging this lot
Hours of fun arranging this lot
Potting bench cum wood store is a useful space for your pride and joy.
Potting bench cum wood store is a useful space for your pride and joy.

I am pleased with the tomatoes, chilies, peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash and spinach. But feel rotten about the courgettes, parsnips that did not show, or carrots, or French beans, or potatoes, ugly cauliflowers, stringy mange tout and sweet peas that died a papery death.

I haven’t given up hope on the broccoli, or leeks, then onions were OK, but strawberries weren’t. It’s had its ups and downs all right. Not to mention kids vandalizing behavior, aaagh!

All the ingredients for a yummy sauce.
All the ingredients for a yummy sauce.

The glut of tomatoes have been a treasure as I’ve discovered that slow roasting them with a dash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil has resulted in splendid tomato sauce. And last but not least cosmos, you beauty! Weeks of neglect and you still carry on blooming. My lovely succulents, the wreath, all gorgeous.

Phew, there is hope after all. (Had me going just then)

Cosmos cupcake

Succulent wreath is thriving well.
Succulent wreath is thriving well.

Pumpkin plan
It can’t have escaped your notice that pretty soon we will all be carving pumpkins. But what shall I do with such sorry specimens? Hmm, I’ve been thinking and researching and have compiled a board on pintrest. And here they are, no carving but a planters instead.

What do you do when your pumpkins, that you spent all summer growing, don't make the grade? Plant them up and they'll last all though November!
What do you do when your pumpkins, that you spent all summer growing, don’t make the grade? Plant them up and they’ll last all though November!

Gill

PARTY at the plot

Prosecco vs. Ground Bees

You are at the allotment, you’ve been working hard, you’ve caught up with all the gossip from the other gardeners. Then someone offers you a glass of wine. Wow, this is excellent. We chat more. Should that new allotment-holder have rotovated the ground with all this bind-weed? No, we all agree. Another glass? OK.

After this spontaneous affair you really must decide to go home now. Because if you decide to carry on gardening you may regret it. You feel the urge to go thin the carrots. You approach the bed, bend down and get your earring caught in the nets. You catch your breath, stumble and end up rolling around and crushing your precious carrots. You are stuck in the nets like an endangered species. But you are not worthy of a Green Peace rescue.

You can’t get up, everyone has gone home and there’s no service on your mobile. Then it dawns on you that you could be trapped here all night. You fear hyperthermia and you also realize that those cute ground bees you had recently marveled at were twelve inches from your nose.  You had only just harped on about how blessed you were that the bees had set up home in your raised bed. After the first glass you made it sound like you were the chosen one.

This is all very foolish, on refection. Anaphylactic shock might be the correct punishment. The discovery of your rigid body covered in snail trails and bloated bee-stung face would frighten the toughest of crime-scene investigators. You notice red kites too, circling above eyeing you up for carrion. Are your eyes their first course?

You are fool to stumble about the allotments without due care and attention. Allotments can be dangerous places. So keep the wine or pimms or whatever for the safety of your lovely garden at home, where there’s a phone and other people. End of lesson.

five legged cat
How many glasses of pimms? How many legs on that cat?

This was a Health and Safety Announcement.