Welsh Girl's Allotment

Hello World,(a bit ambitious as only my mam knows I am here yet !) This is my blog detailing my quest for an allotment, its cultivation and hopefully bountiful crops. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE COMMENTS, EVEN IF IT IS ONLY A HELLO !!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Three Sisters Bed

Firstly apologies if you have come to this post via an internet search expecting saucy pictures of three young ladies ... this post is all about gardening - native american style !

I first heard of this planting scheme on Carol Kleins Grow your Own Veg programme over the winter. It is a system of planting developed by the Iroquios Indians, the sweetcorn, climbing beans and squashes are interplanted and all benefit each other.

The women firstly drew up mounds of earth approximately one foot high and three feet across, into this the sweetcorn seeds are planted, once they have established themselves the beans go in and when they get going the squash are planted on the outside and they all get along merrily, with the beans using the sweetcorn for support and the squashes acting as ground cover to suppress weeds and retain some moisture in the soil.

I quite like the idea of being able to get so many crops in a small space and I also like the idea of non regimented style of planting, military straight rows don't really do it for me - even with sticks and string I can still plant wonky lines !!

However as usual I decide to implement an idea without much fore thought - I planted my Cherokee Trail of Tears beans last week along with my squashes and have only put the sweetcorn in this morning, but I have spare seeds so I can still get one bed going this year as a trial and if it is sucessful I can expand it for next year.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Flowers on an allotment

Flowers on an allotment are a bit of a contentious issue, some love them, some say no way no how, its all about food,I am sure I have read somewhere that there is a set % of overall plants that are allowed to be non edible but of course I cannot find it when I need it. Take a look at this don't you think it looks a bit ..well .. green ? Granted this is preferable to brown and dead but I feel the need for some flowers, so on that basis we already have some dahlias installed courtesy of course of the Genie, I found a solitary gladioli bulb whilst weeding so that has been put with the dahalias. Today I have set 30 or so marigolds, as well as looking pretty I want the flowers to have a function marigolds are pungunt and are supposed to be excellent companion plants. I have also set about 10 sunflowers for a bit of interest and novelty factor for my daughter , I have read that they can be quite detrimental to other plants especially potatoes so I will have to careful where I plant them out. I have been trying to think of other flowers that I could plant for colour and function - any sugestions?

Ha Ha Ha ... to be said with an evil cackle

Slug Traps are working, 10 victims in one trap alone, I am developing a sinister streak since I have installed these slug traps - (yogurt pots and home brew slops). It is with great relish that I check them to see how many slugs are in them. Due to the heavy rain I need to empty the traps out and refil them with beer for them to continue to be effective.

Rain rain and more rain

My daughters strawberry protecting gnome has recorded a whopping four inches of rain in as many days and as the gauge was full to the top it is possible we have had more and it has simply overflowed. How long before we are complaining of a drought and are back to watering every morning as early as we can get up ?? ...... well the genie was doing it for me after he had done his own !

The time has come ......

The time has come to admit that my crazy cabbage has to go. It is the only one to have bolted and compared to the others it has taken on triffid proportions, it has numerous stems festooned with pretty little yellow flowers, however when I visited the plot yesterday it was leaning at a dangerous angle due to the battering it had recieved by the wind and the rain so I admitted defeat and it is now broken up and in the compost bin ... sob sob I thought it was pretty even if nobody else did !

A promise of things to come ...

After the flowers come the fruit, the rash of pretty white flowers are beginning to make way an even more beautiful sight - infant strawberries !
For some reason my photos are becoming unclear I am not sure what is going on qith the camera I have cleaned the lens - obvious, given it a shake - technical - but it is still playing up - any ideas ??

I couldn't resist ...

I was very pleased to spot quite a few pods forming on the broad beans ......

...but I couldn't resist - a bit like a child a Christmas I just had to take a look inside, sorry the photo is a bit shaky (must have been the excitement) but nestled inside the furry little pod was six of the dinkiest little broad beans I have ever seen, I sat on the bench in the drizzle and enjoyed each and every one of them - I promise I will allow the rest to mature !

Friday, May 11, 2007

Plot nasties

The heavy rain that we have been experiancing has brought an unwelcome rash of weeds right across both plots, however, the most enhusiastic growers seems to be thistles they are everywhere in all stages of development - this is a piccy of one of the smaller ones !

My favourite onion !!

One of my favourite onions has just sprouted a flower, so unlike my pretty cabbage I decided to pull up and take it home.

However, can anybody explain how my favourite onion has grown so well but the other two feeble specimens, from the same batch and planted in the next row are so pathetic - I would even venture to say that he bulbs are smaller than when I planted them out last Autumn.

Sprouts and cabbages

The last of this row of cabbages has been harvested to make way for sprouts, a dressing of lime a few slug traps and away they go ready for Christmas dinner !

You can barely see them but believe me there are red cabbage and red sprouts in the bit that looks empty ! The Genie has been busy again giving me his extra plants !

Leeks and cauliflowers

Two rows of leeks and a row of cauli's have appeared - the genie has been busy whilst I have been away for a few days.

If you peer you will spot more slug traps - one pot had three of the little devils in it !! The leeks should be safe but I'm sure they would enjoy a caulifower snack


The strawberries are flowering well and are looking very healthy - have also put slug traps in the strawberry bed. Dad paid a visit to Lidls and has brought me six more strawberry palnts which I will add to the row, they are also flowering so things are looking good for a respectable harvest. Before the fruits set I intend to assemble a net covering to make sure the neighbours pigeons or any other birds take a fancy to them.

First Victim

If you look carefuly you will be able to see a slimy pointless creature which has greedily drunk my homebrew dregs ! We are onto our second batch of home brew ale and each time we have siphoned the beer from the fermentation bin to the barrel I have saved the murky sediment in the bottom to use in slug traps. On Wednesday I laid seven traps about the plot and the following day I checked the pots and found seven victims. I have gone for the belt and braces approach to slugs - beer traps and pellets and when my new book comes back from Ebay - "101 ways to kill a slug" I can experiment with some more !!


Potatoes are looking good, all varieties are up and away with the Home Guards in the distance showing most foliage - hopefully this means a good crop. The torrential rain that we have been enduring has brought the slugs out with a vengance so a liberal sprinkling of slugs pellets will hopefully keep them at bay - not very organic I know but needs must when the devil drives and all that.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New plot

This was the state of the number two plot before we started to clear the ground, the second picture shows some of he roots that my Dad had dug out, blackberries, couch, thistles you name it it was there. This photo show almost all of the plot and in the distance you can the work being undertaken on the second plot

We have an extra compost bin, one of the neighbours who lives across the road from the plot came in one day and asked would I like a compost bin as he doesn't use it anymore so now I have two compost bins with lids and my open bin at the other end of the plot you can also see my water butt donated yes you guessed by Daddy !!

Shock horror -I have actually done some digging myself ! We have recently had a few days of rain and this brought up thistles and weeds and the odd blade of couch grrr, so I spent a beautiful sunny morning re-digging and removing a bucket full of nasties before they could get too strong

Favourite Onions

Whilst it may appear to non gardeners to be quite strange, I am so proud of these two onions ! Of all the winter onions I planted these two must have found a bit of goodness in the soil that they like as they have grown so well, most of the winter onions have been picked to put in sandwiches as they didn't appear to be very enthusiastic about growing
After the recent rains they have swollen a bit more hurray something is growing !!


These cabbages were planted almost as soon as we had cleared the land, my Dad gave me some plants and in they went on a drizzly grisly day - just to have something growing int the ground. For months they have looked sickly and unhappy until one day my Dad said I'll sprinkle some nitrate of amonia around those cabbages and water it in - that will perk them up...

Within a week they had turned into this ...
and a further week later I could actually harvest them !! They have continued to grow so well that one of them has actually gone to seed - I think the yellow flowers are so pretty that I have left this cabbage where it is - yes I know its a veg plot but flowers are so pretty !!!

More of the Genies wisdom

The only edible part of the rhubarb are the pretty pink stalks, the leaves are highly poisionous. So what to do with these huge flappy creations, you could of course just throw them on he compost heap or you could make better use of them -put some rhubarb leaves into a drum of water and leave to ferment. Use when puddling in any brassica plants to alleviate Club Root. It can also be used as a general foliage feed with the added benefit that it will keep aphids at bay.
Warning it smells obnoxious! also ensure that you wash your hands carefully after just in case.

Also prolific at this time of year are nettles, these have a number of use in the kitchen but you can also use them for the benefit of your plants.Fill an old onion sack with nettles, soak these in a drum of water. Put some of the solution into a watering can and dilute to the colour of weak tea and use as a general foliage feed.
Don’t be tempted to have it too strong, if it is too strong it can burn leaves,so stick to a dilution of a nice pale colour.