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, April 28, 2008

Potatoes, chitting, earthing up

I was getting desperate to get the potatoes in the ground - the poor things have been chitting since late January and its getting a bit late in the season for them to be still hanging around.

The weather forecast in Wales this last week has been way off the maek - yesterday was supposed to be torrential rain all day - but it turned out to be a lovely day, I cleaned out the fish pond and cut the grass in the back garden at home and dug out a flower bed in the front garden - so much for the rain.

With this in mind I was a bit concerned that for the entire week we have been promised rain - but true to form this afternoon and evening we beautiful - so off to the plot I went.

I had earmarked last years onion bed as this years potato patch, like everything else it needed weeding so ...

after I had weeded it and turned it over ...

I dug out a wonky trench and threw the spuds in .... straight lines are not my strong point ...

I filled that trench in and did the same again for another row and a different variety - I didn't label them so I don't know what they are - I will take more care next year I promise !!

It looks like they have already been earthed up but they haven't the tumps you can see are the piles of earth ready to use for earthing up !

All in all for an hour an a half's work I was mighty pleased. The couch is proving a difficult beast to master on the other plot and it was such a pleasure to able to dig this through so easily this evening.

Something is growing apart from grass !!!

The purple sprouting brocolli has finally decided to live up to its name and show a sprout !!

The raspberries are showing lots of buds I think it may be a good idea to keep fleece ready in case of frosts I don't want to loose them all.

The rhubarb is going great considering I haven't tried to force it - it has just sprouted up !!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Digging, Digging, Digging, Digging, Digging, Digging.

Lots of digging, lots of weeding lots of digging lots of weeding - that's about it.

Due to the fact I didn't take care of the plot properly last summer the couch grass has formed a mat and is proving a hell of job to shift, but shift it I will !!

I also found this little fella ( or lady ) hiding by the side of my compost bin.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Although I have no photos to prove it I have been busy down at the plot, digging and weeding same stuff different day. However Tuesday I had company in the form of a critter. I lifted the blue tarpaulin, odd bits of lino, underlay and moved them to the far plot to attempt to slow down the grass.

When I started to dig out the roots and weeds I noticed some strange droppings, it took me a while to work out that they had simply swollen in the wet. I wasn't particularly bothered at this point as I thought it was probably field mice. I then spotted a beautifully crafted nest, poked it gently with my boot ... and it squeaked !! I covered it back over with a piece of underlay and decided to have a coffee break. As I was enjoying the sun and my coffee what I took to be a rat shot out from underneath the underlay and off into the long grass.

I am not a feeble female prone to leaping on chairs when rodents appear but I will admit to thinking uch-a-fi , it would be naive to think that there are no rats near the plot - I am next to a pigeon loft and stables and not far from the river but its just the ratty thought . To be truthful I wasn't going to blog about it, for some reason I felt a bit ashamed - Yuk she's got rats type of attitude - stupid I know as it seem quite a common problem on plots.

It has put me off going down the plot for a few days but in true Daddy's girl style my Dad has come to the rescue, he popped down this morning and telephoned from the plot, I went down straight away, 'I think its a vole' he said 'I have found another empty nest and one of its holes I am convinced its a vole'. After more prodding about and whining from me about rats he said come here what do want to do about these - in his hand we two tiny helpless creatures - definately voles. We tucked them back up as quickly possible and hopefully they will be Ok.

When they start eating my plants I probably won't be so luvvy dovey about them but at least we can add to the tally of creatures spotted at the plot so far we have, slow worms, frogs and now voles.... and realistically I expect a rat has run across the plot at some point !!!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

2nd Job - The Cinder Path

No you haven't stumbled upon a Catherine Cookson book tribute !

This is simply a tale of more recycling - allotment style. I have multifuel stove to warm my front room and it will eat anything wood or coal. Just before Christmas we were offered aprrox two tonnes of coal for free as long as we shifted it ourselves. My husband and the allotment genie (aka my dad) spent a freezing cold afternoon slaving away to shift the coal and it has kept us toasty warm ever since.

When we were burning just logs there was hardly any waste - the fire would need clearing out once every few weeks so the ash went into the compost. However the coal is a bit dead and as a result quite clinkery - if you weren't brought up with a coal fire that sentance will be pure gobbledegook - quick translation the coal doesn't burn very well and leaves a lot of small ash and coal behind !

This waste would probably end up in landfil only I have decided to use it on my paths. I have collected cardboard from the shops i n town on bin day ( more recycling !) and laid this down and poured the ash out over it and raked it out.

What I thought was a lot of cinder turned out to very little when laid out -this is four months of burning and I have covered about a quarter of the path - at this rate it will take an eternity to cover the complete path - but at least the bit I have done looks a lot better than it did.

The grass grows exceptionally quickly at this time of the year and I want to get it squashed down as it looked apalling last year.

1st Job - rescue the strawberries !!

I wasn't exagerating when I said that the strawberry bed needed rescuing - as you can see from the picture below.

After two hours hard work and a sack full full of couch grass later the bed was looking much improved. Even though they had been completed choked up with couch the strawberries have still managed to spring into life and are showing plenty of sturdy growth for the new season.

Last Christmas as always, I had a real christmas tree. Some people argue that the environmental impact of christmas tree farming is unethical but I feel that as long as you make full use of the tree then the impact can be lessened.

This year on our way home from our caravan in Newquay (Wales) we passed a christmas tree farm - we popped in, tromped across muddy tracks and chose our tree, it was cut down from the field and then up and decorated within five hours. Local, sustainable and transported on journey that had to be made any way.

What is the point of this story you may be thinking, well ... to recycle an 8ft tree can be a bit awkward - however - I cut the branches off and pack then into a large box leave them until about now and the needles have mostly fallen off. Scatter these all around your strawberries, it enhances the flavour (or so I have read) and also acts as a slight deterant to slugs although beer traps are still needed to catch the determined slime balls. The large trunk and any thicker branches that remain get chopped up and burnt on the woodburner in case you were wondering !

Friday, April 04, 2008

I am back !!

There has been little action down at the plot since the last posting. I have popped in to drop off some ashes from my fire - they will come in handy for laying a path by the fence between me and the horses - and that's about it.

I was thrilled to see that the frogs have returned and have spawned in my daughters old paddling pool, the only problem is that it is an inflatable pool with three seperate rings, two seemed to have been punctured so the water is quite shallow. I have been thinking what to do to replace it and my daughter is donating her old baby bath - she hated it when she was a newborn so she is quite excited to think baby frogs will be whizzing around in it in a short while.

I have been so wrapped up in family life through out late winter early spring that the plot has been neglected, however I will go tomorrow, I intend to rescue the strawberries, sort out the wildlife pond - (posh name for old paddling pool and a few stones) begin to lay my new path and if my enthusiam is still buoyant I will dig a spot for the potatoes to go in.

Knowing my luck it will rain and that will be the end of my good intentions !