Long were the Salad Days: A Summer Salad Challenge

Homegrown salad all summer long, that’s the dream huh? Sadly for me it’s never been a reality no matter how enthusiastic I’ve been in the beginning it just takes a row of pigeon pecked lettuces, slug ravaged seedlings or bolted spinach to break my heart and dwindle my motivation.

Continue reading “Long were the Salad Days: A Summer Salad Challenge”

1 May 2014 International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day

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Every May since 2006 a group of guerilla gardeners in Brussels declared the 1st of May, International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening Day. A day for everyone everywhere with a cheeky guerilla gardening streak to spread our gardening love beyond our plots, windowsills, gardens (if your lucky!), to plant sunflowers seed in our communities in the hope that they will bring beauty and smile to peoples faces in our neighbourhoods

Continue reading “1 May 2014 International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day”

The Ups and Downs of Being a Throughly Modern Allotmenteer.

Hello. My name is Emma. I live and work in London. Rent a small one bedroom flat with my boyfriend. Like many people our age we do not own our own home and have no outdoor space. And we are allotment holders.

I’m pretty sure were not alone. Allotments have seen a massive boom in past decade. Everyone wants to grow their own. Waiting lists across the UK are fit to burst. Our site alone has a closed waiting list with a predicted wait of at least 5 years. Things are changing fast. Allotment tending is no longer the preserve of the retired gent. With their rows of leeks and tatties. Much to the initial confusion of the ‘old boys’, younger people are taking over the neglected plots. It’s not easy, many drop out. Those that stick at it, like ourselves are head over hills with allotmenteering.

Working fulltime, weekends and snatched post-work summer evenings are all the quality time we get with our plot. Weather, commuting, transport problems and family commitment all get in the way. On an ideal weekend during the lighter months we put in around 12 hours work down 18a a weekend. Continue reading “The Ups and Downs of Being a Throughly Modern Allotmenteer.”

The Curious Incident of a Rat and the Snail in the Nighttime

Call the Allotment police there’s been murder! The victims, the Sunflower seedlings. Murder scene, the cold frame.

Yes last night our sunflower seedlings were brutally murdered in their own beds. The week before Mr Wilson and I had sown our ‘who can grow the tallest sunflower competition 2011’ tucking them up all cosy in the cold frame. Within days they were sprouting away merrily. Each night after work I’d been making my pilgrimage up the plot to check on the seedlings. All was ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Then came the mini heat wave. deciding to prop the cold frame up over night to begin the hardening off process we left for home delirious with exhaustion  after a lovely day working the plot in the April sunshine. That night we slept soundly in our beds blissfully unaware that down 18a foul play was a foot. Continue reading “The Curious Incident of a Rat and the Snail in the Nighttime”

Death and the coldframe

Sad news this week. With all this warm weather we lost all our lovely little seedlings. Gone are our Celeriac, Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Tom Thumb lettuces and Cauliflowers, gone to the big propagator in the sky. Working full-time and keeping an allotment can be testing enough at times but coupled with the unseasonable warm spell and seed sowing logistical issues have spelled disaster down 18a.

Alas back to the germinating drawing board. This time we will give the propagator on the kitchen windowsill another try and use the coldframe for hardening off. Will also try to get hold of some greenhouse shading for future balmy weather ahead.

With these heady highs of 20 celsius or more for April down South it’s easy to forget that it’s snowed before this time of year and least we not forget the late May frost of 2010 that polished off our cherry blossom and frost-bit our emerging potato foliage.

Made a second sowing of Purple & White Sprouting broccoli indoors mid-week and already emerging. Hope springs!

Spuds, buds and unexpected sunshine.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, warmer than the weatherman had led us to believe, the annual allotment planting of the spuds began. Having written off the weekend as a bit of dull dud, wearing far too many woollens than necessary we were pleasantly greeted with warm sunshine and gentle breezes. After a chilly disappointing visit to the plot the day before a spot-o-sunshine worked wonders on the allotment morale! Continue reading “Spuds, buds and unexpected sunshine.”

Make me feel like Spring has sprung

Now that the first official day of Spring has been and gone, the temperatures rising, the birds are singing and the dastardly weeds are rearing their heads again. Down the allotment everything is waking up and stretching free of the earth stirred by lengthening days.

After what seems like weeks, no months of overcast cloudy non-weather this weekend was glorious! The sun shone brightly the breeze was gentle and soothing. Perfect if only all allotment days where like this.

The spring bulbs are still blooming away merrily. The crocuses keep popping up here there and everywhere. Surprising me how so many managed to evade those pesky little squirrels who seem to be able to smell a freshly planted crocus bulb at 50 paces. Continue reading “Make me feel like Spring has sprung”