Saturday 27 June 2009

Special Delivery

Kevin the Cabbage Man rang the bell at noon to hand over this fine specimen, causing a dash to Tesco for the centre cut ham and a forkful of new spuds. Ah lads!

Lament for a lost lid

Alas, the Tommy Connolly Memorial Hotbox is no more.
A barrow borrower regrettably reversed into it and made smithereens of the famous table top plate glass. Fortunately he lived to carry on weeding and promising to go home soon and enjoy the dab of Dettol! No harm done, buíochas le Dia!

Now THAT's a Windbreak

Those Runner Beans are gonna love this smashing shelter.

Friday 26 June 2009

Tá siad ag teacht!

They're here! The promised Water Tanks have arrived onsite and should be ready to use any day now. Well done, Roger!

Fine Crop

Unfortunately, these are very prolific weeds - I think they are called Redshank - and they are about to flower and set seed! Anybody home?

Abandon Hope...

And here is the Finished Article. Looks smashing in the evening light, Mark. Blends in lovely with Tomato Central. You'd need to be Eating Your Greens to lift that massive lid!

If You Go Away...

This is the kind of thing you may expect to meet upon returning, right Seán?
But if you have the Diarmuid Gavin Gloves it'll take you no time to sort it out!

Monday 22 June 2009

Don't Bleed on the Carpet

A few thinnings of Beetroot to try out this evening. A straightforward 30 minute boil, I think, nothing fancy. Just twist off the tops, scrub and dunk.

Getting Edgy

I used to think that a hoe was like a spade or a fork - you used it and put it away. Not so, I learn. You carry a file with you and sharpen the working edge EVERY 15 MINUTES! That' s Uncle John's (RIP) old file there and it still brings up bright steel on the push hoe and the draw hoe. Makes a huge difference to the weeding business!

Kevin's Cabbage

Kevin's cabbage patch is looking well since he cleared out the bolted radishes. Hearting up nicely. Time to be looking out for a nice bacon joint...

Sunday 21 June 2009

First Spuds ...but

Yeah well, here's a few of the First Earlies. I hadn't intended to pick them until Kevin pointed out that two of the potato plants did not look well. So I pulled them out and got rid of the haulm just in case. Now we have NEW POTATOES for tomorrow's Father's Day Barbie! Going to keep a sharp eye on the rest of the Sharpe's after this scare.

Saturday 20 June 2009

In the Gutter

Saw this notion on Gardeners' World -
grow lettuce in guttering.
It works a treat. I just pop a small pot on each end of the guttering temporarily to stop the compost falling out while transporting. Two weeks or so in the Hotbox and they're ready to slip into the raised bed.
First time I tried it they didn't slip so easily but Mark gave me a hand and saved the day. Now I run a sliver of wood along the bottom first to break the grip and then they slide right into place. We're on our third round now. That's Lollo Rossa and Webb's Wonderful growing there.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Pisum sativum 'RONDO'

Flowers on the peas. Wahoo! Here's to a bumper crop!

Radishes on the Run

Looks like Kevin's radishes are trying to fly the coop. They must be getting tough and stringy by now. Should have sown their replacements earlier!

Sharpe's in Bloom

Finally my First Earlies are waking up. I expected to be sampling these on this day - it's 12 weeks since they went in. I'll wait a fortnight more, I think.

Love Your Weeds

If you take your eye off the plot for a minute those weeds go mad. Nothing for it but down on the knees and start pulling. It's quite therapeutic really once you get started. Wish I'd bought those kneepads when they were in Aldi.

Bring Your Wellies

Could do with a good load of wood chips, huh? They're on the way, according to the grapevine.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Changes We Can Believe In

A new hothouse has been spotted under construction down near the hedge. Looks like R&M may come in for some tomato competition.

There's that Rotovator again - wonder where The Ploughing is on this year?

Innovation is the order of the day when it comes to Compost Bins - Perfectly acceptable pallet-based bins (as recommended by Gardeners' World) have been dismantled by the neighbours in favour of a massive solid single box. What next?

And here's a Scarecrow. Does it work, I wonder. The brother put up one at home that moves in the wind. Might try that.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Blowing in the Wind

Paddy (Blanch) was ahead of me with a good SOLID windbreak.

There was a killer Westerly breeze blowing here a while back so I picked up this fine netting in SPACE in Prosperous to use as a windbreak. That particular wind died away so I never got round to putting it up until yesterday when I was tidying the shed. Of course the wind is from the opposite direction now but when it turns we'll be ready for it. Should help protect the delicate courgettes, squashes and pumpkins.

Friday 12 June 2009


Put the fleece on the hoops in April but the water tended to run off instead of penetrating - much like a tent, too taut, I suppose. So here's the current version - not half as good looking, rickety as hell but it does allow watering. Hope I haven't boxed in that pesky low-flying Carrot Fly now!

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Rocket Bolts

I had to take all the Rocket out and dump it in the Compost Bin. I left a few bits to go to seed, hoping to save some for a later planting. Nice blossom, huh?

Looking Glass

Roger set up this mirror at the gate to facilitate safe exits. I'm sure it would be better at the far side of the road.


Don't put the toolrack at the side of the shed, I was told, or you'll cut the head off yourself! So measure the shed width, saw a piece of timber to size, lay it on the ground, place the tools in their positions and hammer in some long nails to support them. Then nail the plank to the back uprights. Wow, it works! I haven't met a hoe or a rake face-first since I did this!

Nettle Tea

Lots of nettles down by the hedge - "Pick them and put them in a bucket of water, " says Mac, "they are mighty on the spuds." So I wore gloves but still got a few stings on the wrist. Two weeks later I had a container of seriously foul-smelling stuff. I poured the lot on the First Earlies undiluted. Maybe I should have cut it a bit?

West Coast Cooler

Flan brought me this barrel from West Clare for my water supplies. Maybe it will rain tonight and fill it for me - otherwise it's the Trudge to the Tap tomorrow.

Conamara East

What a great notion! Instead of just flinging the stones we come across in our plots it's possible to do something useful and ...artistic with them!

Met Éireann Warning

Blight Warning from Met Éireann this morning -
Conducive Weather so I'm heading down again to dish the Dithane.

Soil Sieve

Got the idea for this from the new Gardeners' World presenter - have a gander at
Toby Buckland's Soil Sieve Plans.
It has been really useful for filling up the raised beds with fine soil and it's been handy for earthing up the potatoes as well. Just put it atop the barrow and fire away.

Spuds in Bloom

Blossoms appearing on all of them now - the Sharpe's Express (First Earlies) are trailing the field, possibly because they were the only ones I sowed unsprouted. They went in on the 25th of March.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Blight Fright

May 17th, I'm earthing up the British Queens when I notice a yellow leaf. I pick it off and then notice some other leaves with brown patches. Oh no! Can't be the blight - it's too early. So I come home and discover that Met Éireann have a Blight Warning out! Don't PANIC! Find last year's DITHANE, borrow the knapsack sprayer and pump that handle. Spray and Pray. Return the sprayer and ask the owner about the brown patches. "Don't worry about them," he says, "that's not blight. You'll know the blight!"
I'm down every 7-10 days now spraying away. They look all right and there's a fine blossom on the Queens. We could have spuds yet!

Monday 8 June 2009

Rocket Takes Off

This tasty stuff is a trifle tardy to show up but when it comes it goes mad. You only get the good out of it for a fortnight or so before it gets too hardy and then it bolts.
So the lesson is - sow a little, maybe two feet of it, every week or two.
Here endeth...


Went looking for ideas on crop protection and happened on this lot:-

So I had a go myself. Got the heavy duty half-inch plastic pipe in Barrett's and discovered that the loppers was the quickest way to cut it. Bought the timber from the sawmill in Kilcock and made the yoke to fit outside the raised beds - that way I can just lift the whole contraption in order to weed or get at the produce.

Sunday 7 June 2009

Tomato CITY

More from the R&M Design Factory.
Great results are expected from the Secret Formula!

Saturday 6 June 2009

First Shed

I missed the first week of allotment activity - holiday away - I expected to find a veritable shed city when I returned but nary a one! Up to B&Q for the 140 and we assembled it by car headlights. Thanks Flan & Ger. It's tending towards the East but it will do. All the usual suspects have The Combination!

Wrong Number

Flan prepared this as a present for my new allotment but of course the numbers were all changed by the time we actually took possession. I'm really at Plot 32. Not going to change it now - quod scripsi, scripsi! So - here's to Confusion!

First: A Posh Cloche. Then: A Pale Imitation, but mine own

First up is Mark and Richard's cold frame - truly a Posh Cloche - since it boasts Double Glazing! Below that is the Tommy Connolly Memorial Hotbox, made up to fit the glass top of Tommy's (RIP) table. It is MAGIC. Anything goes in here it gets accelerated into growth! Thanks for the inspiration, neighbours!

Prettiest Plot Competition

These guys are the WINNERS hands down. Mark & Richard have designed a boulevard through their plot where all is straight, square and level. Everything is accessible and no danger of barking your shins (something I'm an expert at!). And they very kindly donated two spare raised beds to me to start me off. My heroes!

Costa Rica At Home!

Some people have the GREENEST Fingers!
Good luck with that one, Mark!

The Way We Were

Before the topsoil arrived.

Rabbit Warning

Seen nailed to a post near the gate. Might be time to consider a FENCE? Somebody mentioned Cleary's of Kilcock for the chicken wire.