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Free mulch!

Fallen Acer Leaves

Utilitizing the fallen leaves near the bed creates a fantastic mulch which rots down and adds structure and nitrogen to your soil.

As time goes on I’ll add more organic matter and soil to this bed to raise the level, potatoes and leeks will be added here

Moving on over to the old compost bin it was lossing a battle between nettles, raspberries and brambles, so I started again!

So overgrown!

I removed the plastic panels and old frame, dug up and leveled the place and placed 3 pallets together with a 4th which will be used as a door

They were free and made our of untreated hardwood

The compost bin isn’t finished yet but this would work as a prototype. I plan to use hinges and bolts

Taking more land!

Moving on over to plot 25 I laid tarp to kill off the weeds as this won’t be used till June. Here we’ll grow corn, beans and gourds

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How to plant Garlic

Allium Sativum also known as garlic is an easy thing to plant. First you must prepare the beds, garlic do best with soil that has good drainage. Using compost mixed with sharp sand and organic matter you create a high fertile and decent drainage soil.

Grass, bulbs, sharp sand and compost

After moving 2 x 125ltr bags of compost on my own and mixed it with organic matter as well as the sharp sand

Just needs mixing

After the bed was prepared it was time to add in the garlic. Last season I started with 3 bulbs, broke them into 20 cloves and got about 15 bulbs, which was split into 60 cloves.

Bag of bulbs

What you do is break apart the bulb into individual cloves, you plant the clove with the tip facing up at 2.5cm deep (1in)

Future garlic bulb

Plant the cloves 15cm apart (6in) and leave 30cm (12in) between rows. I used a bamboo cane with tap indicating length

Simple yet effective device

Lastly for good measure drape a net over the bed to stop birds and squirrels from yanking out the young plants.

Looking good

Mulching is a good option as garlic doesn’t compete well with weeds

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Octobers Report

The season is winding down it’s getting dark even earlier and the cold winds are on their way… But that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything!

Last season I started with 3 bulbs which when divided up into cloves and planted it produced about 20 bulbs, which in turn made 60 cloves.

Now is the best time to plant garlic, the weather is warm enough for the roots to grow and wet enough so they don’t dry out. With the the bed I added sand, compost and organic matter this will provide good drainage and plenty of nutrients for big bulbs.

60 cloves which will become 60 bulbs

These are 15 mixed gladioli they were in our garden but they are toxic to cats and our cat likes to munch poison plants, so they had to be relocated

Looking worse for wear

All these went into the wild flower part of the allotment that’s dedicated to pollinators, gladioli have plenty of flowers which produce a lot of pollen

A mass of plants 😀

It’s getting really close to the first frost and I’m not opportunistic I’m going to get any decent chillies, below is the only one I’ve got so far and unfortunately some creatures has munched it, but at least I have the seeds!

I’m sure it was tasty
New home

Two of them have been uprooted and will be kept inside till June so hopefully we can get a decent harvest next year

This I’m really excited about, I bought a battery powered brush cutter which is so much more lighter than a petrol one and better for the environment too! I’ve strimmed down some grass which will increase my allotment by 4x8m

Good bye grass!

Lastly check out these mushies

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Where is the corn?!

With it being october the corn should be ready for harvest so nipping down to the allotment I’m greeted by this!

Nom nom

This isn’t the only kernel to be nibbled on either

All gone

There’s a few more cobs that need to be harvested, hopefully I’ll get to them before the pigeons do.

This sunflower head was cut for the seeds for next season.

You can drizzle olive oil on this and roast at 200c for a tasty snack

It’s getting really late into the season and it seems that the chillies aren’t finished, which means they’ll have to be over wintered

Too many flowers not enough chillies

It’s been a challenging season for chillies hopefully I’ll get at least one just for the seeds.

Shiny bettle
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Grass cutting scavenger

Last visit at the plot coincided with the council cutting the nearby grass. Grass cuttings are a fantastic mulch which is high in nitrogen.

Looking green

The weeds are suppressed by plain brown cardboard with grass cutting on top, later on I’ll add compost and be able to add the plants directly into the soil with no digging

This plant shot up from no where, it’s a teasel which is good for the pollinators and birds but the issue is, it’s invasive and takes up precious room

Prickly thing

Moving on over to the cabbages and caught this little guy having a munch, but it’s okay there’s plenty of cabbages to go around

Quiet a pretty snail

I harvested some sprouts and had to get a photo

Brassicas galore

Planted some hollyhocks as well in the wild flower bed, which the bees go mad for

Starts off small, becomes huge!

I managed to get another sneaky insect photo at work. This is a hover fly drinking the sweet nectar from honey suckle

Sweet sweet nectar
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Raised blueberry beds

Last Autumn the blueberries went in to the ground which was great at first, but they were prone to being strangled by bindweed and fighting off grass.

It only made sense to build some raised beds, that way it’s easier to keep on top of the weeds and I’m able to add iron sulphate (soil acidifier) easier, which the blueberries love

Before

Above is the blueberry without the beds and below is the freshly built beds

Now

I added ericaceous compost (acidic soil) and topped with bark. The bark holds in moisture and stops weeds from growing, it also biodragades and adds nutrients to the soil

Also bonus bee (spotted at work)

Carder bee on a salvia
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Sunny September

With climate change being under way it’s lead to some seasons changing, for example this september we are going to be experiencing weather in the mid 20s which you would expect for April or May. As bad as this is at least the upside is a longer flowering season

A bumble bee gorging on a poppy

This was only a quick visit where I pulled up some weeds and gave the chillies a feed. For some reason this little guy wanted to hang out in my watering can

I rehomed him on a nettle

These are the chillies that I planted way back in April, the fruit is turning yellow then eventually red and hopefully they ripen before it gets too cold

Tiny chilli

Moving on over to the herb bed and the chives have gone absolutely wild, they started off as two plants which I divided up into 4 and if I wanted to I could turn it into 8

Poor sage has to battle for space

Here’s a photo of a shield bug on a leaf, hopefully you can spot him with the excellent camouflage

Minding it’s bug business

Lastly here’s a photo of how the plot is looking. It’s been a fantastic first season and I can’t wait for next spring

The nasturtiums have almost taken over that bed

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It’s a little over grown

Had to have a laugh when I came to the plot and saw wild blackberries and bindweed had taken over the raspberry bed

This is all mulch now

All these were ripped up and placed on cardboard to provide mulch and suppress weeds, it’ll also rot down and add precious nitrogen to the soil

Beds are getting ready for next season

Looking over to the strawberry bed and we’re finally greeted by a clover flower!

Lovely pinky purple

Wondering how the chillies are doing? Well they are in bud but they better hurry up a cold snap is nearing

Pulled up dock leaves and used as mulch

The corn is creeping up and hopefully should be harvest a few weeks

Mighty cob

Now I’m sad to say this is probably the last rhubarb harvest of this year, so we had to make it a big one!

You have to leave some leaves

For perspective, here’s a lime. They are large stalks and with them 2 crumbles were made

#rhubarblife
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Decent day for a harvest

The cabbages are finally at a decent enough size for me to harvest one so here it is!

It’s huge!

This isn’t the only brassica that was harvested, here is a brussel sprout stem with all of it’s sprouts. I don’t actually like them, I grew them because I had room and seeds.

I wish I liked the taste of these

The potato plants have started to die back so that’s a sign they can be harvested and so I dug where a plant was.

Irish gold

Moving on over to the other plot and we have some pretty big strawberries

Almost as big as my hand

The nasturtium that was planted in the edible flower bed has gone a bit wild to say the least

It can not be contained

The chillies are still budding and I’m really hoping I get at least a few this season

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Huge plants

At this time of year there are little jobs to be done, mainly just hoeing weeds, watering when needs be and most importantly enjoying what you’ve planted

It’s taking over!

Nasturtiums are incredible plants, the leaves and flower are edible with a peppery taste. They die off in winter but will self seed.

Feeling proud

Behind that handsome fellow is plenty of mallow which attracted tons of honey bees

Absolute unit

Poppies are fantastic self seeders and if my IDing skills are right this is Papaver Somniferum or commonly known as the opium poppy

Bees are the best

Lastly I had to share this photo of hoverfly that looks like a honey bee