Categories
Allotment

Mini apple orchard

Recently I removed 4 dwarf apples (which by some miracle has produced 8 trees) below are some images of the trees being split

Two trees for the price of one!
Ta da!

Once the trees were up they needed to get in the ground ASAP so they don’t dry out or get damaged. I dug square holes as this encourages the roots to grow away from the trunk instead of around.

After digging the holes I added grit, sharp sand a bit of compost to help with drainage and to provide nutrients for the trees.

Iain’s blend

Then I planted the trees and back filled with the soil I dug up, normally you water trees when they’ve been planted but with it raining nature will take care of this

Mini apple orchard 😀

Lastly I cut the twigs off the goat willow I had coppice last year, the plan was to bury these twigs and it’ll provide long term nutrients into the soil

It’ll bounce back

The fastest and most efficient way of carbon capture is to coppice young fast growing trees, cut the branches in the autumn then bury them, the carbon stays in the soil and the twigs feed insects.

All from one season

My neighbor is building a structure that requires the twigs so I gave them to her as she needs them more

Hopefully the twigs will help her finish the roof

Thanks for reading!

Categories
Garden

Digging up apple trees and planting Cherry bush

A few years ago when I wasn’t as experienced I planted 4 dwarf apples extremely close together. This has limited their growth and yield, also their pruning has been minimal.

Poor things

The trees needed badly reshaping as well, so I dug them up to replace them with Cherry bush ‘portos’

Surprisingly sallow roots

I was expecting to spend a few hours digging these up but the 4 of them took about 20 minutes! Something strange has happened with one of the trees which meant I could divide it.

You can make out two trees

As a rule of thumb trees and shrubs can’t be divide but this apple had other plans, I teased as much of the root away and sawed through one

Literally tree surgery

This was only a small cut and resulted in two separate trees which is pretty great

Two trees for the price of one

As you can see from the above photo, there’s two trees with their own root structures.

Moving on over to their replacement, known as a Cherry bush ‘Porthos’ this is a fantastic new variety that’s from North Holland, unlike dwarf cherries this grows on it’s natural root stock, it grows 2m tall and 1.5m wide after 5 to 10 years and even better it’s cherries are easy to reach on weeping branches

Soil mix

Cherries require a fertile free draining compost, so I mixed sharp sand, compost, rotted manure in equal portions, added it to the hole the cherry bush went in and back filled with more of the mixture.

Tiny tree

It doesn’t look like much now but it’ll shoot up!

Categories
Allotment

Rhubarb beds

Last year a rhubarb plant showed up in the blackberry bed, which most have been from the previous tenant so it had to be relocated as you must to this Autumn/Winter.

It may seem like one plant

To remove Rhubarb you dig it up and then if the crown has several smaller crowns you can divide them. In doing this I turned the above plant into 16 separate crowns, these were spread across 3 newly built beds

Upcycled wood

The above photo is wood from a pallet which were nailed together to form a raised bed which was filled with manure and then the crowns were added.

Peaking above the soil

Categories
Cooking

Pickled cabbage!

We grew more cabbages than what I knew what to do with, some were given away, others caterpillars and slugs got to them, which is okay because you have to give back to nature

First off I cleaned the cabbages by leaving them in soap water and then washing them again in just plain water. After that the cabbages were chopped up

Cabbage

After being sliced the cabbage went into glass jars with several types of vinegar with peppercorns and salt

A fine selection of vinegar

The combination of vinegars gives the pickled cabbage a more complex flavour, after all the ingredients were added, the jars were sealed and dated

This should keep us going

Now the cabbage has been pickled and it’s just a matter of time for the flavours to fully develop.

Categories
Uncategorized

November & December 2020

With this year drawing to a close, time spent at the allotment is becoming less frequent 😦

Here’s a Cherry tree (summit) I planted back in early November, it was a great bargain £10 and over a meter tall!

Gisela 5 root stock, should grow to 3m

Moving on over to the corn, it’s been cut down and just left on the ground to acted as mulch and ground cover

Good bye corn!

Moving on over to December and my work place was giving out Xmas trees, so I’ve taken as many as I could

Smells like Christmas

3 trees had their branches cut off and placed in my car, the logs and branches are going in the bottom of a vegetable bed, where upside down turf will be placed then manure. The wood rots down over 10 to 20 years releasing nutrients into the soil.

Who can say no to free wood?

As January and February get colder and wetter than December, it was only best to harvest the remaining cabbages

Crate of Cabbages

Thanks for reading and hopefully 2021 will be a better year!

Categories
Uncategorized

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

Categories
Uncategorized

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

Categories
Uncategorized

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

Categories
Uncategorized

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
Categories
Uncategorized

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