My Plot

Plot 46, Burnside Allotments, Cambridge

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh the shame of it!!!

I have a confession to make - I have not been near the plot for ages now

- I do have excuses though, I have been doing another course (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) which involves me having to write loads of essays, read loads of books so that I can pretend that I know what I am talking about etc etc....

I have decided to collect a load more free compost from the council and put it on all the beds then cover them in thick plastic, this should hopefully then make the soil easier to work and cut out the light to the weeds so they all die off, I only think I will manage to plant a few beds this spring. At least covering them up will keep them in good condition until I can do something with them.

I am going to visit the plot and will take some photos just to show how bad it has got!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Seeds at home..

I finally got round to sowing some seeds at home including tomatoes - sungella, sungold, alicante and moneymaker.

Chillis, melons and cucumber - burpless

The problem I will have though is that they will need to go into a much lighter place than my windowsill and if the weather stays like this it will be too cold in my greenhouse for them - What to do, oh what to do....... any advice?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

In the bleak early spring time...

What a difference to last week! bitterly cold with intermittant hail, snow and rain - Why does all the horrible weather come at the weekend? -Despite mini blizzards I did manage to get to the plot for a while and finished digging the bean trenches - filled them with last years compost and topped off with soil. I then mulched the whole bed with newspaper and council compost. Erected the bean frame - somewhat sturdier than my previous attempts, which hopefully will not collapse under the weight of all those beans I am expecting - well I am being optimistic!
I have also planted my very pathetic looking globe atrichokes - they are pitiful specimens compared to my italian plot neigbours but I am hoping that they will compare themselves get jealous and grow like mad!
My outdoor planted broad beans are looking reasonably healthy.
And my rhubarb is finally coming along with lots of buds promising lots of lovely rhubarb crumble.
I am going to dig this lot up once the season has finished and split the root so that more plants can be made - I plan to fill the whole bed with rhubarb as not only can you make rhubarb crumble but rhubarb and fig jam is to die for, and of course the leaves are great for the compost bin.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Warmer weather at last!

This weekend I made the most of the lovely weather (it actually feels like spring!) and managed to complete a bit of construction and did some planting of raspberry canes - So far I have put in early, mid and autumn - the late variety (octavia) came in pots so I repotted them into larger pots and they are in the greenhouse.

I made a sign and have stuck it on the shed - I wonder if anyone will google it from my allotment site?

I have finished painting the shed and have planted lavender either side of the fig tree .

These are the final leeks which I have dug up and made more leek and potato soup with - I pot it up and use it for my lunches at work and college. It tastes particularly lovely with crusty bread and butter! MMmmm...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bramley's Seedling

At last I've planted something!

Went to B&Q and bought 2 Bramley's Seedling apple trees, 6 lavender plants and some gutter bits. Then went to the plot and planted the trees at the bottom of the plot, planted the lavender either side of the fig tree against the shed and also planted the garlic plants which I had started off in the greenhouse. I now feel like a gardener rather than a construction worker!

I also finished off the guttering on the shed - it now runs into a waterbutt very nicely indeed. Now all I need is some rain - perhaps I should watch what I wish for!

I measured up the bed which will eventually have a fruit cage around it and have started putting up the support posts for the raspberries. I have also dug a trench for one of the lots of raspberries. I have 4 different varieties ready to plant - early, mid and late season and also autumn fruiting, so we should have a long raspberry season with luck.

At the bottom of my plots there are some very old gooseberry pants and some blackcurrant bushes aswell as some smaller gooseberry bushes which I propogated by laying branches - I am going to get rid of the very old ones, try to propogate the blackcurrant bushes and dig up and transplant the younger gooseberry bushes. I plan to plant some more trees in this space after.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I'm cream crackered!!

Got up early this morning and went to the local industrial estate. I got 4 large pallets, 2 small pallets and 4 square wood things that look sort of like gates. I then had to lug them halfway across the allotment site as it was too wet to take the car in.
After lots of re-arrangement (I am a woman - it's got to look right!) I got compost bins, muck enclosure, leafmould bin and waterbutt all in their correct places.
I was also asked whether my shed was going to be a cafe or a bar - someone else asked whether it was going to be a ladies loo - little do they know - it already is!!!
Set out two beds for the strawberry plants and started digging one of them. I also potted up the strawberry plants - all 45 of them! I have got Honeoye, Florence and Cambridge Favorite (the last being an obvious choice)
I also planted the fig tree and potted up the Octavia raspberry canes. I have put the other three varieties into water ready for me to pot them up tomorrow as I have not got any idea where I am going to plant them yet!
I want to build a fruit cage on one side of the plot with the raspberries, gooseberries and currants. I would also like to plant some blueberries in there but will need to dig a hole and change the soil for ericacious compost.

At last my broad beans are starting to sprout
A view across my plot. you can see where I've planted the fig - just in front of the shed. I have had to enclose it with mesh otherwise my stick loving dog will pull it up. It does not matter whether the sticks are growing or not, he's not fussy.

Talking of stick loving dogs here he is - very tired after a long walk yesterday and an afternoon at the plot - Just before this photo was taken he was snoring very loudly!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday update

Today at the plot I put the glazing into the other window in the new shed, put the hooks up for the tools and put up most of the guttering. I just need to attach a down pipe and sort out the water butt. I plan to plant the fig tree tomorrow after I have painted that side of the shed. I was given another rhubarb plant today which should mean that I have enough for the bed. Looking forward to lots of lovely rhubarb crumble...

In the greenhouse the strawberries I was given from a friends garden are beginning to sprout. I am going to pot up the others as it is still much too wet to dig any beds. The broad beans that I planted into plugs are finally beginning to sprout and the garlic is going great guns - I want to plant this out soon.

Shed update

I have very nearly finished the shed - Up at the allotments people keep in commending me on the shed and asking if my husband built it!

What cheek

NO it was ME all by MYSELF with NO HELP

A veritable home from home!
All that is left to do is trim the felt, finish the guttering and painting and seal the windows.

Look what's been lurking!

Look What's been lurking in my greenhouse - It even sat still (just as I told it) whilst I took it's photo!
I think it likes B&Q orange buckets!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I was surfing around ebay last week and ordered 30 strawberry plants 24 raspberry canes and a fig tree - 'Brown Turkey'

I am going to train the fig up against the side of the shed as it is south facing - apparently you should restrict the roots otherwise it would grow very large with loads of foliage and not much fruit I am going to sink a very large flowerpot with the bottom cut out into the ground and plant into that.

Door's on

Well I managed to get to the tip and got myself a door and also quite a few new engineering bricks which I have been looking for so that I can raise my big blue water tank up to create some gravity for watering from a hosepipe - all will become clear soon....

The shed now has a door fitted and a chubb lock. I ordered the glass for the small window yesterday (I have temporarily put a wire grill over it until I get the glass) and have fitted the glass into the large window which I had already.

Francis 'helped' me start painting the shed - I now have a blue son and a blue labrador - I think I might finish it off myself!

Before I left the plot for the day I planted an early rhubarb plant and also christened the shed by making a cup of tea on my camping stove. Ahh lovely!

Unfortunately I forgot the camera but will take it next time.

Burnside Allotments

There has recently been a surge in interest at our allotment site and nearly all the plots have gone - Went there yesterday and where my plots are it was a hive of activity- even the plot I only recently gave up has gone - Despite being covered in brambles.

In Cambridge we are quite well served for allotments. MAP You can get an allotment by either contacting the council or just by going along to the site and asking.

There is a Cambridge Allotment Network but the website is very out of date so I do not know if the telephone numbers are correct or not.
Here are some pictures of the Burnside Allotments: These pictures were taken some time ago.
This is the trading shed, which is situated at the Burnside entrance.
A view across the site

This is Giovanni whos has a plot near to mine. He always stops for a chat and supplied me recently with some parsnips which went into lovely parsnip soup.

Taken from the Burnside entrance - It was a scruffy site and unfortunately it still is. Hopefully this might change with more people around.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nearly there!

My shed is nearly finished!

As you can see it was pitch black when I finally managed to get the roof finished today. But all the cladding is done and all there is left to do is to put in a door, put in the windows, fit a very sturdy lock, put up some guttering and run it into a water butt. Job Done!!!

I plan to go to the household tip tomorrow and hopefully get a door, and anything else that looks useful, then go to B&Q to get a lock, handles, some more timber so that I can secure the windows into the frames and some shed paint.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More shedscapades

Shed building again this weekend - managed to get most of the recycled cladding on to the frame. Some bits were just too full of holes to be used but the amount I managed to use wasn't bad for some old fence panels.

It is starting to look more like a shed now! - By the way I only plan to make cups of tea and ponder in this shed!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Operation shed build

At last I have started to get round to building my shed. Thin momentous occasion was sparked of by having my wheelbarrow nicked so I have been drawing up plans for a sturdy shed.

This weekend despite the very rainy weather I put down the slabs which will serve as a base and built the framework.

Not entirely helped by Buddy the dog came with me and spent most of his time getting very muddy and 'fetching' old bottles from other peoples plots. He is nearly as partial to bottles as he is to food!

These are the garlic that I put into pots recewntly and theyve sprouted really well - I am going to get them into the ground in the next couple of weeks.

I went to Wilkinsons and found some gooseberry plants for sale - I bought 2 'red' and 1 'white' for the princely sum of £4 for the lot - bargain. Potted them up and have kept them in the greenhouse to geve them a headstart. I will plant them out when I have prepared my soft fruit bed. Mmmm dont quite know when that will be though!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Done some planting!

Look - a slightly tidier greenhouse!

In the pots are garlic and broad beans.

Managed to plant the garlic into pots and also planted some broad beans into one of the beds which I had previously covered to get it very slightly warmer. Once I had sown the beans I covered them with fleece which will hopefully get them going a bit easier.

I also dug a bean trench down the side of one of the beds and next week I will dig another down the other side. Into these will go the kitchen vegetable scraps providing lots of food for the runner beans.

When I started digging I was surprised how easy it was on the beds that I have dug previously. Growing everything in raised beds is definitely the way to go. I do need to improve the soil as it is 100% clay though and will be digging loads of compost in (well the worms will hopefully!)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tidying up

I read on the Cambridge city council website that the composted contents of the green wheelie bins is available free if you bring your own bags;

Today Chloe and I went there armed with a little trailer, for which I have made taller walls, two shovels and a load of large bags. When we got there the VERY nice man told me to go to the other end of the site where some other VERY nice men would load it for me!! The whole process took about 10 minutes and absolutely no effort and best of all, no money. - I am going again next week!

We took it to the plot and covered her bed with cardboard first then filled it up with the compost. then put some on some of the other beds.

I tidied the greenhouse and picked up some rubbish to take to the tip.

This was 'before'!!

A View across the plots - Still so much to do........

Buddy - Who doesn't help much on the plot! apart from madly running around, frightening rabbits and saying hello to everyone who walks within a 50 metre radius of our plot!

These are the chillies that I managed to salvage from my very dead chilli plants in the greenhouse before they went into the compost bin. I am quite pleased with them and will be growing them again.
I bought some seeds; (Tomato - moneymaker, sungella, alicante; Pepper - sweet spanish mixed; cabbage - hispi; broad beans - Aquadulce claudia & perpetual spinach), garlic and some seed potatoes (kestrel, pentland javelin & king edwards) this week. I always manage to buy more than I will ever hope to use. I still have loads of seeds left from last year but I have decided to grow fewer varieties and stick to the things we love.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I am ashamed

Hello everyone!

I am very ashamed for the fact that I have not only not put anything on the blog for months, but I have also not been to the plot for ages either! - There were legitimate reasons for this - Finishing my Degree - AT LAST it is done - As I haven't got my final result yet I can't say whether it was worth all the hard work - I should get either a 2:1 or a 1st but will know that on 30th March. I thought that I would be fed up with all that studying but I started another course - A Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - Quite when I will be able to spend lots of time on the plot I don't know - I think I will be getting the undergardener and children to help. I originally had 3 plots with geat plans for lots of fruit bushes and a mini orchard, but as I am now doing another 18month university course I have decided to reduce my plans a bit and give one of them up - this will mean that someone on the waiting list will get a plot which is OK by me.

I did visit the plot last week but forgot to take the camera with me - It wasn't totally disasterous and I have a cunning plan to cover the beds with cardboard that I have been hoarding, then put compost on top so that the weeds are surpressed and the worms can do the digging for me - good plan isn't it!

I have loads of jobs to do:
Tidy the greenhouse
Cover all the beds & mulch them
Plan plot 2
Collect all the bits for the polytunnel that we want to build
Plant plot 2 with fruit bushes and trees
Build a shed


All the normal digging, sowing and planting

Me thinks I might be busy

When I went to the plot last Sunday I met Silvano who is an Italian gentleman who has a plot near to mine he gave me some spinach, beetroot and some parsnips. I ate the spinach which was lovely and the undergardener has plans for the beetroot and this is what I made from the parsnips: After I had liquidised it the result was really tasty parsnip and carrot soup.
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