Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

(Having arrived very late this year, winter has finally (if only temporarily) put paid to progress on our new plot adventure.
After many months on the fence of procrastination we finally took a leaf from the Pontius Pilate’s diaries and in mid December, having had our fill of the petty personalities and the petty activities at our former allotment site, we dug up our fruit bushes, lifted our rhubarb, emptied our tool lock-up, dismantled our wooden beds and finally washed our hands of the whole sorry saga that unfortunately seems to be part and parcel of life on a lot of council allotment sites.

In December we relocated to a new site 6 miles away, and whilst the very depths of winter may not be the ideal time for such an undertaking, we did, at least, manage to get all out bushes replanted and quite a large area of our new plot dug before the winter’s weather finally curtailed activity.

To date we have 3 blackcurrant, 3 gooseberry, 2 dwarf heritage apple trees, 1 plum (Opal), 1 peach (Red Haven), Timperley early and Victoria rhubarb stools and also 3 red currant bushes which will go in this weekend. We’ve also relocated 5 of our rose bushes and to fill out the compliment to a rounded 6 we also purchased and planted a new David Austin rose, Young Lycidas.
We’ve also relocated some Bay and Rosemary bushes, and last weekend my partner in grime planted over 80 gladioli bulbs, Lupin seedlings and hardy geraniums which hopefully, will all add to the summer interest in about 5 or 6 months.
Although today, March 1st, is the first day (meteorologically speaking) of spring, the weather is decidedly wintry yet, and the forecast for the rest of this week is more of the same. But, at least we content ourselves with the knowledge that we are on track with our time-frame, and actually managed to dig all of the area in which we plan to sow and grow; it may not be cultivated as yet, but at least it has had a winter turning.
So, while awaiting an improvement in the weather we shall concentrate on pathways, borders and divisions; firming up the perimeter-barrier and set about ordering a shed.
As Father Dougal may have said…

         “Wow Ted! A Shed Ted! You mean an actual allotment shed? Woowwwww Ted”!

Still looking a bit bare, but dug!
Timperley Early Rhubarb
Doris out one door ,Ewan in another, and these casualties for the vase

Happy St David’s Day…


Careful Now!!! Tipping Day on The Monster in The Corner.

Tipping Day on the Monster in the Corner
Tipping Day on the Monster in the Corner

July 19th, the 200th day of the year, annual Small Far away day, and if you happen to be a Father Ted fan it’s the day Marathon became Snickers, Galway was liberated from the Indians and everyone packed up and headed to the caravan for the Fr. Noel Furlong jig fest…
July 19th is tipping day as we call it, the day when you undeniably concede that the year is definitely foreshortened, but, if we’re lucky, we get a day like today that is promising to be the hottest day of the year, with expected highs of 28 Celsius under clear skies and light southerly breezes. It will be a bumper day for 99’s and dry cider and disposable barbecues, and every route to any stretch of sand with water will be choc-a-bloc till sunset.

Curing the Shallots
Curing the Shallots July 2016
forecast for today...worth a screen capture!
forecast for today…worth a screen capture!


Of course, it being a leap year means that yesterday was actually the 200th day of the year, and as such yesterday was tipping day on the Monster in the Corner.  We unearthed all our onions and set them to cure on the bed rails. We also harvested a lot of the bunching onions and dug up some good sized beets; we picked about 4lbs of blackcurrants and another 4lbs of Hinnonmaki red gooseberries which we set about jamming once we arrived home; we took some of the last of the rhubarb for this year for once July is out we leave the rhubarb to nature’s devices; the shallots we set to dry 2 weeks ago are curing nicely and the pots of basil are doing well. Not one of the sunflowers has opened its head as yet but they have put on good height with some already over 7 foot and in the next 7-10 days we should see the first of the sunny faces. The Redbor kale is leafing well and the parsnips have plenty of lush top foliage which is an indicator of subterranean developments.

Rhubard, Beets, Gooseberries, Red Scallions, Shallots and onions
Rhubard, Beets, Gooseberries, Red Scallions, Shallots and onions on 18th July 2016

All in all the Monster is looking well, and considering that this day last week was a very challenging day when Mrs. Dirt-digger had a very nasty accident on the allotment site, stepping onto a length of timber with 4” nails protruding from it that someone had mindlessly discarded onto one of the walkways and in the process spiked her foot badly…sometimes all is not as rosy as it first seems on an allotment site, and they can be challenging and dangerous environments. Still, the Monster’s pro’s always out-weigh the larger allotment site con’s, and as steering groups and committees don’t like such dangers being acknowledged and/or pointed out, we are thinking about a couple of simple signs:

Blackcurrants & Longue Shallots
Blackcurrants & Longue Shallots
Snapping the Snapper...
Snapping the Snapper…18th July 2016
Blackcurrant Jam
Blackcurrant Jam making process last evening…


Down with this sort of thing…

Fathers Maguire & Crilly
Fathers Ted & Dougal: Careful Now!!!

More anon everyone…