That Time Is Now…

This Week last year the monster was in flux:

January 2017 saw monsterinthecorner begin the arduous task of relocating all stock and holding to a new allotment plot some five miles away from its established site. We speculated then what the coming year would bring, and whether we would be capable of rising to the challenges of starting again from scratch on a new plot, in the depths of winter. We postulated then that the monster would be completely transformed by the same time next year, and that we would relish the transformative process and our part in it.  Yet little did we realize just how much we could, and eventually would, achieve.

One of the very early postings from our new stomping ground last January was titled     By This Time Next YearSo, by way of  follow-up the best we can say is that  That Time is now…
We could have –indeed should have– posted many more updates during last year, but as you’ll appreciate we got busy doing as we had quite a lot to do, and it was no mean task to cultivate a totally neglected and overgrown large allotment into a prize winning kitchen garden plot, and to do so in the space of 25-30 weeks. We had many hours of wonderful fun; we’ve made some wonderful new friends and acquaintances, and mostly we learned to relearn all we formerly thought we knew about allotmenteering.

Of course, as the overall prize winning allotment last year monsterinthecorner has, (as many of our new neighbours are constantly and good-humouredly reminding us) set the standard not only for others, but also for ourselves in the seasons and years ahead. And who knows? with our template now well and truly settled after a frenetic first year, perhaps ( just perhaps) we’ll have a little more time to cultivate here as well.

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the monster’s montage from year one at the our new stomping ground

A very happy New Year to all.

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Tah Dah!!!! This Year’s Sowing Diary

Although the Monster has its own sowing diary page accessible through page link up above, now that we’ve completed most (if not all) of this year’s plan we thought we’d copy and paste and place  a copy of this year’s diary as a posting in its own right,

We literally began from scratch at our new plot in January, and since then we’ve been doing this

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Basil; this year’s basil filled Barrow Bug

February 1st 2017     Bedfordshire Champion onion seed

March 1st 2017   Bunyard’s Exhibition broad Beans

March 5th 2017  sowed Cosmos ‘Cosmonaut’

March 5th planted 4 of Lidl’s best bare root Redcurrant 

March 4th 2017 Planted Plum tree ‘Opal’, and Peach tree ‘Red Haven’ both from Lidl

March 10th 2017 Ailsa Craig onion seed

March 12th planted replacement rose bush: David Austin Rose, Young Lycidas

March 18th 2017 sowed Basil, Misto Mix and Classic Italian

March 19th 2017 broadcast green-manure mix; phacelia, red clover,

March 28th 2017 sowed dwarf sunflowers ‘Topoline’

April 8th broadcast poppy seeds and cornflower seeds  Greenfingers Day

April 21st 2017 sowed Giant Yellow sunflower seeds

April 22nd sowed Moss Curled parsley, and dill seed

April 23rd sowed Bright lights Chard, Fire-bird Spinach, Tuscan black Kale, Italian Giant leaf parsley and Tom Thumb mix nasturtiums

April 26th sowed Wild Rocket seed

April 29th sowed Celeriac ‘Monarch’ and ‘Akito’ ridge cucumbers. Mrs dirt-Digger planted out all of the cosmos, dwarf sunflowers and autumn beauties, plus some marigolds gifted from one of our new allotment neighbours…

April 30th sowed Parsnips ‘Tender and True’, Radish ‘mixed jewels’, Italian giant-leaf basil and mixed lettuce varieties. Also planted up and potted on some fennel seedlings and pepper seedlings gifted from an allotment neighbour.

May 1st sowed Pumpkins ‘Big Max’ & ‘Jack o’Lanterns’ purchased in Toronto in August last year; Beetroot ‘Solo’; planted up Shirley & Moneymaker tomato plants, pepper seedlings and sowed ‘Gold Rush’ courgettes. 

May 2nd sowed Grandpa Otts (ipomea; morning glories)

May 13th sowed Northern Blood Reds and White Lisbon spring onions (scallions)

June 1st  Longhorn Wax dwarf french beans plus successional sowings of lettuces and radishes

June 3rd Kale, Scotch Green dwarf

July 2nd Spring Cabbage, Durham early

July 5th  Swede,Tweed

et voilá.   All sowings for this year complete

Waxwings and Workhorses…

Over the last four weeks me and Mrs Dirt-digger have been busy transporting and transplanting our fruit bushes, brambles, rhubarb and apple trees from a plot in the garden where we formerly worked an allotment to our new plot in a new location. We began the migration on 15th December and glad to say we shall complete the process of moving this coming weekend when we finally relocate our strawberry plants and a well established sedum which we will also take. The relatively mild weather for late December and early January has helped no end, affording the opportunity to get ahead of the posse, so much so that we actually turned some of the terra firma on the new plot which is still a  little heavy but trafficable nonetheless, and at least we have some basic cultivation with which to plan.
Here at Monster in The Corner our belief has always been that a garden’s summer glory is set in winter’s planning, and Boy oh Boy! will this hold true this year, but then we never shirk a challenge.
Now that the all important time-critical work of relocating the dormant bushes is complete we have set our mind to mapping out some other design aspects at our new plot; pathways, shed location, polytunnel situation whilst not forgetting compost bin and leaf-mould location. We are also assessing ground cultivation versus raised beds possibilities, and have opted for a 50-50 approach.
Some of the neighbouring plot holders at our new site have offered us compost and manure and even seedlings in a couple of weeks time, and where wildlife at our former location consisted largely of flocks of pigeon and magpie (not forgetting one of the highest population densities of grey squirrels in the whole country) at our new site we have thus far observed hares and pheasants and even exotic looking waxwings in the last 2 weeks.
The Dirt-digging Mrs. has purchased Bedfordshire Champion onion seed, Tuscan black and Scottish Green kale seed, tender and true parsnip seed and cornflower seed; and we also bought some onion sets (Stuttgarters) and Jumbo peas; and our short term plan includes shallots, main-crop potatoes and broad beans which we shall start off in pots in the next fortnight along with the Bedfordshire Champion seed.
All in all things are moving apace, and though we were a little deflated (to say the least) last autumn when reconciling the reality of our experience at our former location, what a difference a month can make.
There are not too many photo opportunities on a midwinter’s allotment plot, and all the more so when it’s an overgrown unused plot, but we are making headway, and though at present we have little to show of the planned schema at this stage we will simply post this photo of the other two workhorses on monsterinthecorner, i.e. The Barrow Bug and The Dotty Dolly…

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The Barrow Bug & Dotty Dolly Taking time out at their new home!!!!