Saturday, 4 July 2015

Early July allotment photographs.

Having just successfully finished Geoff Lawton's permaculture course,  I decided to try out Geoff's method of making compost.  Now I am the kind of grower that usually piles allotment organic waste in a big pile, usually contained within a structure made of pallets, and leaves it to its own devices for at least a year.

Compost heaps at the old allotment.
I was not too bothered about what I put on the compost heap just so long as it would rot down fairly quickly.

I have removed masses of couch grass and bindweed rhizomes and mare's tail rhizoids as I dug over the new allotment and fairly carefully dried them on a platform made from concrete reinforcing wire and pallets.

Drying the perennial weeds
Many growers bag these weeds up and take them to the local council tip but I thought this was a big pile of nutrients which could be recycled back into the soil.  Maybe a little ambitious but a possibility.  Once dried, I put the weeds into an old  1 tonne multi-trip bulk builder's bag and was planning to leave them there for a year or so to rot down.  However, Geoff Lawton put an idea into my head.  Why not try to hot compost them.  So an new experiment was undertaken...

I didn't spend too much time trying to decide whether these weeds were green or brown.  I just went ahead and treated them as brown, mixing them with green weeds and lawn mowings.

My seven compost bins.
As Tracy was moving allotments she had several unwanted big dalek compost bins which she was good enough to give to me.  Together with the ones that were already on the allotment and those bought from the old allotment I am now the proud owner of seven different sized and shaped compost bins.  I could still use some more though.  I filled all of the bins with the weeds in the builder's bag together with green weeds and allotment organic waste. I was not too bothered about ratios of brown and greens and wouldn't know whether this referred to weight or volume.  Furthermore, how you would quickly measure the weight or the volume of the composting material on the allotment defeats me.  I could waste an awful lot of time unnecessarily  trying to puzzle this out.  I used the tried and tested growers' technique of "that looks about right".

I  know that I put more rhizomes and rhizoids in the mix than green weedy material. Comfrey leaves were used to start the composting process off and generate a bit of heat.  Most of the material was quite dry so I added water every ten inches or so.  Sometimes I used comfrey liquid but comfrey liquid  is precious and I did not want to waste too much of it on the compost bins.

I like these compost bins because they do not have a bottom and can be pulled off the compost in the same way as you do with sand out of a toy bucket on the beach.
I have taken the compost bin off the compost
and put it to one side.
Geoff Lawton recommends that you compost in piles at least four feet tall and as long as you want. The composting bins are about four feet tall but only about two feet across at the widest point. Bothered?  I don't think so.

The first turning after two days
Various different rhizomes and rhizoids together with raspberry and blackcurrant roots.
The compost was dry so I added water.  Believe it or not this material is decomposing! 
The regime is to turn the contents of the bins every two days and I continue to surprise myself by sticking quite closely to this routine; baby sitting and taxiing people about aside.  It is the first time that I have religiously turned compost like this.  If my compost piles got turned once a year they were very lucky.

Turning the compost into the cuboid bin.  This is the compost after being in the bins for two
After about four days the compost changes colour to a dark grey or black and heats up quite surprisingly.  One of the bins reached 40oC.  I put a bit of water on when turning it to cool it down a little.  After about ten days you should not be able to identify what the compost came from  and it is supposed to take 18 days to completely rot down, however I have continued turning for at least 22 days before I sieved and used the compost.

So, is it working?  Well, remarkably, I think it is.  It is taking longer than the 18 days suggested and there is material that is quite resistant to decomposing but it does work. In order to see what this kind of composting can do, I used raspberry roots, rhubarb roots, docks and old brassica roots.  Needless to say, it is not really rotting these down.  Also some of the material is starting to grow - mainly the couch grass, although I can't see that it can maintain this for long with the number of times that the compost is turned.  

 You really have to sieve the compost well to remove the small amount of live material still growing in it and to remove the larger undecomposed material but when you do it looks like this; 

First batch of compost put on the leeks.
Turning the compost adds lots of air and allows aerobic decomposition.  This kind of decomposition is quicker and generates a lot of heat.  The carbon within the composting organic material is being used both to make microorganism's bodies and to provide them with energy.  In order for the decomposers to get energy from organic matter it has to be "burnt" or metabolised within their bodies and this produces carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide is a gas and is lost to the atmosphere producing a net loss of carbon from the compost.  This is why compost heaps reduce in volume.  Sometimes they go down quite rapidly particularly in hot humid weather.  

In the same way, digging  the soil introduces more air  which, in a similar way to turning compost, allows an increase in aerobic decomposition of organic matter.  The amount of organic matter in the soil is reduced by aerobic microorganisms which use it to produce energy and carbon is lost to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.  So unless this carbon is replaced with organic amendments there will be a net loss of carbon from the soil, a reduction of the cation exchange capacity and  a loss of soil friability.    As organic matter is used up by aerobic microorganisms, the food source is depleted leading to a reduction in their population.  The statement that digging kills microorganisms and destroys soil structure is a poor, confusing short hand for this process.  

After about 22 days of turning every other day, I sieved  the compost and  put the first batch around the leeks to give them a few nutrients; earth them  up a little and to mulch the ground.  You can still see the remains of the rhizomes and rhizoids but there is no regeneration - at the moment.  It has a greyish colour rather than a rich black of cold composted material.   .  Earthing up leeks produces longer blanched stems and doing this with compost may produce bigger leeks.  I will put the second batch of compost on the leeks too to earth them up  higher still.

Using the compost to earth up the leeks.  
As you can see, the compost seems to be doing its several jobs. Whatever,  the leeks are growing away well now and I should have some good plants by the winter.  

The Leeks will be harvested about Christmas time to late winter.  I will cover them with envirofleece in August to prevent the leek miner fly affecting them.  I was going to do it straight away but the enviromesh does restrict  light getting to the plants.  They have grown very quickly because they are in full sun for all of the day.  Once the beans grow up and thicken out their foliage, they will shade this part of the allotment in the afternoon.  I would like the leeks to be as big as possible before this happens.  

Runner beans reaching the top of the canes.

Runner beans along the path between my allotment and the new car park.  
The runner beans Phaseolus coccineus have reached the top of the canes and the growing tips will be pinched out to encourage side shoots from lower down.  As I have so many seeds saved from last year, I decided to plant as many as I could under the canes.  They are nitrogen fixers so growing them towards the highest part of the allotment will allow the nitrogen fixed by the bacteria in the roots to be washed through the soil towards the lowest area.  The nitrogen will come from the turn over of roots that occurs naturally during the season.  

Also planting runner beans here means that they will shield the allotment from prying eyes and the north east wind during the late summer.  

I am trying to make some charcoal with the big metal bins, however I cannot make holes in the bottom.  I don't know what the bin was but it certainly is a tough one.  The bin on the inside is the retort where the organic matter is cooked into charcoal.  

I have hit it using several different chisels with absolutely no effect - not even a dent.   Something else to puzzle out.  
The strawberries have nearly finished now.  I have had an adequate crop off them particularly as I only planted them in October last year.  They are getting a little untidy now so I will put some pots with compost for the runners to root into and cut the rest off.  

Onions under the fleece.
I am not the best onion grower in the world and usually get very averagely sized onions, shallots and garlic.  But this year, the onions, shallots and garlic have done remarkably and are well above average size (for me that is).  With the rain we have had today, I might even get big onions!  

Best onions I have grown.
I grew all of these onions from seed and they have been covered with envirofleece since they were transplanted into the ground.  The envirofleece is to keep Phytomyza  gymnostoma (leek miner fly) off the onions, which it also infects.  Although it seems not to be so prevalent this year, it is endemic in the West Midlands.

The elephant garlic is next to the greenhouse.  The ordinary garlic is next and there are a few
shallots bottom right.  
This is the first place that I mulched and have had to mulch it again because it was disappearing quite rapidly.  I think that worms were taking it into the top soil.  Usually the garlic would be going over by now but this year it has kept growing.  You can see the tips are going brown now  and they will be harvested in a week or two.  The garlic and onions have had one application of comfrey liquid but nothing else.  The whole allotment has been mulched to some extent with woody chippings.  They don't seem to have affected my vegetables adversely so I will continue to use them.  

Black currants covered in nets.
The soft fruit cuttings that I bought from the old allotment have fruited mightily this year, although the pigeons have been doing their best to eat them all.  

I have planted these fruit bushes too close together because they were only little cuttings when I put them in.  I will have to space them out a little better during the winter.

Black currant and gooseberry cuttings from the old allotment.
Lots of fruit this year.
I have had to net all of the soft fruit except the raspberries, loganberries and blackberries.  I should probably have netted these too but I have run out of nets.  The currants and gooseberries are not ready to harvest yet so I will leave them another week or so to ripen.  

The Glen Ample and Malins Admiral raspberries are being eaten (by me) as they ripen.  They are picked for elevenses cup of tea and afternoon cup of tea when I eat them reclining on one of my white garden chairs contemplating nature.  Only the cream or yoghurt is missing.  

I have a lacewing box and a ladybird box nailed to the raspberry posts.  I have a noticeable number of ladybirds adults and larva but no lacewings as such.  I think that lacewings hatch out later in the summer.  

Raspberries alongside the path.
Some of the autumn fruiting raspberries that I planted in January and February have not grown very well.  They will do much better next year so I just have to be patient.  I have put comfrey round them and mulched with woody chippings but this has not really made much difference. 

I have cut the hedge back so that I can get past without injury and the cuttings have been swept under the raspberries as a mulch.  Comfrey and ransoms have been planted under the hedge.  The ransoms have gone over now and are dying back.  

Fruit with the little leaning Conference pear by the shed.
The little leaning Conference pear tree is covered in pears again this year.  The pears will have to be thinned but I am waiting to see how many windfalls I get before taking out too many.  I will use this tactic with the other top fruit as well.  While the Timperley Early rhubarb is growing well, the Champagne rhubarb plants are still struggling.  They were planted in March this year and I am not expecting them to grow very well until they are thoroughly settled.  They were planted with mycorrhizal fungi and this should help them become established much quicker than otherwise.  

Cold frame
The cold frame contains lettuce, borecole, kale and winter cabbage that all need to be transplanted.  I have room for some of these but it is a bit of a squeeze.  

If I can transplant these plants fairly soon, I can use the cold frame to sow some more lettuce and radish.  The basil has germinated but is not growing very fast at the moment.  I will leave the basil plants in the cold frame until maturity and harvest them from the frame.  

Potato beds looking from the greenhouse path

Potato beds looking from the big shed.
The potatoes have suffered from the hot dry weather.  I still have not got enough organic matter in the soil for them to flourish with as much vigour as they did on  the old allotment.   I could have irrigated them with the hose but it would have taken considerable time and effort and I couldn't be bothered. When the earlies come out I have a green manure of rye, tares and crimson clover to sow in their stead.   I will leave the green manure on the bed until next March when I will dig it in and plant the onions.  

So, they have gone a bit yellow and so much for my rule of not having any yellow leaves on the allotment.  I had to take out all of the Red Duke of York potatoes because their foliage was dying back really badly.  I was going to use the early potatoes for salads mostly so these small ones were ideal.  I just boil them and leave them to go cold to be added to salad on the plate.  

Taking the Red Duke of York out gave me a space to sow some more seed.  I could not use this ground to transplant the cold frame brassicas or lettuce because it would ruin my rotation plan.  So the space has been filled with field beans as a green manure.  

Little leaning apple tree.

The little leaning apple tree seems to be swamped by the potatoes but it has produced a lot of apples regardless.   

A lot of the lettuce has been cropped
Slugs are back on the lettuce and so I await my last batch of anti slug nematode worms with impatience.  They should come either this week or next.   I have sown mixed leaves and radish in the gaps where the lettuce have been harvested.  I have also sown Lollo Rosso, Freckles and Robinsons lettuce in pots and left them in the cold frame.  The greenhouse will be too hot for them to germinate.

I have harvested the Good King Henry and left it in the shed to dry for seed.
The Chenopodium bonus henricus has sent up some good seed heads producing seeds that I will save for next year. Really you can only harvest Good King Henry leaves twice at most before it goes to seed.  However, the chard should not have gone to seed so quickly.  I might just take the seed heads off and leave the plants but they will not do as well after they have thrown up seed heads.  

Celeriac, celery, Florence fennel, lettuce and beetroot.
The florence fennel, celeriac and celery are growing well but are still quite small.  I really could have done with harvesting some of them by now.  I should have fed them with comfrey liquid a little more to bring them on.  Never mind...

The beetroot continue to grow as beetroot does producing some roots that could be harvested now.  I will boil, slice and pickle them to add to salads.   Later in the year I will just boil them and eat them as an ordinary vegetable.

They don't look very impressive under the enviromesh but the carrots are quite big.  
I am harvesting the carrots by thinning them.  The plants have grown so big that they are pulling the envirofleece up.  This may give carrot root fly an opportunity to get in but carrot root fly seem to be quite scarce this year.  I might even take the enviromesh off completely but I will put it on again in August.  I think that there is another generation of flies that lay eggs later in the year.  

The parsnips have done much better than last year.
The parsnips have benefitted from being watered with comfrey liquid.  I am not going to thin them this year because I only want small ones.  The enormous ones I got last year were a little overwhelming.  They are much better this year than last year.  I thought that they had been affected by carrot root fly last year but they were in the same ground as the Red Duke of York, that did so poorly, were this year. Therefore I think there is something wrong  with the soil.  This area of the ground was where the big "compost" mound was and probably where they made fires.  Fires do nasty things to soil and it can take several years before their effects can be ameliorated.  I will try to do this by adding lots of organic matter in the form of well rotted farmyard manure or compost.   

The lavender has finished flowering now and I am taking off the flowers and shaping the plants using the secateurs.  They are a little woody and scissors would not cut them back very well.  The more they are cut back the more new flowering stems you get. I also cut back the big lavender by the pond and it looks much better now.

The lavender by the pond has been cut back to form a smooth, compact dome.  
The pond is habitat for at least one frog and one newt; both of which feed on slugs.  I have been removing the duckweed and  spirogyra and putting them on the compost.  This helps to remove nutrients from the pond and keep the water clear.  There are lots of water plants in the pond and some will have to be thinned at the end of summer.  Among the plants around the pond are two types of mint and sweet cicely.  I had to move the sundial round a little last week because it was slow.  I will have to remember to wind it up more regularly.   

Greenhouse peppers, melons and cucumbers
I am able to keep the peppers, melons and cucumbers alive if not thriving.  While this is not a first it is noticeable because I find keeping things in pots quite difficult.  I either over or under water and probably over feed.  I was putting comfrey liquid in the water every day for the tomatoes and they really didn't like it very much.  

Greenhouse tomatoes.
Although the tomatoes have a lot of fruit on them they are a little leggy at the top probably because I fed them a little too much.  I have bought a commercial tomato feed now and am applying it once a week which seems to suit them much better.  

Loganberries are ripening now.  There is a lot of new canes growing but I don't really want to
tie these in until I can take out the fruiting canes.
The loganberries, wineberry and blackberry are fruiting very well but only the loganberries are ripening. I will have to wait for the others.  It is a good year for fruit.   

Pumpkins between the blackcurrants.
I have planted four Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkins between the blackcurrants dividing the potato bed from the curbit bed.  With the potatoes going over relatively quickly this year, I want the ground to be covered by the pumpkins.  Past experience makes me think that this could be done with one pumpkin so four should achieve this with little effort.   I am hoping to get some really big pumpkins again this year.  
These four blackcurrants were on the allotment originally and I moved them here in April.  I coppiced them to make them produce a lot of new wood that will fruit next year.  The plants re very healthy at the moment and growing away well.  These plants will be coppiced every year after flowering to produce next years fruiting wood in a bush form.  I will not try to fan train them because this will reduce the fruit I get and keeping them in a fan would take a lot of time.  The top soil here is very deep and full of organic matter.  

I have probably planted these cucurbits much too close together but they look healthy at the moment. I expect them to cover this area with an impenetrable canopy before the end of the summer.  There are several types of squashes and pumpkins together with three courgettes.  I will not need three courgettes because one is more than enough for the whole of Wolverhampton - or seems to be. Squeezed in a line of lettuce here and had to cover it because the pigeons were eating the lettuce.  I am hoping that they will get big enough to harvest before the pumpkins take over and close the canopy.  Not bad because I only finished clearing this area on May 30th 2015.  So this is just one month's growth.  

There is a line of asparagus peas from my own saved seed.  They are growing well and I may keep seed from these plants again this year.  
Asparagus pea alongside the new path.
The new path was put in during April and May this year.  Its not on my allotment but my next door neighbour asked me to dig it out and put concrete slabs on it.  I didn't have enough slabs to reach all the way so the rest is woody chippings.  

In between the sweet corn are pumpkins and climbing french beans
I have tried the three sisters approach with the sweet corn again.  Maybe I will see some difference this time but I don't think that they grow any better than when they are separate.  So sweet corn, french climbing beans and pumpkins are planted in about a metre square.  

The pumpkins were ones given to me and the french beans were from seed collected last year.  They came from the mixed seed tub so they are a number of different varieties.  Hopefully they won't over run the sweet corn.  

Various varieties of outdoor tomatoes.
They were selling off old vegetable seeds at the garden centre so I bought some tomato seed.  I wasn't counting on them germinating, however most of them did.  I had far too many plants so I gave most away but planted these next to the Hunter squashes.  I might even get some tomatoes before they are affected by late blight.

Cucumbers climbing up the wire frames, oca (Oxalis tuberosum) and the few Lollo Rosso
that have not been eaten by slugs.  
The cucumber have eventually decided to climb up the frames now.  I have already harvested one cucumber from these plants and one from the greenhouse cucumbers.  These cucumbers suffered a lot in the cold weather during June and did not start to grow until the beginning of July.  The oca makes a fantastic edging plant.  I have never grown it this big before.  Hope there are a lot of tubers under the plants.  

Peas with chicken wire to climb up
Due to the pigeons flopping onto the rows and devouring the tops, I have had to put shroud like covers over the rows.  It doesn't affect the peas particularly but it does look an eyesore.  Pesky animals.
Shroud like covers over the peas.
The peas are mostly Early Onward but there is also a line of Lincoln and Onward peas too.  Six rows of peas should just be enough to see me through to next year.

On the other side of the path I have got the french beans.  The beans growing up the canes are heritage varieties.  

Dwarf and climbing French beans.  Rosemary and lemon balm edging the path.
Behind these beans I have a row of ordinary French climbing beans. 

Cobra French beans.
Behind these beans I have a row of Bunyards Exhibition broad beans.  They have decided to grow quite large and are nearly as tall as the canes.  

Bunyard Express broad bean and tall climbing peas.

The tall climbing peas have reached the top of the canes now and are beginning to produce pods.  I'm going to carefully keep all the seed for next year because they are heritage varieties.  

Tall climbing peas.  

I kept a lot of broad bean seeds from last year and planted them next to the tall climbing peas.  They have done very well and produced some very big plants but there are not very many pods on them.  

Big broad beans. It doesn't matter how big they grow.  If they don't have pods on them then
they are not very good.  
Broad beans nearly as tall as the tall climbing peas.
I am wondering what I put in the soil along here and I don't think that I did anything different to anywhere else on the allotment.  In fact I think I was worried that this area of soil was very poor and lacking in organic matter and that is why I put the broad beans here.  
Victoria rhubarb.
I have been carefully removing the yellow leaves of the rhubarb to discourage slugs and snails that like to live under them.  There is much less evidence of slug damage on the leaves and little slug damage on plants around the rhubarb.  

I have been attempting to espalier  the apple and pear trees planted between the beds.  However, I still need much more practice I think.  The only reason for making them symmetrical is to get them to use the wires efficiently on both sides.  Otherwise it's just the good growers' rule of thumb - "near enough."
Espaliered pear tree.
The pear trees seem to be a little easier than the apples.

The Ribston Pippin apple tree.  It is espaliered but still needs some work on it.
This is my first successful graft onto an M9 rootstock.  The books say that you should not espalier more than three layers of branches using a dwarfing stock like M9 but I will see if I can get more.  

Forgotten what variety this apple is but it is very prolific.
This apple I got off the cheap table at the garden centre.  It was looking decidedly poorly but has perked up and is fruiting well.  I have had to wangle it so that it espaliers but it is getting there.
I know that these fruit trees are much too close together.  I am going to move the pear but I would like to see if I can pleach the apples together.  Just another skill I would like to develop.  

Doyenné du Comice pear has espaliered fairly well.  
The Doyenne du Comice has espaliered quite well but there are no fruit on it.  It needs pollinators around it and there are two other pears on the allotment so should be adequately provided.  It was a tree that was given to me so I don't know its history very well.
Espaliered Egremont Russet.  Not too bad?
The Egremont Russet was another tree rescued from the garden centre, It was on its last legs but it seems to have recovered now.

Espaliering the top fruit trees and fan training the currants means that I get the maximum fruit from a flat shaped tree.  There will be shading but not to the extent of a standard tree and they will make a boundary for the beds.   The trees are still very young and several were on their last legs when I bought them so I am not really expecting much from them for a while.  They are ideal for developing and practising my pruning skills on.  However, I am hoping to get some really good espaliered trees as well.

Sweet Peas
If you are going to grow a break crop in a rotation you can't go wrong with sweet peas.  They give the ground a rest from vegetables; add nitrogen to the soil because they are legumes; produce some beautiful cut flowers for the house and raise a bit of money for charity.  

Not sure that I like that flesh pink colour.  
I have put clarkia under the sweet peas but it is not flowering yet.

I must admit a good row of sweet peas.

The sweet peas are growing to the tops of the canes now and will have to be layered soon.  As they are growing so well and do not have the dreaded yellowing disease, I might be predisposed to give layering a go later in the month.  I mixed up the colours this year just to see if it made a better display.  I don't know whether it makes any difference at all.  I had quite a few failures to germinate in some of the varieties but still had more than enough to fill the bed.  The poor germination was probably down to erratic watering rather than poor seed.

The "Opal" plum tree new shoots were covered in aphid so I took them off.  New wood has grown to replace the shoots taken off but these too have been infected with aphid.  I am loath to use any insecticide so will continue just to use water or comfrey liquid in the sprayer to clean them off.  There are one or two plumbs on the tree this year but they may become windfall before they ripen.

The red grape has actually grown the way that I wanted it to this year.  Each of the verticals have a bunch of grapes on them.
Grape with clarkia growing underneath.

I am using the guyot system to train the grapes.  Maybe the verticales are a little close together but with only one bunch on each I think that it will be alright.  Looking forward to some good grapes this year.  

Big cabbages.
These are Brunswick cabbages which are renown for growing particularly big.  I planted the seed in October last year and planted out the seedlings in March.  They have grown quite big but I really wanted them to be bigger.  It is just an ego thing to impress the rest of the allotment site.  They are very easy to grow!
Calabrese, red cabbage and stonehead cabbage are also under the net.  

Cauliflower under the scaffold netting.
The cauliflowers have grown so large that they  are pulling the netting up.  I have put another net over them but this is just a temporary measure because it is restricting light getting to the plants.  The nets are important this year because there is cabbage root fly about.  

More calabrese and stonehead cabbage
I think that I might have overdone the cabbage this year.  I may use the cabbage to raise some money for charity.   Anyone for organic cabbage?
Herbs along the path.
Herbs continue to grow well.  They are supposed to give off a scent as you walk by crushing their leaves but they are growing so well that they are not flopping onto the path to be walked on.  I let the sage flower this year mainly to get the scent.
Fan trained peach tree.
The peach tree has sent up quite a lot of new growth and I have tied most of it onto the horizontal wires.  It has not become too overgrown in the center and I have taken off any shoots growing outward.  There isn't any fruit on it but I was not expecting any, this being its first year.  I have put the seven good apple grafts behind the peach to keep them away from my feet.  Last year I lost two grafts because I stepped on them.  The grafts are growing away really well.  I will not plant them in their final planting areas until September.  I have planned to plant them around the growing beds copying the way espaliers were used in Victorian kitchen gardens.

Cherry tomatoes in the peach tree greenhouse.  I have pinched these out and will not let
them grow any bigger.  
The cherry tomatoes are beginning to ripen now.  They have quite big trusses so I am expecting a big harvest.  I don't want them growing into the roof because the tomatoes they set there rarely ripen so I have taken out the growing tips.  Best they put all their energy into growing the tomatoes already on the plants.

Marmande tomato plants in the peach greenhouse.
The Marmande beefsteak tomatoes have not grown up to the horizontal wire yet so they will be left to grow on until they do.  They are producing tomatoes now and they are getting quite big relatively quickly.

The late maturing brassicas are on the top bed next to the trackway.

Brussel sprouts,
There are also some winter cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli, kale and borecole
in this bed.  The few spring onions and lambs lettuce will be harvested today. 
There are also some swede and kohlrabi near the path.
The plants are quite small because I want them to mature after Christmas.
 After walking around the allotment you need a sit down on one of my white, plastic garden chairs.  


I used some of my own compost in the hanging baskets.

Cheap plants from the garden centre in my own compost.
So that's a tour around the allotment at the moment.  Hopefully everything will grow well and pest free so that I can harvest it during the summer.  The allotment was judged on Monday 6th of July so I await the results with trepidation.  No I don't.  The prize is the wholesome vegetables I harvest - I am a winner every year.