The Sun is back in town! 17th Feb ’19

It’s warmer, the cut grass aroma overwhelms the senses and the increase in activity on the allotment site all culminate in the clarion call ‘Spring is here!’

My agenda today was to build the shed we were donated late last summer.  Shed number 4 (shhh don’t tell Charlie, he already believes we are trying to build an eco-village!)

Fiona had a mission to prepare seed bomb materials for The South Essex Seed potato day next Saturday,  a double whammy as our seed stores have been getting out of hand.  Fi’s deft hands brought order to the seeds and potted up dozens of Strawberry plants for the stall to boot.

Volunteer Mark helped me with clearing new shed site of tuffty grass before laying slabs on leveled and compacted soil ready for the super 7 feet by 10 feet shed.  This is going to be a wildlife museum, where you can learn about all the creatures that frequent the plot.

It was good to been joined by Kathy who keen as mustard worked her way through the weeds in the raised beds with forensic accuracy.

With the warm sun, little in the way of wind and just the sounds of the birds and the insects for company, time seemed to drift away and lunch was well overdue by the time we sat down to lentil soup, bread rolls and some naughty sticky flapjack.  Great food, nice conversation and fresh air, absolutely lovely.

Looking forward to the growing season ahead, we will be getting some broad beans, onions, on the go and peppers and cabbage underglass.

 

 

Thanks for your interest and hope to see you down on the community allotment for the next taster day Saturday 4th March.

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The great rhubarb move

Great day on the plot, bright, dry, no wind, not too cold and a bed full of overgrown rhubarb plants needing thinning. The physical activity was welcome after the Xmas food abundance:)

The plants were competing with each other and dried out in summer so we wanted to leave only three in the bed.

We were joined by Steve who got on with clearing the bed. The soil was nice as attested by the many worms thanks to mulching over the years. We had some compost left over and wanted it incorporated as well.

I have dropped of a supply of manure onto our compost heap. The middle one has sunk around a half meter already thanks to the rains washing down loads of nitrogen and minerals in the clay, manure and coffee grounds.

Duncan won’t be too pleased as the fox ate the tube from the solar fountain, again… We will need to upgrade to kevlar tubing:)

There was time for a coffee and pancakes break, hot water bottles placed strategically kepy us comfy.

Then we planted some rhubarb in containers to share with the community. We planted our rhubarb crowns in the new compost in the bed. Steve took some crowns for his gardening project.

Before we went we had a moment to admire the bed finished last week by Charlie with the horseradish leaves sticking out waiting for summer.

Thanks for all the help and have a great New Year.

Saying goodbye to 2018

You could say it was all about the horseradish today.

We had some great sunshine accompanying us while we were clearing the corner bed to fill it with our compost.

Charlie joined us before he takes up a position at an independent school and got to dig up the horseradish. He likes it grated in vinegar, I will make a sauce and add some to cooked and grated beetroots. Delicious. The roots take care of themselves so it is one of my favourite plants.

I covered our new bay of compost in the making with some coffee grounds and animal bedding. The heap was mostly carbon so far. The addition of nitrogen will help start the decompositiom process but we nees plenty more of the greens and other sources of N.

The vine looks very modest after Duncan’s prunning and will be ready to explode with leaves and fruit next year.

We had a hearty lunch and chatted about different psychological and community processes we are interested in.

Charlie stayed on to finish with the bed.

Thanks for the help in 2018, I hope you enjoyed our adventurea and see you next year peeps.

Last days of 2018

We braved it and there we were ready to tackle the sprawling grapevine which blessed us with kilograms of sweets fruit and the triangle bed which was home to the broad beans and some strawberries which sneaked their way in.

Duncan did a quick online course on pruning and there he was bringing order. I used our homemade compost to enrich the bed and planted Just add Cream strawberry saplings. Oh what a feast this will be.

Join us in 2019.

Sat 10th Novem ’18 Notice no Berrhh in November ;-)

A bonus warm and bright day just perfect for late season pottering and preparing the plot for the winter weather, which must be arriving at some stage?

Fiona and I arrived on the plot and were greeted with the burst of autumnal colour  and begun with a bit of mooching to got a feel for what the plot seemed to need.

We decided to hold off on the grape vine pruning until the leaves had fully dropped.

Fiona set about cutting back the lavender bushes which sit at the start of the raised beds and really need transplanting so they can grow free.  Fiona took the opportunity to attempt to bring some cuttings on.  Lavender hedges are not only fragrantly beautiful but useful too.  Meanwhile I set about connecting the sheds guttering up to our mega butt.

Meanwhile regular volunteers Susan and linda immersed themselves in some titivating of the raised beds while chit chatting and soaking up the rays.

After a satisfying mornings session we were more than ready for one of Fiona’s nutritious bean stews, mopped up with french loafs donated by the Co-op’s surplus food programme.

We will leave you with a few more photos and look forward to welcoming you to join us for next community allotment installment where you could learn how to prune a grape vine correctly for great yields, talk compost or just enjoy a cup of tea in the fresh air.  Next plot day  Sunday 25th Nov 10-2pm.

Thanks for your interest Duncan and the team.:-)

 

Bonfire Celebrations

At this time of the year our allotment society allows bonfires for a limited time. It is a time to clear up debris on the plot and generate valuable potash. Also it is a lot of fun! We on the Southend on Transition plot make the most of it by having a cook out as well. It is becoming a bit of a tradition.

bonfire19

It was a beautiful balmy autumm morning when we arrived on the plot. It was already smoky from a number of other bonfires. Work started on chopping wood and bulding up the fire, a carefully chosen spot away from our new fruit trees. I had noticed that some other people had built up their bonfire a few weeks before. This can be dangerous to hedgehogs and other small creatures. Please check your woodpile and bonfire pile before lighting it.

Friends and new friends arrived, lots of happy children and adults.

As the coals burnt down a bit the feast was set cooking. Alicja did a marvelous job feeding lots of hungry tums. There was chat, music and a bit of work. Our magnificent pumkins and squashes were harvested.

And there was cake and of course marshmallows to toast and a yummy contribution, chocolate stuffed bannanas to cook on the fire.

The flames were built higher and I felt the additional warmth of friendship and community spirit. The afternoon shadows grew longer but we were in no hurry to leave.

And then it was the moment Nella had been waiting for … firefighter practice. As the she wielded the hosepipe professionally she was engulfed in smoke and shouted triumphantly ” I am the best firefighter” …thats girl power!

 

Another fine day on the plot.