Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

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Day 1 at the allotment!

I was at the allotment for about 6 hours today, lots of digging and weeding and getting to know other plot-holders. One bed was manured last year and may have had potatoes as their last crop so I shall probably put peas and beans there, the other had bolted brassica remaining on it so I think that will be good for my potatoes.

Another allotment holder offered to rotate a bed or two for me once I had dug the weeds out, probably tomorrow, it will be lovely if he does, I’m back there on Wednesday so we will see. He also gave me some spare onion sets, so I have promised him tomatoes in return!

My allotment came with a shed, a couple of water butts a couple of compost bins, a couple of chairs, a couple of rhubarb plants, assorted bamboo, pallets, frames, an old incinerator and paving slabs. After digging two beds clear I pulled up some old beetroot crop on another bed and added them to the compost bins, moved a few of the slabs to the other end to create a little patio and piled the weeds up neatly before I packed up to go home. I have no idea what I am going to do with them, possibly make a green water feed with one of the water butts, I shall have to read up!

Whilst I was there I saw red kites in the air, robins & wagtails spending time finding food in the soil and swifts flying rather slowly over the freshly dug earth. I also saw big black slugs twice the size of my thumb. I have never seen slugs that big before.

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Veggie Plant Sale

This afternoon I held a little plant sale, I had been worried whether to hold it at all due to the weather forecast, but the day before I decided to go for it and advertised.

Thank you to those who popped by, a reminder; plant info is located here.

The sun showed it’s face for a while and in the end it didn’t rain! I sold a few plants, enough to pay for my allotment for the year anyhow!

I must say I rather enjoyed it, it was lovely that a friend popped over for a natter, plus in the downtime I had the chance to plant my beetroot seedlings and pot on my nasturtium.

There’s still quite a few plants leftover so I might see what the weather is like next weekend, maybe another sale will pay for some organic compost from Haddenham Garden Centre, any leftover can go in the allotment if not!

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Allotment dramas

Well. I added myself to the Parish allotment waiting list a while back, I understood there were people ahead of me so it could take a while. There’s a site that the National Trust manages in the village too – I think it’s part of the Waddesdon Manor Estate – so I added my name to that whilst I was at it.

Suffice to say, there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing due to a misunderstanding about where plot 12 actually was – turns out the plot shown to me might actually be half of plot 4 and plot 12 might be overgrown land that hadn’t been worked for at least 4 years and had brambles growing on it. During this confusion I had started growing plants in readiness to plant.

In the meantime whilst I’m waiting to hear back on what’s happening with the plot, I have spoken to the Clerk to see where I am on the council list (next in line!) and I heard a rumour in the gardening community that one of the allotment-holders might be handing his plot back rather than paying for another year (it’s the time of year for renewals)…. finally this evening I had a surprise call to say I was all good to sign up, and that the last person would be leaving me a shed etc. very exciting news!

Well of course I had to nip over to the plot straight away to check it out! There were slightly raised beds (with winter weeds and some manure), a couple of compost heaps, a couple of rhubarb plants and a water-butt – allotment heaven! As soon as my agreement arrives tomorrow I’m signing up, in the meantime I can get digging on it in the morning!

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April showers

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There’s been a few sunny days with lots of April showers recently, which I guess is only to be expected!

Here are a few things happening in the garden currently:

I’ve had a couple of dramas trying to get an allotment, which I shall mention in another post, but suffice to say the plants I have been getting ready to go on the plot are pretty much ready and I have no plot to put them on!

I’m thinking of having a plant sale to sell my excess plants but I’m not sure what the weather will be doing from one day to the next so it’s difficult to organise. Although I might just have a couple over a few Sundays and advertise locally. I’ve also been toying with the idea of setting up my own garden services business. Watch this space!

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New Allotment!

I’ve been a little busy in the last couple of weeks, everything is growing, lots more seedlings and so lots of jobs in the garden, I have taken one or two snaps in the garden, plus I have a couple of recipes to add to the site, hence why a slight delay in an update.

Another reason is I have been organising taking over a new allotment in the village as well as starting up a new blog: http://allotmentsite.wordpress.com/my-allotment/starting-out/ which is probably just as well as I have lots to plant out. That or maybe sell a few tomato and bean plants to help pay for organic compost!

Now we have the return of some decent weather I shall be taking some photos of what’s happening, but here are a couple to show what has happened in the last couple of weeks:

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Apple tree sprouted leaves in about 2 days flat (3rd April)

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Bee emerging from grass drying his wings stopped for a refuel on a flower (10th April)

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Companion planting

I have been doing a lot of reading up on companion planting recently to refresh myself on what plants grow better together, those that don’t like to grow together and those that help deter pests. The garlic already sown should repel slugs (as well as cats!) and carrots and garlic grown together helps both. Onions sown with carrots helps to mask the smell of carrot fly (and the carrots confuse onion fly) and there is some evidence that garlic may help peas, but possibly stunt the pea’s growth, so it’s nearby, but not too near. I also read that lettuce helps onions and carrots and vice versa. I have sown in the marked rows: spring onion, Lilya on the left, then carrot, early Nantes 5, then spring onion white Lisbon, then a row of Garden Lettuce seeds – a lucky dip from a seed swap, all I noted down was ‘Lactuca saliva’ so it could end up growing as anything! Around these rows I have transplanted a few French marigold seedlings, with the hope that the slugs might give them a chance to grow, if not, I have held plenty back and have enough seeds to re-sow if needed. Finally at the back I added in 3 types of peas (in soda bottle cloches) with the intent of training them up the fence. There’s room in the bed to do successive sowing.

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the layout

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French Marigold, Naughty Marietta seedlings near garlic cloves

Once the carrot and onion seeds start to grow, I will consider what other herbs I might want to grow interspersed between the veggies. The garden still seems to attract bees and a Peacock butterfly even landed on my head the other day as I was watering. I just wish the slugs and ants would find a new home! The cats are learning not to visit so often, this could be garlic related, or it could be that I just made their favourite facilities too wet for their liking. I had a chance to try some herbal medicine today; I stung the back of my hand on a nettle whilst planting and it wouldn’t stop itching, so I did as I learned as a child, found a dock leaf and rubbed the bruised juices on the sting – instant relief! Green Garden Gate Waddesdon


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Potatoes!

My Arran pilot potatoes are just breaking through the surface of the soil, exactly one month after planting.

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