The Big Allotment Challenge.

Will you be watching tonight? I will, with great interest. Not just because it’s about allotments, but because my friend Sally and I auditioned last year for this. We got down to the last 12 pairs of people, and they needed 9 pairs. Still never mind! The Big Allotment Challenge tonight on BBC2 at 8pm.¬†Good luck to everyone involved, and hope you have fun.

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Monday 14th April 2014 – More potting on.

Well this afternoon I spent more time potting on some seedlings. Today was the turn of the Cabbage “Primo (II)” and the Brussels Sprouts “Camelot F1″. I started with the Brussels and apparently there were supposed to be 40 seeds in the packet. I potted on 36 for myself, then 9 for my sister, and I was still left with at least another 15 -20! Most of them were a bit small and scrawny, so not really any good for anyone. I then moved on to my Cabbage. Why would a pack have 500 seeds in, and then they expect you to use them all in 2 years? I know we love cabbage, but just think of the wind it would produce!! Anyway, I potted on again 36 for myself, and 9 for my sister, and will have to have a think about what to do with the rest. I must have about 20 or so left, but we’ve got an allotment plant sale coming up in May, so I’ll see if I can find space to store them until then. That’s all for today, see you tomorrow…..Claire out!

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Monday 14th April 2014 – And then there were more!

I had a quick look at my birdies today, and this is what I saw….10 little eggs all neatly huddled together. I’m very proud.

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Sunday 13th April 2014 – Let’s get potting up!

I spent the afternoon in the greenhouse sorting out various seedlings and potting them up. The greenhouse is getting quite full now, which is great. I’m having to shuffle bits about to make extra room. But I’ve still got loads more to sow, so that’ll be fun finding space for them. So far I potted up my Butternut Squash “Hercules”, Kohl Rabi “Modrava” and my Cauliflower “Graffiti”. I took the very best for myself, and the next best I’ve potted up and will give to my sister. I did the same last year, and she got a variety of seedlings as and when I did them. She’s only got a small garden (smaller than mine actually) and so uses the borders and various pots to plant all her fruit and vegetables in. With the allotment this morning and the garden this afternoon, I’m pooped, so pj’s on and time for bed (said Zebedee).

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Sunday 13th April 2014 – Broad Beans are a go go!

After bell ringing this morning I popped down to the allotment for a couple of hours to get a few bits sorted. Firstly it was the Broad Beans going in. I started them off in the greenhouse this year. Last year I tried sowing them outside straight away, and none of them germinated at all. I have a greater success rate when starting them off in the greenhouse, I think all but 2 germinated. I planted them out in 2 beds. Some with the onions and others with the potatoes. I had a bit of room left in each bed, so managed to get them all in comfortably. When you plant them outside, make sure that you plant them 9 inches apart. This should give them enough room to grow, and also support each other if they get really tall. I’ve sown the Aguadulce variety this year, and I’ve grown them before and they seem to do really well. I also sowed another short row of Radish “Vienna F1 Hybrid”. I had sown a short row about a month ago, and they’re growing nicely, so hopefully by the time I’ve eaten the first lot, the second lot will be ready. I’ll sow another line in about a months time, and so on, until I run out of seeds, that way I should get a good supply throughout the summer. I then turned over another bed and prepared the soil ready to sow this years Beetroot “Chioggia”. Beetroot did fabulously well last year, and just kept on growing as the temperature stayed warm. Hopefully I’ll have another great year with them, but only time will tell. I then got bitten by something whilst I was weeding, I’m not sure what it was, but I think it was a red ant. The little bugger got me 3 times and in the most bizzare place, on the underside of the top of my arm, just below my arm pit!! How it got up there is anyones guess.

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Winkworth Arboretum

I know I’ve taken the kids here several times before, but it really is a beautiful place to go and have a wander. When I mentioned where we were going the kids asked “Is it the place with all those bridges?” They were please when I said “Yes!” because we like to play the Bridge game which is a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We don’t get flung off the bridge if we don’t know the answer, but it’s good fun.

What is your name? What is your quest? What......?

What is your name? What is your quest? What……?

We took our own lunch with us, and after having a bit of a wander about we sat down and ate. The views are beautiful whether you’re down in the Badgers Bowl or up at one of the view points. The trees are coming into leaf now and they look amazing.

Just one of the breath taking views at Winkworth

Just one of the breath taking views at Winkworth

After George had played in the trees like a monkey and Emily had seen how deep various area of the lake were, it was time to have an ice cream and then come home.

George being a monkey in the trees.

George being a monkey in the trees.


It only takes us about 45 minute to get to Winkworth which is brilliant. I expect we’ll go back again before the year is out, hopefully in the summer and have a picnic in the Rowe’s Flashe Meadow.

The lake where we saw 2 baby duckling!

The lake where we saw 2 baby duckling!

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Thursday 10th April 2014 – Lots more seeds!

Well I had an exciting time in the greenhouse this afternoon sowing some seeds that can be sown from April onwards. Firstly I sowed some Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds that I’d saved from my pumpkin last year. I managed to grow a decent sized one, but hopefully I’ll be abe to grow an even bigger one this year. When saving seeds from the previous year, you have to make sure that you wash and dry them thoroughly. I left mine on some kitchen towel on the kitchen window sill for several weeks. They did stick to the paper a bit, but that doesn’t matter. I then put them in a paper envelope and labelled them. Don’t put them in a plastic bag, otherwise they may go mouldy. Before you sow them, you need to make sure they’re viable, which means they will grow. You can do this by gently pressing the seed, and if it feels firm then they’re ok. If it’s soft they won’t grow. I then sowed some more Ambrosia Cantaloupe Melon seeds that I got from Chuck Fenster. They grew well last year, so hopefully I’ll get some more good melons again. Also some Lettuce “Beet Bulls Blood Soldier” which I did get from Thompson and Morgan, but they don’t seem to do it anymore, Cucamelons, Chop Suey Greens, Leeks “Musselburgh”, Broccoli Spring Sprouting Mixture and finally some more Celery “Sigfrido” I did sow some a while back, but nothing has happened. The seeds are a little past their best (should have been sown by December 2012) but I’ll give them another go.

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