Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Gardening club at the school

I am so over the moon that the school now has a gardening club and that Owen chose to join it. Secretly I'm even pleased that I offered to help out. It really is fun to see the kids digging in the dirt. My group found a millipede, the poor thing came under such close scrutiny especially from the boys.

I love going along as I have no idea what I will be doing and I don't even need to worry about planning it as it's not my club. For the last two weeks I have helped plant out strawberry transplantings into two old white sinks. The kids are keen but very chaotic.

I have no expertise to offer as I know little about running a club and just have some haphazard gardening knowledge. Teacher will be all to aware of this if she takes a peek at my plot, which is a stones throw away from hers, as the limitation of my knowledge is on full display. The good thing is one of the gardening gurus from the allotment site (often to be found in the shop that I find a little intimidating) visited today to offer advice. I think he was a little surprised I was there but he quickly realised it was in the context of mother not gardening guru.

I wonder what we are going to do as the year unfolds, I'm keen for suggestions of things to do especially if it is raining. I want to be helpful not pushy as I could really empathise with Mrs Be and the new help for her club. Mind you if I just keep checking in with 'Carrots and Kids' I'll have no problems as I expect to see lots of good suggestions to follow.

These gardening clubs seem to be all the rage at the moment and I'm not used to being fashionable so its going to be a strange experience.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Everybody's at their plots

I had trouble parking down at the site today. It was literally bristling with activity everywhere. I popped into the shop to pay my membership and order potatoes and onions for next year. I got a little bit of chat today, I do find the shop a little bit intimidating probably because when you order stuff you have to give your plot number and I feel that I'm judged as soon as I say it as a hopeless grower. They know the state of my plot and are I think often on the brink of penning me a letter about it.

On the plot next door they were putting up a new shed which they seemed to be having fun deciphering the instructions, but intuitively had put it together very quickly.

I left on my own this morning to get on with some digging the others were to join me later about lunchtime. We got quite a bit done, I have space now for planting garlic and winter onions. John strimmed a large area of grassy weeds ready for us to mulch and cover overwinter, this is where the spuds are going in next year.

Owen was very industrious he built a dinosaur sculpture out of garden bits and pieces. He also found some earthworms, it is impossible to explain to a 5 year old that he shouldn't touch earthworms as they don't like it.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sunday catchup

It's lovely to have had such a warm and bright weekend even with the sad damp note of autumn wafting on the breeze. Autumn is my favourite time of year, the colour of the leaves turning, the anticipation of warm fires and wearing woolly jumpers and a sense of new plans hatching. I think the sense of a new start at this time of year comes from being a child and having the start of the school year, and this is heightened by Owen now being at school.

I have such a large new beginning this autumn, with being back at work. Oh and the mad plans that I listed in my last post well none of that happened last week after work as - the baby was unwell and a total how do we manage work,home etc panic set in.

So Sunday has been catch up day. I cut back the first lot of raspberries and weeded around my leeks. I just couldn't quite get around to do digging in the time that I had.

Still we did manage to get a visit to a garden centre today, they had a bucket of 50p seeds packets and I got this little lot. I thought I would give seed sprouting a try as they were so cheap. I hope they taste good well at least it is something that I could grow that the slugs won't eat!

This working lark is really tiring I really hope that no one else is ill this week as I've got an allotment and garden to sort out.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Quick the sun's out

This afternoon we took advantage of the sunshine and headed to the patch. It's apparently the new year for gardeners according to the new guy on gardeners world. So I thought that I would resolve to make a good start to the year and do something today.

In fact, that is not the reason that I need to crack on and be organised about my cultivation. Time is short now as d-day arrived and I returned to work on Monday after a year of maternity leave. I'm shattered already. And I'm over whelmed by the amount of conversation that I have had to be part of this week after the strange quiet of being at home with a baby. Yes baby's are very noisy but its a noise that requires less concentration than complex conversation. Huw seems to be happy at nursery and after a full week there he seems to have developed loads in confidence and in his walking, lets hope it continues. I do miss him and I would prefer to spend my time at the allotment with him than at work if I had a choice, but who wouldn't? On Friday the week ended on a high with Huw's birthday, I even managed to cook a carrot cake to celebrate.

Huw almost at one point today seemed happy with the familiarity of being taken to the allotment today. However this did not last and wailing was a large feature of the time we were there.

One of the main things achieved at the plot today had to be John putting together the pallets I got ages ago (through freecycle) I now have a fantastic compost bin. Thank you.

I started clearing ground and digging an area of he patch over - there's loads to do!

The plan for this week if I get down to the plot after work (highly ambitious I think!) is:
  • cut back the first bed of raspberries
  • dig the area where the gladioli are
  • cut down the nettles for compost
  • weed around the leeks (again)
A final shock is that Owen wants to join the school gardening club, this is a new club for this year run by his teacher. His teacher has a plot at our site and not too far from ours. His teacher was there working today, now what is the etiquette for this situation? Should we walk over and say hello? I think possibly not as the reasons for being their might be to escape from work etc and you wouldn't want to have to be sociable with one of the snotty urchins when you have relaxed enough to forget about them. Although I would like to have taken a look at teachers plot just to see if he will come back with some good tips from gardening club! Lets see if Owens enthusiasm lasts I'm not convinced it will.

In a mad moment I thought I'd offer to help with the club if she is inundated with interested children, but I've restrained myself from saying anything until my worklife is more settled - Mrs Be at carrots and kids might approve of me getting involved as she runs a great gardening club.

Finally, we also have livestock at green patch - can you see whats hiding in our weeds?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Fantastic Sunday Dinner

Tonight we had the best meal so far from our allotment, pink fir potatoes and corn on the cob. It was the sweetest corn and the freshest I have ever tasted. We picked the corn today in the drizzle. Owen was so excited when we picked the ears - as corn on the cob is one of his favourites, and was one of the plants on his list that we must grow on the allotment.

Even Huw couldn't get enough of the kernals I picked off to give him. He was slightly grumpy when the supply ran out!

We have got enough for another meal so a reasonable harvest from so few plants. Next year I think we will be expected to grow many more sweetcorn plants if the kids have a say.

I bought some winter onions today from the allotment shop, so I hope to get some space ready to plant them out in october. October, thinking about it already it makes you shudder.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

advantage of a small harvest

The freebie newspaper dropped through the door this week and I looked through it to find an article about the recent thefts down at the allotment site. I had seen signs up asking us to report any damage or theft from our plots. I had not realised that it was still continuing to be a problem. Its so sad that people would come in and steal from the plots, I would be absolutely livid to loose my produce that way. As I see it currently, the only advantage of having such a small poor harvest is that there is little to steal.

My plot is far away from the main gates, the back gate near us is rarely unlocked, so hopefully that cuts down on opportunistic thefts for me at least. If you had to pass some of the fruit and veg that I pass to get to the plot, veg which is beautifully plump and ripe and ready use, veg which taunts me with my innability to grow it - then I suspect you would not walk through to the ugly weedy area to do your poaching.