For years allotments were out of favour. No-one wanted them, and patches of mud with a shed at one end and weeds everywhere else went to waste. Then suddenly gardening became the new rock and roll, and everyone who didn't want to dig up their lawn wanted their own council-run patch of mud. The waiting lists grew faster than the cabbages. Now, after more than three years on a waiting list, Neil Shaw has been given his own patch of green and pleasant land.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

It came from the desert...

The last time I was attacked by ants I was 15 and I was sitting in my friend Rashpal's bedroom.

They weren't even real ants, they were giant radioactive mutant ants on the Amiga 64.

That was much more fun that getting attacked on the allotment when I was planting butternut squash, plus Rashpal's dad always handed out cashew nuts from the shop downstairs.

We've put the squash in a corner down at the botom of the plot, which unfortunately is also where a nest of red ants seem to have set up home.

Red ants aren't something I'd encountered before. Previously I thought there were only two types of ants. Ants, and made-up giant radioactive ants.

But it appears there are red ants too. Which bite. And hurt. Especially when they crawl up your arm, under your jumper, and bite you all over. A lot.


Still, as far as we can tell they don't do any harm to the plants, so we'll leave them where they are for now - and just remember not to lean on the mud when planting more squash in future.

The plot also seems to be home to a colony of giant black wood ants, and some of those normal ordinary size black ants.

I think if I'm going to blog about ants I need to do some investigation online...or maybe just dig out It Came From The Desert on the Amiga 64 again...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Part 3

All brassica in ad protected with plastic tunnels and a netting/bamboo cage. Butternut squash planted in a newly dug patch on the bottom bed. Herb bed built, filled with soil and filled iwth chives, sage and lemon balm on the top patch under the tree. Lettuces planted next to the onions. Site strimmed (again!) and more (yes more!) carpet pulled up and consigned to the waste pile. A kilo of potatos harvested from the brassica bed. Rhubarb (donated by neighbour) made into crumble.

Another busy weekend, but a very productive one, and we finally have the plot up to (roughly) 75 per cent culivated. This is a magic number because the contarct staes that (after the first year) the plot has to be 75 per cent in use. Only fair, given how many people are waiting on a list to use a plot.

Next we have sweded seeds to plant, cauliflowers to bring on at home before planting an d we want to get some parsnip seeds in. We'll probably bring on some more butterbut squash, and all of that can go in the bottom bed along with some sunflowers.

The patch that used to be a fruit cage will now be home to salad and mange tout.

It feels like we're getting there!!!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Part 2

Saturday afternoon. Raked up the strimmings then strimmed again. Pulled out junk from what will be the salad bed (used to be a fruit cage) including carpet, metal poles, chipboard and a plank of wood. Dug over most of brassica bed. Sprayed WD40 on creaky shed hinges. Dug hole for mulberry. Cleared some of path down side of plot. Raked lower bed and shifted strimmings to bottom compost heap. Done...

Childless weekend 2, part one

Saturday morning - Brassica bed cleared and half dug over. Door to second shed fixed with new panel and bolt. Whole site strimmed thanks to loan of petrol grass trimmer by the Society. Grass cleared from between soft fruit rows. One fruit patch grubbed up to make room for mulberry tree. New tool, netting and other goodies bought from garden centre. New compost heap started at bottom of patch. Phew! Time for a cup of tea.