Friday, 30 March 2012

Hard Work On The Plot

It's been a busy week on the allotment and I have planted both the Charlotte and Kestrel early potatoes. But I've also finished on the outside of the lean-to and been digging ready for more planting.

This photo is particularly interesting as it show The Worker (me) in the background removing weed and digging, while here in the foreground is the boot (at rest) of my wife and my helpless mate looks on!

Ah well, it's a hard life for some.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Lean-To (Project X)

Last year I constructed the lean-to on the shed from the remnants of the destroyed polytunnel. Sadly the materials were still not really up to the job so it's time to try again with better materials.

Yesterday I removed the old lean-to, cleared the area, found the new one was actually two feet larger rather than the one foot I had thought, produced a levelish base of sorts and started construction.
Today I finished the construction by adding more cross struts and finishing the roof and sank some ground anchors (it's a very windy site). I am reusing the door from the old one and the roof is finished from materials reclaimed from the old one as well.

Next, and probably the trickiest, is to work out how to get the polythene sheeting to fit the taller and wider tunnel than we had planned when we started. Still I'm always up for a challenge!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Project X

 Project X is my plan to build a full scale working model of a nuclear reactor...  But first I am building the lean-to greenhouse that will grow tomatoes (and stuff) from the waste heat (or from the sun if I never complete the full scope of Project X). I plan of testing the greenhouse part, extensively, by first running it a few seasons against the side of the shed on the allotment.

So today Dylan, my ever faithful helper, and I set about constructing it. Made entirely from reclaimed wood I had already sawn it into approximate lengths and regular widths and it was time to do the detail. Dylan watched on and consulted on Health and Safety and throughout the day I incurred not one single cut to my hands - that is almost a first so my thanks to Dylan for his help with that.

I Still found I was short of quite a few pieces as I modified the design as I felt the strengths and weaknesses of the design. I have a couple of pieces left to cut and then to paint the whole thing with wood preserver before labelling all the parts, dismantling and taking to the allotment for assembly in it's next location. I am planning of cutting polythene sheet to fit each side and use a further wooden strip over each edge to secure the polythene in place. I shall also be sinking bars into the ground at each of the corners and, using coachbolts, bolt the corners to the ground against wind - of which we get a lot!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Crazy Times

No matter how early I start the planting season it seems that I am always behind! I suppose it's because so many things need planting at the same time so everything has to happen together which clearly they can't. But now the season has started in earnest regardless.

Wednesday 8th March 2012
   Planted some rhubarb that was donated to us on Freecycle and started digging for potatoes. Also planted some kale.

Saturday 10th March 2012
   Planted Swift first early potatoes, kale that had been started earlier in the greenhouse, broad beans from pots that were sprouting nicely and a row of carrot seed. Also carried on digging for peas, parsnips and the next batch of potatoes. I came to get the next batches of potatoes for chitting and found that keeping them in the dark was a big mistake - the chits were bolting looking for the light. They now need delicate handling and planting deeper!

Sunday 11th March 2012
    Carried on digging for potatoes - perhaps we are giving over too much ground to potatoes (100 tubers in all) but we will see. This is the first year we have ever grown them. I also planted out Feltham First peas started in trays and parsnip seed and a few more kale. I also started some boltardy beetroot and alderman peas. I suspect we have too much kale though.

Monday 12th March 2012
   Didn't get to the allotment today, instead I reduced the mountain ash in front of the house gathering long lengths of wood for bean poles and quite a few more pea sticks. I plan on trying a new way of supporting the beans this year which will hopefully be more robust than last year on our windy spot. I also found the polytunnel I put up in a hurry last spring was not doing so well, but I already have started to construct a replacement.