Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Planting time and plot update.

Welcome back to Reads Retreat. What glorious weather we are having - but don't jump for joy too soon - cold weather is set to return - it's a Bank Holiday Weekend!. But, that's what we expect, and we can deal with it - resilient lot us Brits!
And how's this for an inspirational pic - right outside the back door we have a raised bed full with Peas(v. Kelvedon Wonder). These have been in situ for about a week now and are showing signs of growth - the little "tendrils" seeking out something to hold on to!Since this picture was taken the pesky cats invaded the earth and did their worst! Gonna have to get a spud gun or something?

You'd be forgiven for thinking we're growing a garden fork and a pile of twigs! Rest assured we have 10 tubers of Second Earlies in there(v.Nadine) which we hope will give us a great crop on our doorstep. The same variety at the plot are doing ok too, but it seems extra nice to just nip outside and dig some up !

We've also planted an old dustbin up with 3 small tubers, and these appear to be flourishing. Since this pic was taken, the spuds have been earthed up, and already need doing again. Let's hope this is a good sign.

More good news : We risked it a bit with 3 early Courgette plants, outside on the patio. The initial leaves turned a silvery grey and died back, but more by luck than judgment, new growth abounds. This variety is the ever popular All Green Bush, which grow 6" tasty fruits. A few days since this picture and they are growing on well. The more eagle eyed may or may not notice the recycled recycling bin! There's a pack of seeds to anyone who can tell me which council unwittingly donated it !

The salad bar is open ! Well, almost! We have planted up a couple of small rows of lettuce, 2 rows of Beetroot (v.Boltardy), another row of lettuce(v.Lollo Rosso), a row of Spring Onions (v. White Lisbon), and a row of Purple Sprouting Broccoli. We've also got some onion sets to go in - a job for tomorrow! (If the rain ever stops!).

Thats about all for now - we've not been completely idle, but still loads to do.

Take care all and enjoy your gardening.


Friday, 23 April 2010

Happy St Georges Day

To all readers - especially the English ones - hope you have a fantastic day.

RIP Dan Holkham (3rd Battalion - The Rifles).


Sunday, 11 April 2010

A New Addition!

Welcome back to Reads Retreat. Isn't the weather lovely! (Well , it is here anyway!). We recently purchased a new (secondhand) mower to keep the turf in check. This £7 model is a Qualcast Super Panther, complete and fully working. One of the rarer good buys on ebay!!
As i set about completing the first cut, Ruby followed with her barrow "getting the bits that daddy missed". Bless her !
Of course, the first cut of the grass went straight into the compost bin as usual. Seed germination is still going on at quite a pace. Today I'll be potting on the toms, so am gonna be busy. I hope you get some of the lovely sunshine wherever you are, and that you too have a great day.


Monday, 5 April 2010


Welcome back to Reads Retreat, seems like only minutes since we last updated !!! Mum left in the week with half a dozen spud tubers to grow at home, together with a dozen Courgette (v.Black Beauty) seeds. You dont need to grow a lot - every little helps! And now, just a few more pictures to keep you going. This Rhubarb crown is now in it's 3rd year, and going by the size of it, its looking pretty healthy too. Hopefully we'll get even more from it this year mmmmmmm can almost taste it now!

Whereas this little beauty is just into its second year. We;ll probably take a small crop here too, but this plant will mainly be left alone to build up strength for next year. Dont forget we have a crown up at the allotment too, cant see us running out!

And no! It's not just a dustbin! This is our new spud planter, and is home to 3 more second earlies tubers (v.Nadine) which will supplement those being grown in the raised bed. I've not had much luck preciously growing spuds in tubs, but we'll see how we get on, and keep you posted.

Not much else happening on the plot, but if the weather improves a touch I've got a load of Onion sets(v.Turbo) still to go in.

Thats about it for today, but please do pop back soon for more updates.

Hopefully the weather will change for the better, and we can all get on with growing!

Take care all,


Belated Update from 24th March! (sorry!)

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, for a somewhat delayed update. We have had a frantic week, but we managed to spend some time on the 24th to ready the garden for Mum's visit. Sadly the weather didn't join us too, but it's amazing just how much you can accomplish in just a few hours. Up until today, the patio table was storage space for everything and anything, and even now still needs further sorting! Just need some decent weather in which to potter about in !

One key job accomplished today was the planting of some second earlies spuds. We chose to plant Nadine in the raised beds based on he fact that we have 30 tubers of First Earlies already planted up at the plot, and fearing the fact that we might not get a lot more in - due mainly to my health - we wanted to get some of these on the go too. Other plans for the raised beds are to use another bed just for onions, as well as the 2 smaller beds for salad type stuff. Its sure gonna be busy, and this year is kind of low maintenance all round.

Elsewhere; in the mainly weed filled borders, we are starting to see more colour. The snowdrops are slowly giving way as pockets of Daffs and Tulips make their appearance. It's a lovely time, just wish i could do more. I could easily spend a week just tackling the weeds ! That's about it for now, but pop back in an hour or so for this weeks update!!! Take care all and enjoy your gardens.


Monday, 22 March 2010

Beware : Mother Nature

Welcome back everyone!

Just to let you all know we had an overnight low of 2c , which brought with it a very light ground frost.

We don't want too many of these !

Off to work now,


Sunday, 14 March 2010

First planting of the year!

Welcome back to Reads Retreat. Yesterday the weather forecast promised much but failed to deliver, the sky remained overcast and there was still a chill in the air. And as you all know, I'm still not feeling 100%. But, that doesn't stop the enthusiasm from welling up inside - there so much springing into life in the garden, and I so wanted to do "something" !. A quick trawl through my seed box, and i came across an open packet of Pea seed (v. Kelvedon Wonder) from last year, with about 30 seeds left inside. The bed pictured was home last year to our dwarf yellow french beans, which we were going to plant in the same place again this year, and maybe we still can if i can get the timing right, but we have gambled by planting these pea's now to try for an early crop - hopefully around May time? The bed has been covered in fleece; mainly to stop the cats from shitting in the bed, but also to help keep some heat in there to aid germination. Fingers crossed as always!

Our Asparagus bed has had a generous extra top layer added, mainly consisting of spent compost from last years grow bags / tomato pots, and the bed covered with a mesh frame. We're keeping everything croosed here ! As the plants settled in to their second winter, 8 out of the original 10 crowns we planted were still going well. Now it's just a case of wait and see if we get a crop this year. We should do, with crowns now being over 2 years old. I know its still early days in terms of an asparagus bed, as this should crop for 20 years or so if well looked after!
We'll keep you posted!¬ If you have any tips to help us along, please leave your comments.

The other beds in the garden are nearly all weeded now, and we're covering them as we go with weed prevention membrane. I'm a big fan of this material, it lets the moisture through, but stops light getting in and hence stops weed growth. Also, keeps the bloomin' cats at bay!

That's all for now. Hope you are all enjoying your gardens & plots - there's so much to do.

Finally, a Very Happy Mother's day to all concerned xxx

Take care all,


Saturday, 13 March 2010

Up with the lark !

Nature's alarm clock went off at 0545hrs today:

The birds are singing in the tree's!

What a great start to the day.


Monday, 8 March 2010

First signs of spring

Welcome Back to Reads Retreat, for a long overdue update! Regular readers of our Allotment Blog will be aware of the reasons (weather & health) that have curtailed any gardening activities. The latter is still an issue, but that doesn't stop the enthusiasm ! These daffs (pic) are in their second year now, and these lovely blooms were the first to show just last week. We have a bed in front of the house with about fifty bulbs in it. They're a lovely sight when all in bloom!

Elsewhere around the garden, we have a lot of small clumps of snowdrops in flower. Aren't they gorgeous!
Planning for the raised beds is well underway, not least the Asparagus bed . The crowns will be 2 years old this year and we are eagerly awaiting a crop to grace the dining table. We will also grow a load of cut and come again salad varieties, beetroot, onions, spring onions etc that we can harvest right when we need them.

We've also been given a half dozen trailing winter pansies, which have already been given new homes in baskets and tubs. It's nice to see a bit of greenery, and the prospect of colour too in a few weeks will bring the garden to life again.

Thats all for now, but hope you'll pop back soon for more updates.

Take care all and enjoy your gardening.


Thursday, 7 January 2010

Crikey it's cold!

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, where like most people we are just about coping with the big freeze! We've had some pretty heavy snowfall, and are only venturing outside when we have to! Already I'm thinking I should have opened the water butt, as the whole lot is frozen solid now, and the ice has backed up the filler pipe and into the gutter. I tried to turn the tap this morning but that too is frozen. Let's hope the tank doesn't split!

I guess it's gonna be a while before we start planting! There's not really much that can be done at all, so we'll sit back and let the weather do what it wants.
By all accounts, we are quite lucky, as so far we've had no power cuts. I'm back to work in the morning, and already dreading the drive to work.
Take care all, wrap up warm and enjoy as best you can.


Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, and a Happy New Year to you all.

Cold weather is forecast here for at least the next seven days, so it might be a while before we post a gardening update, but we look forward to sharing our gardening exploits with you all for another year.

Drop by soon, and hopefully read some gardening news.

Take care all,