Thursday, 3 June 2010

The bee and the poppy

This morning at the allotment I literally saw this poppy flower open in front of my eyes and, immediately, a bumblebee came to visit, so I indulged in a short photographic break:

I believe this bee might be a Large Red-tailed Humble-bee, but I could be totally wrong...

I promise the next post will be about progress I have made on the plot...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

First planting

I have finally planted something on the allotment! I have been a few more times since my last post, including twice during the Easter weekend. I mostly did more weeding then. In the forefront are the cabbage plantlings I'd been given. I had just finished when the guy who showed me my patch passed by and we had a very useful chat. First I learned that my half used to be the other half of the plot I share, 'taken off' my neighbour... Second, he said I had to protect those cabbages otherwise by tomorrow they'd be gone, woodpigeons being rather partial to anything from the cabbage family. So it's not looking like the photo anymore, as I came back in the afternoon with some netting and poles to protect them. We'll see how that goes...
I also asked him about the plants behind in the photo, the ones I was wondering about at the end of my last post. They're broad beans... but they've not been sown properly, are too close together, so I'll have to somehow transplant them so they stand a fighting chance. We'll see how that goes too.
He's asked me about my potatoes, so I told him one lot was ready and I should plant these shortly. I'm going to try and do that either at the weekend or next week. Talking of potatoes. while weeding I found some in the ground which looked good, so I have had them in my lunch salad. Delicious!

While I was planting I suddenly heard "quack quack quack quack"! Not the kind of visitors I was expecting on the allotments: a pair of mallards were prospecting :)

Apparently they nest in rhubarb patches... :)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

24 March

Rain had been predicted for today, but, when I saw it wasn't raining and not looking like it was going to soon, I decided to grab the opportunity and pop round the allotment for more weeding.

During my first pause, this visitor was on one of the neighbouring plots, but I have also seen a dunnock and crows on others. 4 robins were in the tree by the entrance when I arrived; some were to be heard, as well as blackbirds and tits, all around me as I was working.

magpieAs during previous visits, green woodpecker was very much in evidence, and I also saw a great spotted woodpecker on the tree in the middle. A grey heron flew over, as well as more Egyptian geese, and a few big gulls, usually in pairs.

I also had a big bumblebee exploring my patch, more particularly around those bricks. A bush by the hut/toilets/coffee room was buzzing with various bumblebees and possibly honeybees. I reckon this one is a buff-tailed bumblebee. I lifted the bricks and found lots of woodlice under them, pretty much as expected.

These are the plants which have sprouted in one of the corner, which I haven't yet identified (but I haven't yet really tried). Don't tell me it's more cabbage...

And finally the 2 strawberry plants :)

Monday, 22 March 2010

22 March

I went to continue the weeding this morning, but I have no photo to accompany this post as I had to leave in a hurry. I did however measure the plot (pretty much exactly 8x5) and the glasshouse, so I am going to be able to start planning properly.
I had a few nice surprises:
  • someone had left me some cabbage seedlings. Don't know who, there was no note
  • 2 strawberry plants, not much but it's a start :)
  • something I haven't identified yet which must have been sown by my predecessor (they're more or less in lines) has started to emerge in one of the corners

Bad surprise, which shouldn't have been a surprise though, was that water had got in the glasshouse, so making it watertight is going to have to be one of my priorities.

Regarding the mystery plant, I had another go and I would say the smell is fairly grassy, and the taste bitter.

Wildlife: Green woodpecker was still very much present, going from tree to tree. A robin was singing on top of a pole on a nearby plot. An Egyptian goose flew above as well as some big gulls.
Not exactly the allotment, but on the way there, it was lovely to hear the sparrows chirping in some of the back streets, which made me think I ought to get some kind of voice activated dictaphone kinda thing to make notes as I'm cycling along.

Friday, 19 March 2010

first day

I got some tools and gloves on Wednesday, so this morning I went to the allotment in order to start on the weeding. Sky was blue, weather looked nice as I left home, but as I was walking I could see this big band of grey clouds that looked very threatening. Thankfully rain held until I was back home :)



What I removed:

I still need to get a composting bin, in the meantime a big heap will do. Not in there however was most of the nettles as I took these home to make soup.
Ground felt good, I found lots of earthworms, I am quite happy about that.
I also got a few books at the Library yesterday, to help me plan. I forgot to get a tape measure this morning so more precise planning will have to wait.

I do need to decide what to do with this rosemary. It does look a bit poorly to me.

Lastly, anyone knows what this is? It is at the base of the rosemary and I have left it for the minute.

Wildlife: The amount of birdsong was really good, and it I learned one thing today is how much I need to get better at recognising them. At least one call I recognised was that of green woodpecker, which I still haven't seen on my patch this year. I also saw it fly to a tree in the middle of the allotments.
Had a ladybird, of the Harlequin variety, possibly the same I saw last week in the 'greenhouse', and a bumble bee flew by as I left.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Plot

I had been humming and ahhing about getting an allotment for many years, over at least 11 years, before we moved to our current flat. But the idea of the 2 years waiting list was putting me off. Finally 3 and a half years ago, I took the plunge and made an application to the Fulham Palace Meadows Allotment Association. 2 years passed, then 2 1/2 and I heard that the waiting list had had to be closed as it had reached over 5 years. Then, last Sunday afternoon, the phone rang: "Are you still interested in an allotment?" "Oh yes! I'd almost given up hope...".
So, yesterday morning, I went to the allotments to be shown my plot, pay my rent, and get the key. I also got potato seeds as I was told these were going fast and it is one of the first crops I intend to do.
This morning, I went back there with A, to show him the plot, take a few photos, and take stock of what there is and what there is to do.

So there you have it, I present you Plot 195B: