I feel like I have shared all my recent road trips and adventures with you but not actually life at No.27. I won’t lie, it hasn’t exactly been looking pretty! But hey, as I highlighted in launching the #MyRealView Campaign, that’s what happen sometimes, life takes over for whatever reason. Actually, it has always looked pretty and productive, just with an overdose of weeds and strong independence.
Over the last few weekends things have improved and I have been able to spend 4-5 hours at a time up there instead of the previous quick 30-45 minute checks. Oh my, how the allotment and my mind needed it. It’s amazing how much better you can feel with a good few hours to switch off, crack on and get your hands in the soil.
I can now look at the allotment and smile again, no longer overwhelmed or anxious. As robins perch next to my feet and the frogs sit at the top of the pond, it certainly feels like No.27 is smiling back too. Such a great feeling!
Lulu and Guinness, my allotment mascots never fail to smile either…
So what I have been doing? Well amongst the never-ending weeding and hilarious compost bin jumping, I have spent a lot of time digging over the beds ready for my manure delivery which arrived yesterday. It’s time to re-fuel the soil, getting it ready to be firing on all cylinders again next Spring. I arrange a delivery with a local farm called Brookside Farm at this time every year, they deliver a full trailer load which I can then spread thickly across all the beds, except the upcoming root crop bed. You want to leave your root bed well alone, carrots and manure don’t go well together for a number of reasons including encouraging forking.
Work has finally begun on the inside of the shed too, it has been one of the jobs that I have wanted to do from day 1 but has always taken a back seat for more important tasks. I have now lined two of the panels with reclaimed plywood, turns out I’m not too shabby with an old rusty saw. Three coats of brilliant white paint later and it’s looking much better. I still have to clean and paint the other two sides, hang up the bunting and pictures I have had stored waiting for over two years and switch on the dragonfly fairy lights. I will post some pictures soon as the project develops, but it won’t be long until it’s a really cosy place to just relax, take a break and enjoy a cuppa from the stove.
We have already had two half decent frosts here in Oxfordshire, which have unfortunately wiped out all my flowering dahlias and cosmos. Those bright pops of colour that greeted me as I drove up the path to the plot are no more. Which means it’s time for me to dig up the dahlia tubers, let them dry out, brush off the soil and store them somewhere dry until next year. The cosmos I have already removed and added to compost heap, I don’t think I could ever imagine a year on the plot without these gorgeous flowers now. They have become one of my absolute favourites along with Verbena, which I have dotted around the plot.
The one remaining flower that is just hanging on is my stunning semi-double bloom Peter Beales – Burgundy Ice bush rose. I may have told you before that I have longed for a rose on the plot since the beginning, but wanted to wait until I came across the one that made me fall head over heels at first sight. It finally happened at GW Live in the Summer, amongst the biggest collection of roses I have ever seen.
It’s hasn’t all been Spring prep though as No.27 doesn’t shut for winter, I still have some Kale to harvest plus a good row of carrots to dig up and store. My purple sprouting broccoli which I sowed and planted out earlier in the year have started to produce some great stems ready for harvesting. The 6 plants seem to growing at different rates too, which is fantastic as it means I will have a continuous supply through out the colder months and not one giant glut. It wasn’t planned so don’t ask me how I managed to get them to do that, it was pure luck! Although generally, if you plant them at different times, that should work.
Although the tomatoes have been cleared out of the shed conservatory now, it’s not time to give it a good clean just yet. I still have some delicious ripe sweet peppers to harvest, two Groseeds varieties; Redskin F1 and Sweet Sunshine F1. As you can see both perfect for container growing, especially Sweet Sunshine which could also be grown and look wonderful on a sunny windowsill at home.
Lastly, before I go, I still have a few remaining autumn raspberries to harvest and enjoy. Won’t be long until it’s time to cut the canes back down to the ground again ready for next year. Hoping for bumper crop in 2018 and jam galore!
That’s it from me today, I do just want to finish by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has taken part in the #MyRealView campaign so far. It has had an overwhelming and incredible response with lots of people sharing their real views from around the world and expressing how much better they feel seeing other people’s realities too. Not just the perfect ‘Insta-ready’ shots, but the warts, weeds and all.
If you haven’t taken part yet, please do and spread the message as far and wide as possible.
Thank you x