Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bush Gardener: Three Months Down the Line and Everything's Fine

Emlyn Leisure GardensWell it's been a while hasn't it!

Easter has long been and gone, Wills and Kate tied the knot and Wimbledon fever is a mere three weeks away!!

The 2010/11 football season ended yesterday afternoon with Swansea completing their remarkable rise from bottom of the basement division to the Premiership.  Another team that we used to regularly lock horns with has long since passed us by!

Brentford's season ended almost a month ago with us safely nestled in mid-table.  The improved from under Nicky Forster continued and us Bees fans can look forward to another League One campaign come August.

Emlyn Leisure GardensAll I'm going to say about the JPT final is that it featured another classic Brentford choke.  That's five finals, five defeats for me now!

Away from Griffin Park, the allotment has really started to take shape.  At the start of March it looked as you'd expect a plot that had been untouched for six months to look and there was plenty for me to do to get it into a decent state.

A trip to Hanger Lane Wickes left me a hundred quid lighter but I returned home with all the garden tools any wannabe gardener could ever need!

Less than forty eight hours later, while Brentford were getting spanked 3-0 up at Hartlepool on 5th March, I was digging, hacking and raking my way to a much neater and tidier looking plot.  I met Alexis, my left-hand neighbour, and we had a good chat.  I've only seen him once since then!

Emlyn Leisure GardensThe soundtrack to the afternoon was the QPR v Leicester match and a massive cheer at around 16:45 told me that those pesky Hoops had scored a late winner.  I didn't really expect to be able to hear the crowd so clearly, must have been an easterly wind I suppose, so much for a Saturday refuge!

With the plot cleared it was now just a case of waiting for the weeks to pass until I could start to plant and sow.

During the wait I ordered a small storage shed.  Certainly not an essential purchase but I knew it would save having to cart the tools in the car every time I wanted to head down to the allotment.  Mum gave me a small food waste box for home so that I could start to fill up the composter.

Sarah wasn't too keen on having this in the flat but I've been pretty good at emptying it at least once a week so the fly infestation she insisted would occur hasn't materialised.  In fact she seems to have got into the habit of putting in the fruit and veg peelings.  What a good girl ;)

Mid-April arrived and the plating and seed sowing began.  With Sarah going ooop north for Easter we decided to get everything in the weekend before.  We filled two thirds of the totally empty plot with potatoes and here is a little map of the plot that already had the raspberries and two artichoke plants.

The shed had been delivered a couple of weeks before but I waited until the Easter weekend to put it up.  Mum, dad and little sis came across on Easter Sunday and we built it during the course of the afternoon.  As is the way, it took a bit longer than expected to construct but we got it done and rewarded ourselves with an Easter Sunday BBQ.

Since then there have been a few more additions to the plot.  Sarah brought back a courgette seedling from Bury and my cousin bought me a rhubarb crown.  Earlier in the year I potted up some seeds from a bell pepper and a butternut squash.  These have gone in and so far they are doing OK.

I weatherproofed the shed with wood preserver over the royal wedding/May Day weekend.  The tin says the recommended three coats I gave it should last five years.  I'm not convinced!

Emlyn Leisure Gardens
In the the past month there has been an amazing amount of growth.  The potatoes have really shot up and the onions and peas are also doing well.  In fact the dry weather has meant that everything has had a really good start.  The only down side is of course that it also means the weeds, especially the dreaded bind weed, grow at a ridiculously fast pace.  The recent cooler and wetter weather has been a welcome arrival although I'm not sure anyone wanted last Thursday's hail storm!

Emlyn Leisure GardensLast weekend we went down and I planted a second courgette seedling, it's a TW7 v BL8 courgette-off ;), while Sarah built a cane frame for the peas to grow up.  Three tomato seedlings also went in so that might be the end of the planting for now.

We brought home our first harvest, around 150g of raspberries and the first crop of radishes.  They might not have been Class 1 supermarket quality radishes but they certainly tasted like a radish should.

So that's a potted three month history of plot E4.  I won't leave it three months before my next update.  If only because it's taken bloody ages to write this one!!