And finally we have a toilet!

There weren’t any official plans to visit the plot today because the weather wasn’t meant to be great but it soon became clear that in fact the weather was going to be just lovely and what better place to spend an Easter Monday than digging around in the dirt. Especially as it gave us all the opportunity to put one of our long terms schemes into action.

We have had a bath on the allotment to use as a planter for a couple of years now but somehow this didn’t feel quite enough…

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and so now we have an entire bathroom!! The sink is from Manda’s garden and as a plumber Neil gets load of second hand bath room bits. We have three or four toilet cisterns as planters on our patio area at home and they are great for growing herbs in. The plan is to see if we can grow tomatoes in our allotment bathroom simply because it seems like a good idea.

Apart from installing the new bathroom there was just lots more hard work clearing the new strawberry and french bean beds. I carried on with the flower bed weeding ( will it never end?) and Dave, amongst other jobs, got the last of the winter veg under cover.

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But as everyone knows all work and no play is no fun for anyone and so at the end of all our hard work there was also the opportunity to sit and survey our domain and make new plans…cheers!!2014-04-21 15.18.17

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Welcome to the Bug House!

How would I describe the past week or so? Busy, busy, busy! So what have we been up to?
Dave has worked really hard strimming the rest of the weed jungle down. It is amazing how much better the plot looks and how much more positive we all feel just being able to see it! Dave also spent most of yesterday re-felting the shed roof before the autumn/winter rains start.

Thanks to Neil there is a goodly crop of runner beans, tomatoes (so long as Manda’s dog Pickle doesn’t eat any more of them!) and salad veg. Neil has also cleared a lot of the green waste created by all the strimming and weeding.

Manda and I have both been getting on with clearing beds but far, far more excitingly we have been creating a bug hotel. I saw one being built on TV and Manda had made one before at her old school so we decided that it would be a fantastic way of using up some of the many pallets we have kicking around on the plot.Image

Do you remember the slow worms that I found under that tarps (https://levellingtheplot.com/2013/08/25/troublesome-wind/) ? Well, on further investigation it became clear that it was actually a nest. Loathe to disturb them we decided to (carefully) build the bug hotel over the nest.

It really wasn’t hard to build at all! We simply stacked the pallets on top of each other and a few carefully placed nails to hold things together and ta da! A bug hotel;Image

The roof is an unfinished raised bed and we have started to fill the gaps with bits and pieces that we had lying around the plot. Another allotmenteer has suggested pine cones as a good stuffing material so we are going to collect some the next time we go on a dog walk. Does anyone else have any good suggestions/ideas?
The final touch was added yesterday:
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Here’s hoping the local wildlife agrees with our five star rating!

Troublesome Wind

It has been another busy summer holiday week: three days in Yorkshire seeing family and old friends, another in Canterbury taking the teen daughter shopping ( ouch! ) and then yesterday we were kept inside because of the horrid rainy weather. So this morning Neil and I were just itching to get up to the allotment.

Within seconds of reaching the plot we realised that yesterday hadn’t just been rainy, there must have been a strong wind blowing at the plot too because a large stalk had been ripped from the hollyhock:

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This was sad because the hollyhock was one of the few bright spots on the plot when the Great Weed Apocalypse of 2013 was raging. Neil had also lost a couple of his runner beans but not all so really it could have been worse but it did make me think again about how open we are to the elements on the plot.

Our plot is in an elevated position and despite having shrubby growth on two sides it remains quite open and exposed. This became sorely apparent last year when we were given a greenhouse.

‘Hurrah!’ we all thought and plans for tomatoes and cucumbers were hatched. All was going well, the greenhouse was collected, the base was constructed and the frame reassembled and then we tried to put the glass in…it just kept lifting and blowing out. It was awful.

Then we began to realise that no-one else on the whole allotment site has a greenhouse either and that maybe there was a reason for this! Sometimes it takes a little while for the penny to drop.

So, the frame has just sat there since last summer with none of us too sure what to do with it. That was until last month when Neil, using sheeting that we had been given, turned it into a poly-house:
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And look, the remaining glass in the door had survived yesterday’s wind too! I am really looking forward to getting a proper crop of tomatoes from it next year.

Now, wildlife wise, I wasn’t really looking today but last Sunday I was at the allotment without the children and so was able to go looking for critters in peace and quiet. If you look, you will notice that there is a patch below the greenhouse that is still under plastic sheeting and when I lifted a section underneath there were three slow worms. I only managed to get a snap of two of them, one was just too quick, can you see them? Image

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I rather suspect that if this blog continues though that I am going to have to brush up on my wildlife photography skills…