The heart of the plot

….a shed – everyone should have a shed at some point in their lives.  I now have a shed, I am a shed-owner, I need to name it – suggestions most welcome please.

The shed, purchased from Argos at the huge price (!)  of £109, arrived at 0715hrs this morning.  Due to location of the plots the delivery driver has to be met at the Guard Room and escorted onto the site – I very kindly offered to stay home and make breakfast while Ian did the escort duty.


   Stock taking underway


One could be forgiven for thinking this shed-building chap preferred shed-building to gardening!


  A beer is called for methinks

Now to the serious business of gardening – turf-cutting is still underway and the planting is so far only consisted of Jerusalem Artichokes and new spuds, I’m hoping the JAs will provide a much needed wind-break.  Having cut the turf away, I used a bulb planter to make life easy for myself, I also used the planter to drop the spuds into their bed – so much easier than digging out trenches.


I can’t remember when I last enjoyed a Saturday so much – oh hang on, I can – it was 22 November 2003 when JW kicked the winning drop goal against Australia to win the World Cup

A sod is removed

Lots of pretty red lines to work with – surely I can’t go wrong!


After our long two year lead-in to this project, the first sod is cut in ‘anger’, actually Ian (it is Sunday, so Snowdrop gets his Sunday name!) cut the first one – oddly for one who isn’t a ‘keen’ gardener that he wanted to cut the first bit.  Is this a boy thing methinks!


Warrener Felix is on hand to check all goes well!

The first patch is that of Jerusalem Artichokes, not least because they will provide a much needed wind-break – air bases are nothing if not in winding locations!


The trusty bulb-planted is, in my view, the very best way to plant things such as Jerusalem Artichokes and spuds….more on spuds to come….

Starting on the spud patch…I planted a sack of First Early (slightly lateish) Swift spuds

I balanced on the gate (don’t tell the Boss!) to take this shot of the patch…there is still much to do but, oh my, HAPPY DAYS!!


I am the first to get up on the patch and start digging – many more are on the way.  Then we have the lovely stuff of sorting the BBQ, wild-flower planting, insect hotels etc to sort.

If you are reading this would you please leave me a comment as I som etimesfeel as though I’m talking to myself

The staff of life – compost bins

Work starts on the all-important compost bins.

When you consider there are 16 plots at 15m x 5m, that is one heck of a lot of turf to be composted and that is before we even break into the actual hard-core growing of veg!

I’m thinking of all that wonderful loam – assuming we are still here to utilise it – a gardener is nothing if not very optimistic!


Guard dog Honey is on standby

You hold it Dad, I’ll hit it – hold it steady now!!

And the first of many bays finished

Not only a fence

…but a gate too *happy face*

Kitchen Gardens, Henlow are well underway now.

We are assured that by Friday the plots will all be marked out.  Then it is over to each of the plot holders to cut their turf, husband has been booked, Jerusalem Artichokes are waiting in the bag to get cracking and make like a wind-break.


There is much to discuss …..


I do hope the workmen remove their vans before finishing the fence!

And we’re orf…..

After two years the ‘kitchen garden’ project on camp is finally underway.  The first posts went in this morning – soo happy 🙂


My ‘Boss ‘ holding up the post 


‘May I have this dance Sir?’


I appear to have become a post-hugger!


So it’s all systems go now and we should be in and cutting turf by the end of the week – hopefully!

The site will hold 16 plots at 15m x 5m each, of which 12 have already been taken – excellent. I can’t wait for the opening day barbie 

Rugby stopped play!!

Whilst I’m a totally passionate garden, some things just have to come before it – today’s thing was the England France 6 Nations match – we (England!) won but not by a long chalk!!

So I had this morning up until 1430hrs to work the land – it was almost enough – I say almost because there is never enough time to spend on garden and allotments is there!

The pea shoots sown two weeks ago are showing good signs of life, they will very soon be dressing my salads – yum

I realise the small salad growing station in the garden currently looks like a graveyard with all the white ‘headstones’ but over the years if I’ve learnt anything it is to label! Salad leaves and radish are putting on good growth, this will soon put an end to buying supermarket salad for the foreseeable.

Other sowings today were:
Carrot Parmex – Peas Ceresa – Beetroot Detroit Crimson Globe – Radish French Breakfast – Spring Onion Apache – Chives
That’s a fair amount of sowing and growing in a small 1m x 2m bed don’t you think 🙂

I’m giving Sweet Pea Snoopie a go this year, these are small 12” non-climbing peas, which according the blurb says they are good for ground cover, I’m unsure yet whether to use them as ground cover or use them in a hanging basket.  I shall report back on their performance later in the year.

A hint of colour to ease me into Spring

Despite a dull Saturday afternoon, mostly spent watching rugby (not dull!), I managed to find some inspiring colour in the garden today – not bad for the second week of March!


In the same week!

It’s hard to believe that these two pictures were taken either end of the same week!  Spiders are amazing aren’t they – I wonder if they are aware how beautiful their webs become when frost covers them?  And then for the week to turn into the glorious blue sky we had showing life to come in the Magnolia stellata


Veg seeds are pushing up fast, my tomato seeds, Moneymaker, have turned into long-leggy supermodels waiting patiently on the windowsill, thankfully the Chilli’s Anaheim are not through just yet as space is hard to find.

Outside the salad leaves, radish and lettuce (Valdor) have all germinated well – so no more frost thank you!  In the greenhouse the peas I sowed for shoots are all through, they will be on their way to my salad bowl soon.


I struggle to have favourite plants, in fact I can’t think of any I don’t like – but there is something really special about the early entertainers such as these really bright and cheerful crocus.  Talking of early show-stoppers – are Snowdrops the last flower of Winter or the first flower of Spring?


Happy Days

The days are getting longer, the nights are staying lighter, the soil is warming, the bees are buzzing. Seed sowing is going on at a lick now

Spot the bee!

Following two years of trying to get an allotment project off the ground (no pun!) here on camp – we have the green light and it is all systems go, the fencing is going up sometime this week ….. allegedly….I shall nip along tomorrow to check on progress.

I have much waiting in the wings – Jerusalem Artichokes, garlic, shallots, rhubarb – for bed space and nowhere to put them yet.  We can’t start marking out the plots until the fence has finished.

The grand plan

August 2011 – end of month

At the beginning of the month I asked for more rain please – now I have to put in a request for a little less please, upside, the grass is looking very lush and green instead of a parched wasteland, downside, slugs and snails are out and playing in the puddles – there really is no pleasing us gardeners is there!
Following the completion of the patio, work has briefly moved to the front garden where we have a rather useless little strip of ground running alongside the front of the house, which is 2ft deep x 24ft wide and is east facing so gets all
Sunflower – full of promise of sunny days to come
the morning sun.  I have laid weed suppressant membrane down and covered that with a rather lovely plum coloured slate, I plan to place stainless coloured (possibly) pots on this and go formal with the planting – I think, I may change my mind!  The joys of gardening, it is ever-changing.  Ideas on formal planting in post really would be appreciated.
I brought a lovely chunk of Phyllostachys nigra with me to this garden, sadly it has died – but this was, I am ashamed to say, down to my neglect because I had moved it to a safe place to keep it out of the sun and totally forgot about it.  I doubt I shall replace it here as the garden is very windy and it would be constantly fighting against the elements.
A new, very tall, obelisk has been erected in the garden for a climbing rose – but I fear I may need permission from Air Traffic Control for this!  The rose I have planted to scramble up it is called Highfield Harcomp which is a beautiful pale yellow rose with a delicious perfume; I have ‘high’ (sorry!) hopes for this one.
Ornamental Millet ‘Purple Baron’ and ladybird
Other planting that has taken place is Ornamental Millet ‘Purple Baron’ which is sitting next to Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ and with Crocosmia ‘Jenny’ making for a lovely planting scheme – the ladybird is a daily lunch visitor on the ‘Purple Baron’, whilst the bees are happy munching on a beautiful bright sunflower.
Nicotiana Sylvestris has started to show its face, this is planted just underneath our sitting room window, so fingers crossed for some hot summer nights so we can enjoy the heady aroma.
A geranium in one of the hanging baskets has come out in two delightful shades of perfect pinkness, underneath which is a pink Dahlia Shadowplay that is surrounded by Gaura Lilipop Pink.
My next project is to use all the turf sods, from the patio excavation, in a raised-bed corner area that I will front with railway sleepers – and then to get my greenhouse re-erected before we get hit by frosts – eek frosts, surely not yet!!