Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn Buck

Monday, 6 June 2011

Allotment: Week four

I think I've become an allotment addict.

I realised tonight that I can't just go down there and water the plants. Every night, I end up digging a few weeds or re-potting something, or planting something, or just standing in the greenhouse smelling the tomatoes growing.

Just a couple of weeds while I'm here....

Tonight I have tomato envy. I had a peek into Phyllis's greenhouse and noticed that her tomato plants are about 10 times the size of mine and flowering! Come on guys, you have some serious catching up to do! I noticed she had some very healthy and delicious smelling mint plants as well, I might see if she'll let me dig one up to have on my plot - I'm sure she would. Mmm fresh mint tea!

My cucumber plant is looking really well - it's covered in flowers now so I've planted it in a grow bag and attached a cane to the roof for it to grow big and strong!

Cucumber plant looking really healthy!

The peppers are flowering today as well. They've suddenly gone really floppy as though they need a drink but the soil is wet through so I'm worried that I might have drowned them! Does anyone know what this could be?

Pepper plant - looking good on Friday, not so much today.

My courgettes are growing at a rate of knots. Just a few days ago, there was the tiniest little spot of green showing through the soil, by Friday, they were about 2 inches tall with two big leaves on each, tonight they are about 6 inches with four leaves each. They'll be ready to go out soon I reckon.

Little courgettes - doubling in size by the day!

On Friday night I planted my broad beans and string beans because they were (and still are actually) looking a bit dehydrated in the greenhouse.

I also tried to dig another row but had to give up when I realised I could no longer stand straight!

I am quite small, but those weeds are REALLY tall!

I'm getting really excited about the thought of picking my own veg and having that first home grown meal! It's getting close now - all those flowers will soon be vegetables! Those green strawberries will soon be rosy red. And those dried up little berries will soon be sweet and juicy raspberries. Yum. Yum. Yum.

In the theme of gardens, I went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Saturday - have a look at my other blog for some piccies!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011


I've just come in from a couple of hours on the allotment. It was nice working out there in the late evening sunshine as the sun dipped behind the hills, drenching the ground in a honey coloured warmth and turning the sky salmon and buttercup in its last few minutes of daylight.

The middle strip of doc leaves is now gone - half way
point has been achieved!

I didn't have such a productive weekend out there this week because the weather has been awful (there's a surprise on a bank holiday)! My mum is back from her holiday so we spent a couple of hours out there on Sunday as it tried to rain and then yesterday, donned our wellies, cagools and brollies and trundled off to the garden centre to see what they had to offer in the way of vegetable plants.

Lettuce, spring onions and various donations from generous

I ended up coming away £30 lighter with a few extra plants for my garden (you're due for an update on that, by the way) and two types of pepper, some broad beans (gorgeous flowers), string beans, purple broccoli (3 guesses why I got that!), spring onions, and leeks. I'm going to have to get digging if I'm going to get all these planted while there is still time.

The pretty flowers of a broad bean - they smell divine too.

I just spotted that my courgettes have started sprouting in their little pots as well while I was cleaning the downstairs bathroom (that's where I grow all my seeds), another week and I'll be able to get them in some bigger pots.

I don't know what this is! It's one of the plants donated by my
neighbour - any ideas?

My plants were all looking a little worse for wear today in the greenhouse. I didn't water them all weekend because it was raining. Who knew rain didn't water stuff in the greenhouse? Not me, clearly.

Leeks and little pepper ideal for stuffing with cream cheese

I inspected my plum tree the other night to see if there was much on it. Hiding amongst the foliage is an abundance, in a couple of months I will be on a plum diet and so will all my friends/family/neighbours/anyone willing to take a punnet of plums of my hands! At the moment, they just look like little green bottoms, but soon they will be big and juicy, and the deepest purple. This tree produces the most amazing plums I've ever tasted, but I think even I will tire of them this year!


More to come......

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Nettles where the sun don't shine.

Week two on the allotment:

It's been a whole week since I started work on my jungle allotment and I've only managed to dig one and a bit rows! I really have set myself up for a challenge here.

Last night I put all my potatoes in so hopefully in a few weeks there will be something to see for all my hard work.

I've been cleaning out the greenhouse, ready to start getting some plants in. Just as I was being chased around the plot this morning by a giant spider with wellies on (yes, really), my neighbour came out to offer me some of his crop. It's his second year on the allotments and after an unsuccessful propagating year in 2010, he decided just to go for it this year and plant every single seed he had. As a result, he's got a greenhouse full of every vegetable known to man (about 40 of each!) which are rapidly becoming too large to keep. So I've taken some of the stragglers. I've got three different types of tomatoes; some little cherry ones, some big fat ones and some obese ones. I've got two types of chilli; really hot and really, really hot. I've got watermelons. I've got cucumbers. Lettuce. Pumpkins. Squash. I've also planted a couple of courgette seeds just to make sure no one goes hungry this year.

While digging yesterday, I noticed that my strawberries are starting to get fruit on - I'll have to keep an eye on them, it won't be long now till I'm eating them three meals a day. I might have a go at making some strawberry lemonade.

The plum tree is already covered in thousands of tiny green fruit. I can't wait for the first one to drop!

I got my first allotment injury today. Nettle stings. I had decided to chop all the nettles back on the path so they don't sting me as I'm walking up and down behind the greenhouse. I was chopping away when one fell on my arm. I had forgotten just how much those little bleeders hurt and jumped back with surprise. I jumped back, and sat straight on a pile of... you've got it... nettles. So now I have a rather fetching nettle rash all over my arm and bum! Note to self: only wear jeans on the allotment from now on, summer dresses will not do!

After only one week, I can already see the benefits of working outside - I now have muscles on my arms the size of new potatoes (as opposed to petit pois), a slight sprinkling of freckles across my nose and that wind blown, sun lightened hair that only surfer chicks get. So this hard work lark is obviously doing me some good!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Green fingers... I soon will have!

So, this weekend I finally got to work on that allotment that I've been dying to dig my shovel into.

Before: every inch covered in weeds. The plum tree at the
back has the most amazing plums at the end of the summer

It's going to be a lot of work. Every inch of it is covered in some kind of weed: doc leaves, nettles, buttercups, daisies, dandelions, blue bells, thistles and all sorts of grasses. There are strawberries tangled in with everything, just starting to bear fruit.

Strawberries cover two full rows. I'll have to pull some out
unless I want to start selling them at market!

I went down there Saturday morning, armed with pink garden gloves, wellies, shovel and fork and began levering out doc leaves with roots the size of me. Weed after weed, my pile got higher and higher and my plot got clearer and clearer. Before I knew it, my neighbour came out to tell me it was 6pm and hadn't I better get in to my hubby to cook him some dinner?

Dandelions: nice to look at, complete bugger to pull up!

I'd been there all day and only cleared 3/4 of a row!

I say again: it's going to be a lot of work!

But, I enjoyed every minute of it. While I was stamping, and levering, and yanking, and pulling, I had nothing else on my mind. All of the stresses of the previous week were forgotten, all I cared about was getting that one last weed, and then one more. It was therapeutic.

Blue bells, these are far too pretty to pull out so they can stay
right where they are.

It's lovely down there. A nice big plot with a lot of potential, in full sun all day long and soil soft as sand. After Phyllis went in to get ready for Bingo, I stood and admired my work - I'd hardly made a dent on the mini rainforest of weeds, but I'd done it all by myself. I was doing things I didn't think I could do alone, stuff I thought my bones would never allow but I did it. And I felt proud.

Keeping up with the Jones' - I'm going to have to get moving if
I want my plot to look like my neighbours to the left and right!

I also felt achy the next morning, but that's another story. I feel like this is something I can do and I think I'll do it well. I can't wait to see the result of my hard work later in the summer.

This is week one, I'll post back next with my progress! Will you be 'growing your own' this summer?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A photo a day - 24th April 2011

Me in a sumo suit. Actually, it's just a thick thermal jump suit I wore to go whale watching. You wouldn't think I could be cold in that, but I was cold to the core and have only just thawed out now!

This will be the last photo of my Canada trip. I have sadly begun my journey home now.

You can read all about what I got up to and see lots more photos here.

Location:Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A photo a day - 23rd April 2011

Spending the night in a Christmas tree bauble, being gently rocked to sleep by the wind. Free Spirit Spheres at Qualicum Beach near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

To read more about our trip, go to my other blog at

A photo a day - 22nd April 2011

Watching the sea planes going in and out in Victoria, Vancouver Island

To read more about our trip, go to my other blog: