Monday, 4 October 2010

Fun with wine

So all the homebrew kit has arrived and I've started on the Blackberry wine. There are still a couple of bags left in the freezer and of course loads more to pick so I'm thinking about trying to make some fruit leathers with the remaining ones.

So far the foraging finds have bene confirmed with the help of more knowledgeable people and a couple of good books and all are what they seemed so sloe gin and something involving elder berries is also in the pipeline...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Foraging fun

It seems like the hedgerow surrounding the field where our allotment is my provide more food than the actual plot for a while. Whilst potatoes are doign very well they are nowhere near ready, rabbits had the broccoli plants and the rest of what I've cultivated so far is mainly sown with green manure. However after a few walks around the field which has become a tradition at the end of every visit has yielded a multitude of different foods, mainly from the very high and largely untouched hedgerow and collection of trees. Initially we were delighted to discover the biggest blackberries I've ever seen (the largest so far has been a good inch across), however we've also discovered -
Mushrooms - still in the process of carefully identifying though
Hawthorn
Rosehips
Several cobnut trees

There are also some blue berries, although we're not sure what these are yet.

We noe have at least 4kg of blackberries in the freezer, the most popular suggestion so far has been wine, as I'm new to home brewing it could turn out to be quite interesting!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

More than just a plot

Walking around the field last night after working on the plot with the kids checking the taps were all turned off, picking blackberries from the hedgerow and just enjoying the peace and fresh air, I realised that it's not just the plot we're paying for but the privelege of being able to go there and enjoy the location. The kids were happy, I showed them grasshoppers and a few different flowers, etc and it was great, a very enjoyable end to the day. So feeling much more positive now, as the general state of the ground and the amount of work required had got me down a bit.

First sowing!

Planted our first things today, more of a token gesture as so little has been prepared so far compared to the size of the plot. So some potatoes went in a small prepared bed, hopefully a larger area will get done at the weekend and it will have green manure sown to at least cover the ground over winter. Second bed is nearly ready which will be sown with a few cabbages probably. Here's a picture of what the ground is like before digging over and mixing in lots of manure, it's basically a coupe of inces of dust, then pretty solid clay containing a large quantity of stones and occassional bits of paving slab etc -

Still no rain :( so at least there's a water a supply but nothing beats a really good rainfall.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Photos of the plot

So here are some photos of the plot, it looks smaller in the pics than it is when you're standing in it! I've roughly marked with a black line where the plot boundary is.


Ground is clay and currently badly in need of some rain but I got a small part dug over and mixed in some of the plentiful free manure supply (already well rotted luckily). Hopefully if we have some rain later it will soften up the ground enough to get some seed sown but it's not great sowing conditions currently.

New allotment, day one

So it's all ready to go, shoudl be heading off there soon. So far I've ordered carrot, cabbage, chard, potatoes, endive and lollo lettuce seeds, and have some spinach seedlings ready to go in as well. Typically this is the first day for ages it looks like it might actually rain properly, but the ground really needs a good rainfall as it's very dry and hard anyway so I'm not too bothered. At least there's a shelter there!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

We have an allotment!

With the New Allotment Company, which seem to be a little controversial at the moment, but going to have a look on Saturday and we have one reserved. Basically they use land on a farm, already prepared, and provide water, manure, lockable storage, parking, toilets etc etc. More expensive than the council ones but we're still waiting and have about 20 people ahead of us so going down this route we can get planting next weekend hopefully! Shame it's so late in the year, but we would have had to work clearing a council one as they usually only become available when they've been neglected. Oh, and it's 1,000 square foot. So should pay back for itself reasonably well.