Sunday, 17 February 2013

Preparations for spring.

 Ayup, in this blog I'm going to show you all the seeds, sets & spuds I've been sowing planting and chitting in readiness for the growing season. I've had  go at all sorts of things but I'm trying to keep it to things me and the family like to eat. In all fairness I may be a little early with a few things but I'm lucky enough that i can keep most things in the conservatory until its warm enough put them out and it keeps me motivated to get the plot in shape quick sharp!

The first thing which I started around Christmas time were the Onions and Garlic both of which are good for over wintering. The Onions came in sets and the Garlic in bulbs which you break down in to its individual cloves. both are super easy to do 20 mins and your done.

The Onion sets i decided to start off in modules to try and give them the best possible start it dosent take long before there off and flying.
Same goes with the Garlic although they were in a big tray its the same principle the only problem was the roots got a little tangled up together.

Then as soon as I thought they were ready I transferred them into a pre prepared bed
At the same time as this I planted some in the garden borders and in a few pots outside just to see how they get on.

And they all look to be fairing up pretty well they've stood fast in all the crazy weather we've been having and there looking pretty good. At least the rabbits cant get there hands on them in my garden. which should spur me on to get the plot fenced and secure.

After I'd found these so successful I thought I'd have a go at other other onions and shallots, we do also eat a lot of them in our cooking at home so all round a good idea. but to give it a bit of a twist I'm going to be  growing some "exhibition Onions" for my local show.  The veriety I will be growing is "Kealsee" as these are grown by the guy whom get a lot of inspiration from @

This was the first sprout of what could be a
"champion Onion"

These I have started off in modules just a single seed in each in a mix of compost and vermiculite.

The shallots i have planted in individual pots as there really quite big. And I'm new to this but I thought a real bargain they were from a local Pound shop and i got 16 huge ones. I don't think you can go wrong @ that price.

As you can see both shallots and Onions are coming on great guns, if anything I'm not sure if the shallots are a little too far ahead?


I've got quite a few bits on the go at home here are a few pictures first off are the seeds which I've purchased there's a bit of all sorts  but in the pictures are Beetroot, Alpine Strawberry's, & 4 different varieties of tomatoes. There are also some sweet peppers and  Chilies (cheers Uncle Andrew) I'll keep you posted as to how all these get on over the season.


This is just a quick section I'm gonna dedicate to my asparagus which I have set off from seed. I really have no idea what I'm doing with these but the seeds were cheap so I thought why not. I've 4 Little tubs of these on the go at the minute I didn't think they were doing anything for ages then all of a sudden up thy popped and they haven't stopped since.

This is all in around 1-2 weeks so I'm looking forward to see what happens. If anyone has any good top tips on growing asparagus from seed post a comment or get in touch as I'd hate for these to end up in the compost bin.

So to finish off the last thing I'm on with  is chitting my potatoes. Which I'm sure your all doing I'm hoping to get some of these into tubs by the end of the week so I'll probably do a blog on that for ya.

That's pretty much it for now if there's anything you'd like me to have a go at or some particular pictures you might want to see just let me know.

Cheers Chris.


Ayup, we had a big day this weekend with the ceremonial burning of the old shed. out with the old and in with the new was the cry. But rest assured I will be returning its ashes to the soil from whens they came.

This is what we were face with in the morning of course we shifted the asbestos straight away then set to work. 

First of me and Matthew went down it the morning at around 09:00 to get it started as I'd already built it it was just a case of scrunching up a load of old newspaper and stuffing it in all the nooks and crannies and letting it go, a job which Matthew reveled in of course.

Matthew extremely proud of his work.

And in a flash it was off and running which left us free to do a few other much needed jobs. And as if by magic my dad turned up. One of the things which has been on the back burner for a little while has been the shed door as its a two man job with it been a pretty heavy duty fire door and there will be a bit of tweaking to do. 

So in the absence of two men I set senior and his little helper on with that task with a firm brief of what was required. 


I then thought I'd check out the compost heap which has been there since I got the plot, well at first it was a big mound I'd tidied it all up and put all my cuttings on as I've tidied the palace up. I was just going to check it out and give it a turn over but when I got in there it was awesome stuff! loose friable just the job. All I had to do was dig it out and pick all the rubbish out, the guy before must have used it as a dumping ground there was loads of plastic, metal, bricks and stone.

The compost heap after we'd finished it was this whole aria 3 times as big as the new box, much too big and pretty scruffy a lot better now me thinks, I also added 6  bin liners full of leaves which i asked a road sweeper for during the Autumn I've still another dozen or so at home to add as it goes down a bit. 

So I delved in this lot and got cracking topping up a couple of the beds I had put manure in last week, easyosie. Up until we broke the wheel barrow we had been using. we did end up borrowing another which was a real help from Ken one of the guys on my row. Dad & Matthew did nip to a local shop that were selling plastic ones and they wanted £40 for them (I don't think so!) so my Dad has one at home hes going to bring down.

We also changed the middle bed slightly so that the path runs through in a bit of a dogleg (Matthews idea) but i do think it looks great another little bit of character and it'll be far better for the kids. You can also see in this pic just how good that compost looks. I never thought I'd ever be this excited about soil!
You can also see the railway sleepers which the old shed was sat on I'm still a little undecided what I'm going to do with them? I was thinking if I got a green house I could use them to build it on giving me some more height and a good base which to level ?

Lydia came down just in time to go and get us all some hard earned refreshments giving us chance for a wholesome  "family snap"
Matthew, Dad (Paul) Teddy, Ruby & Me (Chris)
With the fire smoldering & door almost there.

It wasn't long before the door was put to bed after I'd got "Bodgit & Scarper" to understand quickest and easiest wasn't what I was after. I was more than pleased with the end result there are a few bits I'm going to have to do, but that's mainly just aesthetics a bit of trimming up.  So Cheers guys great job!!

"Looking good" You can also see that I moved the 5 large planters to the front of the shed and we trimmed of the ends of the big bed in the bottom left of the picture.

So this is how we left it the old shed all but gone, two beds full of Yorkshires finest compost, the door on, a broken wheelbarrow, odd jobs done & a head full of ideas about what to do with the big space that's left and a DIY poly tunnel.

That's all for now. Cheers Chris.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Old shed & the "mother load"

Now then today has been a big old milestone seen as I manage to get a bonus day on the plot yesterday  because the snow didn't arrive until dinnertime. Along with that as I got there so early I managed to collar the lady who brings her horse manure down to the site and she kindly put the full load on my plot Kerching!! before you start thinking that's just greedy its first come first serve and she delivers twice a week, it happens regularly and I just managed to get in first this time.
"The mother load" apparently all the guys swear by this stuff cos of its really high muck content. Instead of straw the farmers use chipped cardboard as its more absorbent and takes up less space.  

The two new Beds. The far one did get properly double dug and all that grass removed

The two new beds with there "poo blankets" on before the afternoons snow fall.

Removing the "Horrid Old Shed"

So as that was a massive bonus and has saved me loads of time I decided to spend  this morning tackling the "Horrid Old Shed" which is something I've been putting off for a long while dew to the weather among other things. But today was the day.

This is what I was faced with, like I've said before its been here for 30+ years and mended and bodged and mended again etc. and he wasn't shy with the nails there sticking out of it all over the place. So It's got to go and the sooner the better I can then get cracking with the poly tunnel!

So this is were I left it today I've managed to pile it all up in a way to keep most of it dry ready for a bonfire. unfortunately In and among the shed was quite a large amount of asbestos which the comity will arrange to get shifted and a whole load of thick rubber sheeting which I'm hoping will just disappear. I just honestly cant believe the sheer amount of material the old guy used to build a 5x3 shed! 

As a bit of a bonus though it was sat on top of two 9ft railway sleepers so I'm thinking i might try and knock something up with these not quite sure what yet so if you've any ideas let me know.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Where I'm @ right now.

Ayup, I'd just like to post about the journey so far that way everything I do from now on is up to date and you get to see what I've managed to do so far. The initial blog shows you what the plot looked like when we took it on, basically scrub land it had been left to its own devices for over a year.

The plot after our first week of cutting back and strimming, I'd also managed to double dig a patch about 4 meters square.


After the shed build one of the first things I did was decide that I was going to use raised beds wherever possible as they are easier to maintain and much more child friendly as it should stop the kids running over everything.  I could also knock a small one up just for them to plant things in. After a lot of asking and searching for the right materials ( by that I mean free or a mega bargain ) I came across these.

An absolute bargain @ £2 each.

purchased from a local farm shop there 8ft x 9 inches and 3 inches thick

The construction couldn't be easier either some big screws or nails do the job. They're nice and heavy so there not going to warp or twist and as its treated timber it should last a god long time. So then with just one cut I have a bit of variation in what type of bed I end up with an 8x8 square,  8x8 split down the middle, 8x4 rectangle or one which I'm working on at the minute is going to be a long 24x4. It couldn't be easier.

Then I managed to get my hands on a load of this "Black Gold"

And it was god stuff too full of life loads of  bugs and worms, i couldn't believe how much was going on in such a small space.

I had already started off my onion sets and garlic so it was easy enough to transfer them to their new home.


So this is pretty much what it looked like after my first planting session i was really pleased with the results doing a little bit at a time just concentrating on one or two beds and making sure i get those finished before i move on has worked for me. there's a real satisfaction when i get one finished and it motivates me to crack on with the next one.

 Another one of the beds I have decided to dedicate to strawberry's and rhubarb (which is under the manure). Half the bed is currently common garden strawberry's and my plan is to fill the other half with the white alpine variety.  

 It wasn't long before we had a few visitors to the plot.

So a quick fix has been set up to keep the little nibblers at bay. It'll do until I get a chance to knock up some proper cloches.

Just lately I've been concentrating on building more new beds as the spring will soon be upon us. In the picture above I will cutting a board down to fill in the two small gaps either side of the central bed. this to minimizes the number of boards i have to use and cuts down on the amount of space dedicated to path!  When this ones complete I'm thinking i may keep  it as a big square and use it as my potato patch.


Just the other day i decided to start another new bed which I've split down the middle one half  of which I'm hoping will be for the asparagus which I've just set off from seed. from what I've read up on it likes good free draining soil and benefits from a deep bed. As you can see from pics of the original plot it was covered in thick grass and even though its been covered over for month the sub soil was a mesh of thick roots. 

But soon enough with a bit of hard graft they were gone and i got down and turned all the soil over a good spit and a half deep, you can see the bed now looks half full and i haven't added anything that's just loosening it all up and airing the soil. As with these raised beds the idea is I never have to walk on them thus keeping the ground as loose and friable as I can.

Then with a little more manure before the snow its almost there I've just to get my hands on a few bags of compost now to finish off.


The plot from a different angle showing just how much there is still to do.

The builders had thrown over a few more pallets so i took the opertunity to begin a new fence which in the long run should help keep the " waskily wabits " at bay.

The aria which i have left covered over and the space taken up by the old shed I'm hoping will soon be the home of my future DIY Poly tunnel, I'm going to need a little more help for this project though so I may have to wait until the days are longer and warmer before I can entice my little helpers down.

Well that's roughly were I'm up to now just looking forward to getting some things in the ground. My next post will be about the things which I've got going already @ home I'll show you what seeds I've purchased so far and how there getting on As usual there'll be loads of pics. ( and maybe more manure video's ? )

Cheers Chris.