Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas veggies

Got these in today ready for dinner tomorrow with the oldies.
Forking leeks out of frozen ground...

...and carrots...

...the sprouts were a bit easier:

Happy Christmas to us all, we're utterly brilliant.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Tree O'Clock

Did my bit today by taking part in the BBC Breathing Places Tree O'Clock event to plant as many trees as possible between 11 and 12 o'clock today in an attempt to break the world record for most trees planted in one hour. I toddled along to our local event at Allestree Park organised by WildDerby and along with lots of other people planted my dozen trees. Hopefully next year they'll do something really useful and plant up the golf course.

Not only that I also scored a few hawthorn whips to plant at home; I've used them to fill in some gaps in the hedge on the plot. Regular eco-warrior I am today.

Aquadulce broad beans

Coming up nicely:

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Getting started

On the winter digging:

Spreading compost...

...and digging it in:

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Stephanie McMillan

Proper autumn

Proper autumn now, not that you'd know it from the balmy weather and yes, global bloody capitalists, I still blame you more than ever.

Halloween and all that nonsense. Thankfully I haven't grown any pumpkins.

Still plenty to eat from the plot mind - carrots, leeks, autumn greens and the last tomatoes; barrow loads of apples; peas and beans from the freezer; onions and potatoes from store.

I've planted out the garlic and also sown some broad beans and peas for (hopefully) some early crops next spring. Other than that I've been getting on with some structural jobs. Oo-er, get me.

The colours of autumn - the last of the tomatoes, carnations and sunflower heads.

Blimey I'm getting all artistic. Don't tell Emma.


The path down the middle of the plot gets muddy in winter so I've put down some recycled slabs:

Cool eh? Very structural.


Still enjoying these before the frost cuts them down:


Bees enjoying the last cosmos flowers:

Autumn greens

Spinach, the last of the primo cabbages and pak choi:

Letting in the light

The plum tree suckers in the orchard were becoming trees in themselves so I've taken them out to let in more light to my growing areas. I'm hoping to replace them further over with some sweet chestnuts - Castanea sativa "Marron de Lyon" if I can get hold of some.

I'm not losing sleep over this as I've planted other trees along the back of the plot over the years - rowan, yew and hawthorn - all good for wildlife. And it's nothing on the scale of these guys:

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Still here

I know I haven't posted for a while but I'm still here; I even let the anniversary of 9-11 go by without comment. Apparently it was an inside job. Later on I'll tell you something you didn't already know.

So things are slowing down, no mists yet but plenty of mellow fruitfulness. The blackberries and plums are about over but there's still raspberries, apples, pears and even a few bunches of grapes.

The runner beans are done too but there's still fresh peas, cabbages, carrots and leeks as well as onions, garlic and potatoes in store.

Green shoots

No not the mythical economic recovery but spinach for autumn greens:



Still going strong:

Last row of peas

These always get mildew at this time of year but the peas inside are just fine.

Carrots and leeks


Looking forward to these.

More autumn greens

Primo cabbage:

My favourite colour snap

So yellow.

New toy

My juicer arrived today. Or rather I had to make a 25-mile round trip to collect it - thank you bloody CityLink. So it's just as well it works a treat. I wouldn't eat fifteen apples a day but I can handle a pint of apple juice:

Garden this weekend


Fuchsia magellanica "versicolour":


Best news yet

Here's something you didn't already know. The news is my lovely girl's got a tiny lickle baby in her tummy. Which means that some time early next spring I'll be a granddad. Cool eh?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Not starving

If you believed the hype in the news recently on the subject of food security you'd think we were all on the verge of starvation. In fact nothing could be further from the truth - we throw away as much food as we eat in this country and are quite capable of being self-sufficient. If you ask me this is just another ruse by the government to manufacture consent for the introduction of GM crops. Going by past experience whenever I here a creepy government minister say they want to "have a debate" about something I just know they've already made their minds up and are about to go on a major public relations offensive. And as usual putting corporate interests ahead of the well-founded concerns of the people who elect them.

There's another type of creepy pest on my plot at the moment - cabbage white caterpillars on my sprouts. Fortunately I can squish them between my fingers. If only it was that easy with the two-legged variety.

A couple of weeks ago I sowed some pak choi and some spinach for autumn greens; it looks like the slugs have nobbled the pak choi but the spinach seems to be coming on alright. Looking ahead today I've also sown some spring cabbage and onions.

Growth is slowing down but there's still peas, beans, cabbage and carrots for the eating, as well as potatoes and onions in store, sprouts and leeks to look forward to. Plenty of fruit too- as well as raspberries and blackberries the plums are ready now and the first apples and grapes. Yes grapes. It's a veritable Garden of Eden out there. I might even nip round the corner shop and get myself a bounty. Food security my arse.

Cabbage white caterpillars

Lil' green bastards.

Plums and apples


Snapdragons and carnations

Saturday, 15 August 2009

About time too

Finally I won something. My plot is now the most environmentally friendly in the city, at least according to the judges of the Derby in Bloom Allotments Competition, and who am I to argue. So I'd like to thank my agent and my family for their support and to those of you who didn't win - better luck next time and eat my shorts.

Maincrop spuds

All safely gathered in, not a bad haul and of course the most environmentally friendly spuds in the city.

More peas

Now harvesting the second row of maincrop; not as many as on the earlier rows but better than a poke in the eye.


The wet and cloudy weather held these back so now that the sun's come out I've got a glut. Should make me popular with the neighbours.

Another snap of the snaps

And why not: