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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Plot goes on's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
1:43 pm
progress report
Last Sunday (11th April) we:

- Chopped down the oak tree at the end of the plot
- Planted another row of beetroots, one of red curly kale, two of leeks (2 different kinds) and put rows of spring onions in between the beets, leeks and kale
- uncovered a great big patch of allotment from under the black plastic - it was really quite crapweed-free so we gave it a good going over; I think that's where I'm going to plant runner beans/squishes/sweetcorn
- tidied up the remaining plastic-covered areas, weighed down the torn bits with plenty of bricks and pallets
- and GLYPHOSATED a relatively small area at the end of the plot, around where the oak tree used to be! I'm slightly worried because the glyphosate mixture in the watering can ran out way before I managed to cover the 20 square metres that it was supposed to treat. But I'll see how it's working in a couple of weeks, I suppose!

NEXT JOBS (for next Sunday if the weather's nice)
- get there early to rent a strimmer, strim our paths and cut down certain patches of remaining crapweed
- uncover & dig over the other remaining plastic-covered patches and put in the rest of the potatoes (Lady Balfour and Bambino)
- keep keep keep digging crapweed out
- put glyphosate on the old compost pile which is now a wretched hive of crapweed and bindweed that I really really want to get rid of as it's the last remaining real BLIGHT on the plot, apart from the s0dding effing ants that is
- plant PEAS
- plant ONIONS
- take PICTURES! I really am quite delighted by how tidy the plot is looking compared to, say, a couple of weeks ago. I know that's probably all going down the khazi once the crapweed starts growing again in earnest but for the moment I LOVE it.

I also spoke to Molly who has an awesome plan to have A BEEHIVE on her allotment! She's taking a beekeeping course right now and if all goes well we may have BEES next year!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
2:59 pm
five potato six potato seven potato more
Have just planted another bed of potatoes - that's all the King Edwards in, now. I'm a bit worried that I haven't planted them close enough together, oh well - can't really be helped. I wonder if the garden centre up the road will still have seed potatoes on sale, as I'd really like to get another patch planted up before the couch grass goes crazy again?

The broad beans are coming up a treat! No sign of chard or beetroot seedlings yet though. Also no sign of the unsettled weather ending, so the glyphosate is still on hold...

WILDLIFE WATCH: 2 butterflies that could have been Red Admirals or tortoiseshells (they were in the distance!), and several HUGE FAT BUZZY BEES :)
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
12:53 pm
first post of 2010
Hooray! I have just managed to pop the first lot of potatoes in, and now the sky is clouding over as is traditional and proper for a UK Bank Holiday :) (several people have said to me that TOMORROW is the traditional day to plant taters, but since I am Busy tomorrow and the forecast is for p1ssing it down I thought I'd get it done!)

In other allotment news, I planted broad beans about 3 weeks ago and some tiny broad bean shoots are poking their heads out from the soil, and last week I planted a row each of chard and beetroots (I am totally doing succession-sowing with the 'troots so I don't end up with seven beetroots as big as my HEAD all at once, like I did last year! Doh). We also uncovered ANOTHER ant's nest underneath the black plastic - arse. The wasps seem to have packed up and moved out, though - thank goodness.

I've only been to the allotment 3 or 4 times this year as the winter has been so long; it looks like the well dug-over beds from last year have remained relatively crapweed-free so we've made a start on digging the crapweed out of the still-infested parts, ready to plant yet MORE potatoes there as a clearing crop (also bcs: potatoes yummy). Our plan is to pretty much fully potato-ise the half of the plot we've been working on, and to glyphosate the other half to keep the council off our backs. The glyphosating, however, will have to wait until the weather is both dry and still, which is most assuredly not the case at the moment. Still, I'm feeling optimistic for now.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
9:23 pm
I have just been to the allotment! And dug up some potatoes! And took them home! And roasted them! And ET them! And they were EXTREMELY tasty.

The allotment is a total STATE after three weeks of almost constant rain. Weather is forecast for OK this weekend so we've a LOT of work on our hands. Also a lot of ants' nests. I had to do a *lot* of persuading to get Paul to eat the potatoes that came out of the ground with ants all over them...

The runner beans have gone crazy too and there is a great big bag in the fridge (also lots in my belly) :):):)

(apologies to allotment, where I posted this first. This is what comes of having a userpic also called "allotment"...)
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
4:24 pm
bean there, done that
Crikey, it's been an age since I've updated! I've been up to LOTS OF STUFF though. Last night I went to the allotment to water the thirsty little plants and bought back: 2 garlic scapes, some chard and five stalks of LAVENDER (omg I am so excited, this is the first time I've ever made lavender grow!) I also have allotment sage (the sage has gone bananas and the ladybirds seem to love it), garlic and broad beans in the fridge. And that's not all! NOT ONLY do I have all this booty, but my allotment-neighbour Puran gave me a huge bag of red/blackcurrants from his plot, and a huge bag of potatoes, AND some cabbage and cucumber plants! And I have planted one of the redcurrant sticks in a pot to see if it GROWS! (I bet it won't, I've never done cuttings before and the book says to do it in October but still nothing ventured etc). Oh and he also gave me some beans to plant (it's not too late apparently) which he says are fast-growing and tasty.

I also bought a tiny OLIVE TREE from the Eden project over the weekend, and will plant that next year if I can keep it alive until then... I'd like to try planting a bay tree too. Aren't I Mediterranean?

Last week we strimmed everything and I pulled up a megatonne of bindweed, which I'm keeping in a little pile for BURNING, hopefully tomorrow night. The pea plants have been pulled up, stripped of (not many) peas and put into the compost (I don't know if you've ever seen a battle royale between peas and bindweed but it ain't pretty). I have learned the value of Proper Pea Nets and Covering My Seedlings With Cloches for next year. The garlic is covered in rust but apparently this does not make it inedible, hurrah! The courgettes are total goners, bastard slugs. I'll be planting the squishes this weekend, though, and checking to see that the pyrethrin has done its work on the ants...

There are also many, many ladybirds (the good kind!) and ladybird larvae, which I'm pleased about bcs the runner beans have blackfly. Stupid blackfly.

Mainly I'm full of plans about what to do with the allotment NEXT year - I can't wait to cover it all up again and start digging that couch grass out in preparation. I think this may perhaps mean that I am a little bit bonkers. I'm plotting where I'm going to put the potatoes (on the crapweediest edge of the allotment to clear it), and wondering which corner will be best for fruits (I want gooseberries and raspberries!) and planning to buy ALL THE CANES to make little structures and tunnels for the beans to grow on... must concentrate on the present and not the future!
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
8:31 pm
first harvest!

Tonight we are having GOLDEN CHARD from the allotment! We have grown an edible thing!
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
10:01 am
provisional plan for next year: grow nothing but potatoes
Glorious bank holiday weather + a couple of weeks' neglect (oops) = lots of allotmenting this weekend, although I'm a bit depressed as most of the news seems to be bad. Good news first: the potatoes are now ENORMOUS and making me very happy indeed. There are also onions, shallots, garlics, about 4 beetroots underneath a CARPET of weeds, and some golden chard. We also did a lot more strimming and covering-up, and I planted French beans and runner beans.

Bad news: the broad beans are covered in blackfly. I've been recommended something called Pyrethrum to get rid of them - apparently it is an entirely natural product made from chrysanthemums, so it shouldn't be too toxic. I feel bad about blitzing pests but on the other hand would quite like to get SOME broad beans out of the plot this year, given all the work we've put in. During our plastic-moving efforts we also managed to uncover two HUGE ant-nests in the bed destined for squish/corn/beans. There were thousands of ants running around carrying EGGS ew ew ew, so it's safe to say that they have quite the colony there. Jaime lent me some ant-killer but it says TOXIC TO THE ENVIRONMENT and has little graphics of dead dolphins, all over it so, uh, no way. I suppose a kettle of boiling water is the classic organic solution, but again with the guilt (also: no electricity at the allotment; I suppose if I get a storm kettle I could always power it with dried crapweed...) What would you do? Bob Flowerdew sa that the key to having a successful organic garden is to strike a balance between the forces of NATURE and your own needs/wants. In my opinion NATURE has the upper hand in my plot at the moment and the balance needs redressing so I'm inclined to be tough on pests (besides which the pests have the whole other half of the allotment to play on, for the moment!) However, killing stuff = not very hippy-like. Arrgh. There is also the bindweed and crapweed to contend with, as ever. The dock is getting cocky again, too.

Also now it's p1ssing it down so I suppose the slugs will all emerge and eat the new bean-plants. I HATE THEM. If anyone has any advice or encouragement now would be the time for it, pls :(

Current Mood: rather despondent
Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
2:55 pm
caning it
Just went to the allotment for a couple of hours to dig the latest crapweed-bed up AGAIN and put the remaining potatoes in (yes I KNOW it's too late for potatoes really but I'm hoping they'll do OK). Just as a bonus, I went to the hut and bought some EIGHT FOOT CANES for the runner beans! And then I TRAPPED Paul in the bean-teepee!

Aren't I a rotter?


At what point, and how, does one go about "earthing up" potatoes?
Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
1:56 pm
strim when you're winning

YES! We finally managed to get the rest of the strimming done at the weekend. Paul's Auntie P kindly lent us her heavy-duty petrol strimmer (SO much better than the weedy little thing you hire from the allotment hut) and OFF WE WENT - we didn't quite get everything done as we ran out of petrol but it's looking SO much better than it was. If the weather clears up this week I'll pop up and put the rest of the black plastic over the strimmmed (strum?) bit and then hopefully we won't even have to think about it until next year... HURRAH.

We made a start digging crapweed out of another bed-to-be but had to give up due to time constraints, bah... we did manage to root out a LOT of crapweed though. The bad news is that it's now bindweed season and the little bastards are sprouting EVERYWHERE.

In growing-things news, the broad beans and peas are valiantly struggling onwards and upwards (though the rain this week and attendant slugs may well have put paid to this) and I really, REALLY need to get the rest of the potatoes and beans in. And parsnips. And some more beetroots! The golden chard and alliums are looking quite good too. I did accidentally hoe a garlic though, and SAT on another one while I was making a pea-net :( OH AND THE POTATOES HAVE SPROUTED!

In things-I've-planted-at-home news, the tomato seedlings are now MASSIVE and I'm about to plant lots and lots of pak choi, kale and carrots using my awesome new paper pot maker. Oregano and basil seeds are also going nuts on the window sill :)

I think that's enough wibbling for one day...
Monday, April 20th, 2009
2:11 pm
quick allotment update
At the weekend, we
- planted SNOWDROPS in the herb bed
- uncovered a large covered-up bit and made a start digging the ground over there. We left it uncovered to dry up the ground a little bit; I also suspect the plastic of harbouring the slugs :(
- dug up two sections of bramble weed as big as my forearm!
- planted one more row of potatoes (Arran Victory, courtesy of marnameow; we still have a few Arran Victory and a bunch of Milva potatoes to put in but need to prepare a bed first!
- repotted some tiny tomato plants into bigger pots
- put a few french beans in pots to germinate
- planted some oregano seeds in pots (oregano seeds are MINUTE!)
- repotted some lettuces that a kind man on the allotment gave us (these surely cannot go in our plot proper as the slugs will be on them in a flash but hopefully we can put them in big pots in the garden)

I also helped plant potatoes, peas and beans at the allotment :) (by "helped" I mean "ran about taking pictures and admiring the asparagus" ;))

Things to do this week/weekend:
- take big bag of grass from P's mum's lawn and put it in the compost
- put squishes, courgettes, runner beans, carrots, pak choi in pots/paper tubes to germinate
- plant some parsnips under little hats!
- replant rest of tomatoes and put them and the lettuces in the garden, under some sort of cover/AWAY FROM EFFING SLUGS
- MOAR DIGGING OVER as the sunlight will soon reactivate the crapweed
- investigate hiring or borrowing a heavy-duty strimmer, as we have a lovely crop of daffodilsDANDELIONS (!) that our fellow allotmenters won't appreciate when they go to seed and propagate all over their lovely plots
- go to allotment AGM on Wednesday night! :)
Saturday, April 11th, 2009
4:04 pm
potato world
WHEE! The small potatoes have been planted; I was intending to put these in yesterday but it p1ssed it down. Well, it is Easter I suppose. ANYWAY! I haven't updated for a bit, so I should also record that last week I planted my little sage, rosemary and lavender bushes (photo below, under the cut).

The crapweed is everywhere and I am very very cross with it. Tomorrow we're going to do a bit of strimming, time and weather permitting.

Anyway, here is what we got up to in photo-story form! Thanks to Paul and Bob who did a smashing job helping dig the potato-bed! :)

Photo-heavy under the cutCollapse )

GARDEN CAT GIVES YOU HIS BLESSING. Aww look at his little disdainful face :)
Sunday, March 29th, 2009
3:51 pm
shallots of fun
OK! I have (sort of) finished what we started last week - I gave the onion bed a good going over/deweeding (which took about two hours, so I'm knackered and sporting a couple of *very* nice blisters now) and planted onions, shallots and beetroots in there (B. Flowerdew says that troots and onions like each other, and it's also troot-plantin' time). There's still room for two more rows of STUFF to go in, I thought I might give it a week or two and then plant more troots/onions, or maybe even some kale or chards as they too are supposed to like each other. Although thinking about it, I should really get the chard in there now if that's what I'm going to do. Bugger.

Anyway here is a lovely picture of the bed. You can't see the tiny seeds but they are SO in there!

I also dug up two BLOODY MASSIVE dock roots from underneath the plastic, where the first path is going to go, and planted a little wild pansy (bought on an impromptu trip to the garden centre) in the onion/troot bed, as I like little pansies and like to see their little happy cat-faces when I'm out and about.

My other garden centre goodies include: little pots of sage, rosemary and lavender, which I am planning to put at the corners of the beds, between the path paving-slabs if that makes sense. Hopefully this will mean that a) they won't get in the way too much of the actual veg-growing, b) all the little bees will come and pollinate STUFF come the summer, and c) I will have an inexhaustible supply of sage, rosemary and lavender in a few years' time. I also purchased a parsley for the kitchen windowsill, basil and rocket seeds, and runner bean seeds. And a watering can!

Next up: an awful lot more DIGGING in preparation for path-making and potato-planting! I have a couple of days off at the end of this week when hopefully I'll be able to do at least a bit of digging. Blisters permitting.

Peas still haven't shown any sign of sprouting whatsoever. I spoke to a lady (I think she might be the treasurer of the horticultural society; she gave me a letter about the forthcoming AGM, anyhow) who said that the mice had probably got them. So sadface :(

But! Other things are growing!

Cut to save your flist, also for if you hate garlics, beans and tiny tomatoesCollapse )
Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
8:55 am
that's your shallot
Yesterday Marna and Pete came over and we dug over a bed for onions and shallots. I am planning to put these in next weekend after the ground has dried a little and I've cleared/dug it over a bit more. Marna's trench-digging skillz are truly awesome. The pile of crapweed-to-burn is now reaching impressive heights; however the crapweed on the unused bit of the allotment is happily running riot again. MUST strim that soon. We also gazed at Edgware Bus depot as the sun set. I have come to the conclusion that late afternoon/early evening is the BEST time for allotmenting!

I also met my allotment-neighbour Sabrina, who has the other half of our plot. So we only have half a plot after all, thank goodness.

The broad beans are making proper LEAVES now! I'm so ridiculously excited. No peas have come up yet but I think I may be being a little bit impatient ;) I have also worked out where the potatoes are going to go and am going to try the squish/corn/snow pea companion planting thing that Marna talked about.

Things to remember for next year/the rest of this year: it's OK to plant things a *little* more densely than I have done up til now. Also: plant some nice daffs/snowdrops/crocuses etc in one bed.
Sunday, March 15th, 2009
2:34 pm
can i have a pea please bob?
Bah, I am lazy. It's SUCH a glorious day today that I thought I'd go to the allotment and pop the peas in the ground. Peas are duly popped; I haven't done ANYTHING else though as I've got a lot to be getting on with at home. Everyone else was out on their plots with rotovators. I am trying very hard not to have GUILT about this; however it's the Easter Bank Hol soon and I'm planning to get a lot more stuff done then, hurrah!

pictures from todayCollapse )
Sunday, March 8th, 2009
1:20 pm
Sunday, March 1st, 2009
2:25 pm
bean and gone

Urrrghhh. Yesterday Paul and I spent THREE HOURS digging over a patch to put the beans and peas in; we were just about to start putting things in the ground when our neighbour Chris came over to say hello. He's of the opinion - and frankly, looking at the garlic patch, I agree with him - that the crapweed will just run riot over whatever we plant by the summer, and we'll be right back to square one come autumn.

So, I have a new plan (honestly, I know my plans seem to change every single week at the moment). I'm going to cut holes in the existing plastic sheet and plant through it in an effort to suppress the crapweed and hopefully kill it off this year. Which means that I'll need more plastic to cover up the remaining land aftera all. I KNOW that this totally goes back on my resolution to make do with what we have, and I feel bad about it but honestly can't see another way around it. The choice seems to be black plastic or Roundup; I'd mulch with cardboard boxes, but have noticed that the ones we have on the plot have become a lovely little home for all the local slugs. As much as I wish to live in peace with the slugs, this doesn't extend to offering them bed and board underneath my precious broad beans. And there are about a hundred reasons why I'm not putting Roundup down, despite Chris's assurance that it breaks down harmlessly in the soil. So there we go.

In the meantime, I've planted the broad beans in little cylinders of newspaper, filled with compost. They are now nestling on my window sill, and I'll be planting them in the ground proper next week (along with the peas). What a disappointment. At least I managed to buy a spade, pea-canes, twine etc. And we did make a TRENCH all around the garlic bed, which in theory should help stop the crapweed spreading into the bed from outside it (it's also a v handy sanctuary for throwing earthworms into when your mighty SPADE threatens to bisect them).

I'm pretty sure, at the moment, that the prize for Most Useless Allotmenter goes to ME :( Especially since it's sunny outside and I just feel too bloody ill (still) to get out there again.

Chris also gave us a whole pot of onion sets. Anyone want any onion sets? I offered to swap them for some pea and bean seeds, but he says he doesn't eat them (I KNOW!)

Current Mood: feeling rather useless
Thursday, February 26th, 2009
2:41 pm
legume time!
Spring has definitely sprung, or is at least in the process of springing. There are buds on the trees, the daffs are coming out and Gordon Square is full of crocuses and snowdrops. ABOUT BLOODY TIME.

Last night marnameow gave me EIGHTEEN different types of seed! They are (from memory)
- 2 kinds of tomato! (one weird one and one clustery one)
- 2 kinds of courgette! (one round one and one normal one)
- 2 kinds of pea (snow pea and METEOR whooooosh whiz bang!)
- Kale
- Shallots
- Broad beans
- French dwarf beans
- Yellow carrots
- Leeksies
- Parsnips
- Stripey troots
- Corns
- Butternut squish
- Pak choi
- Golden chard

Along with the garlics and the forthcoming 2 types of potatoes, this means that I am going to try planting TWENTY ONE different things in the allotment. The enormity of my task is truly enormous! If the weather's OK this weekend (the forecast is giving me conflicting reports, aargh) I am going to plant the broad beans and meteor peas.

Other things I should rly buy/obtain:
- A spade
- STICKS and STRING to make pea-nets
- Those little flag-things that you write on and stick into the soil so you know what you've planted
- A container with a lid for all the dug-up roots, as I want to dry & burn them - it seems a waste to give them all to the council just bcs I can't compost them (also some fvcker has nicked our green bin! Who nicks a green wheelie bin, FFS?) Ideally I'd like a metal dustbin but I think that these are very expensive? I might have to make do with a placcy one.
- More paving stones for making stepping-stones between the beds - because once things have been planted I'm going to have DISCRETE BEDS rather than a patch of wasteland! Imagine that!
- More pallets; I keep seeing them lying around and am too chicken to ring on people's doorbells and ask if I can have them. Must do better :(
- Comfrey

Thing I should really do:
- Make planting calendar/planting plan based on Bob Flowerdew's companion gardening tips

Thing I am not going to buy/obtain after all:
- More black plastic sheeting. I have decided to re-use the stuff we already have to cover up the other half of the allotment rather than buying more; obviously the success of this plan depends on strimming and covering saod other half ASAP. The allotment hut opens again in March so hopefully we'll be able to do this v soon.
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
3:15 pm
in the dock (aka garlic mothership)

It seems like an age since we've had a chance to go to the allotment. The last three weeks or so have seen sub-zero conditions, snow, hail, sleet, and almost constant rain when it hasn't been snowing, hailing or sleeting. This weekend was to have been our Glorious Return To The Land, but in the event my lovely band of willing helpers (who were scheduled to help us undertake a digging and planting marathon) were all afflicted with a rotten bug. And today it seems that I've caught it too, as after an hour or so of digging I developed a stinking cough, sore throat, dizziness and general desire just to Go And Have A Lie-Down.

We did get some stuff done though - we dug over another big patch of ground in preparation for crapweed root-removal, and also removed a quantity of dock roots (those are the things in the picture above). It's a shame that (as far as I know) you can't *do* anything with dock roots, as we have quite the harvest of them.

The most exciting thing, though, is THIS!

Do you know what that is? That's only a GENUINE, BONA FIDE GARLIC! YESSSS! The garlics are coming! They have sprouted all over the bed so we took 10 minutes or so to hand-weed the crapweed a little bit and jump around for joy.

Now if only the weather holds and I'm able to collect some seeds from marnameow this week, we might even end up planting something else. Now I am going to go and make an extremely large hot toddy and attempt to stop feeling like the world's biggest wimp.
Sunday, January 18th, 2009
4:24 pm
amazing grapes
Another weekend, another (small this time, since I was on my own) pile of crapweed gone. There's some sad news at the allotment though, as the Plot Secretary, Mary, died on the 4th January from liver cancer :( I'd only spoken to her a couple of times but she seemed like a lovely lady, she was very friendly and helpful and we had a lovely discussion about leeks (they were her favourite, but she was having trouble growing them last year). If our leeks are successful I shall make a toast to Mary next winter, with my first batch of leek soup.

I also met our neighbour-on-the-other-side-to-Chris, Kevin. He seems like a nice enough chap, but he's a bit sceptical of our chances of ridding the plot of crapweed organically; he told me to SPRAY IT and said that I'd never get rid of it if I didn't[0]. He also told me to spray (with fertiliser, presumably) the dead-looking grapevine at the end of the plot but that, if I did, I shouldn't eat any of the grapes from it in the first year. Which seems a bit counter-productive to me (rather a few edible things than a glut of non-edible stuff that can't even go into the compost, surely?), but then I didn't want to get into a huge discussion about organic vs non-organic methods. Especially as I am such a n00b :( I have decided that the vine, if it's actually on our plot, should go (unless it makes AMAZING grapes; I guess we'll find out in the summer). I don't think it actually is on MOI LAND, as I'm sure we have *half* a plot and the vine is in the other half, but I should really double check this... Kevin seemed to think that the people on the other half had given it up and that I had taken it over. If the plot is actually twice as big as I think it is I shall probably gibber a bit and run away.

Also, note to self: on sunny days in the winter, go to the allotment in the MORNING as the angle of the sun in the afternoon makes it bl00dy difficult to see anything, including friendly old Italian men who ask why your husband isn't there digging with you ;)

[0] Paul reports that Radio 2's gardening expert advises all gardeners besieged by crapweed to plant POTATOES! I'd gathered that crapweed hates competition, and am counting on this to get rid of it all, but apparently it hates potatoes the most and will not share soil with the tasty tubers. WHOT A SHAME eh? :)
Sunday, January 11th, 2009
10:03 am
plans plans plans
Last night marnameow and I ordered the following seeds for allotment and can_i_dig_it:

- corns (for both of us)(haha if I manage to get any corns I will be VERY surprised)
- butternut squish (both)(waltham butternut)
- leeks (both)(long leeks rather than thick ones; we went for length rather than girth o ho ho ho)
- banana shallots (both)(banana shallots!!!!!)
- broad beans (both)
- flagelot beans (just for Marna)
- french beans (both)
- snow peas (both)
- sugar snap peas (both)
- beetroots (both)(they are STRIPEY!)
- carrots (just for Marna, although I am going to try and take a few to transplant if they get going, just to see if it works)
- parsnips (both)
- spuds x 2 (both)(one yukon gold and one salad potato)
- tomatoes x2 (both)(one ribbed tomato and one crazy clustering tomato, I think)
- chard (both) (YELLOW chard)
- courgettes (I think 2 kinds? RIBBED arf and round ones) (both)
- pak choi (both)
- kale (just for me)
- creeping thyme between slabs (just for Marna)

I am hoping to do a bit more crapweed-eradication today if the ground isn't frozen over from a week of sub-zero temperatures. According to this article the roots will just dry out if you dig'em up and leave them in the fresh air for a couple of days[0], so I might try and remove some of the major bits of crap and turn the rest of the soil over, leaving the little bits out in the open to dess-i-cate before raking and repeating. I think this move will also make me popular with the local birdies, as lots of tiny little creatures tend to snuggle down under the nice warm plastics. Bird buffet! I am a bit worried that all this crapweed-eradication will ruin the topsoil though.

Of course, if the ground is still frozen I will come back home and read up on MULCHING and companion gardening, and try to make a plan of when/where I'm going to plant stuff.

EDITED TO ADD (3.14pm) Hurrah! Another day, another box of crapweed roots. Jaime came up and dug with me this time and we removed quite a lot of stuff from the soil but also dug up and turned over a fair amount before covering it all back up again. The patch that Paul and I dug last week is drying out nicely, and I removed several handfuls of dessicated rhizomes from it. I also hand-weeded some of the new crapweed-shoots from the garlic bed. YES!

I've been recommended a site called Plastics by Post, who sell large sheets of polythene etc for horticultural purposes. I'm about to order a great big sheet of it for the rest of the plot... it's annoying having to rely on icky plastic to get the job done but having looked at some of the alternatives (cardboard, mulches etc) I think that this is the most practical and fuss-free way of clearing the rest of it. If it's good enough for Bob Flowerdew it's good enough for me! My Actual Plan is now:

- Strim the rest of the allotment and cover in black plastic until next Spring
- Keep digging away at the parts that we have covered up
- Plant things in the dug-over parts, but!
- Mulch these parts with CARDBOARD, possibly?
- and sort out the sodding compost, as I'm sure I've FAILED at this.

Next task: work out times and places for planting things, and keep digging.

[0] I also like how the article assumes that I can get hold of "pigs in a moveable pen" at the drop of a hat. If only I could! :)
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