Saturday 27th April 2019 – I’m up to date for April!

Yes I’ve done it! I’m up to date with everything that I need to do in the greenhouses for April. Everything is sown, pricked out, and planted, and the greenhouses are all organised and tidy.

I can feel smug for the next couple of days, knowing that I’m on top of everything for this month.

But you can bet in a weeks time I’ll be behind again as in May I’m sowing my beans, and I’ll have more pricking out to do. They’ll be weeding and more planting out to do, but this time it’ll be flowers, so I won’t be smug then. Hopefully I won’t feel like I’m chasing my tail, but as the weather warms up for summer the grass will need mowing more often, and I’ll have to weed more often.

But hey ho, when it’s all done, I can sit on the patio with a beer in one hand, gazing hopefully in awe, at the wonders in my garden.

I’ve made lots of videos that my daughter Emily is editing for me now. I pay her as I don’t have time, so you’ll have those coming very soon.

Don’t forget about my Live Show this Friday, for episode 500!! For more information sign up to my newsletter https://clairesallotment.com/newsletter/

Well I’ll make the most of being up to date with everything with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade battenberg.

Have a great week and look forward to speaking to you on Friday for the Live Show!!

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Friday 26th April 2019 – Chickens and Garden Assemble!!

I usually try to keep Friday free as I like to have an extra long weekend. Also I’ve worked bloody hard all week in various gardens, spending much of the time on my knees, and so I feel it only right that I have Friday off. I’m self employed, I can do what I want!

Well today is Friday, and firstly all the chickens spent their first night all together in the large house. They’ve been playing very happily with each other during the day for a week now, so it’s time they all slept together. They were all happy this morning, and eating and drinking from the same things.

Now I can empty the small house and put it back in the garage for next time. I can also take down the make-shift run and tidy that away. I have my garden back as it should be.

Emily is away at the moment, so Mark, George (doesn’t have school of Friday) and I went to see the new Avengers movie. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything about what happens. All I am going to say is go to the loo beforehand, and don’t take a drink in with you. The film is 3 hours long, and with the ads and stuff before, it comes out around three and a half hours. I could barely stand up by the end, and my bum was very numb.

This afternoon I went in the garden, and planted out my “Red Brunswick” Onion seedlings. They’ve grown very well, and it’s the first time I’ve grown large onions from seed. I’ve got some other white onions to go in as well, but they’re not quite ready yet.

I then had a big water, and then sowed a few more seeds. As I’ve planted out the first lot of Sugar Snap Peas, so I’ve sown the next lot, and a little bit more Lettuce Mixed Salad Leaves. I’ve also sown a few more flowers Honesty “Purple and White Mixed” and finally some Asperula.

Dinner time now, and the boys are getting fish and chips.

Time to sit down and relax.

5 happy chickens all together. Chickens Assemble!

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Sunday 14th April 2019 – A wonderful afternoon in the garden.

I’m so busy during the week, that I only seem to be able to get out in the garden for a substantial amount of time over the weekend.

Saturday was full of bell ringing fun, as loads of ringers came from Surrey where I used to ring and came to try out some bells near me. It was fabulous to see them all again, and catch up. I’ve missed them all very much. It was just like old times as we rang at 5 different towers during the day, had a wonderful pub lunch, and then some had to go home, but many came back to have supper at our house. I’ll try and convince some of the ringers I ring with now in Kent to take a trip to Surrey soon.

So Sunday being free, I managed to get out in the garden and do all sorts of exciting sowing, planting, and pricking out. So let’s start at the beginning:

Pricking out – I’ve now pricked out my Oriental Mustard seedlings. They’ve been growing really well, and I’ve pricked 5 seedlings together into small pots. Hopefully in about 6 weeks time they’ll be ready to be planted outside in the garden. I also managed to prick out all my Dill seedlings. This time I pricked out 10 seedlings into small pots. They’ll hopefully grow well, and I’ll be planting them out in the herb patch by the end of May.

Sowing directly outside – April is the time to sow your Beetroot seeds directly outside in the soil. Using a hand trowel, turn the soil over, just to open it up a little and remove any weeds. I’ve got 3 different varieties of Beetroot this year “Boltardy”, “Golden” and a “Multicoloured Mix”. I’ve mixed them all together, so it’ll hopefully be a rainbow of Beetroots growing.

I also sowed so Turnip “Petrowski” seeds. It’s been several years since I’ve grown Turnips, so I’ve sown just one row to see how they get on.

I also sowed a few more Parsnips. I have 2 varieties this year “Gladiator” and “Tender & True”. I didn’t sow parsnips last year as I was still filling the beds with soil, and it was too late. We love roasted parsnips in our house, so I’m hoping for some lovely long ones this year. The soil in the beds is very sandy, and very few stones, so they should grow well.

I’ve also started to get my potatoes in. I’ve sown some in the raised beds, but the others I will sow in large pots. This year I’m growing “Sarpo Mira”. They’re my favourite potato as they are blight resistant, and I think they’re lovely potatoes.

The garden and greenhouses are filling up nicely, still loads more to do.

Well that’s all for today, I need to start dinner now otherwise the family will start to get “Hangry”. Yes it’s a word, it’s a cross between Hungry and Angry.

A busy week ahead (no surprise there), don’t forget Hot Crossed Buns on Friday. The weather is supposed to be warming up, so that excellent news.

Have a wonderful week, and keep an eye out for my new videos, there’s lots going on in my garden.

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A very busy weekend in the garden!

Well I got loads done in the garden this weekend, so I thought that I would put it all together for you in one blog post rather than in two.

Let’s start with Saturday 6th April first!

Two of our chickens Bert and Steve are getting along very well together, and there is now no more arguing, pecking and running away in panic. So the wire I’ve had in the big house and run has been removed, and they are now sleeping together (not in that sense), eating from the same trough and laying eggs in the same place. All is happy with Bert and Steve. Yes they are all girly hens, and yes they have boys names. It’s best not to ask. The other 3 girls are still in the small house, and with the help of the kids we’ve moved their house, which is now next to Bert and Steve, and I’ve given them a slightly smaller run. This means all the chickens can see each other all the time now. They’re been out in the garden all together and seem to be getting along quite well. There are the occasional pecks from Bert, just to remind them she is boss. I now have my second brassica cage back, and it’s all ready for some brassicas to go in very soon.

The patio has been cleaned, using a good old fashioned water hose and some brooms. I had the hose (wasn’t going to trust either of the kids with that) and they had a broom each. As they were sweeping away the mess, Emily discovered that she has a hole in one of her wellies, so we’ll have to get her some more this week. Even at her age (19) she still loves to splash through puddles. To be honest I do as well. If you don’t, you’re boring and weird.

Once all that was done, the kids went inside and I went in the greenhouses to prick out various flower seedlings. They all been growing really well and I pricked out “Cottage Garden Mix”, “Gypsophila”, “Linum”, “Clarkia”, “Cornflower Tall Mixed”, “Poppy Maanzaad”, and the last few Tomatoes. The flowers I did in clumps of about 5 seedlings per pot, as it’s quicker, and they look best growing and flowering in clumps. It’s how they’d naturally grow anyway if left to seed themselves.

Now onto Sunday 7th April!

A slightly later start as it was raining in the morning and was rather foggy, but I managed to get out into the garden in the afternoon which was great. I spent it all in the greenhouses as I had lots of April seeds to sow. I’ve written myself a list of things to do, and it’s an entire A4 sheet of paper! I’m slowly crossing things off, so that’s a good feeling. If you have a list like mine, I find it best to do all the same things together. So anything that needs to be pricked out, do all those first, then any sowing in the greenhouses, do all those, then all the planting out, and then finally all the sowing directly outside. I find it’s more organised and you get it all done quicker as you’re based in the same place and you’re not running back and forth all the time.

So I sowed my Spaghetti Squashes. I love these, they’re so tasty and meaty. I also sowed a few more mixed lettuce seeds (what ever variety you choose they all need to be sown the same way). I also sowed my Sweetcorn “Seville”, (this link is for plants, but I bought my seeds from here, can’t seem to find the seeds for sale), which I love. Some Spanish Cucumbers, which I bought in Spain several years ago and I’ve still got loads left. and finally some Lemon Grass “East India”.

There’s still loads more to do, with sowing various seeds directly outside, planting various things outside, pricking out various seedlings, and I still have more seeds to sow in the greenhouse. I’ve written a very long list and hopefully I’ll be able to get through it all this week. I have Tuesday and Friday off this week, so hopefully that’ll help.

I’ll keep you posted. Hope you’ve been able to have just as much fun in your garden/allotment this weekend as I have. Hope you can spend some time this week playing in there to.

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International Carrot day – 4th April 2019

International Carrot Day, yes it’s a thing, I didn’t know this until a couple of days ago. You can have Carrot parties, and dress up like a carrots if you want. You can have people round and cook your carrots, either sweet or savoury, it’s up to you.

But why not gather your friends together, young and old. Sit in a circle and snuggle in some soft cushions and pillows and read Lottie and Dottie Sow Carrots.

When you’ve finished reading, go outside and plant your very own, which you’ll be harvesting in late summer.

Come on everyone, let’s make this International Carrot Day better than the last. And if you’ve got red hair, like me, that’s a bonus, we have superhero powers you know.

Come and join Lottie and Dottie and sow your Carrots today!
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Friday 29th March 2019 – Direct sowing….finally!

Woke up this morning…da na na na na. It was really foggy…da na na na na. The fog finally cleared da na na na na. The sun came out da na na na na.

I think I should keep to gardening don’t you?

But yes it’s true, it was really, really foggy first thing, and then by about 11 o clock the sun burned it all away and the afternoon has been beautiful. So I’ve spent most of it in the garden sowing seeds and doing other stuff.

We couldn’t even see the road when the fog came in. Oh and if you’re wondering, the horse on the right is lying down, it’s not dead.

I sowed one row of Parsnips “Gladiator” and the temptation to go all Russell Crowe on them was very strong, but I resisted. They should pop through the soil in about 3 weeks or so, and I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

I also sowed three rows of Carrots. What varieties they are I don’t know as I got several varieties and mixed them all together. It’s going to be a wonderful surprise when I harvest them as to what colours they’re going to be. I love a bit of mystery don’t you? I’m sure Lottie and Dottie would approve.

I then sowed 1 line of Spring Onions “White Lisbon”. I have a couple of other varieties, but I’m trying to finish up all my old seeds, so I can start afresh next year. It’s good to grow carrots and anything from the onion family next to each other, as they repel the flies from each other. I love it when plants work with each other. The same can not be said for Bert and the new chickens. They’re worse than toddlers!!

I also sowed a few more Radish, this time “Pink Beauty”. The first lot of radish I sowed are growing brilliantly and should be ready in a couple of weeks.

And finally I’ve started to harvest this years Asparagus. I sowed it from seed about 7 years ago I think. What variety they are I don’t know, but there are some lovely varieties here. It was then in my allotment, and then I dug it all up and it moved with us. This time last year I put it in it’s new bed, but didn’t harvest any as I wanted it to settle. Now it’s settled I can now harvest some this year. It looks fabulous, I’m so chuffed.

All ready for dinner tonight.

Well that’s all for today, a good days work. I think I deserve one of my birthday beers (I hope I’ve got one left) and a long hot soak in a bath.

Happy days!

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Pricking out Onions and Leeks

Usually I sow my onions from sets, and this is never something I do. But this year I sowed all my onions from seed, so thought I would prick them out into individual pots to help them grow a little better.

I’ve also done the same with my leeks as they were getting a little squashed in their tray.

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