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The Ferndown Allotment at Longham

The oldest entries on this page are at the bottom, newest at the top.

August 24th 2015
Before the heavy rain we have been having in the last four days, we have dug up the potatoes at the allotment.
Left in the ground for too long, they will only be damaged by slugs and other little blighters.
The yeild of potatoes was very good again this year, last year they lasted us till Christmas.

Runner Beans, well as usual we had far too many for us to eat, a number of people nearby helped us out with eating them!

July 26th 2015
It has been a long time (as you can see from the last entry below) since I last posted anything here.
I was reminded of my inactivity on this page by one of our garden open day visitors a few days ago.

Up until the last two days it has been another very dry summer, and we have been taking water down to the allotment, as we still have not got water on site.
Two boreholes have been drilled, but unfortunately they only have a very small amount of water, to enlarge the boreholes would cost a lot more which is beyond the allotment holders reach, and also hitting a larger amount of water cannot be guaranteed. The town council own and let the allotments, but as everyone knows money is not available to fund such projects.

The allotment this year has been very productive for us, so far.
We did well last year, but some of the root crops, especially beetroot had been eaten by voles and mice.
Last winter we started putting traps down on our allotment, and we have caught more than 30. So that should help.
We don't use poisons as other wildlife could eat the bodies which could kill them. We do see a Kestrel on the allotments occasionally, hopefully he/she will help keep the rodents to a manageable amount.

The soil in our plot is quite good, not too heavy, and now easy to keep clear of annual weeds, we do have a very few sprigs of Horsetail which as soon as we see them get chopped off. Horsetail has reduced from what we had when we took over our plot more than three years ago.

Here are a few pictures taken a couple of days ago.

Probably too many Runner beans !

Plenty to eat from one trip to the allotment

The Runner beans did not set too well in the very hot weather we had, but are now setting better.

Runner Beans with lots of flower.

Potatoes, Runner beans and in the frame Lettuce, to the left Tomatoes

The netted area to keep off the pidgeons.

The white fleece is to keep the Carrot root fly off the carrots and the green to keep cabbage white butterflies off the Brassicas

Lyn loading up the car with goodies.

August 27th 2014
Time to dig up the maincrop potatoes, left in the ground they will only get damaged by slugs etc.
When we dug up the Charlotte salad potatoes earlier in the year, they were much larger than expected, so we were not sure if the maincrop would be good or not.
As you can see in the pictures below, there are some pretty big potatoes, so well worth growing.
We had Desire with the red skins, and Cara which had the largest potatoes.
We filled two potatoe bags for storage, a total of about 50 kilograms.

Some of the largest Cara potatoes, the seed trays they are in are full size ones

Some of the potatoes drying off before bagging up.

Lettuce plants nearly ready to plant out into the frame at the allotment.

June 17th 2014
I must have spoken too soon about the Runner Beans doing well.
We arrived at the allotment to find the lower leaves on the runners, covered in spots, even stranger when seen from below the leaf.
Looking on the internet it was Bean rust.
This was the first time I had ever seen this disease, probably caused by the mild wet winter, allowing the spores to multiply and spead.
We stripped off all the leaves affected, and disposed of them, not in the compost bins.

It slowed the disease down, but never got rid of it. The beans were ok with a reasonable crop, but probably didn't crop for so long.

June 10th 2014
Potatoes coming on well. When we planted them the soil was quite moist after a very wet winter, which gave them a good start. We had waited till the soil had warmed up.
The Runner Beans, sheltered from any cold winds with the smaller mesh netting, had got away quickly from plants we had raised in the greenhouse at home.
Broad beans planted by Lyn, for me, because she doesn't like them, are just starting to pod up.
Altogether a good start to the year.

Broad Beans in the foreground

April 24th 2014
The mild winter must have helped to get such large Cauliflowers. We have never grown such large ones before.
Lots of Cauliflower Cheese on the menu for dinner, and for the next few weeks to come,

April 11th 2014
A week before we went away on holiday, down at the allotment we had the grand opening of the site.
There are now 70 allotments and a car park. All allotments are taken. So it has been fairly busy down there.
We know what it is like for the new allotmenteers, this time last year we had just about cleared the site and nearly finished digging it.

Here is a picture I took of the opening.

We now start another year in the allotment


Nov 24th 2013
We have now netted half the plot to keep off the pidgeons, we will grow the Brassicas and Raspberries inside.
The majority of the plot has been manured ready for the winter rain to help wash it in to the soil.
The green netting is to keep off the cabbage white butterflies from the Brassicas and the Leek moth from the Leeks in the foreground.
The netting is a very fine mesh. At this time it can come off both crops as both insects will not be about.

June 1st 2013
First day of my retirement today, doesn't feel much different to a normal weekend, but probably will hit home when Monday comes.
So we popped down to the allotment first thing this morning, all is growing well down there, planted some Courgette plants, hoed off some small annual weeds and watered the plants under cloches.

Although we planted up the allotment quite late due to the time it took to dig it and the cold weather, the veg is now
growing quite quickly.

The frame/ water collector in the open position to allow us to weed and water the crops.
The frame has drawn quite a lot of attention from other plot holders. Early crops and it fills the two tanks (one each side).

Inside the frame, lettuce, spring onions, radish, carrot, beetroot and spinach.

The grassy area is where we can park the car, if and when it gets busy down there. Another 20ish plots will be formed in
December. We still have a few more rows of veg to put in. Out of this picture are half a dozen flowering plants from our
garden to attract butterflies and bees.

Almost unbelievable that 9 weeks ago it looked like this.

May 5th 2013

And now a picture of the allotment taken about a week ago. The structure on the left has a dual purpose.
The roof collects water and fills the two metal tanks sunk partly in the soil. It also is a mini greenhouse, salad crops are
already planted inside. The roof is hinged on the right hand side and by pulling two retaining pins on the left hand side
the roof can be lifted to gain easy access. The roof I already had in our garage. It used to protect some of the tender
plants in the 'Exotic' garden.
It all took about 55 hours to get to this stage, with the hard work done, we can enjoy the relatively easy planting,

March 31st 2013

Today we did go to the allotment. After digging pretty well all day, and going to the dump twice, the allotment is coming on well.
Still a lot more digging to do, notice now we have stripped the turf off where cars used to be parked.

We have been given some rhubarb crowns, at first I didn't know if we really wanted them, but the triangular strip we
formed between where we can park our car and the path that serves several allotments seemed just the right place for

Looking from the southern end of the plot, you can see where we stripped the turf off, it actually is the easiest part to 
dig, compared to the part on the left.

The area of grass on the left is the car parking space, where we put all the turf to raise the ground, level with the access 
track..We have dug just under half of the plot now.

March 24th 2013
We spent 4 hours down on the allotment this morning. This time we had decided we would start digging some of the plot.
We could have just sprayed the allotment with Roundup to kill all the weeds and grass, but it would take a long time to kill the weeds properly, and we would have to dig it anyway.
Digging it now would at least allow us to grow something for this year.
We found quite a lot of couch grass and dandelion, so we have tried to get as much out as possible, which takes a long time.
After 4 hours of digging we have dug two and a half metres.

Quite a lot of difference don't you think.
The grass to the left of the picture will get dug out later. Cars used to be parked on there, but now it is part of our plot !

But it is going to take a lot more digging to finish the whole plot.
We do have a good large rotovator, from when we used to have a veg garden at my mothers. We havent used it for
twelve years. A couple of days ago I checked it out, and it started fine.
We are not using it to dig the new plot because all it will do is chop up the couch grass and spread it around even more.
Better to get as much out as possible by hand.

March 23rd 2013
Lyn has had her name on a council list for an allotment for several years. Last weekend she was told she now has one !!
During last week Lyn went down to see the allotments at Longham, they are only about half a mile down the road.
She came back and said there was lots of grass growing on the allotment, and a large patch of brambles in the centre.

This morning despite the weather, cold with dampness in the air, we went down there, equipped with spades and forks to start the clearing.
I had not seen the plot before, and it was in quite a state, more so than Lyn had told me.
Armed with a small camera, I took some pictures before we started work.

As you can see it is going to take a while before we can grow some veg

After three hours, it looks quite a lot better, with most of the big stuff out. The 'Bank' that Lyn is standing on used to 
be where a couple of cars parked, we are hoping to use half of it for parking our car, and will return the rest to garden.

What you can't see in the first picture, is the new path the council made that serves two other plots to the side of ours.
They skimmed the grass, mud and rubbish off, to create the path, and dumped it on our plot !! Thank you very much 
Ferndown Town Council.

We managed to clear all that up too.
Another fine piece of council work. Notice there is only a holding stake at each end of the wooden path retainer.
The retainer is bowing already, and the path is disappearing into our plot, so I will have to put in a couple more stakes.

We hope to get a bit more done on the allotment tomorrow, weather permitting.
I thought I would have plenty to do anyway, when I retire from paid work in 10 weeks time. Lyn has seen to it that I will 
be even more busy !!