Building A Bird Bath From An Old Bin Lid

We went to the allotment today and I set about making a bird bath in our little wildlife part of the allotment. For a year we have had a compost bin lid lying around our plot. I kept it propped up against the shed as I thought it had probably blown off someones bin and the owner may claim it. Well I’m not keeping it there or another year so I decided I would make use of it.

Compost Bin Lid
A Compost Bin Lid
Bin Lid Dug Into The Ground
The Bin Lid Dug Into The Ground
A Layer Of Stones On The Bottom
A Layer Of Stones Dug Up Around The Allotment On The Bottom
Filled With Water
Filled With Water

I was quite pleased with the end result. I just hope the owner doesn’t come to claim it now!  The little plant at the left of the bird bath is a Lavatera called Barnsley Baby which I bought at Morrisons this week. I’m sure when it is established it will attract lots of bees to the wildlife garden.

Lavatera Barnsley Baby

When I got home I checked the RSPB website which said the bird bath mustn’t be more than 10cm deep which I think this is so I must add some more of the flint stones that are lying around the allotment. I’ll have to go back soon now as I’m worried  a poor little bird will drown as the water is too deep!

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Back To The Allotment

Sadly due to family illness our allotment and this blog where a bit neglected last year. This week was the first time I had visited  the allotment since last autumn. Even though I have been away it has been in my thoughts! It was lovely to get back. It didn’t look quite so bad as I had imagined as Tom had tried to keep on top of the weeds. Just opening our little shed was a thrill. A mouse had chewed through some of the bags left in there but who am I to begrudge a warm spot for a little mouse in the winter.

Looking around I have decided there is nothing we can’t get on top of with a bit of hard work and then we will be ready for the spring. I particularly wanted to get our little wildlife pond ready for any frogs looking for a place to lay their frog spawn. I have added a big rock that just about reaches the surface so frogs can climb out and cleaned out bits of debris so I hope any passing frogs may find it inviting now.

The Allotment Wildlife Pond

I just need to add some plants to attract wildlife on the right of the pond and add a little house for passing toads to rest and it will be ready for the spring.

The Greenhouse Or Polytunnel Decision

We went to the allotment yesterday and worked for a few hours. There was nothing much to photograph, we just planted more seeds and did some weeding. The whole allotment plot is looking very green now when you look across from the gates.

Looking Across The Allotments

Looking Across The Allotments

There were lots of birds around enjoying the spring weather including this little house sparrow.

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But the big  discussion between Tom and I at the moment is whether to have a greenhouse or a polytunnel. Well more me worrying, I think Tom may be just humouring me!

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Looking at this photo the differences are obvious. We could grow much more in a polytunnel but a green house looks so much nicer. A green house is more expensive but more permanent. I think I will start searching on the internet for the pros and cons and ask some allotment neighbours their views. The couple who have just bought this polytunnel  are very nice so I think we my ask them if we can have look inside. Then when we decide there is the other big decision of where to place it on our plot. What ever we decide, knowing me we’ll be shifting it about for weeks. Poor Tom, how does he put up with me!

Plants For The Allotment

I went to Wilkinsons today and bought two fruit bushes and a rose for the allotment. The raspberry bushes are Tulameen which produces fruit in the late summer and Autumn Bliss which of course produces fruit in the late Autumn until the first frosts. We want to keep our fruit bushes together so in the end we can erect a fruit frame around all of them. We will plant them in front of the existing gooseberry bushes next to the shed. We also have two blueberry bushes in pots in the garden and a morello cherry tree sapling which I managed to save from an off shoot of the large tree in our garden. These are also going to be taken to the allotment and added to the fruit corner. I’m hoping to grow the Morello Cherry as an espalier which can also be netted to protect it from the birds.

Raised Beds And Fruit Bushes On The AllotmentI think I may move the frame third along in the second row forward as there is nothing planted in it yet and make the whole large area behind it a fruit bed.

Raspberry Bushes And Queen Elizabeth Rose

The rose bush I bought is called Queen Elizabeth. I have two in the garden and they are so pretty I couldn’t resist it when I saw it was only £3. I shall plant it next to the fruit trees. For the sum of £7 I bought two fruit bushes and a rose bush. What a bargain! It was well worth the trip.

The Planting Starts

Finally after what seems like months, yesterday we planted some seeds! In bed 1 we planted Parsnips (Gladiator F1). in bed 2 Dwarf Sunflowers (Torch) and in bed 3 Broccoli (Green Calabrese). So know we just have to wait and see and keep planting. After such a lovely day on the allotment yesterday today it has not stopped pouring with rain. At least the seeds are getting a good watering.

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There is more starting to grow. The Conference Pear tree is covered in tiny little pears now the blossom has gone

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Wisteria is flowering as it climbs through one of the apple trees.

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20150513_145241The allotments are looking beautiful now with so many inspirational plots. Our neighbours have worked so hard and it is really showing.

20150513_14041820150513_151226_1Isn’t this a lovely path someone has made at the side of their allotment.

Some of the allotments don’t seem to be bring worked on. I’m not sure why but you can look across to other beautifully tended plots.20150513_140314

Isn’t this shed wonderful.

20150513_140330I have decided that one day soon I will take a walk around all the allotments and take some photos, as so many of them give me inspiration for new ideas and they certainly show what can be achieved with hard work and imagination. We haven’t even been right over to the other side of the allotments. There is so much to explore!

Raised Beds On The Allotment

Chopping up and clearing the fir tree has been hard going on the allotment this week but I feel now that has been finished we can really get on with the job of planting. We have made some raised beds from broken up wooden pallets, well not really very raised but a contained bed, and we intend to start planting and sowing on our next visit. Our plan this year is to clear three feet and add raised beds every time we visit, moving gradually towards the fruit trees. This way at least hopefully we will have something to show for our hard work later in the year.

The Fir Tree Cleared On The Allotment

The Fir Tree Cleared Away

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Finally The Weeds Around The Pond Are Being Dug Out

The Allotment Pond Is Looking Clearer

The Allotment Pond Is Looking Cleaner

Raised Beds From Wooden Pallets On The Allotment

Raised Beds Made From Wooden Pallets

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Raised Beds From Made From Wooden Pallets

As novice vegetable growers, this year we will be trying lots of new things. It’s just going to be a case of “bung it in and see what happens.” Hopefully we will have some successes but I’m sure we will have lots of failures too. I’m going to record in photos which beds are failures and which do well so as we go into next year we can learn by our mistakes. Most importantly though I’m going to enjoy it, so even if we only get a few radishes for a salad we can look back and say what a fun year we’ve had.

The Fir Tree Has Gone

The fir tree on our allotment, which appears to have been annoying the other allotment holders for years, has gone! It was so tall Tom had to climb a long ladder and cut the top half off first. With constant encouragement from me whilst holding the ladder “Mind the fence.” “Mind the shed” “Mind your head” the top half crashed to the ground. Then it was the long sawing process, with what we decided is not a very sharp saw, to cut down the bottom half. I feel sad to cut any tree down but it had to go. It would just have got bigger and bigger and more unmanageable. Tom wanted to try and dig the stump out but I think we should just hide it under a compost bin. It may rot down one day, in about twenty years!

All That Is Left Of The Fir Tree On The Allotment

Apple Blossom On The Allotment

Apple Blossom On The Allotment

Looking Across The Allotments. It’s harder to see ours now without the strange pointy fir tree.

Looking Across The Allotments

The Beautiful Fruit Trees

We have been to the allotment twice this week and we have quite a good routine going. Tom and I work solidly for about two and a half hours which is the time it takes us to fill eight garden waste bags, the total amount we can fit in the car. I wish I had kept a total tally of how many garden waste bags we have filled so far but it must be in excess of 60! We are only about a third of the way through as well. Or maybe even, rather depressingly a quarter. It would have been easier earlier in the year as we could have burned a lot of the waste but unfortunately bonfires are banned on the allotment from the 1st April to November.

My poor fingers are so painful with pulling out brambles I can barely type. The thorns just go right through even heavy duty gloves. I thought nettles were bad, after a week spent with brambles nettles are my friend! The other evening I ached so much I could barely lift a glass of wine to my mouth. Things must be bad! Yet despite all my moans I’m loving it. I think all the time what I’m going to do next and the planning of what to grow is such fun.

I love the fruit trees. I can still hardly believe that we have been given these beautiful trees. Now I just have to decide what to plant under them.

Fruit Trees On The Allotment

The Fruit Trees On The Allotment

Allotment Fruit TreesOur Little Orchard !

Pear Tree BlossomPear Tree Blossom

Fruit Bushes And The Joy Of Nettles!

In the last week we have cleared so many weeds I am amazed there are any left. We decided it was probably best to clear the weeds first as when they go to seed we are going to be very unpopular with the other allotment holders. We have met several of our allotment neighbours now and a very nice bunch they seem to be. Our next door neighbour told us that our allotment was cared for, for years and years by an old man who kept it beautifully. The fruit trees were pruned, the little pond a picture and his vegetables grew in perfect regimental rows. Sadly the old man became too old to manage it and it grew a bit neglected. When he gave it up someone took it over for three years who hardly cared for it and it was so sad to see all this old man’s work become more and more overgrown. That really encouraged me to work harder, I feel we owe it to the little plot to get it back to the condition it was in. It’s a slow process but we will get there!

The Fruit Bushes At The Side Of The Shed

The Allotment Shed

The Fruit Bushes

The Fruit Bushes And Lavender

More Clearing To Do

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The Planting Area Is Growing

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Look At All These Nettles!

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Gradually Getting Clearer

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