Idiosyncratic veg growing in the vicar's garden AND in an allotment in the village. A "how not to" guide...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It's starting to look a little like a garden again!

We've been at the vicar's this morning. Julia and Jerome got a pass-out today because they're off wearing out their legs in some run down in That There London. I know that the gardening/marathoning decision is a difficult one to make, but somehow I'm glad that I've got the bindweed end of the deal!

The intention was to plant another two feet of peas (in a succession-planting sort of way) and to do some general weeding around the place. We got the peas in no bother, although there were some rogue potatoes growing in the pea bed: we obviously failed to harvest them all last year! Rob did some hardcore weeding round the fruit bushes, which are looking really very happy, although some of the blackcurrant leaves have the same raised brown patch on them that I noticed last year. Let's hope it's not serious.

I had finished weeding the legume bed and was just contemplating going home for some lunch, when I (perhaps foolishly) turned over a bit of the soil where the tomatoes will be planted. BINDWEED ROOT PAYDIRT!! It seemed that I had uncovered a veritable mine of bindweedy badness, so hopefully that will help this year's toms to grow without being strangled!

By the time we came to leave, it was all looking far better: the broad beans we planted in the soil have grown quite a bit in the last week; the transplanted broad beans are looking good; some of the first planting of peas have sprouted; and - perhaps most excitingly of all - the potatoes are starting to sprout. Hurrah!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I popped into the vicar's to do some watering and there are little green leaves poking through the soil in the right places for broad beans and for peas. I'm going to send Rob off tonight to plant out the broad beans that are currently hardening off at Julia's (that'll keep him out of the pub for a bit!) so we have growing things at last.

The bindweed's growing nicely too, damn it.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I'm not sure that Plot 9 is good for Rob. Twice now he's been "kidnapped" on the way home and dragged, kicking and screaming, into the pub on the way home. Pah.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lovely weather for...

...mostly bindweed, which seems to be all that's sprouting in the Vic's garden right now. There's no sign of peas or broad beans, and the potatoes are still hiding under the soil, and it's all quite depressing on the annual plant front. The fruit is looking far more promising: there are flowers (and micro fruit) on the gooseberry; the blackcurrants are starting to flower; and the raspberries are suddenly more than just a pair of leaves on a bare stalk.

This lack of foliage has made it quite easy to spot the nasty, pernicious bindweed as it starts to pop its head above the ground. We spent quite some time today de-bindweed-ing the currants and rasps, and we're trying to work out how to tackle the next wave that's lurking just below the soil's surface. At the moment, the most promising strategy is the "let it grow up a stick and then caress it with a glove covered in weedkiller" technique. All we needs are some pea sticks and some gentle caressing action, and I'm sure we can manage to find those.

Up at Plot 9, the soil is still damn hard - probably something to do with the lack of precipitation - but Rob won't let me hire a rotavator to break it up. Not even when the young couple from two plots down offered us use of theirs. In fact, not even when I did my best pleading face. Instead, he has bought a mattock. He's spent the Easter weekend doing digging and mattocking, and there are now two trenches full of asparagus, some turnips and some beetroot. We'll let you know if the former grows in, oh, three years' time; this is one long-term project!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Plot 9

We officially took over at Plot 9 on Sunday. It's a big plot...

...and it's at the top of a hill overlooking the village.

The soil seems very sandy and hard, and is certainly in need of some TLC and vast amounts of compost. It was quite breezy while we were up there, and "overexposed" is perhaps a polite word for it. It does have a seating area at the top end though...

...from which point you can admire the right-hand side of the plot...

...which has already had a sprinkling of green manure seeds, which will be dug in around late summer and then re-sown with green manure to over-winter.

From the seat you can also admire the view of the left-hand side of the plot...

...which has raspberries and a bean/pea frame already in place. This bed is going to have more fruit bushes, the asparagus and the globe artichokes - all permanent stuff.

The only other thing that plot 9 has is lots of rabbits. Well, not just plot 9. There's clearly a massive bunny problem up there, and we have a chicken-wire fence all the way round the plot. Other allotment holders seem to have all sorts of ingenious anti-rabbit devices protecting their tender new crops, so I'll have to get my thinking cap on. Or bring in the services of Julia, Jerome, Rob and the guns. Pop pop bang bang!!

The garden

The vicar's garden is looking remarkably bare, apart from the currant bushes, which seem to be happy after their major pruning. The damn peas haven't sprouted yet either. It's been a whole five days since they were planted and everything. Pah.