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Bonus Crops, Building Raised Beds

Apart from nipping down to water, I’ve not got much done in the last couple of days on the plot. We have had a few more sweetcorn as the late arrivals ripen, which are a nice bonus. The greenhouses are giving me tomatoes, cucumbers and chilli peppers although the sweet peppers aren’t quite ready yet. Amazingly, after they were almost drowned out, had a few good handfuls of runner beans.

Our Sunday dinner had calabrese as one of the vegetables as well. These were the second flush and although not a large quantity, another bonus. When you cut off the main head, rather than disposing of the plant just leave it be and the side shoots provide this small extra crop.

Val’s been redecorating the kitchen at home so that’s been chaos. For some reason she doesn’t trust me with a paintbrush so my jobs have been to take doors off, put them back on, move the fridge etc. Still, it looks better for all her hard work.

Saturday was to be the day but it’s the first of the month and so I had to change the offers page in the shop section. I’m trying to update the shop pages as I go along so took the opportunity to do that and the allotment shop home page.

So far I’ve got the vegetable seeds, garden machinery and cookware finished which just leaves (just? It’s the biggest section) the equipment pages.

Harrod Horticultural have joined us as well so I’m adding their products in as I go as well. Without the sponsors I just couldn’t keep a web site of this scale going.

So around 3pm on Saturday I finally escaped and carried the planks from next door around to the plot. Nipped up to the DIY cathedral and got some creosote substitute and then started painting the planks. I managed to get three done before the light faded and I realised I was alone on the site.

The plan was to send out my monthly email newsletter this morning and then head down to the plot and finish creosoting the planks, then prepare the area for the bed.

Well, as these things always do, the plan failed.

First of all my broadband is playing up still so sending emails by the thousand is pretty painful. Having jumped through the hoops they ask you, like buying new line filters and re-installing the software on the modem we’re no better off so I asked for the MAC key to enable me to move to a new supplier.

They phoned me up to ask why and I was amazed that the person who called was knowledgeable and took ownership of the problem. He thinks he knows where the problem lies at the exchange and that they can sort it out. Fingers crossed.

On the subject of my monthly email, I try and update people on what’s new on the site and a few seasonal tips. It’s difficult to know how much to say – sometimes less is more. I usually get a couple of people unsubscribe fairly quickly which is sad but more often than not they’re people who don’t contribute or have just come on and asked one question never to be seen again.

The next day I get a few replies letting me know how things are going on their plots or even thanking me and that makes it worthwhile.

The real annoyance though is the number of emails that bounce. I know there is nothing wrong with the email address but hotmail, yahoo and AOL have decided my email is spam. These are the people who let through dozens of emails for Viagra and stock market tips but my email.. oh no, we’re not sending that. Grrrr.

Secondly it’s raining. I don’t think I’ll be getting anything done on the lotty today (Sunday). It’s an ill wind as they say, so Val will be getting a damaged kitchen cupboard door replaced that’s been sitting waiting in the garage for a little while. OK – I admit it – a long time.

I mentioned Val making Grapefruit and Armagnac Marmalade and have had a couple of requests for the recipe, which is now online. It’s amazing how a very small amount of spirit lifts a nice marmalade to a superb marmalade. Even if it is my VSOP special stock!

Well lots to do and so little time so I’d best get on with things.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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