Thursday, 20 March 2014

More Hard Surface Paving And A Newly Sowed Lawn For The Smallholding. (Downsizing the veg plot).

We have been busy bees again on our smallholding.  I  pulled my back (again) moving the concrete slats to make paving.  The bath in the background is to collect rainwater and a home for any frogs if they want to use it.  We also sowed a new lawn on part of the vegetable plot.  I think Monty Don would like our recent vegetable garden tasks.  Who is your favourite television gardener?   Mine would be Geoff Hamilton and Geoffrey Smith, Monty Don and Carol Klien.  I had to choose 4, didn't I?

There's still plenty of room for vegetables in the new polytunnel and around it.  I will dig up the lawn in a few years time and make a lawn where the veg plot is now.  Just to give it a rest and to make things easier on the smallholding.  An old allotment friend once told me it's better to have a well managed and tidy medium sized plot than a large overgrown one that you never get on top of.  He was right.  I use to give quite a bit of my vegetable produce to my parents.  But now they are no longer in the land of the living.  We don't need so much space. Is your vegetable plot too big or too small?


  1. Looking very tidy, but can frogs get into that bath? Really like to see those little creatures, they're one of the only three things I know that eat slugs, so well worth trying to attract them.

    Yes, good idea to rest a part of the growing area every year, leave just enough to be manageable and productive. I agree it's better to concentrate effort into a smaller patch than try and cultivate too much, your friends's right, you just never get on top of it and eventually lose heart. It's amazing what can be grown in a few containers, I have a friend who grows new potatoes and peas very successfully in fancy buckets full of compost, he always seems to have a good return.

    Weather back to miserable today, blowing a gale and heavy rain, colder as well. So much for our spring last week. Hope all the new lambs are OK, there's not a lot of shelter in most of the fields.

    Raggy cat continuing its hedonistic lifestyle, it was late in this morning so must have pressing business somewhere. It has the ability to come in wet but be dry in a few minutes.

  2. Hi Cumbrian. It's back to every season in a day again today. We've had gale, rain, more wind and a bit of sunshine so far today. Even the broadband didn't work for a while when it was very windy.

    The bath probably needs sinking for a natural habitat/pond. Hedgehogs are also good for eating the slugs. Haven't seen one for ages.

    I am trying to make my veg plot and garden less labour intensive and more enjoyable. A lot of folk take on overgrown allotments and give them up becuase they try to take on too much in one go. It's better to let the strimmer keep the grass and weeds at bay and have a medium sized allotment that's productive.

    Still got cattle inside. Some neighbouring farmers have them out by day and some by night. We have ten silage bales left and it's a dilemma of whether to use them or save them for next winter.


  3. Monty Don? Ooh can't abide the git. Geoffrey Smith for me any day. Actually got me earlys and seconds chitting this week and runners n corn seeds in pots to start em for the allotment I'm helping out on.
    Off to the lakes tomorrow for some soul searching and r n r.

  4. Hi John. You always make me laugh. Monty Don is a cool character and he lives in one of my favourite counties: Herefordshire.

    Geoffrey Smith was a vegetable garden guru. I think 'Geoffrey Smith's Vegetable Garden' was a classic and the good old Beeb should repeat it along with Harry Dodson's Victorian Kitchen Garden and Geoff Hamilton's 'Paradise Gardens.' I'd still like to know why Sky doesn't show any gardening or allotment programmes any more.

    My favourite Geoffrey Smith quote:

    "Put the brown end in the soil, the green end above it and you're in with a much better chance'.

    Hope you have a good time in the Lakes, John. Please write a blog about it. Thanks!

  5. Hedgehogs seem to be getting rarer, most of the ones I see are flattened into the tarmac, I don't know if people aim at them or it's just accidental, but sad to see so many of these harmless little creatures as road-kill.
    I've seen 2 in 3 years here, one running along the pavement and into a garden, the other in my back garden, sadly dead. Both were full-grown, so I'd like to think they're breeding locally, one of the other things that eats slugs.

    Mrs has seen one frog, hopping along in the back garden, I've never seen one, there's no water nearby other than a ditch alongside the cycle track. It used to be a single track rail line connecting the docks to the ammunition dump until it closed, about 20 years ago, so they made it into a cycle track. Tarmac 8' wide with a ditch to one side, its's predictably silted up and overgrown now, so maybe that's where the frogs are.

    Notice John's off up to our neck of the woods, looking forward to reading about it in due course.

    Persistent cold wind here, just a few showers, sun trying unsuccessfully to break through.

    Raggy cat asleep on the bed, it was late in this morning, dirty little stop-out.

  6. Hi Cumbrian, I saw 4 badgers killed on the roads this week. Haven't seen an Hedgehog for years. Roadkill always makes me feel sad for our wildlife. I don't suppose there is any way of stopping it from happening.

    I read somewhere that motorway verges are some of the best natural habitats in Britain. They aren't disturbed unless they try to cross the motorway.

    Been watching a brilliant series about canal narrow boats on More 4 starring Prunella Scales (Sybil from Fawlty Towers) and Timothy West. British Waterways (or what tever they are called now) have done some excellent work transforming the derelict and abandoned canals and preserving our industrial heritage and making them in tourist attractions.

    Yes I am looking forward to reading about John's trip to Cumbria. You live in a beautiful place. Wish West Cork was a National Park and there were full time rural jobs and public transport like your Mountain Goat bus company.

    Very cold here. Vegetables starting to sprout in the polytunnel.


  7. Yes, sad to see all the road kill, not many badgers here, I've never seen one locally but I know they're common in some parts and fall victim to road kill.
    Hedgehogs not as common as they were, but still to be seen occasionally, again sadly a lot of them flattened on the tarmac, I don't know if people aim for them deliberately, they're usually not hard to avoid.
    Saw a seagull today, first time I've seen one dead in the road, they'rs usually too quick and wary.
    Also see rabbits, a few pheasants and the odd fox, it's shooting country and there's a lot of reared pheasants about.

    I can believe that motorway verges are a wildlife haven, there's a lot of them and nobody goes there, some of them well planted with trees as well. often see hawks hovering over the sides of motorways, so there must be plenty there to attract them.

    Cumbria and the Lake District also suffer from a lot of unemployment, the hotels are busy for the season, but the trend seems to be employing lots of Eastern European young people living in at slave wages, so they don't do much for the locals. Public transport is non-existent in a lot of rural areas, and some have a very restricted service, you catch a bus on the calendar rather than your watch.
    But yes, it can be a beautiful place.

    Another cold windy day but the rain's mostly kept off, just the odd shower, wish spring would hurry up. Good to hear you've got some life sprouting in the poly-tunnel, sure it'll extend the growing season a lot.

    Raggy cat becoming a bit too civilised, developed a liking for the bed, sleeps all day there except the occasional foray to the bowls to see if there's anything magically appeared in them. Found an offering of a dead mouse on the doorstep, so at least it's still capable of fending for itself.

  8. Thanks for that Cumbrian.

    It's not safe to walk to town here for pedestrians even. The road speed is 80K and most of the verges are overgrown with blackthorn and brambles. I have never understood why cars are allowed to go so fast on country roads built for horses and carts. Plus there is always a chance that you will meet pedestrians, dairy cattle, sheep or a tractor.

    Public transport is virtually none existent here in West Cork. If you don't drive you either thumb a lift or try to hire a taxi. There are plenty of prive school bus companies who could easily provide a public transport service but the government seems to have a policy of spending virtually nothing in rural areas. How can you expect to get tourists (especially walkers) if you don't provide a skeleton public transport system at the very least?

    We also have high unemployment, constant emigration, negative property equity or very little social housing.

    Nice today. Rain due tomorrow. Glad to read that Raggy cat is well. Thanks!

  9. Mine would be Harry Dobson from the 80's series "The Victorian Kitchen Garden".
    As for having a plot too big I think mine is when I'm working full time but I'm hoping when my stay-at-home dad duties start I should be able to get on top of it.

  10. Yes, Kev. You made a very good choice picking Harry. I really enjoyed: The Victorian Kitchen Gardener, The Victorian Flower Garder and The Wartime Kitchen and Garden television series. Harry was 68 when he recorded The Victorian Kitchen Garden. There's hope for us all that we may have our own smallholding series when we are 68.

    I also enjoyed 'The Lost Gardens Of Heligan'. It recorded the restoration of some long and forgotten estate gardens in Cornwall. I visited about 15 years a go. It's well worth a visit. Thanks!


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