Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Hi Summer

Well it seems that we're well into the rainy season again here, high summer. Several times in the last couple of weeks I've been thwarted by the rainy, showery weather.

Still things are growing a pace. The annuals sown in a bed along one edge are comming on fine with some of the poppies flowering already. The lettuces sown earlier in the year we're now able to pick and eat, even though they're only small. More seeds have been sown for more salads and they're emerging. The potatoes are starting to flower and we'll soon start to dig those up as we need them - we've finished the ones sown in the veg beds at home now. At home the broad beans are at a nice edible size and are getting used.
Still there is plenty to keep us busy. The grass always needs keeping on top of - I've started to try and dig over some of the grassed areas rather than having to keep cutting it all by hand. Planning for what we should be doing in the plot over winter should be happening now as well - where more permanent beds and plantings should be. What sort of fruit we want and where - I like the idea of an edible hedge with hazel, sloes, plums, roses, hops and things like that growing through it, nice to look at and nice to eat.

Monday, 29 June 2009


So earlier in the year we ordered a lot of stuff from the Organic Gardening Catalogue.
One of the items was five root cuttings of Bocking 14 Comfrey to be planted on the allotment for general compost and plant food making. Eventually the root cuttings arrived and I planted them up an a small tray as best I could. Now they are looking like

Hopefully we'll work out where we want them to go soon and so be able to plant them out. If not they'll be kept on in pots till a final position is found, probably next to where the compost bins will be placed at the bottom of the plot. At the moment though we've got a whole bunch of flower seedlings there trying to get big enough to flower for a bit of colour.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Night Shining

Over the years I've been fascinated by various natural optical phenomena that can be seen. Sundogs and halos, parhelic arcs and circumzenithal arcs have been seen over the years (the last of those is great by the way, looking like an upside down rainbow grinning at the top of the sky). Of course manyh rainbows have been seen. Single, double, partial and the last one looked like it was going down into the valley we were driving into. Moon halos are harder to see in that you need a dark sky and bright moon as well as the right conditions for halo formation.

I've managed to see aurorae from home, nothing spectacular but certainly green glowing in the sky where normally there isn't any.

Once thing I've not seen for certain is Noctilucent Clouds. Not till over night tuesday/wednesday anyway. Over the years during the summer months if I've woken in the night then I'll have looked out of the window at the back towards the north to see if any were there. Often I did think I could see something but was never sure if what I was looking at was noctilucent clouds or just a slightly woozey addled brain making up what I wanted to see when I'd just woken up.

Overnight I woke up again and after dealing with what needed dealing with I thought tonight would be a good night for looking out to see noctilucent clouds. The night had started quite still and very clear and would have been great for stargazing had it not been just after midsummer. At about 2 in the morning though the sky had gone as dark as it could get. I stepped out into the garden and looked towards the north and northeast. There for a few degrees above the horizon was a blueish, whitish glow. Within the faintly glowing area there was some form of cloud like structure. I think that must be it. Finally, definitely noctilucent clouds.

For more information about the how and why of all the phenomenon I've mentioned and many more, Les Cowley's Atmospheric Optics website is the best.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

What to do with radishes?

I think the post title says it all really. What to do with too many radishes?
Now when you sprinkle the packet of seed along the drill in the carefully prepared bed little do you expect that all the seeds will germinate, nor even most of the seeds. A few to come through here and there will do. After all there are only so many radishes you can eat. So now there here they're growing fast and something needs to be done.
I think that the answer will be composting. We're now at the point where we have to start making a heap for compost. The rough couch grass is growing very well on the uncultivated areas and needs to be cut back - an hour or two with the shears this evening I think. That will form the basis for the pile. We may get round to constructing some sort of bin system but first we would have to decide where it's going to go.Grass clippings and some stuff from the manure pile should be a good start.
That and some radishes.

Friday, 5 June 2009

It's all in the eating

The other day when we went up to water everything after yet more hot dry weather, the other half noticed that there was there first harvest opportunity.
The early strawberries that had been planted had got their first fruits and two seemed to be ripe. Pulling them off the plants was good. Eating them for that fresh strawberryness hit was even better.

The first of many harvests I hope.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


The first diabetes related post. These will happen every so often.

So the HbA1c result I got has come down a little from my last test. 7.0 from 7.3 This is heading in the right direction so I should be pleased. I still want to get it nearer to the 6.5% that is the recommended value. I think changing some of my insulin ratios after a discussion with my diabetes nurse has helped and I'm not going too high after my evening meal now.
I also got back the results of a liver function test and all was well, not bad for having the blood taken the morning after my birthday :-)

Getting Growing

It has all started to get growing now that we've had a bit of good weather. Probably a bit too good weather in fact, it's not rained for what seems like an age now and the wind still rips across the site drying everything out.

This is the seedbed with the radishes showing well. There are also the first signs of some spring onions, carrots and lettuces in there. The parsnips haven't started to come through but I'm not too worried about that yet.

The strawberries that we planted through some weed fabric. These do need netting off to stop the ripening berries being got before we get them.

The sweetcorn inside it's windbreak netting protection. 19 plants, not bad considering that they were bought for £1.99 in a tray with 9 modules in. They've been growing at home waiting for a suitabe day after the bed was prepared - and the windbreak to be put up to protect them.

A general view of the plot showing that we have been working and cultivating it. I do hope it's all worth it in the end!

Right best get off to water everything in there.

Monday, 11 May 2009

You wait ages for one

...then three come along at once.

On sunday the local football club Glossop North End played in the FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium. The club managed to get a charter train to take 700 fans there and back for the day out.
I was expecting the train to have a loco at each end, which it did (class 47s) but also at the back there was a third loco, a class 57 liveried in the Virgin Trains Thunderbird loco - I have heard the train ran all the way to Manchester picadilly and then reversed so it was double headed down to London.
So here are some pictures of the first loco working out of Glossop in a very long time (back in December a railtour took a couple of locos up to Hadfield and back to Manchester, so the viaduct has had loco hauled stock over it in the last 6 months).

47826 at the front of the working

47786 Roy Castle OBE almost at the rear of the train

57308 Tin Tin at the back

Heading out over the viaduct

Those are probably the first and last locos to work a passenger service from and to Glossop in a long time

Monday, 4 May 2009


Well there are now things planted.
The only problem with planting stuff on a virgin site is all the digging that goes along with it. We have three trenches of potatoes in and a bed with some onion sets. The trenches for the spuds are about 40-50cm wide by about 4m long and are down about a foot deep. The onion bed was dug over about 130cm wide by 4m long and then had the sets put in. I've also dug another similar sized bed but need to work it over again with a fork and rake before it can be used for planting.

For a gardener who is very much of the no dig school, this is quite a lot of digging!

We need to work out where to put the shed as we've had a word with a neighbor who is getting rid of a small shed and they've said we can have it. When we do get that up it will make life a bit easier as we won't be having to carry all the tools down through the village from the house to the plot.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The New Plot

So we've got a half plot on some very new allotments in the village. We did wonder if we'd left it too late to get anything, thankfully that was not the case. I only got the call confirming this earlier on in the week so now it's all to be done there.

This shows the full plot just over a week ago (we've got till somewhere after the metal pole) after several weeks of dry and warm weather. It was a field used as rough pasture that has been ploughed up so lots of weeding to be done to get those perennial roots out of the ground.

When I went up to have a look at the site after being told we'd got a plot it was much more lush. That's what a bit of water in this warm weather will do.

So now to get some stuff in. We've seed potatoes, onion sets to start with and a lot of seed to try out as and when we can get to clear areas for beds.
In the long term there are all sorts of ideas about fruit trees, edible hedges, sheds and so on but for now there are lots of jobs that need doing.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The dreaded opening post

Well here I am. As ever unfashionably late to the party, sliding along the blunt butter knife of technology with a blog.
Another monkey at the typewriter so don't expect Shakespeare.

Why now, well I suppose why not. I've been thinking about it for a while and now it's here. We've just taken on a new allotment in the village so that seemed as good a spur as any.

What this won't be (I hope) is just another allotment blog detailing what we can get going on the plot but I hope it will record some of that. It won't just be a blog about living with type 1 diabetes, though that will feature. It won't just be about beer, music, transport, photos or other things exclusively. I hope it will be a blog about all my life and interests, so welcome in and hopefully enjoy.