Sunday, January 27

January 2008 Diary

The January diary on the web site is now complete and includes the photographs taken on site today. It has been a horrible week and the forecast for next week doesn't hold much promise of any sort of improvement. Looking back on last January's diary, it seems that history is repeating itself as last year January was very wet and windy too.

Click here to visit the January diary page which has a larger version of the photo album shown here.

Friday, January 25

Planning your plot for next year?

This week I received an email about a new web site that may be of interest to anyone starting to plan the planting of their plot. is an innovative garden planning tool which helps you grow fruit and vegetables to the best of their ability, whatever the size or shape of your garden or plot.

With it is easy to draw out your garden plan and decide how best to plant it. The planning tool clearly shows how much space plants require and how to group them for maximum success, removing the need to look up planting distances and crop families.

Growing advice is just one click away as you select the plants that you wish to include, enabling you to solve problems and maximise your harvest from the space you have. An annual subscription costs just £15.

Click on the logo to visit the site and see what you think.

Thursday, January 24

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is the world's biggest bird survey.

It is really easy to take part and doesn't take very much of your time but provides the RSPB with vital information.

In 2007, over 400,000 people took part by counting the birds in their garden for an hour. Together they spotted 6 million birds across 236,000 gardens. This helped the RSPB determine which species of bird had increased in number and which had numbers in decline. They can then identify which species of birds need help.

Since 1979, the number of house sparrows counted has fallen by 52% and the number of starlings by 76%. However, it isn't all bad news - chaffinchs and great tits have both seen their numbers increase since 1979 by 36% and 52% respectively.

To read more click here

Where have all the red dots gone?

I had an email from ClusterMaps to say that they were wiping all the previous visits from our map. I was enjoying seeing the map gradually become redder and redder so was a bit disappointed. However, they say that they do this annually so that the map doesn't become just a big red blob.

Fortunately they archive the old map and so I have popped a copy on the sidebar and also in this post so that if little things please you as much as they please me you can still see how many parts of the world have paid us a visit over the last year.

Sunday, January 13

So where did the idea of keeping an allotment come from?

As the weather is still too damp to do much on the site you may like to read the very short history of allotments on the web site. Click here to read more.
The photograph below shows the Piermaster's Wartime Garden in Liverpool. This is a reconstruction of how even many very small town gardens were 'given over' to the production of vegetables during the 'Dig for Victory' campaign on World War II.

The pier master's war time garden

Thanks to Joe for supplying the photograph.

Saturday, January 12

More Visitors' Photographs

After visiting our site, Mick from Chatham in Kent, sent me some photographs and told me a little about his gardening activities. Mick recently acquired an allotment plot after waiting for three years so now he is raring to go.

Mick is also into exotic plants which he grows in his garden, but no doubt some spares may find their way to the plot.

mini basjoo

To view the photos and read more about Mick's plot and garden click here.
It would be great to receive some photos and information about more of our visitors. Our Cluster Map shows we have vistors from all over the world. You know about us so it would be good to know something about some of you too!!

Monday, January 7

A trifle isn't just for Christmas

I have added a recipe for Luxury Chocolate and Fruit Trifle to the web site - click here to access
This trifle is ideal for those of us who, as a result of a good harvest, have a store of berry fruit in our freezers. When the fruit is thawed it produces a juice that soaks into the sponge too. Alternatively you could use fresh fruit and maybe moisten the sponge with fruit juice or something stronger. We have used redcurrants, raspberries, loganberries (well they may have been tayberries) and blackberries. Just shows how many times we have made this trifle over the last month!!


Sunday, January 6

January 2008!

Incredibly it is now a whole year since I started the diary on the website.
Click here for the start of the January 2008 diary.
Today was a lovely sunnny day for being out in the fresh air but it was also really cold. Lots of time is being spent looking through seed catalogues and deciding which of the hundreds of seeds that we would like to grow we can realistically cope with. If you are doing the same then don't forget our links.
It is also uplifting to wander around the garden spotting plants that are starting to come into growth and even into flower.


Everywhere on the plot is a bit soggy. As our soil is clay based we are trying not to stand on it too much as this can ruin the soil structure. I soon will have to set my mind to giving the bramble a really hard pruning if we are to enjoy the same huge fruits as we did last year! Not a task to be undertaken without full body armour! Click here to see how I did this last year.