Monday, December 5

Winter is coming

Meteorologically speaking, winter's already upon us.  Astronomically winter begins at the winter equinox on 21 December. Whichever definition you prefer, as far as our weather is concerned, winter is definitely staking its claim and the weather is becoming colder and we are more inclined to stay indoors.

We had intended to pop to the allotment on Sunday to harvest some fresh vegetables but in the event, it was wet all day so we changed our plans meaning that last week was another plotless week.

We paid our usual visit to Nostell. Ruby needs her exercise and so we can't just stay indoors being lazy, We have to wrap up warmly and set off for a walk. It was very quiet last week. As the temperatures drop people without a dog to drag them out tend to stay at home or find somewhere indoors to visit.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, November 30

November in pictures

Monday, November 28

Another flying visit

It was another flying visit to the allotment last week,

It was a wet week again and Martyn's foot isn't yet improved enough for him to wear any footwear that would be suitable for working on the allotment.

We spent an hour or so at the weekend taking some waste materials to the plot to compost and also to uncover the winter onions and garlic. These had been protected under enviromesh after planting but now the enviromesh was likely to be doing more harm than good. The shoots couldn't grow straight under the weight of the mesh and also if we do have any snow the weight of the snow on the mesh would flatten the young plants Hopefully, now the mesh has been removed the plants will straighten as they usually do.


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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, November 21

Misty and wet

I don't have much to report this week.

The best word to describe last week's weather was miserable. The week began damp and misty. If anything as the week progressed the weather worsened.

We planned our weekly visit to Nostell for Thursday but rain fell all day and it never got light. Ruby wasn't pleased and spent most of the day curled up on the sofa. I think she thought that it was bedtime.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, November 14

A second week away from the plot


Another non-gardening week last week.

Preparing for our new carpets to be fitted involved taking a desk apart. Whilst doing this a large piece of wood fell on, Martyn's foot. The result was a badly grazed shin and a bruised foot. This meant that he could only manage to wear a certain pair of shoes that were unsuitable for gardening or walking anywhere muddy.

My sister had a fall and needed a visit to a local minor injuries unit and I had a bit of a problem with my knee which, fortunately, seems to have sorted itself out. All in all, Ruby was the only one operating on all cylinders.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Sunday, November 6

No gardening last week

Last week was very busy but just not as far a gardening was concerned.

We both had our Covid booster vaccinations which was a far quicker process than last time. We set off early not knowing what the traffic would be like. Planning journeys is a nightmare at the moment as road works, and the accompanying temporary traffic lights, are popping up all over. One particularly annoying set involves digging up a road that was only recently resurfaced after years a waiting for the improvements. Anyway, I digress, we arrived at the vaccination centre early and contemplated waiting for a while in the car park. We decided to go straight in and after registering we went to wait our turn. We were surprised to find that the waiting area was empty and no sooner had we sat down than we were called forward. We were back to the car and heading home before our appointment was due. Happily, we didn't have any major side effects other than, Martyn having an aching arm.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, November 2

October in pictures

Monday, October 31

We had a little quince tree

Back in 2010 we planted a young quince tree. I wrote a blog post about it here.
Twelve years in and our little quince tree now looks like this.

This year it has provided us with a bumper harvest. Lat week, we decided to pick as many fruits as we could as we didn't want to leave fruit to rot on the tree. We knew that the tree was loaded with fruit but what we didn't expect was the fill our barrow and several buckets with fruit. This was on top of the several buckets that we had already picked.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, October 24

Has the window closed?

I've mentioned before that our clay soil can move seamlessly from too hard and dry to dig to too wet and claggy.

After having had a lack of rain, for what amounted to eight months, the weather has turned wet. On Saturday, our soil was just right for digging and we had hoped to dig over more beds on Sunday. The problem is that with our weather it seems to be all or nothing and more rain fell on Sunday. Once the ground becomes wet in winter it tends to stay wet. Hopefully the moisture will soak into the ground but if the top layers stay wet and sticky our digging may have to be put on hold once more.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, October 17

More winter preparation

Visits to the allotment are becoming fewer and when we do head to the plot we spend a shorter time there. Digging is hard work on our soil, especially when the ground is hard as it still is, so the principle of eating the elephant bit by bit applies. (Not the I would ever consider eating a real elephant). 

We have now picked off all the tomatoes from the garden and the plot greenhouse and the plants have been cleared out. This year has been a really good year for tomatoes especially as they have not had their lives cut short by blight.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, October 10

Trying to beat the weather

It's ironic that we spent the entire growing season bemoaning the fact that we needed rain but now we are in a race to get the allotment ready for winter before the ground becomes too wet to work on. We like to get beds cleared and dug over so that we are in a good position to start planting in spring rather than, as sometimes happens, having to wait for beds to be prepared.

The ground is now fairly damp on the surface but, in some beds, the ground is hard and dry once you dig down to a spade's depth. In the photo below you can see that, when the bed was dug, the soil that was turned over was still very dry. The hard lumps will need to be left open to the elements in the hope that any rain and frosts will break them down.


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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, October 5

September in pictures.

Monday, October 3

Last planting of the year

We didn't do much gardening at the beginning of the week for a number of reasons. One welcome reason is that we have had  a few wet days. A less welcome reason is that I have had a painful shoulder. Thirdly we have been shopping for new carpets and once we had chosen carpeting someone needed to visit to measure up and  price our order.

Martyn, cleared the tomatoes from  the garden greenhouse which will make way for everything that needs to be kept in there over winter. The temperature is already dropping over night.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, September 26

Digging on hold



Whilst we have had some rain, we still haven't had enough to penetrate the soil meaning that the beds are still too dry to dig over.

We are visiting the allotment less frequently now that there is no need to water everything and digging is on hold until we have more rain. In the event that we have persistent heavy rain, the next problem will be that the soil will become too claggy to dig. The joy of gardening on heavy clay soil.

There are other jobs to occupy us. Last week I tidied the strawberry bed. I cut off all the old leaves and removed any runners. We then hoed between the plants before applying a light mulch of compost. Some of the runners were planted up to hopefully produce some spare plants should we have any winter casualties in the main strawberry bed.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, September 19

Squashed


Our afternoons on the allotment have fallen into a pattern as we switch from planting and watering to clearing and digging.


After being dug over, some beds have been covered with weed control fabric. Hopefully, this will stop any weed growth.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, September 12

Living history

Last week has certainly been a memorable one. We had a new prime minister at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week, we had a new monarch. I just can't get used to having a king now rather than a queen. Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch that I have known and is no doubt the only monarch that most of the UK can remember. The term king just doesn't seem right - kings belong to other countries. No doubt I'll get used to things in time. Queen Elizabeth II's seventy year reign is in stark contrast to the longevity in office of our prime ministers who, of late, have been coming and going in rapid succession.

Anyway, life, for us, has gone on as usual. We continue to tidy and clear the plot. I spent one afternoon sorting out the shed. It was becoming almost impossible to get inside. The shed doubles as a retreat, where we can escape any showers and sit having a coffee break when it is too unpleasant to sit outside. We don't keep anything of value at the allotment as sheds are often targeted by opportunistic thieves so any equipment is transported from home.




Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, September 7

August in Pictures.

Monday, September 5

Safely gathered in

We are now at the stage where the allotment beds are emptying and our main focus is clearing and tidying beds. We are still waiting for some rain so that we can dig the beds over and then leave them until next spring.  Where we have been watering crops the soil although very dry is workable. The soil where the potatoes were planted is hard and lumpy. For now, until we get some decent rain we can only leave those beds.

A few crops are still growing, one being the crop of leeks. We seem to have a plant with variegated leaves. It looks more like an ornamental plant. I've never come across a leek with leaves like this before - have you?


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, August 29

Something new

I'd love to say that the 'something new' was that we had been treated to a real downpour and we were no longer having to carry watering cans about. I'd love to tell you that - but I can't. Any 'rain' that has fallen has been measured in fractions of a millimetre or on one exciting occasion three millimetres.

It did rain during our weekly walk around the parkland at Nostell. It was enough to have us donning our raincoats but as we drove nearer to home, only eight miles away, it became obvious that no rain had fallen where we needed it. 

At least now we don't have as much watering to do on the allotment as many crops have either been harvested or are coming to the end of their productive life.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, August 22

Rain - what rain?

Storms are regularly being mentioned in weather forecasts and I read reports of thunderstorms and heavy rain. So far none have headed our way. Still, the most that the weather gods will offer us is light drizzle or, as I have heard it referred to, nuisance rain.

Early in the week, in preparation for the downpour, I decided to lift one lot of onions. The tops had dried and I didn't want to risk the onions being soaked.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, August 15

A topsy turvy week

We had quite a change of routine last week.

Work on the allotment has been confined to watering - lots of watering - and harvesting. A hosepipe ban is planned for the end of the month which could actually benefit us. We water our plants using watering cans as we like to know just how much water we are giving the plants. As I've mentioned before, water pressure on our site is abysmal. If two people are filling a can at the same time it takes ages. If someone is using a hosepipe, the flow of water can reduce to a trickle and in some parts of the site not even a trickle is delivered. Hopefully if use of a hosepipe is banned it should mean filling watering cans will be easier.

We usually go to the allotment in the afternoon but we decided that afternoon temperatures, last week, were just too high to be working outside .



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, August 8

Better than expected


Well isn't it a difficult year for gardeners and farmers? Any rain that is falling just wets any bare earth as it isn't heavy enough to penetrate any plant top-growth. To deliver moisture to plant roots we have to rely on the watering can.


One crop being prioritised is a couple of rows of peas. Pods have set and I want to give them every chance that I can to swell. I gave the bed at least ten cans of water. This was delivered without the rose directly to the roots.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, August 3

July in Pictures

Monday, August 1

Drizzly

We only managed a couple of visits to the allotment last week. We had a couple of appointments and the drizzly rain was enough to make gardening a less attractive proposition.

Most mornings we have pulled back the curtains to evidence that it has rained during the night but unfortunately this has been drizzly rather than the much needed heavier rain. Overnight our rain gauge has only collected millimetres or even fractions of a millimetre. During the day, it has felt more like that we were surrounded by low clouds rather than actual rain. Our couple of days of heat was certainly a blip and it certainly hasn't felt summery.

The wetness, I can't bring myself to call it rain, has been enough to encourage the weeds and the grass to grow. During our couple of visits there was little time to deal with weeds of cut grass as our priority was to harvest. A tidy plot isn't much good if you allow your crops to spoil.





Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, July 25

What a week

Last week was certainly different. High temperatures were forecasted for the beginning of the week, so we decided to make morning visits to the allotment in order to make sure everything was well watered. We hoped that this would give crops a better chance of surviving the heat.

As well as watering we also managed to harvest a few things



19 July - Sweet peas, cauliflowers, blackberries, gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, courgettes and peas

The predicted high temperatures materialised with Tuesday, our hottest day, reaching just over 40ºC or 104ºF. We spent the afternoons indoors to keep as cool as possible. It was a bit like going back into lockdown. It was eerily quiet with everyone doing the same as us and not venturing outside.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, July 18

Still dry, dry, dry

We are still waiting for the elusive rain to turn up. We keep being promised thunderstorms but they magically disappear from the forecasts before they are due to arrive.

The grass everywhere is no longer green and I noticed hay bales in nearby fields. 

I remember a similar situation back in 1976 when the lack of summer rain was made all the worse as it followed a dry spring and winter. There was the threat that our water supply would be cut off and stand-pipes appeared in streets in preparation for this. Fortunately, the dry spell broke just before the stand-pipes were in use. We also had a prolonged heatwave which made matters worse. We didn't have an allotment back then so didn't have the problems that we are having now. I was teaching at the time, in a classroom that had floor to ceiling windows on two sides but we never thought of closing school.

 

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, July 11

Battling on

The pantomime in London that dominated our news channels last week didn't depict the only battle that was going on.

We are still battling to keep our crops going on the allotment. We still haven't had any rain. Martyn, has a weather station in our garden and last week he told me that we hadn't had a day when the rainfall reached double figures in millimetres since February. Martyn has posted more details about our lack of rain here. We have also posted a video showing the state of our plot here.

We are trying our best to give plants enough water to keep them going but any watering that we manage can't penetrate far into the ground. The wind and latterly the heat soon dries the soil. Watering is made all the more difficult as when there is more than one person filling a watering can at any one time, the pressure drops and you can only fill it very slowly.  

Over the weekend it has been too hot to garden during the day and we have had to pop to the allotment to water in the evening when lots of people have had the same idea.


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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, July 6

June in pictures

Monday, July 4

Tasty berries

It's been a very frustrating week weather-wise. We have had a little rain but only enough to dampen the top few millimetres of soil. Short showers tend to dry up before they do any good. Our frustration has been compounded by it seeming to rain everywhere but on us. We were driving home along the M1 the other evening when the heavens opened. Visibility was limited and water was standing on the carriageway. We were only three or four miles from home so thought that the rain must be reaching us. As we continued the sky began to brighten and when we arrived home the ground was merely a little damp. Then during the coverage of the British Grand Prix  they had rain on and off for most of Friday and Saturday.

Does anyone know of an effective rain dance?

We've been busy on the allotment weeding, watering and harvesting. The weeding and watering don't lend themselves to any worthwhile photo opportunities but our first lot of peas are beginning to flower and I thought that the flowers of the Kent Blue peas were really pretty.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, June 27

Parched

We are still in desperate need of some real rain. The situation is being made worse as the warm, sunny weather accompanied by very breezy conditions soon dry out whatever moisture we can deliver to our plants. The grass is beginning to turn yellow and the cracks in an uncultivated bed are widening.

In the garden plants in the pebble gardens are dying.

On Saturday, Yorkshire was forecast to have heavy rain and thunderstorms. Yorkshire is a large county and maybe some parts of it had heavy rain, but not our area.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, June 20

Was that summer?

What a mixed up week last week was! It is so difficult to know what to wear. One minute we needed to layer up and the next we needed to wear as little as possible whilst keeping within the constraints of decency.

Last week we had two, what I would class as summer days. Friday was hot by UK standards with an accompanying mischievous breeze. All the better for drying out the soil even more. We still haven’t had any proper rain – just spits and spots. Fortunately we had given the plants at the allotment a good watering before our mini summer arrived and so everything survived – although some newly planted French beans look a bit sorry for themselves.

The weekend saw a swift return to cooler temperatures. On Friday evening the thermometer reading dropped off a cliff.


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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, June 13

Strawberry Fare

Last week was a bit of a mixed week weather-wise. It’s difficult to remember that we are now in June and the beginning of summer. On some days we have a taste of summer and winter in the same day.

On the allotment we have gone from the stage where we wonder whether we will have enough to fill the beds to concern over whether we will fit everything in.

Last week, legumes took centre stage. We planted out all our climbing beans.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, June 8

May in pictures

Monday, June 6

The plot thickens

Any rain that is managing to fall is still in the form of fairly light showers. We had nothing persistent or steady. On top of this the fluctuations in temperature mean that it is not a happy time for the plants. At times it is hard to believe that it is actually June  – summer?


Regardless of the weather things still need to be planted out and the allotment beds are filling up.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, May 30

Just enough rain to wet us

We did have some rain last week but it was only delivered in short drizzly showers. It was only enough to wet us when we were out and about and to dampen the ground and grass but not enough to have any impact on our dry soil. The strong winds added to the drying effect and so we are still busy with the watering can.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, May 23

We're getting there

I didn't manage to make it to the allotment to do any work last week until the weekend. Our new bedroom furniture was being built and so someone needed to be at home whilst that was being done. Martyn managed to get an afternoon in to do some strimming and we also paid an evening visit to check on things and do a bit of filming.

After the fiasco when we updated the bathroom we were a little apprehensive about the work on the bedroom but everything went smoothly. The company was really efficient and the installer made a really good job. Everything went exactly to plan - phew!

During our first full afternoon on the plot at the weekend, we mainly concentrated on some weeding.



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, May 16

Things are moving on

Last week we managed to clear most of the beds and, Martyn went over them with the rotavator. The only bed that hasn't been dug over is the old strawberry bed, where the soil is hard and cracked. It will need a good amount of rain to soften the soil before it can be dug

I planted the last of our seed potatoes. Most of the ones that had been planted previously, are through now and the ones planted in tubs at home are growing strongly.




Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, May 9

The work goes on

There are still beds to clear and dig over on the allotment.  We had a little rain last week but not enough to put watering on hold. The ground was very dry when the beds below were dug over as I hope the photos show.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, May 4

April in pictures

Monday, May 2

Planting continues apace

The dry weather continued last week, and so we made the most of it by getting lots of planting done.

We now need some rain as, not only have we been back to watering but, we need to prepare more planting areas and the ground is too dry to work.

We were gifted some raspberry canes by Thompson and Morgan as a thank you for a link that they used to our website.  We chose a variety called Sugana which is supposed to crop twice during the season and also be a heavy fruiter.  T & M sent us six plants and although some have made more growth than the others, all have new shoots. They had been temporarily housed in a large pot but have now been planted in their permanent home.

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Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, April 25

Gardening cycles

Nature works in cycles and we gardeners work along with this. We sow, plant, harvest and store our crops until the growing cycle starts again and the cycle is repeated.

Our stored potatoes are coming to an end. The few that are left are producing shoots which tell us that they are ready to start a new growing cycle. We are listening to nature and have been busily planting potatoes over the last few weeks.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, April 18

Things heated up



The weather warmed up last week and so did our gardening activities which were more or less confined to the allotment.

It’s now one of the busiest times of the year as far as planting goes.

At the beginning of the week, we planted out our first batch of broad beans. For some reason it always seems to be windy when these are planted, and last week was no exception, so I tried to offer the young plants a little protection in the shape of a makeshift windbreak. The beans had been sown two to a small plant pot. Gardening wisdom tells us that if two seeds germinate we should discard one, but we plant both young plants out as if they were just a single plant and we have never had a problem with this.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, April 11

A very oniony week





Last week the weather, once again, influenced how we spent the week.

It was showery and cold so for some of the week we spent time carrying out indoor tasks.

We have a growing light set up in one of our upstairs rooms and seed sowing is now gathering pace. Seeds that do not require warmth to encourage germination are sown in our garden greenhouse whereas the more fussy subjects are sown indoors. The growing light helps stop the young seedlings from becoming leggy whilst waiting for the conditions to be favourable enough for them to be transferred to the greenhouse. Details of the seeds that we have planted  each month are listed here under the sowing and planting section

Read more here


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Wednesday, April 6

March in Pictures

Monday, April 4

Winter is back

After a brief spell of lovely weather, we are back to layering up again. We even had a flurry of snow which thankfully didn't last for very long.

We haven't been to the allotment this week, partly due to the weather and partly due to having other things to do. We had some electrical work done one day when the conditions weren't the best for having no heating for most of the day. Maybe it was a taste of things to come when our electricity supply runs out!


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

Monday, March 28

A busy week

I think that we may have been lulled into thinking that we can discard some layers of clothing as the weather last week was warm and sunny. I have the feeling, however, that we could soon be reaching again for our fleeces  as the warm spell is forecast to end this week. We enjoyed it while it lasted and managed to get quite a lot done outdoors both on the allotment and in the garden.

On our first afternoon on the plot, Martyn strimmed the rest of the grass paths whilst I continued doing some tidying.




Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett