View From The Gate

View from the gate is a seasonal view of my allotment, which is at the end of the garden, hence the name. It includes snippets of what I have been up to, what we are picking and of course loads of pictures!

OK so view from the gate is quite different, obviously we no longer have our gorgeous allotment at the end our garden, however we did buy a house with a lovely long garden. Whilst there are no plans for a veggie patch at the moment, we are hoping to have a large green house ready for next spring. Dispite the lack of veggies we have still been spending plenty of time outside in the lovely weather we have had since we moved in in June. Photos to follow

20th January 2013
I don't do winter gardening as you can tell from my lack of blogging, but we are quick of the mark with the seeds this year and the first are up, these are cayenne chillies and we also have bulgarian carrot chillies germenating on one of the windowseals, you can see we still have snow on the floor outside.

7th October 2012
Wow I can not believe it is the 7th of Oct already. Well I forgot to take photo's of the plot today as promised, but I have been busy, we had two trailor loads of muck piled high in on of the beds, which is now almost gone. I haven been busy taking down the bean poles, weeding and digging the beds and then spreading the muck, with the rain we have had that was hard work and there was some near falls or should I say slides in it!!!that would have been bad. At one point I was so hot I was working in a vest top, unheard of for me in october. 
I have also cut the grass, which fingers crossed will be the last time until spring now. There is still plenty to do, but we are much more prepared then normal and the beds look lovely with all the well rotted poop spread on them.
I am still getting a good crop of raspberries and courgettes, the sprouting broccolli has come in not sure why? and there are still a few pumpkins and squashes ripening. I still have beetroot and carrots and yesterday I dug a row and a half of earlies that were still in the ground, through laziness really, I thought they would be no good, but actually they were a lovely size and only a few had worm holes. However digging earlies in sodden ground in October is not recommended! All in all it was a fairly nice day considering what we have had lately and here are the fruits of my labour an almost free sunday roast!

21st September 2012
Me and Sam have been busy this morning pottering on the plot. I have picked over all the onions, which have been drying in the greenhouse for  a few weeks. I am a little concerned how well they are going to keep as some of the necks aren't as dry as I would like them to be and are still quite thick, I will have to keep a eye on them to make sure they don't start to rot. We have also been picking more ripe pumpkins and the first of the butternut squashes. Sam tried to wheel them in his wheelbarrow up the garden, but I think  the load was a little too heavy for him.  Gary has also been busy collecting horse poo and we have a nice little stock pile already to start digging in. It is always rewarding when there is a big pile of veg on the back step to sort.
As you can see Sam is pleased with the days harvest! I also couldn't resist taking a photo of the sunflower head that I am drying to save the seeds for next year, it really was beautiful when it was in flower
But I think you can argue it is almost as pretty now!
Anyway chutney making tomorrow with some of what I have picked!

16th September 2012
Ok as promised here are the pic's of the pumpkins we have picked so far. The largest which is a giant variety weighs in at a good 55lb, you can also see Table Queen, which is the large green one and I can't remember the variety of the cute little green ones.
We still have several more pupmkin's growing including some turks turbin's, which I haven't grown before and butternut squash.

6th September 2012
We are being so lucky with all this late sunshine so I am taking advantage of having a few days of work and am really getting on with some of those autumn jobs. As always there has been weeding and digging to do as well as a continuos amount of dead heading, watering and pest control. Greenhouse number 2 has now been tidied in readiness for the great leaf drop that happens from the huge vine growing in there. We picked our first bunches of grapes yesterday, because they are quite thick skinned and have seeds, we don't tend to do anything with them so I made some grape juice.
I have also been sowing spring bulbs along the boarders and tending the pumpkins and squashes. 
Most evenings are finished with a glass of vino on the plot with our neighbour's enjoying the beautiful sunsets, but this week we have had light the fire grate as there has been a little nip in the air.
Love this one the boys left their digger in the middle of a bed and it actually looked like he was ploughing.
What better after a hard days digging then a sunset like this, I have not adjusted these colours, it was gorgeous. This was taken on the plot looking across the roof tops and you can see the spire of Carisbrooke Church in the background.

3rd September 2012
We are well into harvesting and tidy up mode now. We are renowned for letting the plot go in Autumn as neither of us like gardening in bad weather, but this year we are determined we will start Spring off on the right footing!
Today I have harvested about half of the sweetcorn, after early concerns that is wasn't going to produce anything due to the poor weather and it all being blown about, the corn is beautiful and is best served boiled straight from the plant before the starches start kicking in. I simply wash, half and then freeze mine and as long as you get them in the freezer straight away they still taste nice when defrosted.
I dug the last of the peas out and Gary dug another few rows of spuds. The runner beans have been really poor this year, I haven't been able to make any store in the freezer as we have just been picking enough for meals, what is left on there now go seedy and hard before they have finished growing, this has been my worst season for Runners since we started, I may have to buy better seed next year. The borllotti's however have done ok and should be ready soon.
The over winter crops are starting to struggle under the shear weight of caterpillars and snails and we have had no choice but to spray, which we do not like doing, hopefully they will now recover.
I planted more bulbs in the borders, that will hopefully have the bees busy from Feb through to July, with Tulips, crocus, alliums and Iris. I also have a plan to make a lavender bed and to collect and sow Borage seeds, we have one that has self seeded and was smothered in honey bees yesterday. We also have  our perrenial sunflowers out, which is a sure sign that Autumn and ginger spiders are on the way!!
The pumpkin and squash bed is looking good with a lovely selection from our giant comp variety, to turks turbin and butternut squash, some of them have starten to ripen and will need to be stored soon.
Still a lot to do so fingers crossed for another sunny afternoon, but looking dogey at the moment! Here are a few pictures.
This is the boy's helping to sort the sweetcorns out!!!! I turned round and they were eating it all as per usual.

27th August 2012
Ok don't be deceived by the photo, the pumpkin is bigger than it looks here. We are estimating it at about 40-50 lbs, which is small compared to our 104 lb record, but with the weather this year, it could be a winner! You can see since the 17th it has really started to orange, which isn't a good sign as it means it is ripening and probably won't get much bigger.
These are the last of the summer onions I have lifted today to dry in the greenhouse, they have done really well.
Some of our Green chillies that I grew from seed, I bought these in the £1 shop and they are HOT, HOT, HOT!
My bed of calendular's looking vibrant in the sunshine

17th August 2012
Pumpkin progress, here is our competition pumpkin, finallly it has decided to start to grow and at some speed so we are still in with a chance!
Here are a few of our other pumpkins
The Calendulas look particularly lovely at the moment
And this is the motto of the week

10th August 2012
Some lovely sunshine at last! I have lifted most of my summer onions and the rest will not be far away. I have put a winter onion set in and some over winter cauli's, these join the sprouting broccolli, sprouts and leeks and that will be all thats in during the cold months. I tended to the squash and pumpkins yesterday laying straw under the fruit, removing dead leaves and trying to train them to go in the right direction! Finally our competition pumpkin has a football sized fruit and so now we will go into tactic stage of removing smaller fruits, religiously watering it loads and feeding it compost tea. The competition onions have also started to perk up so fingers crossed. I aslo spent time yesterday taking off all the runners on the strawberries to try and encourage more fruit and to keep the bed tidy it normally ends up like spaghetti junction. Here are some photo's of all the progress
This the one sunflower out of 12 which wasn't eaten by slugs, It is stunning, so I am glad it survived. Thanks for stopping by.

27th July 2012
 I am swatting up on beekeeping and it has made me start to think differently about the over grown plots around us. This has always been a subject of frustration for me as we try and keep ours clear of weeds and the paths accessable, whilst others do not tend their plots from one month to the next. Where I did see weeds before I am starting to see natural diversity and areas where nature can do it's thing. I now find myself being drawn to them with my camera to try and capture some of the wildlife that I have potential driven away from my plot with my lawn mower!!!
Me and Gary both love poppies and I love the way I have captured these.
This is what the main path is like further down the site, up to your chin's, but really pretty, I think these are Ribwort Plantain?? They look sooo pretty up close. Long grass also contains  clover, which I didn't relise is an important nectar source for bees
This long grass amongst the borage looks beautiful when the sun goes down swaying in the breeze. I am still glad they are not on my plot, but I guess I am starting to appreciate their worth. Have a look at my Wildlife link for some great shots of insects I have captured today.

26th July 2012
We are being spoilt with sunshine it is lovely and the allotment is looking gorgeous (if i do say so myself) 
 Love, love, love irises and I have decided I am going to invest in alliums for next year to go with them as they are great for bees and the colours will go perfectly. I still haven't picked any for indoors as they look soooo beautiful in their rows.
Unfortunately this is not the competition pumpkin, but the plant is healthy and we still have our fingers crossed that we can pull it out the bag for the cash prize!
My crazy berlotti beans, half of them have decided to climb and half are little squat plants like french beans, not sure what's going on with them, but the pods look stunning.
Even the onions have started to plump, although some of these look like they are starting to lean and may be over shortly, I have some over wintering variety to pop in their place next month.
May it stay sunny foerver!

23rd July 2012
Loving the sunshine, what a lift after all those depressing weeks of rain. More weeding and slug killing today, we have been staying on the plot until about 22:30 every evening, mostly having a glass of vino and enjoying the sunsets. It has been lovely to see the return of bats flying over head and we didn't see any last year, but they appear to be in abundance again, although we still have none living in our boxes!!!

21st July 2012
We have been busy the last few days, mostly weeding as the whole plot needed doing. We have also lifted the main crop, which had died off far too early and as we feared had no potatoes on the end. I was amazed last night how many slugs were about, it is like we are in the grips of a plague of slugs. Sat on the bench I could actually hear them eating, I am not joking. Gary armed with a pair of scissors went about a cull and counted 160 in 10 minutes! Sorry to any slug lovers reading, is there such a thing as a slug lover???
The bees were out in force and I tried to capture some photo's, but they are sooo fast I took loads to get just a couple in focus so I am going to try again tomorrow. As always here are a few pics of our best bits.
The irises I planted along some of the borders of the beds are just flowering, they are going to look lovely when they are all out, I am going to be putting more flowers in for next year as it looks gorgeous and is great for the bees.
We will be cherry picking tomorrow!
Gary on his slug cull!

17th July 2012
The weather hasn't been too bad, so I have been out pottering, whilst I was working Gary was busy taking photo's!!
As you can see the earlie's now look absolutely horrendous, however the spuds underneath are beautiful, so I was trying to earth them up a little as a few had started to poke through with all the heavy rain. We are trying to avoid having to dig them all in one go and then store them, so we are going to keep them in the ground as long as they are worm and rot free. 
You can also see Bambam, next doors cat, who follows me around and is more like a dog, I don't actually like cats much, but I am growing quite attached to him and his sister pebbles and since they have been about I am no longer getting other peoples cats visiting and leaving their calling cards.
The plot has started to pick up and looked quite lovely with the sun shining on it, I guess I had forgotten what that looked like!

15th July 2012
We visited the East Cowes allotments in Vectis Rd today otherwise known as VERA, the plot holders there were lovely and have worked really hard to establish a lovely site with fantastic amnities, such as tea shed and poly tunnel. We came away really inspired about the prospect of keeping bees in the future, so much so Gary has out his name down for a beekeeping course in Jan. Here are a few pictures of the apairies and the site itself. 

I was amazed that even standing close to the five hives you were not bothered by bees at all and wouldn't have noticed they were there if there hadn't been for signes alerting you. It just goes to show that if you get the situ and direction right, bees are not the nuisance everyone make out they can be. They are certainly doing wonders for the site the fruit trees that line the main path were just laden with fruit and in all this bad weather as well. We now have to go to the next Allotment Forum Meeting to convince the Parish council and the rest of the plot holders and reisdents that it would be safe to have a similar set up at Field House.
13th July 2012
The weather still has not improved here, our lovely new bamboo wind chimes have had to come down as they are driving us mad!! There are weeds popping up everywhere and the grass is in desperate need of cutting, but it is never dry long enough. I went out for an hour today to rescue anything worth picking and did get a box full of goodies.

10th July 2012
We have been making enquiries (and thats all they are at this stage) as to wether we would be allowed a beehive on the plot. They have already been trialing this at the nearby Pan site and it has been a big success. I have contacted a lady from Vectis Rd site, which is known as VERA (the plot not the lady her name is Dorothy) and we may be meeting up with her to find out some facts next weekend. I will post what happens then. Hx

6th July 2012
This was the view from the gate this evening
We totally made the most of the beautiful evening and stayed on the plot until every June bug had flown into us, there wasn't space for another gnat bite and the bats were flying over our heads. Needless to say there hasn't been opportunity to since!!!!

5th July 2012
I braved the wet blackcurrant bushes today to pick the fruit, I am hoping to make more jam tomorrow, so went picking in the small dry spell we had this afternoon. I already picked a 1lb last week and today I picked another 3lb and some of them are huge! Picking them so wet is really messy, but again I had fears they were either going to rot or be blown to the floor.

3rd July 2012
It stopped raining for half an hour today so I went round and done a slug pellet walk (I have never seen so many as this year). The garlics as with every other year have got rust and with all this rain looked as though they were going to start to rot, so we lifted them and popped them in the greenhouse to dry. We always place them facing down between the slats of the bench so that any moisture runs away from the bulbs. We do the same with onions as well. These are all Isle of Wight varieties.
Boy does the greenhouse pong, there will be no vampires kipping in there tonight!

More pictures from today

1st July 2012
From top a beautiful Anemone, which Finley grew at Beavers for me for Mothers Day, bless him! A gorgeous Hydrangea and a vivid orage Lily, I can't remember the variety. I love My new camera it caputures the colours so well and the images are super clear.

Thanks for stopping by

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