Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Monday, 31 October 2011

Waste, Water and Wellies

So now I am twiddling my thumbs, I want to mark out the beds in the allotment but have decided not to until the greenhouse is up. I have also decided to have pea shingle paths around all of the beds so you get that satisfying crunching sound as you walk around. While I am waiting to do that I needed something else to get on with. 
I have been throwing away all of my kitchen waste since we moved here as the local authority don’t do green waste. Such a shame as my last was very good at that sort of thing. Compost is definitely the way ahead , so a last week it was internet research time again. I needed something to make compost in and a very large water butt. 
Jim found an excellent website which seemed to do the job
So after a bit of debate 2 Blackwall 330 litre compost converter kits and a 190 litre rain-saver water butt kit were duly ordered. 
Now the wait for delivery. Our house has become a bit of a white van magnet since we moved here. We have embraced the use of internet ordering and not much that arrives here, has not arrived via a wifi link. The neighbors must be wondering what we are doing, we bought so much stuff from our last house that didn't fit here, so it all arrived on a removal lorry and over the last few week its been leaving again via Ebay and Freecyle. 
Slightly off topic but I must include a quick plug for Freecyle.

If you don't know what it is have a look at  http://www.freecycle.org/ . Its basically a place to give away and get stuff for free, and its not rubbish! we have recently acquired a rather nice petrol lawnmower and we gave away all of the packing materials that we used to move here.  Our local group is going to be very useful as there is always the offer of a steaming pile of horse manure. In fact so useful that Jim has bought a small trailer to collect it in. He is off to collect the trailer in an hour or so after he has had his toast. 
Right, back on topic. A few days ago the expected white van arrived outside. The company made a bit of a mistake and only sent one composter so a quick phone call and a promise of another white van sometime this week was made. 
The Composter and Water butt now stand expectantly next to the bamboo stake  greenhouse waiting to receive their contents. Typically, as I planned to set up the compost bin yesterday, it poured with rain, the first real rain since we moved here and of course the water butt was not able to collect water.



Those observant readers will have noticed that this blog is called Waste, Water and Wellies. So what about the Wellies. I didn't have any, and as I think they are an essential piece of allotment kit, a sunday afternoon trip out to get some was in order. 

Off we went yesterday afternoon to SCATS countrystore. The array of wellies was quite impressive. I have never been much of a designer girl, (except for my handbag collection) but I fell for the rather smart Barbour Green Wellies straight away. I convinced myself that I didn't need fancy wellies, a nice cheap practical pair would do, so the Barbour's went back and I wandered round looking for another pair. None were as comfortable, so 20 minutes later we left with the Barbour Wellies. They now sit sparkling by the back door waiting for their first trip down the garden later today  when once again I hope to set up the compost bin.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

So, what size should it be?

The greenhouse of course. Having alway had a tiny garden I was thinking 6 x 4 would do it so on a recent sunny afternoon we headed to the end of the garden with a ball of string and four bamboo canes to mark it out. 
I had spent the previous week watching the way the sun moved around across the day to work out the best position for the said building to be erected. 
I headed to the chosen spot and started to mark out where the greenhouse would go. 6 x 4 was obviously not big enough. After several enlargements I decided that a 10 x 8 would be the perfect size for me. So next step pick a greenhouse.
Internet research was helpful but it doesn't beat seeing it for real, completely by accident we stumbled upon an excellent outdoor building company, only a few miles from home. They had a great selection of greenhouses and I set my heart on a rather fancy green number. A trip to the sales office revealed that a coat of green enamel would mean a 6 - 8 week wait and an extra £400 on the total cost, so the plain aluminum it is then. The order was placed and now we wait for it to be delivered, sometime soon I hope. I have such big plans, a nice comfy chair, a radio and a kettle feature, alongside the plants I hope to grow. 
So that you can start to imagine what it will look like with me, below are a picture of the green house I have bought and the plot with the position of the greenhouse marked out. 


and this is where its going


The Beginning


My Dad grew vegetables, in fact so many vegetables especially runner beans that I hated them, we ate them every day for weeks on end because if we didn't they got thrown away. So who would have thought that as the years passed by I would develop a love of all veggies and started to want to grow them myself. 
We lived in the overcrowded South East of England and although I did have a garden it was very small and I was only able to grow a few things each year in tubs and flower beds. But those few successes gave me the taste for bigger things. Enquiries with the local council came to nothing. All the local allotment sites had waiting lists which were years long.
Impending retirement gave me the opportunity to finally get my veg patch. We decided to move house and I was determined that this time I would get the garden of my dreams. The current financial crisis did its best to de-rail our plans but after a long and frustrating 18 months we finally go an offer on the house.
So now the search was on, we had long wanted to move to the Lake District but for various reasons at the beginning of this year realised that for us, that was only a place to visit and enjoy not live in. So we changed our search area and concentrated our efforts on the Hampshire - Dorset borders. After many visits we decided on the specific places we would happily live and now with the offer on our house the pressure was on. A frantic day of internet research gave us a list of 10 houses to view and after leaving home very early on the morning of 20th July 2011 we turned up at our first viewing. We both loved the place straight away and went inside, we couldn’t have been happier, all the hard work was done and it was just a case of decorating to our taste, then I stepped out of the back door.


It was perfect.




That was it for me, I wanted the house or should I say garden, it got even better, a gate visible from the house lead to even greater things.





Finally, somewhere for me to have my own bit of the “Good Life.”
We still had 9 houses to view so off we went, but for both of us nothing matched up to the first house, I forgot to mention it was also only a 5 minute walk to the sea with a perfect view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles. Mid afternoon we called the agent and asked for another look at the first house. Back we went and it was just as good, in fact better than we remembered. The decision was made. A long drive home followed and over a chinese takeaway we discussed our tactics. The following morning after a few phone calls and one rejected offer the house was ours. Or should I say, I got my dream garden. 
Things progressed quickly and suddenly moving day was upon us. The moving men were very efficient and by the end of the 29th September our world was in the back of a lorry. One last dinner with our friends and then home to sleep in an empty house. 
Friday 30th September dawned bright, sunny and hot. What is going on with the weather? A quick bacon sandwich, a last push round of the hoover and we were off. By 1130 I emerged from a rather dead mobile phone spot in the New Forest and my phone sprang into life. It was the solicitor, the sale had gone through, the money was paid and the garden was ours. I couldn't believe how efficient they had been, in fact so efficient that when we got to the new place the old occupiers were still loading there stuff. Never mind, it was a lovely day so a short wait by the sea and we were in. 
The Lorry was unloaded by three and the grateful movers were back off home. That left just the two of us with loads of boxes and an amazing sunny afternoon. The house was quickly locked up and off we went for a long walk on the beach. 
The weekend was beautiful, hot and sunny. I spent as much time sitting outside in the garden as I could, but there was lots to unpack. All I could think about every time I looked out the window was what to do first. I had my list of priorities and the top of that was a greenhouse, Not the tiny 6x6 I had many years ago but a big one with lots of space to grow everything in.
Next on the list a Summerhouse and also a shed, but I knew that there would be lots of time to plan and make sure it was right. 
The unpacking was done in 4 days and the house looked pretty good. It felt like we had always lived here, a great atmosphere, as my husband said, “its like being on holiday, but with all your own stuff.” 
So now to start planning the garden.