What The Ell?

Muck, Line and Thinker

The following two pieces are taken from the Mail on Sunday (courtesy of Lufthansa) picked up when I flew via Frankfurt to Linz. It made lightly fascinating reading, is typical of the

mail papers, trying to start a “crusade”, a rant about bureaucracy and, just perhaps over-egging the pudding:

“Metric Zealots axe 600-year-old rules on allotments

Town hall bureaucrats were last night accused of “officiousness for its own sake” in forcing thousands of allotment holders nationwide to scrap

imperial measurements and go metric.

For generations, allotment sizes have been defined using a 600 year old system of “rods” also known as “poles” or “perches”, equivalent to5.5 yards. In the

past few weeks, however, thousands of gardeners have received rent renewal notices informing them of the switch. A typical site of ten poles will now be

registered as 253 square metres.

Strangely neither central nor local government can agree on who ordered the…

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“Spring is Sprung …”

Well at least according to Spike Milligan:

Spring is sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is?
The bird is on the wing.
Now isn’t that absurd?
I always thought the wing was on the bird!

Big Spawn Count 2014

The Garden Smallholder

common frogs mating

I’m so excited! I spotted this lovely couple in the wildlife pond early this morning, a pair of common frogs in a copulatory embrace called Amplexus. I rushed to the house to grab my camera before they disappeared. During our first spring living here we saw plenty of frog couples, but until now they had little choice but to use the large Koi pond, ending in disastrous results for the spawn.

The Koi pond The Koi pond.

Just a few of our Koi Just a few of our smaller Koi, the larger fish are approximately 2 feet in length.

wildlife pond The wildlife pond in a sheltered position within the rockery, directly behind the Koi pond. A safe haven for the frog and newt community in our garden smallholding.

If this pair (or any others) spawn in the wildlife pond it will have a greater chance of becoming tadpoles, I’m especially happy because our wildlife pond is less than a year old. We decided to add an additional small pond…

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Planning Ahead.

So, finally we have received planning permission and can start work on the composting toilet and begin looking at the

other building. These will complement the “community area” by the raised beds. We are hoping that this area will become a focus for organised and informal get-togethers.

Actual plans for the toilets have been in place for some time and have included visiting Beaudesert Park Farm

to find out more about composting toilets. Our thanks to Mary for her invaluable assistance.

DSC02182 DSC02183

We also applied to the Woodland Trust for a free hedgerow pack and it arrived today. Planning permission says that we should – properly –

screen the toilet from neighbours and we will use the hedgerow to do this. It will also increase opportunities for wildlife (native hedgerow species)

including butterflies, ladybirds, songbirds etc.

It’s going to be a busy year this year.

A very real thanks to residents living in and around the  site for some wonderful support and to the Parish council for the role they have played and are playing in the

life of the allotments community.

Work Party: Tuesday 11th March

The latest word is that we have been given the official planning permission to build the toilets (and associated building).

So, to get started we are having a work party next Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m.

 There is an existing shed to be emptied, dismantled and re-erected at the other end off site.

Any one wishing to help – and everyone is welcome -please meet at the bottom (Wolverhampton Road) gate by the community area.

Also (do we need to post this? Really?): tea person needed. it’s an allotment: we need tea !


What To Do In The Kitchen Garden In March

Or his one ??

not just greenfingers

When I first started to grow vegetables I really needed the information to be in one place, so I could look it up easily. However, I found I had to search for lots of little bits of information, scattered between internet sites and books. It used to take me a long time to find the information I needed.

I thought it would be useful to have this information altogether in one place. So for the benefit of the UK gardeners, I write a list of things to be done each month and any useful information I can think of.

It is worth remembering that different parts of the UK have different weather conditions e.g. the last frost is expected earlier in the south than the north. Therefore, this is a general guide.




March can have some beautiful spring-like days, but don’t be fooled as it can also turn…

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What to do in March – 2

The latest reminders from another allotment holder.


I get excited when I see the 1st March approach on my calendar because for me that brings about the start of seed sowing.  The beginning of the month seed sowing depends a lot on the weather that we are experiencing, but they should be ok inside a heated greenhouse or kitchen windowsill.  Remember to let the weather dictate whether or not to start your seeds and not the information on the back of the seed packet.

The following post was originally uploaded in March 2013 but the jobs to do and seeds to plant still apply….

Jobs to do………in March

  • Continue to plan what you intend to grow this year and order seeds before your favourites become unavailable
  • Harden off and transplant autumn sown cauliflowers and cabbages
  • Finish digging all of the vegetable beds, cultivating the soil weekly to produce a fine tilth in the soil
  • Finish any construction work that you…

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