Attack of the aphids!

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I have never seen so many aphids as are underneath the large saucer-shaped leaves of my nasturtiums. It’s like a whole world under there! I am priding myself on single-handedly thinning the population for the other allotmenteers!

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My allotment is looking neat and tidy, which is slightly worrying ….. when will the onslaught of weeds come?!
Another note of interest, I haven’t seen a single slug on the allotment, nor any slug/snail damage.

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The kale is really starting to come along nicely – both curly kale and redbor kale, happily growing next to each other. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on these!
20150629_191125This week I was also donated some more sweetcorn plants from a neighbour. So in the space of a week I have gone from 6 plants to 12. Lots of popcorn this year!

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My other very proud moment comes from the sunflowers. They are really coming along nicely, sturdy plants which will soon need to be staked as they will one day become ‘giants’ (over 7 foot).

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And a final note from this week, poor Dusty was having to be syringe-fed this week due to a bout of GI stasis. Don’t forget to keep your buns cool this summer.

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It may be wet out there,

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but it appears that the bunnies are happy to sit in it, and after the sun was out for 5 minutes the bees were out in force too.

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IMGP1998As mentioned before, the garden has been somewhat … ignored since I finally got my allotment, and the patch I used last year for veg was going to be a cut flower patch. Well, timing has gotten the better of me this year, and with a glut of seedlings leftover from the allotment it has become a sort of …. everything that is left patch! I have a lovely section of peas which were in very early, so are already in flower and with the promise of peas not too far off (if I can stop the rabbits escaping and eating them).
IMGP2014I also definitely overdid the sowings of celery this year, after giving away half of my pots to work colleagues, popping some on freecycle and putting two rows into my allotment, the rest are now happily situated in my little veg patch, along with the two left over leeks!
IMGP2011IMGP2012After being cruelly left in pots for the last 2 months, the celery are looking a bit pale and deathly, but a bit of sunshine and a feed will do them a world of good.
I also had thinnings from the sunflowers at the allotment, and again, couldn’t bear the thought of them ending up in the veg patch, so again (you guessed it), they have found a little home in my patch, fortunately they aren’t a giant variety, or this plan would have been scuppered.
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There were also two left-over courgettes, which I have bedded in with a nice splash of comfrey-juice. I am hoping that the extra space will allow them to become prize winning marrows (just thinking of all the chutney I could make with a beastly marrow is making my mouth water). I also have a row of gladioli and blue cornflowers to lighten the patch up, as well as an early sowing of beetroot.

IMGP2008After a little dead heading in the side garden, I found a suspiciously Molly- sized hole in my violas … I wonder how that got there?IMGP1997My sweet peas are also starting to look bloomin’ lovely, with a mixture of light and dark shades, and a real kick to the smell. 
IMGP2002And the prize for my favourite plant this year still goes to the Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’, not only are they gorgeous, the bees absolutely love them.
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And the Slug Hunter used a giant stake of wood to keep my borage up as it had decided to grow somewhat like a roller coaster this year, still lovely, and will be used to brighten up the salads soon enough.

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Upcycling, and a new hobby.

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This year, when I found out I had an allotment to call my own, my first thoughts were ‘well that means my patch from last year in the garden can be a cut flower patch’.
Long have I dreamed of popping into the back garden to cut a few stems and have them in a vase on my table.

So when I found a well recommended (and well priced) floristry introduction evening nearby, I politely asked (read begged), two of my work colleagues to come along with me.

It was without a doubt the most fun that can possibly be had on a Monday evening with a lovely early start looming the next day.
The teacher showed a nice simple design, and then let us loose!
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The finished product was acceptable, and I’m now thoroughly hooked. Deffinitely more lessons to come, and I can’t wait to be able to use my own plants.
And whilst on the subject of flowers, my first sweet pea bloomed this week. What a beauty, and it’s definitely a pungent smell!

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This week I also decided that I needed a nice project for the garden, it appears to be somewhat overlooked at the moment whilst I am spending so much time at the allotment, so I decided to upcycle some old guttering into lettuce holders.
They are tied onto the top of the rabbit cage so the little rascals can’t escape and nibble their way through them.
I just need to find a way to bung the ends so that the soil doesn’t run out.

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Hopefully this week I can spend some more time weeding the allotment to ensure that it’s ready to go go go as soon as the sun starts shining.

The Tail of the Bunnies

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Yes, I do apologise for the title!
The rabbits joined me at the end of my first year of University.
Dusty was an unwanted pet of a friend of a friend, and I took her in.
She is a lionhead, originally called Blue – and a he (the first visit to a vet was a shock). 
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Once identified as a female – the name Dusty stuck, as she just collects the sawdust in her fur, and it ends up everywhere. Dusty was an indoor rabbit – I didn’t have a garden, and she had a cage and an indoor run – much to the annoyance of my housemates who could no longer use the front room!
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And I loved to have her indoors – she was friendly and happy to see me every morning, and would sit on the sofa with me whilst I was reading.
However after 2 months I decided that she needed a friend whilst I was at work. She was getting grumpy, eating wallpaper and refusing to use her litter tray anymore. Off to get neutered, and a new friend for her.
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Along came Duncan. This time a lionhead crossed with an English Spot.
They have been best friends ever since. However they both had a habit of eating wallpaper.

During my last year of University, I was not allowed to have the bunnies in my accommodation, so they went on Holiday to my parents – and they got an outside hutch, and little run and they were ever so happy.
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They learnt to dig – and eat anything they could get their little mitts on.
and now I have a garden – they have a little pen here too. I know my mum loved to have them, but I’m glad they are back. It’s just shame that they have such a thing for my strawberry plants.

The Slug Hunter

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My other half, hereby known as The Slug Hunter, mostly leaves me to it when it comes to the garden. 

However he has ‘helped’ a little along the way. When shopping for plants for the garden he chose a beautiful Astilbe (also known as false spirea), which is just beautiful, this is the Lilac Younique variety, which unfortunately doesn’t stay in bloom all summer, but it looks fab when it is.
He also helped choose the bike shed (a moving in present from my parents), to keep the bikes safe, and out of the spare bedroom! And Molly (the cat) loves to sit on the roof.

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He has also come in handy when building the bunny run, as shown below, it has its own sun-shade, as the only place it could be put is in full sun most of the day.
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Today was the first time I ever let them out of the run, and the cat was a little suspicious. She usually either follows me around the garden as I’m pottering around, or sits in the catnip I planted out for her.
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New House, New Garden

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April 17th 2014

Lets start from the beginning.
My first ever non-student house, and I finally have my own garden.
We have inherited a large patch of muck (once upon a time, a shed), two peony plants, two compost bins, a Christmas tree and a washing line.
Prepare the garden lime (we are located in York, right next to the river so we have lovely clay soil!), the spades and the imagination.

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So this was the back garden on the day we moved in. 
We started by putting down lawn seed, and planting violas and pansies, and putting in a border. Certainly a good start. The first batch of plants were eaten by a rogue rabbit from a few doors down, but how could you be angry with a cutey like that? So, we reinforced the fence, replanted and it’s looking even better now, two months down the line. 
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Next came the vegetable patch. My pride and joy. I started off all of my seeds in a little growhouse I brought, and then planted them out into my veg patch. With marigolds to protect against the torrent of slugs (more on that battle later), kale, rocket, lettuce and fennel. The vegetable patch started off the growing season well. 
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