Tuesday, 29 March 2011

New Newham Bike Rides in 2011

Join one of the New Newham Rides. These are intended to promote cycling and the London Borough of Newham.

New Newham bike rides in 2011

Saturday 16 April
Saturday 07 May
Saturday 21 May
Saturday 18 June (Bike Week ride)
Saturday 09 July
Saturday 30 July
Saturday 20 August
Saturday 10 September
All rides start at 10.30 from outside Stratford Station and finish back at Stratford Station at about 15.00. No need to book. Just turn up on the day.
These leisurely, social rides with a cafĂ© stop, are almost entirely off-road along paths suitable for all types of bikes in good working order. The places of scenic and architectural interest on this Newham route include - the Greenway, 2012 View Tube, 2012 Stadium, Three Mills (Grade I listed),  Royal Docks, the ExCel 2012 venue, Thames Barrier Park, Brick Lane Music Hall , London City Airport, Beckton Alps and St Mary Magdalene Church (Grade I listed).

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Vertical Growing

Last summer's (2010) climbers
When you have little space to grow, using the vertical surfaces really helps maximize growing space. Last year I added netting to the east fence. It worked really well with the French beans, cucumbers and Royal Prince squash.

 This year I staple gunned chicken wire the rest. Above: West fence, and here the south wall.

 And glued a trellis on to this bit of wall.
 Planted some Spearmint

 Blueberry bushes budding.

 Feild beans adding nitrogen.

Sprouting peas and beans to plant adjacent to all the prepared fencing. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ortlieb Pannier Bags Are Awesome

If you're serious about cycling as your main form of transport, you'll need some decent pannier bags to lug stuff around. Above I'm struggling to hold up 30kg plus split into a pair of Ortliebs which I'd just taken of the rear rack of my bike. They're tried and test design and production is the benchmark of pannier bags. Waterproofing to the extent where they can be fully submerged. They'll set you back close to £100 for a pair. Pricey, but worth every penny. I have easily packed the food shop into these, training gear, clothes, if it fits into the bag and not too fragile you can transport it on your bike using these, and in comfort. Having a heavy back pack on while cycling is far from.

Here's a crazy test of their strength.

Leaf Mould & Transporting Manure

I wasn't up for a hard days digging so I decided to collect a huge bag of leaf litter from the path alongside the cemetery leading to the allotment.

Bags used to deliver sand and other building materials work well for this.
Placed saw dust down first to act as a weed suppressant. Filled bag on top, covered it to keep the rain out (mistake as damp leaves are desired), and wind from blowing the leaves away.
Over the year it should break down into lovely leaf mould. This will make a great carbon rich soil topper on my heavy clay soil.
While I was there I decided to fill one of my newly constructed raised beds with the horse manure just outside the main gate of the allotments. Again one of those bags comes in handy.
As I pulled away the axle snapped clean through. I've emailed the allotment folks about the damages (dolly belongs to the association/ society). I await their decision. Next meetings is in 11 days. I'll be showing up with my wallet.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shoe Box Garden March 2011 update

Not much growing in March. Have topped the the beds with some rotted horse manure and the field bean plants are growing very slowly. I'm using them to fix nitrogen and to add organic matter to the soil.
The fig tree was moved into the mini green house with bottles of water (to act as thermal stores) for the winter. I threw in a handful of field beans, which are doing better then those in the beds. I'll chop and drop these into the pot once the weather warms.
The comfrey is making a come back and will be back stronger their first year. I'll be using the leaves to make a liquid feed.
Here's another. I have a third also. They act as nutrient pumps bringing nutrients deep down up into their leaves. Come late summer I'll split each one and transfer three new plants to my allotment

In this corner I have two bags filled with autumn leaves from the front garden which should give me leaf mould come next autumn. I purchased the mushroom log which has mushroom spoors placed into drilled holes. Lets see how it turns out.
Planted x 3 Minarette fruit trees, 2 variates of cherry and pictured here a  duel variety pear.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Feeding The Hard Working Worms

The wormary in my garden dies a great job. All those worms turn my kitchen scraps , hover contents and some of my newspaper into to great products.

1. Worm Tea, this is the liquid which seeps to the bottom and is collected via a tap. I add this diluted to my watering can and use like a liquid feed.

2. Worm Castings, which I also dilute with water and spread over my soil.