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Hazel

Hazel

If my challenge in life is to have dirty knees, no fingernails and a garden full of my own vegetables.. I am healthy and happy.
Posted by on in my garden/allotment
I was asked if I could contribute to this section back in the summer. A great idea started by Jerry and Phyl but I was sad to see no other allotment owners contributing. Maybe this will jolt a little interest. It's nearly Christmas and I have finally crawled out of the woodwork or should I say garden. I was brought up tending and helping on my dad's allotment in West Yorkshire. This allotment is still being looked after by my dad, now 80, and as you can see above its a little run down and a bit like Steptoe's yard. I have now moved on to pastures new and although I do help in Steptoe's yard I now have my own little bit of heaven. My allotment isn't actually an allotment because its on my own land; it is my plot. Still in Yorkshire, surrounded by nine lovely neighbours, and I have the biggest and most hidden...
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Many new gardeners recognize a nettle, buttercup or dandelion but so often I hear someone say "I wouldn't know if it was a plant or a weed".  Many weeds are simply plants that grow invasive and usually where they are unwanted. I have put together a few of the ones that can often crop up in allotments and tried to simplify the facts as to how it will effect your plots, PLEASE add any others that you know off. CREEPING BUTTERCUP:  This is a troublesome weed that withstands some trampling, whilst it looks pretty in flower it slowly depletes the land of potassium. The seeds that disperse from the plant can stay in the soil for five to seven years. Chickens and geese love to eat the leaves.    SHEPHERDS PURSE: ( A member of the mustard family) This plant produces hundreds of seeds, it can easily spread and needs to be removed before it flowers. This...
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Posted by on in Gardening
It's that time of year when the allotment is thriving and looking good, the weather is maybe being kind and the greenhouse stays hot. It's also the time when holidays or short breaks are taken.  One problem with owning the allotment is leaving it for a while.  Is it going to be safe? Watered?  Will the livestock survive? Here is a basic list of to-dos to help with the holiday dilemma: Find someone reliable and trustworthy to be the caretaker for the time you are away. Let only trustworthy allotment friends know, and tell them who is going to be key holder, and for how long. Offer the caretaker anything ripe in the plot for his/her help especially continuously cropping plants such as peas and beans. This will ensure that no pods mature and  the plants switch off their flowering mechanism, even if it means composting some crops. Leave available - hosepipe attached to water if possible...
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Posted by on in Food and Drink
Jerry reminded me that the green leaves of white sprouting broccoli were good for you,   I  remember my mother, or the tall thin dinner lady  during my strict lunch hour at primary school saying to me "Eat your greens and you will grow up big and strong" I DID. I have removed from the plot some white sprouting broccoli  that had started to seed. I used the leaves to make this recipe.  The forecast was  for cold  weather again  so I posted this for anyone that might be doing a similar thing.    Hot way of cooking Leafy green veg  Good for crunchy cabbage, kale, Brussels sprout tops and of course the leaves of broccoli  1 medium sized cabbage, shredded 15ml/1tbsp groundnut oil 5ml/1tsp grated fresh root ginger 2 garlic cloves, grated 6 spring onions and stalk, finely chopped 2 red chillies, seeded and finely sliced Salt and pepper   Heat the oil in a large pan, as...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
My 79 year old dad has rented his allotment for the last 53 years.   His plot is the one that is set back from the road, central to all the allotments and at the side of a farmer's field, large trees and a wide beck.   This year he had visitors that came, not once, but twice in the hours of darkness. They bashed his gate which had a padlock attached, snapped it off to gain access then trampled over the plot to a shed he built himself, smashed the window then climbed in to help themselves to the contents of the locked shed; rotavator, lawnmower, and tools.  Now I can imagine you thinking why did he store these valuable items in here?  He is getting into his elder years and more frail as each year passes. The tools he had were old, or the less expensive makes, but were needed and valuable to his needs to help him tend his plot.  He finds it much easier...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
There is something relaxing about reading a gardening book or magazine but last week I managed to get hold of a 1921 version of the 'Allotment Gardening' by William Good F.R.H.S. I don't think many women would have read what seemed to be the man only book as the opening chapter refers to the thousands of men busy for several hours producing food for to save money and provide for the ever-increasing population.  Women were only referred to in a section about costs and how the housewife can save when shopping and cooking the produce in the kitchen. A book of this size covering everything from soil cultivation, greenhouses and planting, to pest control and fertilization must have been popular for the few people that could actually read. I can imagine anyone that could not read would only learn the ropes by word of mouth and trial and error. One section that was well covered was the costs of the seeds/plants and how much...
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One of the hardest jobs in the allotment is always keeping off the little pests that come along and nibble our produce before we get a chance to ourselves. Companion planting helps to deter the unwanted bugs and I am sure some of you have some old tried and tested remedies which I haven't mentioned.   This year I intend to use some old and new remedies for deterring the pests and I will tell you later on the site if these worked for me. CARROT FLY: I find this to be the worse pest, attracted to the smell of carrot leaves, so this year I will plant them in a raised bed with SPRING ONION and CHIVES growing all around the edge of the bed. ONIONS: I will grow these close to the greenhouse, which has got TOMATOES, PEPPERS and CUCUMBER inside, whilst also being in close proximity to LETTUCE, the CARROT bed and BEETROOT. Hopefully the strong smell will deter many common pests. GARLIC: this is one of natures most...
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Posted by on in Gardening
Years ago gardeners used nature and weather patterns to determine how and when to sow, plant and harvest. but another way not so commonly known is the use of planting by the moon.  When you think of the moon many believe its powers are through the mind and cults, but think again, the moon has impact on the sea and when you think of the power it has on the sea and tides, no wonder gardeners believed it also had impact on the land.     Biodynamic gardening is on the increase and I have to admit I am now after some research on the subject  interested to see if it really does work.  The theory behind moon planting is when the moon pulls you should plant seeds that grow above the ground and when the moon wanes you should grow plants that grow below the ground.  If there is a full moon you should...
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Posted by on in Food and Drink
I am sure most allotments now have a section, grow bag or pot of salad leaves.  Rocket is becoming more popular with its pungent strong peppery flavour, I might be a little early for making this in March, but as it is such a cold spring and soups are popular I have included it earlier. The recipe is for around four generous servings, and needs a lot of Rocket, half the amount I found was enough for three people   30ml / 2tsp olive oil 2 small onions, chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 300ml / 1/2 pint double cream 700ml / 1,1/4 pint/ vegetable stock 700g / 1,1/2lb Rocket   Use a high sided pan and on a medium heat add olive oil and sliced onion, allow to sweat for a few minutes. Add garlic, but don’t allow to colour. Add cream and stock, bring slowly to boil, simmer for 5mins. Add the rocket, return to boil,...
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Posted by on in Gardening
What inspired you to become an allotment gardener? Was it your parents, money, or maybe just a spontaneous idea? For me it was an illness.   I am Hazel, and I am a coeliac and have been since diagnosed back in 2003. When I was diagnosed many did still not know coeliac disease, the gluten free diet I had to follow was confused with the F-plan diet and “low carb” crazes. It was a diet that many didn’t realise was keeping me from being very ill. Gluten free food wasn’t easily available, I was told by my dietician “you can no longer eat bread, cakes, pasta and cereal but eat plenty of fruit and vegetables with some meat, fish and dairy, and then the golden rules; (1) "Food shouldn’t be boring or tasteless," and (2) "cook and bake your own" and (3) 'Grow your own”. I have always from a very early age...
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Posted by on in Personal Blogs
I have lost count the number of times people have said to me "Children are not allowed in my allotment". I always have to ask WHY?                                          My father got his allotment before I was born and, to this day, he still has what he calls his 'bit of heaven'.  I can honestly say I can never ever remember him refusing to take me for what he called a 'potter' when I asked to go.  My early memories weren't of playing in the allotment; I helped pick the produce with a little basket and ate what seemed like extra large raspberries. It was never a problem lifting buckets and pushing wheelbarrows full (or maybe less full than I remember) to the compost bin. I always found it fascinating that Dad's cabbages and potatoes would grow like soldiers in a straight row after I had been the dibber-on-a-string mover. It was even more exciting to see how he would empty them plants in pots so easily, holding the plant gentle, whilst he showed me all the little roots and what looked...
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Posted by on in Money Saving Tips
This week, my Yorkshire plot finally saw some warmer sunshine; not quite the type that brings hayfever and hosepipe bans, but nonetheless a decent level of sunshine that means it is time to sow the first much loved seeds of tomato. Tomato seeds are slow to germinate and so this means they need to be in a place where it is consistently warm until the temperatures rise. I have space in my warmer conservatory (the greenhouse is still a little nippy) and a good early start should hopefully mean a longer season of fruit.  Last year I was asked: "why do you grow so many tomatoes? Why don't you just buy some?" What? I was horrified: a summer without home-grown tomatoes must be like being a duck without water.  The smell and taste alone make growing your own tomatoes worthwhile over shop bought tomatoes.  So I have written this blog for a gardener new to tomato growing or the people that state: 'I don't know what to do...
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