Apart from the last few of last season’s leeks, that’s about all there is on the allotment at the moment. Evil cold wind, unpredictable weather, a week ‘off sick’ and another one recuperating have meant that I’ve done little since I installed my new raised beds.

Most of the pile of muck that was (eventually) delivered for me on to someone else’s plot is regrettably still unmoved – I have persuaded a friend to help me shift it when a) I feel a bit stronger, b) we both have time and c) the weather cheers up a bit.

I will also get her to help me cut and lay some landscape fabric for the paths between the new beds and cover the un-tamed section of the plot with black plastic, pegged well down.

These jobs are pretty impossible to do on your own – and Round Oak is almost always windy. Actually, the roses are looking pretty healthy too, having been mulched and fed, standard gooseberries are in bud, and most of the new Autumn Bliss raspberries are producing tiny little reluctant-looking new shoots from ground level. It is far too cold for this year’s crop of weeds to show their faces at the moment.

My bean wig-wamI have found the energy and time, however, to run a mower around the perimeter paths and construct a nifty climbing frame for my Blue Lake French beans (that’s a photo of it on the right –>) in the circular bed that was home to a gorgeous array of annual cosmos last year.

Nothing in any of my numerous gardening gizmo catalogues appealed to me (partly because of expense) , so I have rigged up a central pole (a fat, 7 ft hardwood tree stake), stuck some cup hooks around the top and run hop twine strings off each hook down to stout posts hammered in to the ground.

Total cost about £5, and it will last for years – and can be re-strung and moved around to a new site each year. The beans are currently germinating in fibre grow tubes in my conservatory.


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