Weed woes, seed sowing and potty potatoes

It’s National Allotments Week so it couldn’t be a more appropriate time to share how my allotment journey is growing.

I’m going to be honest. It’s bloody hard work and everyone likes to come over and tell us so.

When we first took it on it was a like a jungle, however I did take great joy frolicking amongst the wildlife.

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Once we got stuck in, it didn’t take long to see just how much progress we were making and so far cleared about a quarter.

It’s about two tennis courts long, with plans for a wild area with a pond as well as plenty of vegetable beds and we’ve started to collect a few fruit bushes.

There have been times when the weeds have got to me. The roots go down to the middle of the earth and tend to spring back up in next to no time. You seem to need the flames of hell to see the end of them.

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We’ve been proud allotment owners for nearly two months now and we’ve got quite a few bits planted and growing. For complete beginners, I’m chuffed.

Currently we have leeks, kale, brussels, purple sprouting, Charlotte potatoes, Duke of York potatoes, mixed lettuce leaves and Pak choi.

My potatoes which will be ready for Christmas are going mad since we planted them and I do get excited when my veg start doing what they’re supposed to.

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Still loads of work to do as well continuous weed conquering.

I’m really looking forward to growing like the veterans.

 

 

 

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Day 27: 30 Days Wild – Hornby Wildlife Village

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Today I got THE most exciting email. Back in March I applied for £800 of funding for a project that will get more people involved with the conservation work with the Friends of Hornby Plantation and hopefully as a result will encourage a new generation of Friends.

I applied to the Postcode Local Trust and we have now been successful in both stages of the application meaning our project can get the go ahead!

The project is called the Hornby Wildlife Village which will be situated within the wooded area of the park.

The village will consist of insect homes, habitat hotels, hedgehog boxes, bat boxes, pollinator friendly plants and more.

We will also incorporate an outdoor class room area and an information board that will introduce the residents of the Wildlife village.

The main aim is to get local children from schools and groups to take charge of the area and have the rewarding responsibility of looking after the wildlife village. They will also be involved in the whole construction period and will have their say from beginning to end.

Many of our members are reaching 70 and finding it harder to be involved in the more physical work. By encouraging a new generation we can ensure there will be a future for the Friends of Hornby Plantation and our work can be continued.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page or twitter for updates of events.

 

Day 25: 30 Days Wild – Digging for victory

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Day 25 consists of apologising to butterflies and a lot of digging.

We began to clear the allotment today and now I am going to be walking around like Richard III, not to mention my burnt back and shoulders.

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As you can see a whole lot of work needs to be done. 

Our allotment is about two tennis courts long and at the moment a home to masses of insects.

We’ve got different butterflies, bees, beetles, grass hopper and lady birds. We also came across a ants nest which made my skin crawl.

We were well stuck in and a guy from another plot came over to introduce himself. He took us over to his allotment to give us some inspiration and hope. Andy also gave us loads of tips for attracting wildlife to the plot for example planting flowers for pollinators, and a pond.

Apparently there are lots of buzzards that circle round, there are foxes that take a stroll in the early morning and a very tame robin that likes to sit on your boot when you’re digging.

Before we set back to work Andy insisted we took some of his potatoes and broad beans! There’s no doubt the community spirit up there is amazing.

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I plan to have a wild flower area and have a border of plants that are especially attractive to bees and butterflies.

I’ll also have a hedgehog box by my compost heap and I’d like a little pond within the wild flower area.

I’m pretty chuffed with the progress we’ve made and I’m a little addicted as I’m desperate to get back up there to do more!!

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Weekend one progress

Day 24: 30 Days Wild – Bee spotting

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Today was the Save the bees afternoon in the Hornby Plantation. Some kids planted some wild flower seeds in an area we cleared and we gave out bee spotter sheets to identify all the different bees that visit the woods and park area.

We identified 7 different bees!

The Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) 

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Common Carder Bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) 

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Forest Cuckoo Bumblebee (Bombus Sylvestris) 

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Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae)

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Red Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Lapidarius)

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White Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus Lucornum)

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Honey Bee (worker) (Apis Mellifera)

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Day 23: 30 Days Wild – Busy Bee

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First of all I apologise for the lack of blog the last few days.

I really wasn’t expecting the response I did when I decided to offer my wild gift to Twitter. I’m chuffed that so many around the country want to do their bit for bees.

So the last few nights I’ve got in from work and put together 50 packets of wild flower seeds and addressed them to all the wonderful individuals.

Today I went down to the post office and got THE strangest look from the guy behind the counter when I announced they were just seeds. No security threat I assure you sir.

I bet he just thought and as if there isn’t enough nutters in Mansfield already.

But I have had great joy from this little project and I just hope that the seeds are successful! I mixed the seeds in with a type of silver sand for even spreading.

I would have written this earlier if I hadn’t been dealing with an exploded bean bag! One hell of a clean up operation I can tell you!

Tomorrow is the Save the Bees Action Afternoon in the Hornby Plantation in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire if anyone is around and wants to get involved.

Day 20: 30 Days Wild – Random act of Wildness

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I have a slight passion for saving the bees (understatement).

I don’t think we realise just how much we rely on bees! They contribute over £400 million over annum to our economy through pollinating many of our commercial crops.

Bees are at risk to climate change, habitat loss and exposure to harmful pesticides.

Changes in how we farm also means there loads less wild flower fields in our landscapes.

But we can help turn things around. We can save the humble bumble and friends. Together.

I am giving away little packets of wild flower seeds mixed with silver sand (for even spreading). Thought of it all and stamped with a little love.

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If you want a packet let me know!

On Saturday with the Friends of Hornby Plantation we are having a save the bees action afternoon, 2pm onwards.

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If you are in the area please pop by! I’ll also have a few packets with me there.

Buzzin.

Day 19: 30 Days Wild – Frack Free Mansfield

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Tonight I attended our monthly Frack Free Mansfield meeting and there was an awful lot to discuss.

I joined the group for two main reasons: my passion for protecting our environment and wildlife and the ever growing threat we face in our area from the chemicals giant INEOS.

Tonight we begun by discussing the letters we are writing to our new conservative MP. He’s going to have a bulging mail box. You can read my letter here.

The main threat in our district at the moment is in Warsop. We will fight every step of the way and there will be a public meeting in Warsop with INEOS in October as part of a tour they seem to be doing.

We will have a stall at the Warsop Carnival on 2nd July raising awareness and spreading the word.

In other areas in our county up the road near Thoresby and over in Creswell Seismic testing has already begun and active.

On our border at Harthill in Rotherham the trucks have already begun to set in.

It’s happening all around us and the fight to protect our environment could not be more vital.

We also need to target the land owners who are ever tempted by INEOS’ limitless cheque book.

Below is a leaflet that I have designed for our group which we are crowd funding to get printed.

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If more people knew just what is at risk and the extent of the ever nearing threat, the protest against fracking will grow unbeatable.

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