FYI

Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Greenmen, Building a Hedgehog House & Pruning the Trees!

 So, we're on holiday for the weekend as its Lee's 40th birthday tomorrow, and he's already had one prezzie, a sting on his head from one of the bees! Lol! Today we spent the day on the plot doing a few jobs (including securing the frog guards for the compost bin to the front of plot 1), but tomorrow we're at the plot for a BBQ, although we may get a few more jobs done aswell beforehand!

 The Greenmen plaques I got through ebay arrived on Friday, so first job today was to put them up, 3 at the front of the arbour and 1 to the side where it joins onto the shed! They are really nice, cast in frost proof material and done in a 3d relief style, just finish the arbour off really well!

 This one is Spring, apt anough as its to the East, the usual direction (in the northern hemisphere) of youth, spring and waxing life)..............

 .. the next one is Summer, at the next point of the circle, facing south on the corner of the arbour, towards where the sun is at midday!

 Next is Autumn, in the center of the arbour.........

 ........ and finally is Winter, to the far side of the arbour! I think we both agree they look really good, not only hiding the joints between the bars that make up the arbour, but also giving the structure a pagan feel that is in keeping with our own beliefs and in keeping with our organic ways of working the plot!

Once we'd done this, we decided to finally get round to building the hedgehog house in the corner near to Apiary 2 (on Plot 1)

 We started by using 2 of the old solid floors from the beehives (that the original hives came with when we bought them 2nd hand 2 years ago), 1 for the floor and 1 for the roof. Then we built the side walls from bricks we brought from home (see, hoarding things you dont use is GOOD! Lol!), 2 courses high above the 18" square floor, with a side entrance that runs to the front (this entrance tunnel provides safety from predators and also stops the wind from blowing straight into the main hibernation area!

 We used an offcut of piping to provide a ventilation hole, which would poke out through the side back wall once the house is burried in bark chippings!

 The center was then filled with nesting materials, straw and leaf mulch, to keep the hibernating hedgehog warm and comfortable! We used empty plastic sacks to provide waterproofing......

 ............. then ensuring the accessway is clear.............

 ........... we fitted the second hive floor as a roof..............

 .............. before burying the whole thing under a pile of bark chippings, which should provide good insulation! On fetching the bark chippings I found the offcut of log, so thought it would make a good feature to top the hoghouse off (and give me somewhere to put a sign on in the future!)

 Hopefully one or two of the hedgehogs from the allotment will decide its a des res and move in soon, but only time will tell!

 After that we decided it was time to tackle the overgrown fruit trees at the side of plot 1. We've been trying to prune them back to a more manageable size since we took the plot over 18 months ago, but despite our best efforts we've not had a great deal of fruit from them, so we decided the time for drastic measures has now arrived......

 .......... armed with secateurs, loppers and a saw.............

 .............. this is what Lee did to the fruit trees! Hopefully this should allow them to grow in a better way, although part of the problem is the overshadowing from the trees beyond the plot boundary, so after tackling another small job on one of the newer planted apple trees.....

 .......... namely building a support system to try and pull one of the branches back a bit so it doesnt grow forwards over the bed...........

 ...... we then set about chopping back some of the overhanging branches to allow a lot more light into the side of plot 1!

 Some of the trees that were overhanging are very tall, and cast a lot of shade, so the only way we could reach one of the worst offending branches was to hook the extended ladders over a branch, and rest them ontop of the 4' high compost bins at the side of plot 1! This is not really a recommended way of working, but other than call out a tree surgeon (which we cant as its not our land that the trees are growing in), there was no other way to tackle it!

 Success! It was quite a big branch, but removing it has let in a lot more light, so hopefully our fruit trees will have a better chance of growing in a better shape now!

 Ooops! The hothouse yet again needed emergancy repair work!

Which I managed to do without too much difficulty, at least its only got to last us till the end of this growing season, next year we've the new coldframes to grow the peppers / chillis and aubergines in!

At this point it started to rain a bit, so after watering in the greenhouses and harvesting about 10lb of toms, we decided to call it a day! Not sure if I'll get an update done tomorrow, as we're BBQing and its Lee's 40th birthday, but I'll get some piccies and hopefully be able to share them with you on Monday, after my first day at my new branch!

Hope your crops are still doing well, and that your weed infestation is much less than ours! Thanks for reading!

6 comments:

dave said...

happy birthday, your plot is looking good, lots of things sprouting up there! There isn't much growing in my plot this year, i just haven't had the time to work on it.

Steph said...

can i move into the hoghouse? looks fabulous :) i am visiting my folks this w/e and got my dad to 'rescue' a hedgehog in the road yesterday. luckily it was fine and uninjured, just where it shouldn't stay! if i'd known earlier i would've drawn him a map to your 'des res' ;)

happy birthday to lee. hope his head isn't too painful!

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Dave, I know what you mean, time does seem at a premium when you have a plot, last year with my bad back and Lee getting swine flu we didnt do as much as we wanted, but it will come good in the end, you will get the time to do all you plan.... eventually!

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Steph, we aint got hangovers.... its 'wine flu'! Lol!

One of the things that prompted us to build the hoghouse was finding a sleeping hedgehog in the back yard yesterday at home, Lee was clearing some of the toms from the back yard border, when the ground moved and hissed at him! We've had a hedgehog at home in the garden for 4 years or so, tho we rarely see it, and have had hedgehogs hibernating on our plot before, so we'd always planned to build a hedgehog house at some stage, just never reached the point that we had the time to do so!

Glad you like it anyhows, tho Im not sure if its a hedgehog house or a hedgehog bunker! Lol!

Mr Tomato King said...

Happy Birthday Mr D.

I hope you are having a rest from the gardening today.

Mr & Mr TK

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Mr & Mrs TK, hope your birthday was as good as Lee's!

BBQin at the plot with friends, lots of good food, good company and good wine, in glorious sunshine too! Couldnt be better! Rest from gardening? Yup, apart from harvsting some stuff for the BBQ and for friends to take home with them!