A couple more photos....

The cabbage and sprouts covered in 'Enviromesh' to keep the critters off! Last year the cabbage whites demolished most of the brassicas.

My constructed frame for the runner beans which are currently germinating in the growhouse along with the french dwarf beans.

At last....!

Had a brilliant afternoon at the lottie. It was looking absolutely fab with the new path. My Stepdad had managed to rotivate it and the soil looked and felt so much better then before.

The first early potatoes 'Aaron Pilot' went in and in a couple of weeks I'll get the main crop 'Desiree' in.

I had a bumper sowing session and here's what went in:

3 rows of 'Stuttgarter' onion sets.
1 row of 'Nantes' carrots.
1 row of 'Sativum' garlic.
1 row of 'Ishikura' and 'Ninja' spring onions.
2 rows of 'Tender and True' Parsnips.
1 row of 'Sparkle' and 'Flamboyant' radish.
1 row of 'All year round' lettuce.

Still lots in the growhouse in the garden.....!

Louisa x
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Sown some more.....

My Stepdad has been up to the lottie today and managed to finish edging the edges!!! He also tried to dig over the plot but found it really hard going and the use of a rotivator is definately going to be needed this year. The only patch which is reasonably easy to work was where the spuds were last year - they are fab at breaking up the soil.

The girls and I sowed some more seeds today. 4 Courgette 'Black Beauty', 4 Squash 'winter festival', 4 pumpkin 'racer' some sweetcorn 'early king' and some 'tumbling' tomatoes.

So all fingers and toes crossed that our lottie neighbour will be around tomorrow so that we can borrow his rotivator. I really need to get those onion sets and first early spuds in.

OK - Scrap the raised beds idea.....!

Went up to the lottie a couple of days back - spent most of the time raking up the straw left from the manure that had been spread before christmas.

I had a huge change of heart about my wonky raised beds. I really didn't think that they would serve the purpose that they were intended for. Last year our beds weren't particularly uniform, which in itself wouldn't have been an issue, but when there were 4 under 5 year olds zooming round inevitably things were more suseptible ro being trodden on (although the girls were REALLY good and were exceptionally careful.) This year, we are minus 2 of the under 5 year olds (who have moved to Ipswich), but there are still 2 left to run riot!!

So (I'll get to the point now), I've decided the best way forward was to use the timber to make a central path and then each side of the path will be beds. Ian and I went up today armed with hammers to take apart the raised beds and reuse the timber for the path. We had to move a crown of rhubarb first as it was right in the middle of our path! We then dug two trenches and laid the timber down into it compacting the clay-like soil around them to keep them in their place. Hopefully in the next week or so we'll get some gravel down.

Next week a lottie neighbour is loaning us his rotivator just to turn over the soil and prepare it for some seeds.

Still haven't managed to plant anything at the lottie yet. Was hoping to get something in this weekend but what with putting a path in and the soil not being rotivated it'll be another week at least! There has been another mention of frost next week anyway, so it might be worth holding out a bit.
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My achey brakey back......

Today I took the majority of the *donated* wood up to the lottie to make an attempt to construct some raised beds. So toolkit at the ready I heaved the wood out of the car and put on my 'chippy' hat!

Can't say that the raised beds are anywhere near perfect, infact they are a wee bit wonky - probably due to the unlevel ground, but they are beds and they are raised! I only had enough wood for 2 beds initially, but I'm sure the building work will leave us with some more wood to use eventually. This year I will probably do a mixture of both raised and flat beds until I have collected enough wood for some more beds.

Amazingly I managed to do some other jobs - I have moved changed the position of the squash heap to the bottom left hand corner of the lottie this year, as this is where the new manure was dumped!! There was so much of it that I really couldn't face the prospect of moving it all!! The 'old' squash heap has been flattened and I have taken out another barrow full of couch grass roots to burn - I hate couch grass with a passion! Just as you think you've got rid of it all, lo and behold it pops up again in the Spring.

Another major job is raking the straw up - who's idea was it to spread horse poo over the entire plot, only for it all to mulch down and be left with piles of straw!! Most of it has been collected up and put in the bottom of the biggest raised bed and the rest has been put back on the heap!There is still a lot of raking to do before I can think about planting!

The cabbage and brussels have all germinated now so I really *must* crack on with the lottie as those seedlings are ahead of the game!!

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Well, I'm back!!

After a few months of no entries, I thought it was about time I did an update!! (and I have miraculously just remembered the password to add a post!!)

Unfortunately for me (and emma!), emma has now moved to Ipswich and so emloulottie has now become just loulottie!

It's going to be hard work with just me working the plot, but I know I have the help of Ian and the girls - and we really had some wonderful family evenings up there last year. Also my stepdad has the occasional potter, and I do appreciate his pottering!

So, this year.....

I have been up to the plot only once or twice this year so far. Mainly time issues, but also weather issues have put a stop to working the lottie regularly. I have had a good clearout of the accumulated junk that the previous owners had left, which has been piled up ready for the tip. Currently the plot has been covered with a lovely thick layer of horse poo.

I have been really undecided how to plant this year, whether to go for rows or marked beds or raised beds. Lots of people have said how *easy* raised beds are, especially if time is not particularly on my side - which it most definately isn't!! And just my luck that our loft conversion is producing loads of fabulous old timber (approx 125 years old) which has been removed from our roof (let's hope *something* is still holding the roof up!!!) After a pleasant chat to the builder, we now have an ever increasing pile of old and new timber collecting on the lawn crying out to become a raised bed or 3!! I am planning to remove it up to the lottie on the weekend and try to assemble something that vaguely looks rectangular!

Thankfully the cold weather is giving me more time to find some carpentry skills before I have to consider planting anything up.

So far I have 1st earlies (Aaron Pilot) and maincrop (desiree) chitting on the windowsill in the kitchen and have sown brussel sprouts and cabbage for the lottie, along with chilli pepper plants and some basil and parsley for home use! I've also got some onion sets and garlics to plant. The soil is still way too chilly for anything yet and I can see that it's going to be at least mid April before I'll be happy putting anything underground! I mean - would you want to sit bare bottomed on the soil yet....?!!! I don't think so.

So tatty bye for now - I'll post again after the marathon trip to the lottie on the weekend!

Louisa x
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Another 'family' trek up to the lottie, becoming quite a 'thing' in our household nowadays.

Filled another 4 barrow-fulls of weeds. They just multiply over night I swear!!

Picked some more beans, a courgette(thought we had a poorly plant, but it's suddenly come back to life again!!), and gave everything a good water. Ian's been tenderly weeding around 'his' sprouts and can't wait for his bumper crop - awww bless!!

Hopefully next week we're going to crack on with the rest of the clearing and start planning the winter planting.

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All 4 of us trundled up to the lottie in the gorgeous weather!!!There was plenty of weeding to do and we made a huge pile of weeds to dry and burn off.

Next thing to do was to thin out some more of the leeks and now that all the first earlies have been dug up and there is 'spare' soil, it was a logical place to put them. There are now a few more rows of leeks....... leek and spud soup comes to mind, mmmmm! Talking about the spuds, not good news on the maincrop front. After having blight the tubers have remained in the earth (after taking the plants off) and it seems that many of them have either suffered with blight or have been eaten by hungry bugs. Never mind, we'll try again next year I guess!!

We picked some dwarf and runner beans and a squash home to cook. We also gave everything a good soaking as it has been so dry and warm. Not just the plants though - after our hard work, we headed to the pub for our 'soaking!!!'