Monthly Archives: May 2013

Pixy plum 2nd year hopes are high

My pixy plum tree (Victoria plum on Pixy / semi-dwarfing rootstock) was bare last year (first year), a big disappointment.

The damson / plum tree (Merryweather on Saint Julian A / semi-vigorous rootstock) gave only a punnet or so, it was also planted at the same time as the pixy so it’s a worthwhile comparison.

This year there was very little blossom on the damson tree and few (if any) fruit buds now.

However, the pixy bloomed and we have lots of fruit buds:20130520-224620.jpg
I’m hoping for a Victoria plum this year!

Garden early May update

Following on from my recent posts about enjoying the baby lettuce and spinach (Mini lettuce salad and Not quite a salad, but it’s a start), here’s the latest update from Tim’s garden:

Here’s the second batch of Runner Beans (first beans didn’t germinate, probably because it was a cool start to spring) in seed trays, just before transplanting into bigger containers:20130511-161437.jpg
Also just behind is another batch of spinach taking shape.
And a transplanted photo:20130511-161423.jpg
I try and get them as big as possible before they go out in the wilds and get attacked by the slug army, the blackfly, the cat, foxes, etc.

The thinned out lettuce are taking advantage of the extra room:20130511-161430.jpg

The first early (Arran Pilot) potatoes are starting to grow nicely now we’ve had a few nice weeks, to the left you can see the main crop of (Desiree [red]) potatoes that were planted at the same time are a little behind in terms of growth:20130511-161445.jpg

The leeks in front (hard to photo them as they look like bits of grass at the start) have taken to living outdoors under the protection of the wire:20130511-161451.jpg
And the onions are doing really well under the protection of the wire too, they have grown through and will lie on top of it as the leaves get larger and flop down:20130511-161458.jpg

Happy growing!

After weeks of waiting, I finally fix up bluebell #cycling

For this I needed a new crank puller (a.k.a. extractor, Park Tool CCP-22):20130511-105542.jpg
And a new crankset (unbranded):20130511-105612.jpg
The crankset was recommended as the current replacement by SJS. Replacing the chainrings with the single chainring I already had on the old crankset.
The crank puller seems OK, though I don’t rate it above my last one, maybe equal to it. Anyway it worked twice which is all I needed. Important is to always remember to grease both threads and the tip of it, since the tip will be grinding against metal.
Here’s one side done, baby started crying that was all I managed that evening:20130511-151649.jpg
It’s also worth noting that I grease the bottom bracket axle before putting the new crank on, grease the crank bolt and give it a good tighten if you want it to remain in place. Greasing the axle is meant to decrease the corrosion that can happen between the steel axle and the alloy crank. Similarly greasing pedal threads is a must, which i forgot last time, hence the beginning of the problems I had. There are those that disagree which bits to grease, I sometimes change my mind, but I’ve had more problems by not greasing than by greasing.
After removing the RHS crank I need to swap the chainrings from new to old:20130511-153459.jpg
He’s the finished result:20130511-153521.jpg
The hawk eyed reader will note that my chainring is not reversible and is getting on in age (miles), when the teeth are like razor blades I’ll swap it, a derailleur setup would need this replacing already, my chain is 1% worn according to my chain wear indicator, I’ll replace that at nearer 2% probably, again derailleur owners would need to replace now.
The finished RHS:20130511-154408.jpg
While I was shopping for the above I also bought a saddle, Maddison Prime:20130511-154815.jpg
Here’s it fitted, note the road profile of it and the fancy ruler for elite setup:20130511-154824.jpg
I just stick it in the middle, angle the nose up a tiny fraction and that’s fine. Maybe I’ll fiddle with it in future, but I tend not to notice much difference. It’s definitely harder than my last saddle, but doesn’t seem to bother me yet as my cycling distances are tiny now I work closer to home and have a baby that takes up my cycling time.
That was that for that night, the next evening I did an oil change and tightened my mudguard bolts (Surrey roads rattle them loose). Next morning I’m all set for commuting again:
What a lovely steel machine she is.

New stats reveal increase in cycling

Seems a bit high to me given the number of cars I see vs bikes on any commute I’ve done. Take the figures with a statistical pinch of salt. However if cycling is increasing it can only be a good thing for everyone.

Surrey News


Pedal power is gaining popularity in Surrey as new figures reveal the percentage of people cycling on a monthly basis has increased.

Department for Transport stats have shown that 20% of Surrey folk ride a bike at least once a month – busting the national average of

Elmbridge boasts the highest percentage of people using pedal power on a monthly basis (24%), closely followed by Guildford and Woking (23%) and Mole Valley and Waverley (22%).

In fact, the percentage of people across the county who cycle at least once a month has risen from 18% in 2010/11 to 20% in 2011/12.

In a bid to encourage more people to ride a bike, Surrey County Council is offering organisations in the Woking, Guildford, Redhill and Reigate areas the chance to bid for funds to install cycle parking. The council is also offering to match fund bids for showers and lockers…

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Mini lettuce salad

The lettuce (there’s not that many) are big enough to start thinning them out so there’s enough room for the remaining ones to grow further. So today I’ve finally made a proper(ish) salad, baby butterhead lettuce, spinach and onion leaves:
I’ve also planted the third batch of spinach and lettuce. My plan is to plant 5 – 10 every month to start with then reduce the numbers when I run out of space.

Not quite a salad, but it’s a start

It’s only spinach and onion leaves, the lettuce isn’t ready yet, but I love spinach so I enjoyed it on the side of my dinner plate:20130502-201200.jpg
This spinach is my first, so I’ve underestimated how many plants I need to get a good crop. Fortunately there’s lots of time for the second batch to catch it up.

Any spinach growing tips would’ve appreciated 🙂