Welcome to Dykes Edge

"...Come follow the journey of Craig. This personal blog diary documents his road to discovery & creativity, 'growing his own' and the many other trivial antics it brings..."

Sunday, 16 August 2015

In the studio

In Dyke's Edge studio, I have been a busy bee putting my creativity to the test. I have made a new range or rustic signs using my old allotment favourite 'reclaimed pallet wood', also luxury hand crafted and necklace pendant cards, clay art sculptures and luxury stationary. All available in my Etsy Store...

Jones Farm Sign.

'Ty Ni' (our house) Hanger.

 House Warming Card

 Beach Theme Sculpture

 Luxury Secret Scrapbook

Owl Pendant Greetings Card

Befriending the pigeons

I have to tell you a little story. Last summer, I had just got back in the house from the garden centre with a new grapevine I had purchased. So, I went into the garden, planted it in the ground and when I turned round to walk back in, what did I find on the kitchen doorstep? a pigeon!

My immediate thought was that it had broken its wing or something, so I took it inside and made a small bed for it on the shelf and offered it some water and seed I had spare. Did it want to know? did it buggery! Anyway, I give it a health check knowing a little about birds as I do, and it seemed perfectly fine. On it's leg was a ring, so I made attempt to get in touch with the pigeon association to locate it's owner, in the meantime I give it lodgings in my conservatory.

After the first day, I heard nothing, and thought I can't be doing with this bird in my conservatory so let it out to see if had got any better and magically it flew up onto my roof! Another two pigeon passer by's decided to hang out with him, possibly suspecting I was leaving food out (which I was). 4 p.m. that afternoon, Pidgee (as I now called him) would fly down and put himself to bed back in the conservatory!

A few days later, I was put in touch with the owner and returned the bird where I was shown the lofts. He couldn't believe the bird was alive and told me they always die before being returned. He asked how I did it, and well I told I had been force feeding him seed, water and probiotic tablets.

Anyway I went home a little saddened I couldn't keep him, but what'd you know, the two pigeons that had been curiously visiting were there waiting for me! So I decided I would befriend these two wild ones instead and give them food and water daily.

Over Christmas I went away, sadly when I returned they were no where to be seen. Then come spring, one day out of the blue they turned up perching on my kitchen door as they always had the summer before.

I have to say that I enjoy having the company when sat outside and watching their little ways of going about things. Funny creatures pigeons!

Pidgee chilling out in the sun on my wood store.

How does my garden grow?

Well here is new Dyke's Edge 'yard garden' when I first arrived. It bared all the usual hallmarks of  neglected space. As you can see it was an overgrown mess, it resembled something out of the Secret Garden, full of slugs and snails and dingy, it had to go. I needed a blank canvass!

Ahh, I can breath again! As you can see, still not much to look at, but least you can swing a cat and put the washing out now! This was back in 2012.

And the following summer 2013, I had it nice enough to sit out and relax and enjoy some sunshine. 

 And here is it 2015, a few gradual changes. The fruit trees to the left had to go as they were diseased and far too high to even pick the fruit, instead I have trained a kiwi vine along the left hand wall, and directly opposite in the right hand bed are raspberries. In the left foreground is an ericaceous bed of blueberries which I have to say have been very successful. Must be all those coffee grounds my friend has been giving me! To the right foreground (out of the photo) is my grapevine which I have been training overhead. And I almost forgot, the big blue box to the left is my woodstore!

Everyone should have an allotment

It has been a few years now since I had an allotment, but the impact this small 10m x 10m plot of land has had on my life is immeasurable. I found myself with an allotment like many, during a time of need and depression. Not only did I reap the rewards of my sown produce, but it changed me and shaped me as a person. Allotments are not just good for organic produce, they are great for soul and developing personal creativity. My old allotment at Dyke's Edge was just the beginning of a journey, and now it is time to start a new chapter here on my blog.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Wakey Wakey...

Sometime since my last post, Dyke's Edge Allotment has been reborn as Dyke's Edge Kitchen Garden Home blog.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Allotment Planner - More than 200 Ways to Transform Your Plot

WHAT I LOVE about this time of year is lazy old gardener me loves to go into hibernation with a few garden books, and my legs up in front of the log burner.

I recently came across this book 'The Allotment Planner - More Than 200 Ways to Transform Your Plot' by Matthew Appleby, what a great little book it is too. For those who are thinking of getting a plot of their own, or for those who already have one will know that the rewards reaped by this pasttime extend far beyond unearthing a few potatoes and carrots. You only have to take a look at my time on my first allotment back in 2010, it really was the making of me.

Growing your own isn't just about.. well, growing your own, these days it is much more than that. It's about getting out there, discovering the world around you, being creative, and trying new things. Now just before you get into a plotters rut, or if you are a first time grow your owner, read this book and I am sure you will find some new vigour within for next year.

This well presented book is the perfect trusty grow your own/plotter companion to take you through next January to December. It comes presented in a useful journal form, and safely bound with elasticated string. Inside, there are hundreds of inspirational colour photographs, and a comprehensive walk-through the 12 months pf the year with a bounty of ideas and suggestions to help you along the way and even comes with dedicated space for you to document your journey on the plot.

With fun and challenging projects, The Allotment Planner will help gardeners everywhere truly make the most of their allotments. The journal focuses specifically on new ideas that will bring enjoyment, push the boundaries and inject a sense of originality into the proceedings. From blogging to beekeeping, barbecuing to keeping chickens, this journal will keep you entertained and informed in all aspects of your allotment.

Dyke's Edge has teamed up with Aurum Publishing to offer all my readers a special discount. To order 'The Allotment Planner' at a discount price of £12.00 inc. P&P (RRP: £14.99), telephone (01903) 828503 or e-mail: and quote the offer code APG34.

Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to:

Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department,
Littlehampton Book Services,
PO Box 4264,
Worthing, West Sussex
BN13 3RB.

Please quote the offer code APG34 and include your name and address details.

Summers Over

It has been a while since my last post, the routines of life have somewhat taken over my attentive desires at Dyke's Edge, all is fine however. This year has been one for clearing, starting a new. I do miss the old allotment plot dearly, but this new smaller space presents new challenges of it's own.

I think it is time to reflect over the past few months. The beginning of this year I cleared back the yard garden as I so inherited from the previous occupier, this gave me a blank canvas for the growing season this year. I had plentyful crops of strawberries and a few raspberries. The fruit trees presented a challenge and pickings were far beyond my reach, sadly for this reason they will have to completely this winter. I have started off a small herb bed, as my focus turns more to cooking than growing in such a small space. I have mint, chives and rosemary all doing very well indeed.

Indoors, my California Wonder pepper produced all but three very delicious specimens. I am however more interested in overwintering the plant as a perennial pepper, the plant has been trimmed back in readyness for next year.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Strawberrys by the Punnet!

Who'd of thought you'd get a punnet of strawberries out of a back yard garden. For the past few days I have been enjoying a handful picking daily, though it seems I my Cambridge favourite may have hit peak production yesterday evening and today with this accumulation of a punnet worth of strawberries.

This is definitely a good sign of what is to come next season as my eBay ordered bare root specimens get a chance to firmly establish this season, top that with a few dozen runners they've thrown out already!

Mmmm... they taste so sweet and juicy!

Already hints of raspberries to follow too, I forecast another week yet though.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Kitchen Garden Project continued...

I recently made a visit to see how the old Dyke's Edge 'Kitchen Garden' project is coming along which I helped kick start last year. A new custodian has took the helm spurred on by the legacy which I left behind.

It is amazing to see the transformation 12 months later, everything has come to fruition exactly how I had envisaged it. The layout is very practical with four main raised beds, and a bed around it's entire perimeter. There are even fruit trees, and a second greenhouse installation to the rear. I really cannot wait to see the progress another 12 months from now.

Well would you believe it!

Well the last time I photographed Dyke's Edge, things were looking a little... bare. The difference two weeks makes in the gardening world, look at my Cambridge Favourite Strawberry plants pictured above, they have sprung into life! I am sure to have a bumper crop this summer!
The potatoes equally have shot up, with rapid growth of 3ft tall plants, let's just hope not all the growth has gone into the plants and there is plenty going on beneath the soil! Who said you can't grow spuds in a small garden?

Elsewhere, the raspberries are looking pitiful, with there tops drooping slightly. I am wondering if they are infected, though they should be pest free as I brought them from B&Q. Hmmm...