Tag Archives: allotment

New Year Gardening Resolutions

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I’d like 2015 to be the year when I really get the hang of this whole ‘growing stuff’ thing – we’ve taken on half an allotment and I’m keeping the three raised beds at the bottom of the garden too so I need to be a bit better organised…

In 2014, some crops went very well as this previous post outlined.

And some were a bit of a disaster – for 2015 I’m hoping for a lot more of the former.

So, my resolutions for the year ahead are:

1. Plan ahead – list the crops I want to grow, check the seeds I already have & stock up
accordingly and work out a monthly sowing schedule.

2. Sow little and often, staggering the harvest so we don’t risk wasting anything I’ve grown.

3. Grow more flowers – loved my sweet peas and marigolds this year and want to have more flowers I can cut for the house, as well as pots of them on the patio.

4. Waste less – we have three big compost bins and two bokashi bins now so plenty of
opportunity to ‘recycle’ anything we don’t eat as well as peelings etc. We’ve got a plan to have
some chickens on the allotment too, so that will help.

5. Keep on top of the weeding and general maintenance, little and often will be easier to
manage!

Think that will do me for now – I might need to give up work though, it is going to be
challenging to fit all this gardening in too! 😉

Under Construction

Ebay has been a great source of ‘not quite free but nearly’ stuff for the allotment. The
greenhouse was won with a £6.50 bid but the seller was so happy to get it moved out of their garden (small children, footballs and non safety glass don’t really work) she didn’t charge for it. And the shed cost £10.

But of course, both had to be dismantled and transported back to the plot.

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We’ve put some heavy duty underlay (free from a skip at the greenhouse seller’s place…) down in the greenhouse frame to kill off the grass underneath and act as a floor. It also came with some greenhouse staging which will be useful.

One of the main reasons to get the shed and greenhouse up as soon as possible is the water situation – there is none at the allotments so we need to get our water butts set up to collect the rain water as it runs off (guttering is the next purchase).

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The shed is now looking very good, tiny bit of patching up to do but it is just about complete. The greenhouse is coming on nicely too, about half the glass is back in already.

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And here’s the man who’s been doing all this hard work, carrying in the wood he’s planning to make a fruit cage with…

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Meanwhile, down at the allotments…

The farm tenancy contract for our half an allotment plot has been signed and we have taken possession of the field of dreams*

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*weeds

The aim is to get one bed planted up at the weekend, I’ve got some cabbages, brussels and onions ready to go in and can’t delay too long as my man with the spade (and rotavator) has been busy:

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He’s also sourced some pallets and is planning to build a shed…watch this space!

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Now the hard work begins…

Major excitement finding out that we have after all been allocated an allotment in the village where we live! Half a plot, as someone has agreed to give up the unused half of his so we can take over.

The half plot is 0.1 of an acre so I don’t think we’re going to worry about not getting a whole plot. We also have to sign a Farm Tenancy agreement which came as a bit of a surprise, as did the £75 charge for the surveyors who look after the allotment plots for processing the
paperwork… We then have to pay the ongoing charge of £45 a year for our half which seems like a bargain.

However, the reality of this huge undertaking came home to me when we had a walk round our new domain. I suspect that this part of the plot has been left to itself for many years.

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We have found some asparagus under all the weeds as well as some raspberries and right down at the far end there are apple and pear trees and lots of blackberries.

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Luckily for me, my husband is very excited about this new project. He has been scouring Ebay and Freecycle for useful allotment accessories and can’t wait to get rotovating, digging, burning and building!

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Wish us luck, I think we’re going to need it…

Plan for growth…

The ‘growing stuff’ bug really has caught hold, even though results are a bit mixed in the raised beds in the garden this year. So when we found out that there were some vacant plots in the
village allotments, our ears pricked up!

I hadn’t even realised that there were allotments in the village, they are tucked away behind the primary school, down a little lane. Off we went to reccy and whilst most of the plots were very organised and clearly well tended, there were indeed a couple which were neglected and looked deserted.

Took a bit of digging (not literally…!) to find out who looks after the admin for the site but we eventually found that it is owned by the church diocese and administered by a firm of
surveyors. We got in touch and they duly sent out their junior person who met us on site, armed with his plot map.

Not easy to work out which plot was which as only a few of them were numbered but we
identified the one we thought was unoccupied (certainly looked that way, those weeds didn’t grow overnight!) and he showed us another plot which was showing on his list as being vacant.
However, this one, though overgrown, had a pigeon shed and chicken coop half way down the plot which were both very much occupied.

So back to the office he went to find out more. We went home, discussing how we would divide the plot up, where we would start, what we’d grow… Shouldn’t have got so excited though as he phoned back the next day to say that he’d spoken to the deserted plot ‘owner’ – apparently he knows the plot is neglected, he’s working long hours but ‘might’ retire soon in which case he will get back on his plot. And the other plot wasn’t unoccupied, there was a mistake on the plot plan.

So in the course of a couple of days we’d gone from not thinking about an allotment, to getting hugely excited (and a little bit scared!) about getting one, to being highly disappointed that we can’t have one. He mentioned something about another allotment site in the village but we can’t find it so Monday’s job is to make sure he has us on the waiting list for a plot and to find out exactly where he means with the other site. We scanned the village on Google Maps/Earth and can’t find another site. Obssessed, us? Never!

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Preparation

One of the raised beds is ready, thanks to my other half who has dug it all over for me. I sowed some green manure towards the end of last year once the cabbages, cauliflowers and spring onions I’d grown were all done.  This year, I’m planning to put carrots and parsnips in this bed.

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Behind it is the second hand greenhouse we bought at the end of last year – I’m not sure if all the glass has survived the move, but we’ll find out when we decide exactly where it is going to go and put it up. When I say we, I mean the royal we, otherwise known as Gary – I’m not renowned for my practical DIY skills, but luckily for me, he is! Can’t wait to have a proper greenhouse, I’ve had a couple of the cheap plastic ones so far but they are not really big enough for all the things I want to grow.

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I still have a few things growing – this is garlic which I haven’t tried growing before so I’m
hoping it will be good. I’ve also got a few onion sets in and some cabbages which in spite of my best efforts in protecting them under netting, seem to have been munched a bit…

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I’ve got high hopes that the frogs, which we keep finding every time we lift up anything in the garden, will see off all the slugs this year. This is a tiny one, with a little newt beside him but there are quite a few bigger ones too and we think there is some frog spawn in our little pond so we could well be host to a whole frog community by the summer!

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A lesson learned…

I had planned to sow some sweet peas today but found that my big tin where I keep my seed packets isn’t quite watertight! Everything was damp and some radishes were sprouting – so I had a good clearout, brought everything inside to dry out and am hoping for the best… I think my seeds better live indoors from now onImage. I’m not sure if the seeds will still be ok, some of the packets didn’t seem too damp so hopefully there will be some survivors.