Tag Archives: gardening

Gardening roundup – what I’ve been reading/watching…

Lots of gardening programmes on at the moment, or maybe I’m just noticing them more as it is my new(ish) passion! I’ve also been reading a few interesting articles so here is a roundup of some of the things that caught my eye recently:

1. Big Allotment Challenge programme on BBC2 Friday nights. I don’t entirely like the focus on appearance rather than taste for the show bench (ugly veg rule!) but this series has a few more growing tips so I’m finding it useful. The programme website with more tips is here.

2. Great British Garden Revival – ten gardening experts talk about their particular passion to try and save the nation’s rich gardening heritage. More details about the episodes here.

3. One ridiculously simple way of transforming your garden from average to enchanting – I loved this article found via twitter on The Middle-Sized Garden blog here.

4. The Benefits of Keeping Records on the Allotment – great advice again via twitter, which I’m determined to heed this growing season… here.

5. I’ve mentioned twitter a couple of times already – definitely a great source of gardening tips, other blogs, experts and amateurs as well as information about offers and upcoming events/tv programmes. It was much more fun watching the Big Allotment Challenge at the same time as following the story on twitter – and a good way to find new people to follow. Using hashtags means you can catch up with what others think and there are also a number of Q&A sessions, for example every Thursday on Twitter from 8-9pm UK time, there is a tweetorial and gardening Q&A using the hashtag #WoolliesAskAlison

So that is my list of gardening/growing sources of information that have caught my eye recently – there won’t be as much time for reading or watching television once the weather improves so I’m making the most of my spare time now 😉


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.


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.



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!


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!




Really want to get growing again, winter seems to be lasting a very long time. I bought a windowsill propagator in the sales (oh how I’ve changed!) and now have some hot peppers in one tray and moneymaker tomatoes in another. My other plan was to sow some sweet peas in the deep root-trainer propagator I also bought but there has been a slight hiccup…