Planning for vegetable comfort

Despite not actually being able to work on my allotments due to the recent appalling weather, I have been busy preparing and planning the planting for the growing season.

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I’ve started with Plot 4A, which unlike Plot 5,  will include a number of raised beds.  I have to confess that most of my raised beds have been bought on-line mostly because of the difficulty involved in building them from scratch on my own.  I have built a small shallow one but for Plot 4A I wanted deep beds that would last a good few years.

Raised beds x2
Raised beds

 

There are some quality products on the market however I particularly wanted metal beds.  I found the perfect solution at Sutton Seeds, admittedly they are not cheap, however they are durable, deep at 40cms high and they look pretty good too!

Between the two plots I will have a combination of planting – rows and raised beds.  I’m hoping that this will increase the yield for 2016.

Raised beds are good for:

  • Improving drainage – The bottom half of Plot 4A is prone to water-logging so raised beds on that area will alleviate the problem.
  • Increasing soil temperature – The whole site is exposed and the plants suffer in cold weather.
  • Enhance root health – I’m aiming to enrich the soil in the raised beds with extra fertiliser and organic matter.
  • Improving access – As you will be aware, if you read my blog, my family often enjoy helping out on the allotment and I want to ensure all of my family members can have a go, if they wish.
  • Growing plants in a different soil type – I haven’t had success with growing cranberries so far – three plants have died!  I’m hoping to create a bed especially for plants that prefer specific soil types.
  • Pest control – I’m hoping that I will be able to protect my salad greens, cauliflowers and peas from the slugs, mice and birds more easily in raised beds.
  • Weed control – I’m told weeding will be much easier…we shall see!

The RHS website says that raised beds are suitable for:

  • Soft fruits, such as strawberries, currants, raspberries and blackberries
  • Vegetables, almost any vegetable can be grown in raised beds
  • Herbaceous perennials, raised beds are a good idea for establishing a cutting garden for cut flowers
  • Alpines, ideal for alpines that relish good drainage
  • Small trees and shrubs, depending on how big your beds are, you may be able to  grow some small trees and shrubs
  • Ericaceous or lime hating plants,by filling beds with acid lime-hating plants   such as heathers and rhododendrons may be grown in areas of alkaline soil

I’m also considering constructing a hot bed which will entail building a frame, building up layers of manure and compost material then topping with around 4 inches of soil.  I’m told that I’ll have to get cracking on this project asap in order to reap the benefits!

Has anyone tried a hot bed?  Any tips?

 

 

8 thoughts on “Planning for vegetable comfort”

  1. They are good quality and I was lucky enough to pick them up in the sale at a reduced price…I’ve another 1 stored…same size as the ones in the photo plus two mini beds by the same company. Happy days 😆

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    1. I plan but I have to admit that I didn’t stuck to my plans last year…so many exciting plants caught my eye! This year I have to follow a plan to some extent for crop rotation….potatoes, cabbages etc can’t be planted in the same place so some kind of record might help…fingers crossed 😆

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      1. I agree, it’s great to go with my ‘instinct gardener’ side too – it’s part of the fun.For example, I now now that mexican tree spinach grows really well on my windy, exposed allotments so I’ll use it as a wind buffer this year…it looks beautiful too!

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