Tag Archives: allotment plan

Dog Days of Summer!

We have had two weeks of glorious sunshine here in Wales…it’s as if the dog star Sirius has positioned himself, in the heavens above my little patch of the world a little earlier than expected.

The risk of frost has well and truly passed, and with longer days there comes more sunshine and time to be pottering around on my allotments. Well I say ‘pottering’… that’s not anywhere near the truth!  I was rather late planting this year, after taking on plot 4A.  I spent months digging. It’s done. Finally.  Everything is more or less planted too!

4A – View from the front
4A – View from the back
5A – View from the front
New flower bed

All I need to do now is a little ‘fine tune weeding’ to completely finish plots 4A and 5A…simple? Mmmmm, no not really!  Plot 5B suddenly came up for grabs and I grabbed it! I’m now the proud occupier of plot 5 (whole plot) and plot 4A.  I know, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment but I really wanted a ‘Tea Shed’!

Overgrown mess!

Docks, rosebay willow herb, grasses, seeded onions, brassicas and bindweed… a right royal mess!

In the background, you can just see my little blue ‘Tea Shed’.
Shoulder height grass and weeds
One sunny afternoon later…

I want to avoid weedkiller so we’re planning to use a paraffin burner to literally ‘cook’ the weeds to death!

I can see my ‘other half’!

I’m not sure what to do about my lollipop fence now…keep? or remove? or even put in a little gateway?

Oh…and we have our first froglet in our little pond 🙂  Happy Dog Days!


♫ ♪Speckled Frog Eating Delicious Slugs ♪♫…Fingers Crossed!

Finished frog pond complete with Percy (a gift from my parents) the plastic frog.

Apparently one third of our natural ponds have disappeared in the last fifty years which has had an enormous impact on wildlife, particularly, frogs, toads and newts.   Luckily, amphibians aren’t fussy…they’ll occupy anything from a water-filled bucket, to a fancy-pants wildlife pond! So creating a wildlife pond, no matter how small, is a great way to do your bit for the neighbourhood’s wildlife.

We bought a cheap moulded plastic pond from our local aquatic centre.

Providing an area to home frogs on the allotment could also help reduce the effects of the predicted invasion of slugs this summer. I need all the help I can get as I’m not using slug pellets… I’m passionate about keeping my plots organic!

My wonderfully kind and helpful family dug over the frog bed and sunk the pond.

Also the Tiddlers A, E and C are fascinated by bugs, worms and mini beasts. In fact Tiddler E and C are totally in love with everything ‘frogs’ (especially poison dart frogs!) so with this in mind I set about creating a frog pond on the plots.

Nearly done…after collecting rocks and stones from around the allotment.

I’m told that it is best to allow animals to arrive at your pond naturally, although I was tempted to deposit some ‘study’ tadpoles to the pond (I’ve resisted).  I’ve been assured that frogs will travel over a kilometre to find a new pond, usually within the pond’s first year. In the meantime, I’ll be happy if a dragonfly (or two) or  even a few water boatmen drop by.

Tiddler A inspecting our handiwork after adding a few more edging stones donated by my parents.
Oxygenating plants (lily pad was insisted upon by the Tiddlers!),  Hosta and a few more edging stones added…Thank you dear parents (once again!) 



Time for Beds

It’s a Saturday and it hasn’t rained!! Whoo hoo!! Obviously I had to make the most of the opportunity and grab a few hours on the allotments.

Plots 4a and 5a are coping quite well with the appalling winter weather, but the clock is ticking and I need to get the plots ready for the growing season.

Jobs of the day were:

  1. The 3rd raised large bed needed to be erected and filled.
  2. Move mini raised bed.
  3. Put weed suppressant on the paths between the beds.

All done!

I have a second mini bed to take up tomorrow (if the weather holds) and I need to buy some bark chippings for the paths.

Raised Beds X3

I must admit that when I took over plot 5A January last year, I was 100% against having raised beds on the plot, even though for some reason, it seems most new gardeners grow their vegetables using raised beds. It’s fashionable at the moment! Gardening magazines and programmes are full of raised bed images (and adverts).

Allotment site
Allotment Site.  A mixture of methods!

However, I like the look of veggies planted in rows.  I love the watching the experienced allotmenteers, use traditional methods to produce plots bursting with tasty goodies. Every possible space is used for growing!

Last year some of my ‘ground grown’ vegetables  weren’t entirely successful.  Carrots for example…they grew. Yes – but were very misshapen! I tried growing a batch in the mini raised bed and the results were fantastic!! My cauliflowers grew nicely but were nibbled to nothing by tiny slugs!  So frustrating!!

For me raised bed gardening seems like another useful trick up my allotmenting sleeve. It would be absurd not to give it a go… I have enough room, with two plots, for the best of both worlds.  Who knows, my ‘chosen veggies’ may actually enjoy being snuggled up in a nice warm bed!

Super Heroes to the Rescue

We’ve had glorious weekend weather here in Wales which has allowed allotmenteers to get soooooooooooo much work done.  The allotment site was a hive of activity and it was lovely to catch up with ‘the neighbours’ 🙂

Plot 5A from the front...everything seems to be growing nicely :-)
Plot 5A from the front…everything seems to be growing nicely 🙂

Plot 5A has been planted up and is ticking away nicely with simple watering and weeding daily plus the occasional feeding.

Plot 5A - The Flower Bed
Plot 5A – The Flower Bed

However I’m a glutton for ‘punishment’ – I’ve taken the over grown ‘hell of a state’ allotment, 4A, next door.  I couldn’t resist!!

I really did need more room, honestly! 😉  I’ve been working like mad to try and clear plot 4A and today a group of Super Heroes lent a hand for and hour or so…Superman, Spiderman and the Princess!

Super Heroes came to help on Plot 4A
Super Heroes came to help on Plot 4A

Spiderman even checked the quality of the worms 🙂

Quality control by Spiderman
Quality control by Spiderman

4A is beginning to look like an allotment instead of a wilderness garden!

Hard work is beginning to pay off!
Hard work is beginning to pay off!

Once the weeds have been cleared the digging will begin in earnest…I need to be quick though – I don’t fancy the idea of digging in the summer heat!  Think I’m going to need more help from my Super Heroes 🙂

Patience is…

…not one of my virtues.  

Plants Hardening off - now planted!
Plants Hardening off – now planted!

Working full time means that I’m not able to spend as much time as I would like on my allotments. The plots have become the place to escape from the world and I love it there, as a consequence I have a tendency to ‘overdo things’ a little in a bid to complete ‘my plan’!  My enthusiasm gets the better of me and the desire to finish de-weeding ready for planting, I admit, has left me aching all over!! I must learn to pace myself… 

Climbing beans, runner beans and peas toughing it out!
Climbing beans, runner beans and peas toughing it out!
Mini Cucumbers are growing fast!
Mini Cucumbers are growing fast!

I’ve read all about growing a mix of crops to slow down the need for maintenance.  The peas, beans, carrots, onions, beetroot, garlic, artichokes…. etc haven’t needed a great deal of fussing, thank goodness, however, the weeding / pest clearing seems to be never ending!

Gooseberries are getting fat.
Gooseberries are getting fat.
Flower bed is filling up.
Flower bed is filling up.
The scarecrow 'Worzel Scrappage' is guarding the strawberries.
The scarecrow ‘Worzel Scrappage’ is guarding the strawberries.
Worzel's close up shot!
Worzel’s close up shot!

I could ‘cover up’ plot 4A and wait for the weeds to die off but…I want to see my plots finished ready for the summer!  ‘Things’ move fast on plots 4A and 5A…I’m an impatient allotmenteer 😉

Ideas for Stealing

This weekend I was lucky enough to have tickets for the Chelsea Flower Show (a Christmas present form the children) so spent most of the weekend in the London area.  One of the places we visited was RHS Garden Wisley, which contains one of the largest plant collections in the world.

However I’m sure many people have written about the wonders contained in the gardens but I’m focussing on (and stealing) a few details of interest to an allotmenteer.

The first was a blackcurrant bush pruned into a standard – freeing up some all important space underneath for a few pots perhaps!

Standard Blackcurrant Tree

The next two are simple…pretty planting!  Allotments don’t have to be ugly.  A little thought to the planting can add interest. How about a multi-coloured lettuce bed?!

Pretty Planting Lettuce

A Chive spiral.  Why leave it at that?  I’m thinking a multi-herb spiral ensuring every space is used.


Plant supports also caught my eye at the gardens… a basic four legged support with a twig spiral.

Support 1

Pea support…they look fab don’t they?


Look at the detail…so clever!

Pea Branches

Another one for peas…

Support 2

I was keen to find out how the RHS gardeners protected their crops from the ‘Wee Beasties’ too. They protected cabbages by earthing over the mesh!

Earthing up

Stopped ‘net sag’ by stringing up…

String and hoops

This method was used with hoops, wire and wood.

Wooden posts

I’m definitely stealing a few of the ideas for my allotment!

Landscaping with…Mesh, Net and Fleece!

Upon checking my seedlings this weekend it became apparent that I could no longer hang on.The beans, peas, cauliflowers and sprouts were literally bursting out of their peat pots.  Nature has forced my hand, even the ‘potted on’ seedlings are sprouting roots from their ‘grown up pots‘!

Exciting times!  Images of Plot 5A looking beautiful whilst displaying prized fruit and vegetables came to mind.  The coloured felt pen drawings of my little allotment were starting to become a reality – it was time to get busy.

Firstly, I planted up the beans and peas thinking ‘well they’ll just have to tough it out’ – ‘it’ being the rather harsh weather conditions!  The weather, predominately the wind, is still a little brutal for a young seedling on Plot 5A so a kind allotmenteer offered some ‘mesh protection’ which I gratefully accepted and swaddled the ‘babies.’

Pea and Been Swaddling
Pea and Bean Swaddling

The second job was planting the cauliflowers and sprouts however, whilst popping on their collars, I noticed the tell-tale marks of wood pigeons lunching on my mini cabbages…two cabbages stripped down to their stalks! The giant fleece tunnel was quickly pressed into action until an alternative ‘cover’ can be found.  The birds have noticed Plot 5A….

Cabbage Tunnel
Cabbage Tunnel

… time to put up the fruit cage. I’m not losing my fruit to our ‘peckish’ feathered friends!

Fruit Cage
Fruit Cage

At the end of January, when I first picked up the keys to Plot 5A, I remember a neighbouring allotmenteer telling me that he had lost 60% of his crops during his first year at the site to birds, slugs and bugs.  60%!!

Net, mesh, fleece…not quite the look I had in mind but I’m determined to take home more than 40% of the crops that I’ve sown and grown!