Tag Archives: allotment plan

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.

Chives

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?

DSCN2104

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!

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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!

Exodus 20:17

Plot 5A is coming along nicely.

Plot 5A

So far, I’ve planted daffodils, tulips, dahlias, herbs, sunflowers, borage, comfrey, chard, cabbage, broad beans, onions, garlic, shallots, carrots, rhubarb, lettuce, peas, potatoes, strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, a cardoon, a boysenberry and a blackberry but I’ve so much more waiting in the wings…

Purple Climbing Beans

Purple Climbing Beans (or windscreen wiper beans, as we call them – because of the ‘squeak when you eat’!!!)

Tomatilos

Tomatillos

Sweet Peas and Electric Daisies

Sweet Peas and Electric Daisies

Sweet Corn and Mini Pumpkins

Sweetcorn and mini pumpkins

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

Sunflowers and Peas

Giant Sunflowers and Peas (Wando)

Mexican Tree Spinach

Mexican Tree Spinach

Amaranthus and Marigolds

Amaranthus and Marigolds

Marigolds and Goji Berries

Goji Berries and Marigolds

Marigolds

and more Marigolds (I may have a few too many…96 potted up so far…I ran out of pots!)

Electric Daisies

Errrrrm…a few more Electric Daisies…

Cucumber

Cucumber

Cucamelons

Cucamelons

Cauliflower

Cauliflowers

Cape Gooseberry

Cape Gooseberry

Gardeners Delight

Gardeners Delight tomatoes

Tumblers

Tumbling tomatoes – I actually might have gone a little over board on the tomato front too…with 3 Tumblers, 1 Shirley, 1 Alicante, 3 Gardeners Delight, 2 Sweet Millions, 1 Rosella and 1 Black Russian (I intend to try this one outside) – between two greenhouses!!!

I’m also waiting for a few plants…an Inca Berry, a Chilean Guava – Ka Pow, a Jostaberry, a Black Raspberry and some Beetroot plugs!

There’s also a seed box full of seeds waiting for me to sow!!!!

Needless to say, I will need plenty of water so Mr D bought me an IBC tank which used to contain fruit concentrate – it needs a good scrub but for £10, I think it’s fab!!

Water Butt

I need more land!!!!! It’s no joke. Haha…I know – ‘Thou shalt not covert’ but is it wrong to covert land if the current owner is neglectful?!!

Plot 4A

Plot 4A next door to my Plot 5A…it would be perfect! Don’t you agree?

Party at Plot 5A – Free Beer!

16 slugs fell for the trap literally overnight!  (I hope I’m not attracting slugs from neighbouring allotments with my beer party pools :-/)

Tip: Keep a ‘device’ handy for flipping the slimy blighters out of the traps.  I tried (and succeeded eventually) to extract them with two plastic plant labels.  Splashes of beer and slime on the face are deeply unpleasant – yuck! My poor neighbours were also subjected to a view of my backside for waaaaaayyyyyy to long – I apologise to all!

Slugs

I would like to say that I am overjoyed with the results so far…my sensible brain is ‘chuffed’!  However I feel GUILTY 😦

I’ve plotted, planned and succeeded in ‘murder’.   I know it’s war but if I only I could hold a peace summit and come to an agreement.  ‘All the weeds you can eat’ or ‘Free access to all contents of the compost bin’…but keep off my land!!

Filling My Boots

Working on Plot 5A is enriching my soul!

Life can get a little bogged down with work, work and more work and it’s easy to live in that safe little ‘bubble’ – moving in the same circles – speaking to the same people – talking about the same topics – sharing the same stories.

However, Plot 5A has given me the opportunity to meet people from a variety of backgrounds. Each and every one has an interesting life story.  ‘Neighbours’ have now begun to share tales of childhood, funny moments and sad life events. For me, getting to know the characters and personalities on the allotment site is truly an eye-opener and each an every person I’ve met so far has been welcoming, helpful and generous.

This week ‘neighbours’ have given me tea, cake, fifteen summer cabbages, twenty onion sets, a third water barrel plus a ‘butt’ of water! (I should explain…The water is currently turned off.  This isn’t a problem for most on the allotment site having filled their tubs/barrels with water over winter.  I, as a new allotmenteer, have had empty water butts since February! Yesterday I was surprised by a full barrel of water – a neighbour had very kindly ‘donated’.)

I’m VERY grateful.

20 Summer Cabbages
20 Summer Cabbages

Each time I visit Plot 5A, I step off the treadmill for a few hours.  I enjoy listening to the most wonderful stories. I learn and I grow…I fill my boots with food for my soul!

Plot 5A
Plot 5A