Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The plot thickens

Thought I'd put on some pics of what the allot looks like now....oooh and also planted out the onion sets today but didn't have a camera with me. We're growing Jetset which we got from the Organic Gardening Catalogue. Grew them last year and they seemed to do well.

Will just bung the photos on tonight but then add more info another time.

Here it is...

This view shows about 3 quarters of the length of the plot, facing south east-ish. There's a really overgrown bit behind me! Under the nets is white sprouting broccoli, which the old-boy whose garden backs on to our allotment gave us. We didn't know what it was going to be, he just said it was 'broccoli' so up til recently (when they started producing white floretty things) it was a bit of a mystery. And we didn't even know you could get white sprouting broccoli! It's very tasty.

Next to them are a few little leeks, which again are v tasty, but they didn't get very big. This was probably because we didn't add any compost or manure before planting them out (because we didn't have any)....just cleared all the brambles then put them in. They were ok for a first attempt though!

Blackcurrant starting to come into leaf...better photo to follow (this was taken on a camera phone)

We've got four raised beds, which I made from salvaged timber (oh plus a new one I recently made for strawberries). Unfortunately the planks had been treated with preservative but as the wood is so old, it's only the very centre of the planks that still has any left, so thought it was safe enough to use. Some of the planks had flaky paint on too but I made sure those sides faced outwards and didn't touch the beds themselves.

There are autumn onions (Radar) in the front half of the two nearest beds, and behind them, a few strawberries leftover that I couldn't find a home for (transplanted some and gave away quite a few). Actually these were all free because we uncovered some whilst clearing the plot and planted them up and..hey presto, runners a plenty and lots of little strawberry plants!

In the left rear bed is the winter tares (aka vetch) green maure and in the right rear bed are some leftover chards which will hopefully come back to life now spring is warming up.

Have cleared all the brambles from here this winter, ready to make way for a pond (well small tub sunk in the ground, anyway)

Part of the northern end of the plot...Lots more work to be done!

Summer raspberry canes, with compost bins in the background. The raspberries were also discovered whilst clearing the plot, but surprise surprise they were all over grown with brambles and we didn't realise they were there to start with (so most of the crop was wasted the first year cause the canes had flopped to the ground and the fruit got slugged and mushy). So I cleared them all out, and put them in rows and made supports with more scrap wood.

The compost bins are the ol' allotment staple...made from pallets! We made three, so there's one 'active' bin (i.e. one we chuck everything in) and the other two are at different stages of composting. To make the most of the space, I grow a pumpkin plant in each of the older bins. Seems to work well. Plus as we've been clearing lots of couch grass, the pumpkin plants help to keep the couch roots shaded and stop them re-growing. I've read that a lot of people burn their couch grass roots to make sure they're dead but we had far too many for that, so made kind of turf stacks from them instead. Some of the outer roots grew a bit, but on the whole they've died off, and the top soil from them has been pretty good.

There are two big buddlieas in the south eastern corner of the plot, which are a great habitat but take up a lot of space. So we decided to coppice the front one, and sorted all the branches into useful bits (long ones for wigwams etc). Any that were too thick, or bendy have been stacked in a habitat pile, for creepy crawlies.

Slightly different view, putting things into perspective.

The other bit of the northern end of the plot....including the new strawberry bed. That's the last of the salvaged wood, so no more raised beds for now. Hopefully we'll get a shed at some point to put up here. Oh, that white tub in the left is what will become the pond.


  1. Your plot looks great - good luck with the growing year! I'm grew Jetset onions last year but this year I'm trying Stuggart Giant. I'll let you know how I get on!

  2. Thanks Liz, We've still got a long way to go but it's all good fun. I sometimes forget how overgrown it was with bramble and couch grass when we first got it! Only managed to grow a few things the first year in a tiny patch we cleared and then last year made good headway. Roll on Year 3!!