Tag Archives: allotment

Can you ever have too many raspberries ???

17 Jul

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I’ve picked over 2kg of raspberries this week !

They really are the best value for money crop I grow on my allotment. At almost £2 for 100g in the supermarket that’s £40 worth !

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And they’re organic and practically carbon free !
All I do is cut out the old canes over the winter, then I just leave them to do their own thing.

I’ll make jam, pavlovas, summer pudding and just eat them straight out of the bowl !

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What’s not to like ?!!

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The humble garden shed

28 May

I popped down to the allotment this evening to water my newly planted courgettes and decided to have a bit of a wander.

It was a beautiful evening with low sun casting long shadows across the onions, and catching the windows of the eclectic village of sheds.

I don’t actually have a shed on my plot so I am always very envious of those plots that do have one. My father built me a beautiful cold frame many years ago but that eventually turned into a tool store and then finally bit the dust. I have replaced it with an eminently practical but very ugly plastic storage box that hopefully will last for ever !

So I wander around regularly choosing my favourite shed…

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This one,above , is of the traditional variety but given a lovely make over with black paint and bunting.

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There are plenty like this one, above , that have evolved over the years, depending on what materials were available – old doors, windows, etc. Many seem on the point of collapse, only held up by the piles of ‘useful’ stuff collected around them.

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Some seem very practical , above , with carefully stored bins, and ladders – note the flue pipe , presumably serving a little stove to warm the seedlings or keep the occupants warm on a winters day.

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Others, above, seem more random !

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Even the greenhouses look lovely with a beautiful peony growing alongside.

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Some sheds, above, have gone all modernist.

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And some , above, look architect designed ! Isn’t this one amazing ! So much thought has gone into the detail – I must find out who’s built it and persuade them to give me a guided tour !

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This one , above, is extraordinary too ! Not sure whether it’s by design or just accidentally !

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There are so many little details everywhere – people try so hard to make their little plots special and it’s lovely to enjoy them. And all these photos were taken no more than a minutes walk from my plot – so next week I must explore further afield !

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Pretty as a picture – my allotment today 

24 May

I’ll never win prizes for a tidy or productive allotment but I think today I could take the ‘prettiest allotment’ prize !!! 

   
         

The curse of my allotment

13 Jan

Mid Jan and it’s time to sit down to review how my allotment has performed over the last twelve months and start planning for the next season.

And yet again I’m having to admit to myself that I’m disappointed – my allotment rarely lives up to my high expectations. Expectations built on glossy magazine articles, weekly newspaper columns and even some lovely posts here on the blogosphere !

I’ve just never found the whole vegetable growing thing easy. Flowers I can do but veg no. Every year I say to myself that this will be the year when I spend much more time on my allotment, I will nurture the soil, I will succession sow, I will water more frequently etc etc. but it just never happens – there’s simply too much going on elsewhere.

Last years performance was mixed as usual – great raspberries, pounds of blackberries, no gooseberries, good lettuce, mediocre onions, amazing cherry tomatoes ( that all succumbed to blight within a week !!!) , so-so beans, plentiful artichokes, miserable courgettes……. Do I need to go on ?

So here I am saying this year will be better. I will do all the aforementioned things – more time, more manure, more water etc etc and if all the stars are aligned and the moon is in the right phase and we have a warm wet summer I just may pull it off this year !

So the next task is ordering seeds – this is an element of the equation that I think I have got pretty sorted – see my post this time last year to see my decision making process.

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I think I’ll be ordering pretty much the same as last year

  • Spring onion ‘Holland Blood Red’ – red spring onions
  • Broad Bean ‘Superaguadulce’ – good for an early sowing, in fact must sow mine soon!
  • French Bean ‘Blue Lake Climbing’ – very prolific
  • French bean ‘Blauhilde’ – purple bean
  • Dwarf Bean – Rocquencourt’ – brigh yellow pods
  • Dwarf Bean ‘Purple Tepee’ – purple bean
  • Runner bean ‘Painted Lady’ !
  • Beetroot ‘Bolthardy’ – the default variety
  • Beetroot ‘Chioggia’ – beautiful stripey pink and white variety
  • Carrot ‘Purple Haze’ – purple and orange roots
  • Courgette ‘Romanesco’ – ridged fruit
  • Lettuce ‘ Merveille de Quatre Saisons’ – crumpled red and green leaves
  • Lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ – good crunchy green
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    I’ll be turning my propogator on shortly and getting the first of my succession sowing under way.

    I’ve also picked up some interesting flower seeds over the year and will be giving them a go, either for cutting or in the garden at home.

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    Tune back in in twelve months time to see if I’ve finally cracked this vegetable growing business !

    Autumn Tidy Up

    3 Nov

    I’ve been enjoying the nice weather over the last couple of weekends and have managed to spend a couple of mornings down at the ‘Lottie’ !!

    We’ve had enough rain for the soil to be diggable and most of my annual flowers have gone over so it was time to start the autumn clear up.

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    I always find this sort of clear up very satisfying – once I’ve started. And it never really takes as long as you think it’s going to.

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    The dahlias are still clinging on – the flowers are now half the size that they were, but they’re still trying their best!

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    So I’ve now cleared 3 out of 4 beds – just the dahlia one left. I’ve cut down my autumn raspberries too. A couple more visits and I should be done.

    Meanwhile Katie at Lavender and Leeks is keeping me inspired with her beautiful allotment. One day, in my dreams, mine will look as good as that !!

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    Dahlias – not a vintage year..

    18 Sep

    I’ve certainly not had a great dahlia year – I’m not quite sure why, but fundamentally it was never quite wet enough at the right time so my plants are still all quite small and only really just beginning to flower.

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    I grow my dahlias specifically for cutting up on my allotment. Back in May I planted a dozen new rooted cuttings from Halls of Heddon ( see my previous post How will I ever choose??). They were then left to cope by themselves , with a little sporadic watering and feeding. This has to be my general approach to my allotment – plenty of enthusiasm + too little time!

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    Above – Hapet Vinette

    Anyway, they are just beginning to flower and as long as we don’t get an early frost they should carry on flowering for another month.

    Favourites so far are Hapet Vinette above and Hillcrest Cheryl below.

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    purple puff

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    Weston Buccaneer

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    Hapet Charmant

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    Hapet Vinette

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    New Baby

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    Has anyone else had a slow start to the dahlia season? Or is it just me ?!

    This week’s pickings….

    5 Aug

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    Dahlias, rubeckia, ageratum, nicotiana, snapdragons….

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