Wednesday 31 October 2012

Planning the Plot

I hate the Winter.... its official .... dark mornings and dark nights and by the time I get home, there is now no daylight to clean up my back garden or go to the allotment, which is really not going to help me clear it and get it turned over and ready for the frost to help me and ready for a good start next year.

But I can at least read and plan my way forward and document my ideas, so here is my starter for 10

I'm not sure I want to get into raised beds, because at the moment the top half of the plot is covered in weeds growing over plastic and carpet (thank you previous owner) I'm hoping not to find anything nasty under that lot, and the bottom half is covered in waist high weeds and whatever I find under them when I get to it. I really don't know what kind of shape the soil is in under all that, and I'm not sure I want to incure the cost, time and effort of creating raised beds this year.

But I do like the idea of having access, pathways for wheel barrows and for me kneeling down on my garden zimmer frame (kneeling pad) and beds that I can get access from all round, and I can set targets of clearing and turning over these smaller bed areas than keep looking at the whole plot and getting to the point where I don't feel like I'm making quick enough or any progress.

I will need to do some form of crop rotation. (Blind me, I sound like I know what I'm doing) and carving up the plot like this may help me with that. 

So having kind of carved up the plot into beds in my mind, I asked the wife and kids what they would like me to grow over Sunday lunch and ended up with a nice list which looks like I should have got a full plot and not a half plot.

I said this blog wasn't about CAD but after a couple of pencil sketches I could not resist but to draw it up

Paths are 450mm wide, beds are 2.4m x 1.2m or 8'x4' there are three areas of four beds with some un-rectangular beds on the outside of the plot which will work for crop rotation, I'm already thinking about placing potatoes in the bottom very weedy area of the site.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Dummies Guides to Allotments

My gardening knowledge is very limited, yes I have done my share of hard landscaping and grunt work, trimming hedges and cutting grass, and there has also been the obligatory growing of tomatoes in pots over the years especially when my daughters were little and they loved helping me water them and harvesting them.

But last year my brother-in-law Keith gave me a few excess plants from his greenhouse, and I also grew potatoes in garden sacks, 2 x cabbage, 2 x cauliflower, runner beans, my spring onions and beetroot didn’t amount to anything, but I really enjoyed eating the result of what did grow.  Keith took my pepper plant in a pot to his greenhouse last week as the weather is turning, and I would like to see if it will mature and produce edible results before it dies from frost attack.

It’s kind of Keith’s fault that I have the allotment as I went down to help him mark out his plot as it was so overgrown and the boundaries were not clearly defined. In addition the local authorities are splitting a number of plots making them half the size.

He informed me that when he selected his plot that there were still three plot available, so I put my name on the waiting list thinking that I may be lucky next year. Turns out that the plots were so overgrown that people on the list didn’t want them and I accelerated to the top of the list and obtained Plot 1A which has the least amount of growth and hopefully debris

I’ve since met Andy (also 54) who took on a plot with 8ft high brambles over the back half and this weekend he cut his way in and to his surprise found an 8 x 6 feet shed against the rear fence full of debris and tools from the previous tenant.

So knowing that my knowledge of growing thing is limited I have purchased the three books at the top of the page to help

The Dummies Guide to Allotments has a RRP of £15.99 I picked up a new copy from ebay for £11 with free P&P.

The Essential Allotment Guide & Vegetable Growing Month by Month were £5.99 each with free P&P, however at the moment they both come signed by the Author and with four packs of Sutton seeds each.

Result two very informative books costing £10 which came with £25.80 worth of seeds.

I've ended up with

2 packs x Sweet Peppers F1 Mohawk
2 packs x Carrot F'Maestro
1 pack   x Tomato 100s and 1000s
1 pack   x Tomato Gardener's Delight  
2 packs x Onion F1 Santero

Check out if you want to buy the books and get the seeds

Sunday 28 October 2012

28th October 2012

Well here is the progress at the end of a mornings work on Sunday 28th October 2012.

I worked from 9:00 until about 1:30 before returning home for lunch

This is a picture of the top half of the plot and you can now make out the fence and gate that splits the plot on the left of the picture above. better view in the picture below.

To the left is the water tank now upside down and drained, moving right is a carper, then three covers to plastic greenhoused that were under the tank along with pots, and loads of plastic bottles and empty cans of beer etc and the pile of glass is now exposed but just outside the photo against the wall.

Here is a view from the South West corner post of the plot looking North East, I have started to cut my way into the bottom half of the plot hoping that the weeds and long grass may dry out by my next visit. And I've trimmed up the Ivy a little more... I think that's going back to the wall at some later stage, at the moment it's somewhere to shelter when it starts to rain, and is assisting in keeping my tools dry until I clear the area for my shed.

27th October 2012

Here is the state of play at the end of the first half day working the plot. Photograph taken from the South side of Plot 2 looking North

The South boundary of my plot extends from the white post at the South West corner on the left of the picture to the external corner of the wall at the South East corner. Today I managed to remove the weeds from the pallet fence on the south boundary and clear half of the pallets.

I've found lots of guttering, pots, broken tools and carpet under the weeds. Brambles are hiding what appears to be a pile of broken glass and there is a lot of debris under the broken water cistern. 

I have trimmed half of the ivy tree type structure that is overhanging the East wall and have found that I have a couple of gardeners friends "Robins" they have been busy popping in and out of the ivy and flying around me, as I uncover insects for them to eat.

I must do something about the water tank as because it's open it's only encouraging mosquitoes to breed and I've been bitten, there is plenty in the ground for the Robins without the mosquitoes.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Plot 1A Pre taking the Allotment on

Here are the before pictures ;0)

View from the South East Corner looking North West

Plot 1A on Plan

View from the West looking East

There is a fence with a gate halfway between the East and West Boundary which you can't really see for the height of the grass and weeds. And this is the condition pre starting any work on the plot.

Friday 19 October 2012


Welcome to the Blog about my Allotment!

Yep nothing to do with the Construction Industry, CAD, BIM, Health and Safety or Party Wall matters ......... This is the "off subject" Blog about (as the title suggests) my Allotment.

My daughters now 21 and 18 think that their dear old Dad is really getting old, and they also think it's cute that I've got an allotment! and that perhaps I'm also going a little crackers......They could be right ;0)

The purpose of this blog is to record my progress and perhaps to get some feedback and comments on what I'm doing right and wrong and to remind me how much I have actually achieved, when I really don't feel like I'm getting anywhere or moving as fast as I would wish.

In my head I'm still between 23 - 26 and think I can function at the speed and without the consequences of physical work - Truth is I'm 54 and my body knows it and no doubt will let my brain know by sending messages from aching muscles.