11 May 2024 on the allotment

11 May 2024 on the Allotment

As with the farmers and all other allotmenteers, we suffered a pretty appalling winter, too wet, too cold, no warmth. Just picture s field of mud.

We have resown all the failures and so start the spring with new hopes.

The prime performers so far are beetroot and celeriac, but none of the Mediterranean stuff.

Our polytunel we hope will be our saviour for the tomatoes and peppers are doing well as are cucumbers. Outdoors our beans may be OK.

Colleagues are experimenting with small Growhouses in their greenhouses so we will soon be trying one. 

T’wwas a cold and bitter night

T‘was a cold and bitter spring

April 20th 2024.

We hope we’ve survived and that will all be due to the polytunnel.

We had to plant broad beans there because it has been so wet and cold.

Now we have sown runner beans in trays but then will move them to a cold frame in due course.

Meanwhile the tomatoes seem to be doing well.

To give us more space in the polytunnel the potato bags have been moved  out.

We planted outdoors, a bed of leeks and onions and a bed of courgettes, plus six squash (3 Cha Cha, 3 Hokkido.

Next we need to plant out all the companion plants like marigolds and snapdragons, plus flowers such as s zinnias, cosmos, sweet williams.  (Dahlias and Gladioli are already done and the first of the snapdragons are clumped in their pots.

Seed etc Sowing Diary and Calendar

Seed SOWING Diary/ Rolling Calendar

For the first time ever I decided to keep a document on my computer which would control what to buy (when) what to sow (when) an (where). This a copy of the document today, 23 Mar 2024.

Some of these are just for fun and many are trials and U am amazed at how many there are.

  • Apr WS Greek Basil
  • Apr N7, sow Nasturtiums around red cabbages
  • Mar 20 PT 02, sow Mr Fothergills Double White Cosmos
  • Ws Apr WS Marshalls Cucumber Mini Munch F1
  • WS APR WS, Boothby white cucumber
  • WS Apr WS, Marshalls Courgette  Courgette ‘Goldmine’F1
  • WS APR WS, RSL Green slim courgette
  • WS APR WS, RSL Golden Hubbard Squash
  • WS APR WS, SQHo – RSL Hokkaido Winter Squash
  • WS APR WS, SQJP – RSL  Jumbo Pink Banana Winter Squas
  • WS APR WS, RSL Cna Cha Squash
  • WS Apr “9” Courgette
  • PT APR CF,  Butter Beans
  • PT APR CF,  “9” Scarlet Emperor Runner Beans
  • PT JUN Perpetual Spinach
  • AUG, Chard
  • Sept, Garlics (Suttons)
  • PT Sept, RSL Broad Beans Aguadulce Longpod
  • Mar APR, RSL Red Bunching Onion
  • PT Jan 10, RSL sowed Copenhagen Leeks, Feb 11 all sproting
  • PT Feb 5, J’son bags of Jazzy potatoes
  • ?substitute Alexandra dor Orla
  • Ws Feb Tomatoes Pink Magic 4
  • WS Feb Tomatoes Rugby 4
  • WS Feb Marshalls Pepper (Sweet) ‘Popti’
  • WS Mar ToHo – RSL House Dwarf Cherry Tomato 4
  • WS Feb APR, RSL Yellow Rynsburger Onions  16
  • WS Feb 1st (Feb – Aug) Marshalls Spinach Cymbal F11
  • WS Feb 11, Mar CF, RSL Shallots Zebrune
  • WS Feb 11, MarF, OnVa – “Temprana Babosa” Early Yellow Valencia Onion
  • WS Feb 11. APR WS, CeGP – Giant Prague Improved Celeriac
  • WS Feb 11, Mar APR Pots, Red Bunching Onion
  • WS Feb 11,  “9” White Snapdragons
  • PT Jan 28, RSL Copenhagen Leeks
  • Feb 11,  started chitting ORLA potatoes
  • PT Feb 11, “9” Baby small toms, sown from last year
  • Todo WS Tomatoes 24 Jsan, Pink Dreams (Magic)
  • Todo WS Tomatoes Rugby
  • Feb 17, Json Charlotte (21)
  • WS 1st Mar Bedfordshire Champion Onion
  • WS 1st   Mar AUG 18+, Carmen Sweet Red Onion
  • Mar 3, plant feb in Json Bags JB  ORLA (30)
  • Mar 3, PT, RSL Bleu de soleil Leek
  • Mar 3 PT,RSL  Parsnip Tender and True
  • Mar, 3 PTCF, Beetroot mulatka
  • MAR 3 PT, RSL Beetroot Bulls Blood
  • Mar, 3 PT RSL Carrot muscade
  • Mar 3, Spinach
  • Mar 3, PT Parsnip Hollow Crown 
  • Mar, Remainder of Carmen Sweet  Red Onions
  • Mar 19 PT 02, Salvias, red
  • Apr PT 02, Mar 20 African yellow marigolds
  • AprPT 02, Mar 20, Zinnias

WS WWindow Sill. CF Cold Frame, PT Polytunnel, O2 Polytunnel

I over stretched myself –  again

I over stretched myself –  again

It all started so easily:

  • The Jazzxy potatoes arrived early and went on to start chitting
  • Next  there was an offer on some potato bags, which I’d never used before
  • When they arrived I planted the Jazzy
  • To protect them from frost I put them in the polytunnel severely cluttering it up,
  • Them the Orla potatoes arrived, narked plant now,
  • Our small polytunnel  had had to be replaced (storm damage) so now prepare the ground, assemble it, put the cover on, replace the top soi, weight the side flaps, and fit the shelves,
  • So all that’s left to do is to plant the Orla potatoes, top up all ten bags and move them to this polytunnel. Plus fit the storm guys.
  • Meanwhile the first lot of seeds have germinated and need to be potted on, ant
  • Seeds for root crops sown to germinate in trays in the polutinnel.

It’s raining again so I’ll have a cup of coffee.

AND there are still some paths to be sorted out!

But then again, the sun’s come out  and

  • Onion and shallot sets have been planted
  • The red cabbages and broad beans  are growing well in the polytunnel
  • Outdoor broad beans are doing well
  • Charlotte potatoes have been planted
  • And most of the paths have been renewed.


Allotment Feb 24

Eight years since I updated this. I suppose it was due to learning how to cope with sight loss and then there was Covid, but we are still here, nearly twenty  years on!

Recently we started a U3a Group called “Grow your own, for flavour” So the objective is flavour. The easy way is minimising the time from cropping to eating. Ergo anything picked and eaten at the allotment is a priority:-

  • Apples, pears, raspberries, baby tomatoes, baby cucumbers, spring onions, lettuce, blackcurrants, (other fruits are not easy)

Then there’s the challenge of trying to get two crops a year that is growing through the winter eg Aguadulce broad beans, garlics, chard, some brassicas, some onions and shallots, winter leeks.

After that we need crops that will store easily winter squashes, some onions, parsnips , carrots, celeriac, butter beans, 

And the cream of the crop, the main summer crops Dwarf French Beans, strawberries,  tomatoes, potatoes, summer leeks, beetroot, courgettes, 

Naturally  we have on-going battles with foxes, squirrels, mice, birds, slugs, snails, cabbage white butterflies, black fly and green fly.

So what would we have done differently:

  • Two 4m x 2.5m polytunnels, door/window at each end and one set up with rable and chairs for coffee and for potting,
  • 1m wide path 

All that’s left is to select the right varieties to get the best flavour. I

The first ones on that list are from www.realseeds.co.uk:

“Pink Dreams NEW

Our fantastic new tomato, sent by Cliff Jenkins from seed he got in Bulgaria. Huge – really huge ( over half a kg)- glowing pink fruit with a truly excellent flavour. A perfect balance of acid and sweet, with a subtle smoky undertone; just perfect – this is the one we all rush to take home to cook with after deseeding.

It makes very few seeds, so just a few packets for you to try. Keep your own seed for future years!

‘Cupidon’ Filet Bush Bean

A filet-type, with long slender pods. An exquisite variety that produces a huge number of tender thin green pods all summer, starting early, and continuing cropping well after the others have finished. It has a particularly good flavour used raw in salads. The beans also stay stringless as they get to full size and it makes a good normal french bean, with a particularly good flavour raw.

Sadly, it does not make many seeds and this is unfortunately reflected in the price/packet size  – but if you can afford it, it is a fantastic bean.

A special, gourmet early/maincrop filet variety.”

2016 on the allotment

We’ve had our allotment for more than ten years. During the last few years we have added two pear trees and a Victoria plum and a Greengage, our first tree had been a Damson.

Since then we also put in two apple trees and a Yellow Egg plum (for jam making.).

This means that with the raspberries and the strawberries we have reduced our vegetable area to about half of the plot Then you take out the runner bean and butter bean beds and the fuchsia bed not to mention the three flower beds  and you’re left with a manageable chink.

Over the last couple of years we have renovated the raised beds with pressure treated boards and fixed posts at the corners so that any of them can have a covering fitted,

It was a poor, cold and wet start to the year and many things had to be re-sown. Hey ho! Harvested everything we wanted to and there was lots of fruit and we were particularly pleased with the Cupidon.

Currently (October 2016) we have leeks, celeriac, courgettes, beetroot, beans, tomatoes, parsley, potatoes, cauliflowers, broccoli  and squashes planted.

2012, We’ve had to start planning already – updated

061111 Rebuilt one of the raised beds; planted onion sets; cropped last lot of potatoes; planted Broad Beans; repaired greenhouse door;. Next job cannibalise two small beds to make a square 12′ x 112′ for three espalier fruit trees.

231011 A few months have swept passed. We’ve given up both of the two ‘five rod’ plots on the new allotment and are just keeping the old – various reasons eg too much watering to do; two different locations; too many weeds!
So we’re running this one down. We’ve cleared all the crops except brassicas, some swede and next years onion sets (already going well), rows of raspberries, apple trees, lavender bed,
One early job is to move the composters (one down, one to go,) and that required tidying up the backside of the ‘old plot’, so one thing led to another…. as it always does, well at least I’ve more or less repaired the greenhouse!. AND as a sure sign of the next year, we have various types of beans drying on the windowsill, plus cucumbers, peppers and chilies.

270711 Well I had a week off, visiting an old friend, and whilst I was away Angie found it hard to keep the two plots going. Now that our son and daughter-in-law are really working their garden, they don’t need any vegetables or fruits from us. We’ve therefore decided to relinquish our new plot.
Obvious;y it’s full of crops at the moment but we can re-organise and release one of the two ‘five rod’ plots earlier. It does mean that we will need to buy and plant three new apple trees at the old plot.
We can release the first area after we have cropped the pole beans, the squashes, potatoes, beetroot and swedes, plus we mneed to re-plant the onions and garlics. This in turn means that we will release the remainder after the onions, garlics and brassicas have finished.
hey Ho!

2011, In the allotment we’ve started next season already

27 July. We’ve been continuously busy both on the allotments and on everything else. Suffice to say we are, and have been, cropping daily for the last two to three months. Now we are waiting for the tomatoes and peppers. Next years onions, leeks and brassicas are coming along nicely.

15th February, planted out some leeks. Cropping sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, swede, leeks. Four of the squashes succumbed to the heavy frost.

6th February we plan to attend “Seedy Sunday” at Hove Town Hall. It’s a seed exchange for gardeners.
24th January 2011. The rhubarb has started so We’ve covered some up in order to force it. The seed potatoes arrived today from Alan Romans.
Still cropping sprouts, potatoes, leeks, swede, cabbage. Over-wintering crops are coming nicely Broad Beans, Onions; the Globe artichokes are all healthy, the rosemary is flowering,  the flowering currant is opening SO SPRING IS HERE.
9Th January already and I still haven’t planted out the carrots and the leeks. The cabbages I have already done and they’re under Enviromesh netting.

19th September 2010. Three beds planted with over-wintering onion sets and broad beans. Seeds sown in trays in the greenhouse are germinating, winter cabbage, carrots and leeks, plus maybe some winter lettuce and spring cabbage.

The seeds have all been ordered as well as the potatoes. I think we have a choice of about seven different squashes.

2010 A frustrating year for us gardeners

2010 A frustrating year in the garden and allotment.
28th December 2010. Whilst still wet and still cold, we are still digging potatoes, picking sprouts, cutting cabbage and lifting swede and beetroot

3rd October. Cropped raspberries, first pink banana jumbo squash, plus four Rouges D’Estampes squash, potatoes, cabbage, spring onions, green tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, beetroot, last beans,

20th September. It was a slow start to the year and we’ve had a poor crop of beans. The rest has come good particularly brassicas, courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers,

8 th August. Well it’s been a battle this year. Cold wet soil when we wanted to sow and plant; very poor germination; then down in the south we went into a drought. It hasn’t rained for two or more months, Yes we had a odd spots or two but nothing to write home about.
However … we are regularly eating courgettes, cucumbers, potatoes, beans, beetroot, onions, spring onions, lettuce and the brassicas, leeks, swede and squash are coming along nicely providing we water every day.

We’ve had lots of strawberries, a few blueberries, and lots of raspberries.

Just reporting not complaining as the vegetables we do have are magnificent.

14th June, everything is planted, I think. So the good news is that we’ve started cropping, broad beans, everlasting spring onions, strawberries, garlic, so now it’s just a question of keeping the weeds at bay. And watering when the weather goes dry.

18th March, all the potatoes are in, as are the onions and some sweet peas, almost all paths weeded and extra chippings put down.

4th March The first of the potatoes are in; the spare broad beans sown in the greenhouse have been planted out; the Cupidon dwraf french beans have been sown and the spinach planted out. Ten trays of vegetable seeds have been sown.

20 January. All the trees have been planted and wind protection set up and the spinach is progressing well.

14 January 2010. What a start to the year. It’s almost bad enough to throw in the towel. But the New Year HAS started – I’ve finally ordered the potatoes and onions sets; the new fruit trees have arrived; and we seem to have enough seeds. We ‘re particularly looking forward to trying the Pink Banana and the Pink Ballet squashes.
So we’ve started.

2009 on the allotment, Shoreham

2009 on the allotment, Shoreham

20th November. Greenhouse done and planted with garlics and onions. Also planted Broad beans and almost completed the new double-depth raised bed.

4th November. Courgettes still going, plus cabbages, calabrese and perennial Welsh red onions, so its time to start preparing for next year. In the greenhouse the tomatoes got the dreaded blight so we’ve decided to replace the soil in the raised beds. So we’ll raise the height of one of the other beds – I dug out sixty bags of earth! I’ve ordered four fruit trees, which should arrive mid-November… with some more strawberry plants!!

25th August 2009. Well I got that wrong, no sign of the Cupidon but the late courgettes I’ve planted are coming along a treat.Tomatoes are now all blighted,

26th July 2009. Last Tuesday I sowed another bed of our favourite Filet beans, Cupidon.

21st july 2009. New butterfly proof bed for brassicas. Yesterday I completed a double height raised bed crowned with a veritable box of enviromesh. It seems to keep all the butterflies out. (so if I do another bed the same I will have three beds and I can rotate crops, probabaly use the third for short tomatoes plants.)

14th July 2009 Strawberries have been great as are the summer raspberries, blueberries and blackcurrants, then there’s the lettuces, Cupidon beans and spinach, now we’re also cropping courgettes.

14th May 2009 Two beds of tomatoes have been planted as have one for Red Onion Suash, and a row of Caro Rich tomatoes in the greenhouse. We also planted the courgettes earlier this week. The broccoli  has finished.

3rd May 2009. We’ve got one bed of dwarf french beans sown; three double rows of pole and runner beans sown; two beds prepared for the tomatoes and two beds for the courgettes (all these are now in pots and are almost ready for planting out,) potataoes, onions, raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and broad beans are all progressing nicely; the spinach, lettuce, rhubarb and purple flowering broccoli are being picked regularly. Trays of brassicas, lettuce, leeks and onions are almost ready for potting on or for planting out. Just sowed the Quinoa and Amaranth for planting out in July. Forget-me-not, rosemary, wallflowers are all flowering.

23rd March 2009. Spinach has been planted out, some potatoes (first earlies and earlies) have been planted, flower and vegetable seeds have been sown in ‘Jacqui’s greenhouse.’ I’m half way through replacing our shared grass path with a wood chippings one. Everything looks tidy and ready.

18th January 2009. All I wanted to do was to sow the red broad beans, the Grando Violetto beans, a heritage purple seeded variety. I did sow these, also I did clear all of the remaining sedum and the garlic chives. In addition I largely built a new three foot high by twelve foot raised bed, using tall strong poly bags (used for the mushroom compost) filled with horse manure, compost and anything else I could find, leaving no more than eighteen inches in the middle between the to rows of bags. The idea is to sow or plant into the top of the open bags as well as into the clear area in the centre.

This bed is now ready to receive the grass from sorting the path out. Also after weeding the flower beds, brilliantly Angie cleared the dozens of marigolds from the last untidy bed and then started on the grass alongside the autumn raspberries. We’re almost ready for the new growing season.4th January 2009. Water is solid ice in the water trough, even the ground in the polytunnel is just frozen. The young Spinach are fine but the lettuces and beetroot suffered an attack by the local fox trying to get a warmer den in the polytunnel. The broad beans have bent their heads, even the onions are suffering a bit. This cold snap is forecast to last another week.

Start of the year survey:
– still a few beetroot
– sprouts
– garlic
– onions
– broad beans
– purple sprouting broocoli (trying to recover from the caterpillars)

Tasks to do – Need to create the new bean bed; build a new path; add compost to four beds; sow ‘red’ broad beans; sow onion seeds; re-sow beetroot and lettuces; and clear marigolds and then compost ready for Red Onion Squash. Everything has to wait until the cold snap has finished and the ground is no longer frozen.

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