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.

2008, The allotment moves on.

21st Dcember 2008. Well the sun came out occasionally. We dug up some potatoes; found that the beetroot and some leeks have started germinating (in the cloche in the greenhouse); pruned the autumn fruiting raspberries; cleared the Achochas;

17th December 2008, Lovely sunny day. Prepared another bed ready for next year, with compost and membrane, it’s now ready to become a cloche. Pruned the broccoli – I’ll do anything to get rid of the unsightly caterpillar munched stalks. Put up the trellis in the new mini greenhouse. Collected some rough membrane being discarded and now to be used for a path. Recovered some tall metal posts which I can use for runner or pole beans. Recovered some plastic piping for making the cloche.

8th December 2008 Actually a nice warm day (6-8 C), delighted to report that the spinach has all germinated even through this last cold snap, picked some Brussels Sprouts (Wellington) and dug up a few Pink Fir Apples. Great…. and cleared the nasturtiums killed by the recent frost.

30th November 2008. Some of the Spinach seem to be germinating. Peppers andd Nasturtiums got killed by the frost two days ago.

22nd November. What a superb year! A few potatoes, beetroot, sprouts, lettuce, peppers are still in. Onions grown from seed seem to be going well, as are the broad beans and there’s some garlics both outside and in the greenhouse. Lettuce, spinach, beetroot and leeks have also been sown in the greenhouse. Cleared the last of the pole and runner beans.

Finally binned the gooseberries and redcurrants, they are not earning their keep.

19th October 2008 Panic Stations (well almost.) First we’ve had some vegetable rustlers, half the crop of one allotmenter’s dwarf beans and another person had half their crop of butternut squashes stolen, so panic to get the butternut squashes in.

Then we’ve also been attacked by Tomato Blight, which has wiped out the last harvest of one bed and the whole harvest of another bed. As I write this I can smell the cooking of a green tomato chutney made from the tomatoes salvaged from the devastation.  We’ve had a magnificent crop already, and there’s still a few going in the greenhouse.

So we cleared the two outdoor tomato beds, tidied up the strawberry bed, netted the broad beans, cleared the butternut squash bed, took the diseased tomato plants to the tip, collected half a dozen bags of manure (fairly fresh so added them to the composters,) cleared one of the flower beds and planted some garlics in the greenhouse.

5th October. The broad beans have been planted. Also started a rolling program for the paths between the raised beds, which involves clearing the weeds, laying doubled black membrane and then covering with wood chippings. Three done so far. Still cropping courgettes, tomatoes,

25th August. We’ve been very busy cropping – courgettes, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, achochas, beetroot, rhubarb, cucumbers, and now we’re started on next year. A few weeks back I sowed some onion seeds and they germinated very well, indeed sufficient to plant out a 12ft bed with 250 seedlings. This is an experiment, as I think that the autumn sets are heat-treated to reduce bolting . Also growing through the winter are lettuces, swede, beetroot, leeks, sprouts, cabbages, and purple sprouting broccoli. These plus squashes, potatoes and onions should keep us in vegetables for the whole winter.

15th July 2008. The courgettes are up and running, with the potatoes & broccoli and the first of the beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. We’ve been given a walk-in plastic greenhouse so we’re about to clear the space for it. Then all we need to do is to enable it to survive a Force 10 gale!

8Th July 2008. The broad beans have come and gone (must do more next year) and are being followed by Butternut Squash. The over-wintered onions have been lifted for drying. Their space is now beetroot. the potatoes are running well, as are the courgettes, today was the first day for the Miniature White Cucumbers (Dimara.) Strawberries have finished though possibly a late season handful will come. First leek today as well.

15th May 2008. Today was beans day. Planted out Coco Rose Barlotti dwarf beans, Yard Long pole beans, Czar runner beans, and also sowed the remaining seeds for them. Also planted out Green Headed Broccoli, and started the courgettes bed with eight ‘Tenerife’ plants. All the beds are in use now except the one reserved for the tomatoes. Need to clear the remaining seedlings so that we can use the polytunnel bed to plant out the Trieste White and Tenerife courgettes etc.

13th May 2008, We’re running short of space as usual, we’ve planted out the cucumbers, Cupidon Filet Beans, Wellington Sprouts, Purple Queen pole beans, and Lady Di runner beans. Still to be planted out are Coco Rose Barlotti dwarf beans, Czar runner beans, the huge black Yard Long beans, tomatoes and courgettes. Sowed some spring onions today. In the greenhouse, after it is clear of trays of summer seedlings we will plant some cucumbers (done)  some tomatoes, peppers and a squash.

5th April 2008. All the potatoes are now planted, lots of seeds are germinating, some leeks will soon be ready to be planted out. We’ve cleared the beetroot bed and I’m now doing a potato planter for the pergola area. Next I need to turn the compost!! The recent planting were Nicola and Pink Fir Apple.

12th Feb 2008. Planted Lady Christl and Charlotte potatoes so we’ve really started the new year. Yes we’re still collecting cabbage, sprouts and broccoli plus beetroot and we’re still enjoying the squashes and the red onions from the store plus the garlic though we’ve just finishing the last of the Pink Fir Apples.

The white and red onions and the garlics, all of which are over-wintering, are gently tottering along though the over-wintering lettuce seem to have been a meal for some slugs or whatever. The Broad Beans more than make up these losses, they’re going well (so far!)

It now looks as though we really to get moving on some of the seeds and some of the beans, so this needs to be done on Saturday.

12th January 2008 Lovely day to day. Cold, of course, but with some sunshine. The fleece and the netting had arrived so one job was to cut them to size and fit them to the small polytunnel from last year. The idea with the fleece is that I can keep the bed warm but it will allow rain to do the watering for me rather than having to move and replace the polythene all the time. At the moment this bed is allocated for trays of seeds, as it was last year.

The seed potatoes have now arrived and are due to be planted during Jan and Feb. I think I’ll do another polytunnel especially for the First Earlies.

Cleared the last of last years main crop potatoes, tidied the bed and covered with membrane. All the seeds etc have arrived, the fruit trees and shrubs have been pruned, the beds have all been prepared, so now we wait.

(There’s lots of little jobs that still need doing eg the netting on the fruit cage, the weeding between the beds, but we’re pretty much waiting for the soil temperature to go up.)

Additional Notes

Addendum, 171108. I went and bought some red beans at the supermarket in Cyprus. Well when I bought some two years ago I received very few and when they grew I wasn’t able to save seed for the next year. Now with 320 seeds, let’s see if I plant them 9 inches apart, they’ll take up 48ft by 4ft, that’s huge, I’ll just try one 12ft bed.

We’ve decided not to grow sweet corn and I don’t want to grow Peppers, for the same reason too much effort, too much land for insufficient return. Got to try to simplify what we’re doing. We’re going tp try Amaranth and Quinoa.

Broad beans and over-wintering Onions are in, we’ve started on next year.

A Summary for 2008 Superb, wonderful, Excellent – a cornucopia of the best England has to offer: Beans, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Beetroot, Courgettes, Squashes,Broad Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Garlic, Swede, Cucumbers. Passable, though the brassicas have provided a slow but continuous alternative to our main crops: Brassicas, Peas, Peppers, Sweet Corn. Bye the bye the Anna Swartz squashes are superb to taste.

Looking at 2009, then we are planning:

Beans, eight varieties; Cherokee Trail of Tears, Blue Lake, Barlotto, Purple Queen, Lady Di, Wisley Magic plus dwarf french beans Cupidon and Stamslaboon
Tomatoes, five varieties; Galina, Alicante, Gardeners Delight, Caro Rich, Golden Sunrise,
Potatoes, six varieties; Nicola, Lady Christl, Pentland Javelin, Charlotte, Desiree, King Edward
Beetroot, two varieties; Boltardy, Sanguina
Broad Beans, two varieties: Super Aquadulce, Grando Violetto
Courgettes, three varieties: Tondo, Trieste Whites, Virginia 3
Squashes, six varieties; Turks Tuban, Golden Hubbard, Butternut, Spaghetti, Blue Banana, Anna Swartz
Leeks, three varieties; Bleu de Solaise, Jaune de Poitou, Monstreux de Charentan
Lettuce, six varieties; Red Iceberg, Pablo Purple, Winter Density, Winteer Marvel, Winterbutterhead, Crisp Mint
Onions, six varieties; Radar, Silvermoon, Electric, Canaries, unknown
Garlic, three varieties to start with; unknown
Swede, two varieties; Invitation, Collette Vert
Cucumbers, three varieties; Miniature White, Lemon Apple, Cornichon, Long Yellow
Sweet Corn, one variety;
Spinach, one variety;

Peppers, six varieties; Anaheim, Golden Bell, Jope’s Long, Lemon drop, Lipstick, Sunnybrook Red, Chilli Peperoncini
Brassicas, eight varieties. Sanda sprouts, Red Drumhead, Later Purple sprouting Broccoli, Green Heading Calabrese, Sherwood, Precoce  de Louviers, Quintal de Alsace, Red Sprouts

The 2007 gardening year

16Th December. Well today we picked a few lettuce, a celery, a few leeks, some calabrese, spring onions and beetroot. Yesterday it was a few peppers and a good handful of Iranian Red Chilies. Next time there’ll be winter cabbage and red sprouts and there are still some potatoes Pink Fir Apples.

Yesterday the jobs were tidy up, weed and compost two of the long beds; clear the remaining nasturiums; clear the Cosmos and Zinnias (and compost that bed); cut back the Sedum, taking cuttings for another garden and then water the Polyanths. In the other garden I planted the Sedum, the Globe Artichokes and some Montbretia I had lifted about four weeks ago.
I still haven’t solved the problem of the greenhouse door and as a result it’s very cold in there.

25th November. Go away for a few days and guess what, the frost killed our nasturtiums and african marigolds; and the last courgette.
We’re back from Cyprus, a superb holiday, and this morning we picked or dug up: lettuce, peppers, potatoes, celery, carrots, leeks, beetroot, calabrese and a few raspberries.
The broad beans I put in about ten days ago are through (and now netted) and the winter onions and lettuces are well started.
So what’s next? Possibly a 1m high netting windbreak east/west along the whole length of the plot; clear and prepare the courgette bed (SKs) and the peppers bed (SGl); order the beans for next year; repair the door to the greenhouse; repair the tension and struts holding up the fruit cage netting; stake the new row of raspberries; get some seaweed for the compost bins; plant out the Globe Artichokes; stake the new row of raspberries.

3rd November. All the bean beds are ready, composted, chicken pellets, and covered with membrane. Thirty bags of mushroom compost arrived on Tuesday, I used sixteen today.

Seven I’ve kept for the greenhouse for when beds or parts of beds are clear. Also there are probably three outdoor beds still with viable peppers and lettuces, waiting to be done. For the moment I’ve made a south-facing wall with the remaining seven bags so now I need something to sow in front of the wall.
Talking about peppers, this year we’ve finally had a successful crop… and they’re still coming. Big Bananas, Joe’s Long, Buran, Lemon Drop, excellent.
Leeks, Jaune de Poirot, have pretty well completely recovered and we still have probably forty left, even afater the ones we’re eating. (these are the ones that need to be eaten before the first frost!!)
We have harvested the first Calabrese; potatoes are still being dug; beetroot are now growing fast enough that the weight of them in the ground stays constant, they grow enough in one week to replace what we dug up; had the first of the new batch of carrots today;
The over-wintering onions and lettuce are starting to come through. Planted the broad beans last week. Picked half a pound of raspberries today, together with the leeks, peppers and lettuce.
It’s all Monty Don’s fault he said ‘Try to pick something from the allotment everyday.”

14th October 2007 The winter crops needed attention, so we forked over one of the long beds and planted red onion sets – in four or five rows alternating with rows of Winter Density lettuce.
One of the small bean beds got the compost treatment and has now been covered up until spring. Topped up the high bed under the south facing wall of the shed with compost and then planted out some lettuce plants – we’ll see how they get on.
I ripped out some very tired and tatty Michaelmous Daisies and was going to through them out to the Council tip when I realised I could put them to good use in, what will be the Courgette compost bin. This is a spare compost bin which I need to fill with stuff so that next year I can use it for Courgette / Squash. It already had some  garden materials so I’ve added the blighted potatoes. With these Michaelmous Daisies and also a couple of bags of Mushroom Compost it’s getting pretty full.
When I was out and about I also got some wallflowers so these are along the side of the pergola area.
Finally we also gave the treatment and planted out a small bed of white onion sets.

7th October. We picked the last beans today, we’ve stripped the beds and tidied up the bamboo canes to keep them for next year. The peppers and squash in the greenhouse are going well.

The brassicas are coming along nicely, the Louviers cabbage have started becoming pointy, the red sprouts are hardening up the calabrese have started to heart up. Some of the leeks are recovering from leek moth and rust (the others have been ‘outed’.)

Some little fellow has nibbled all the winter lettuce, so I’ll need to re-sow.

Next job is to sow the onion sets, the garlic and the broad beans… and the replacement winter lettuce!

1st September 2007 It’s been miserable and cold recently except for the last few days. I had  a chance therefore to think about next year and indeed have ordered the garlic etc for over-wintering.Meantime we have been collecting beans, probably 50lbs so far, plus cucumbers and other salad stuff. We’re battling over the Coco Rose beans, by mistake I planted the with the pole beans rather than the dwarves so they’ve been suffering. The ones that have come good are a marvellous colour, a full-blooded red shell, they look wonderful. So I want all the beans for re-sowing next year whereas ‘she who shall be obeyed’ has other ideas!!The other most exciting plant this year has been the Blue Banana squash, four harvested and possibly another six to come. Golden hubbards only one harvested though there may be another six. Butternut squash still very slow to start so we’ll see. The surprise act has been the Yellow Banana squash as we didn’t sow any. One of the Blues must be a Yellow, anyway I think there’ll be three or four of them, we’ll have to see.Courgettes have started fruiting again and now we’re seeing three or four different types of cucumber. Today was spent tidying up and weeding; getting beds ready for Broad Beans, onions, garlic, winter lettuce,
The windowsill has started filling up, we have our first dish of seeds drying, Tondo Di Piacenza courgette, well worth the space in the garden. Guests say it has more flavour than the standard ones and of course the shape is fun – normally called hand grenades the latest ones landmines.

10th August 2007 Squashes, WOW, last year I grew some Early Golden Hubbard squashes (as well as Butternut squashes) and we’ve just eaten the last one. (As you can tell they keep well!) We saved the biggest until last. It probably weighed in at four or five lbs.

A wonderful orange colour, this squash had pride of place in the fruit basket on the coffee table.

It’s place has now been taken by our first Blue Banana squash, it’s about 16″ long, about five to six inches in diameter along most of its length and weighs in at nearly six lbs. WOW.

Apparently it also stores well and when you eventually start it, you keep it in the fridge and cut slices off it as and when you want.

That one squash was all that grew on the one plant in the greenhouse. We have two other Blue Banana plants in the squash bed in the middle of the plot.These two have about ten to twelve squashes growing on them, babies at the moment. Also in the squash bed are six Butternut squashes and three Early Golden Hubbard. (We’ve had to stake and set wires for the vines to clamber over, so that they get some breathing space.)

If you want some fun next year, get some squashes, we’ve never seen anything as rampant. Great flowers very similar to courgettes. Great architecture for the dinner table, serve roasted and stuffed with meat and fresh vegetables.

23rd July 2007 Well you can’t win them all, first potatoe blight on three out of four beds, now we’ve been attacked by Tomato Blight. I think they’re related. We need to look much more carefully at blight-resistance next year, meantime we’ll get some fungicide and try to protect the plants that haven’t succumbed yet. Beans still going well as are courgettes, even the cucumbers are having a go now.
140707 Time for a situation report. Harvesting courgettes, normal ones plus Tondo de Piacenza (round), and yellow courgettes – brilliant. They’re now about to start their second flush.
squashes have started, there’s a wonderful Early Golden Hubbard squash and our first Blue Banana squash,
potatoes got blight, but earlier ones were beautiful, jury out still for the rest
dwarf beans from the greenhouse are good,

over-wintered onions and garlics have been excellent, I’m delighted they won’t store and have to be eaten now.
mangetout peas rubbish as usual, and we had about a dozen pods of petit pois which were absolutely lovely
Continuous cropping of lettuces of various types plus spring onions
cucurbits (all of them) are pretty sad, so far,
strawberries have been very good, raspberries good,
summer onions just about ready to dig and to dry off,
Soft fruits really are next year (our third year) though I have pegged down some Strawberry runners for a strawberry cone for next year
outdoor beans (dwarf and pole) have just about started and all the tomatoes are about to start, peppers are further behind schedule, (where has the summer got to?)
AND we’ve started the autumn / winter:– yellow Jaune De Poitou leeks are looking excellent (100) (before the first frost)
– blue leeks now looking significantly better (30) (after the first frost)
– red sprouts have far too much growth and leaf
– Spring cabbage seeds sown today
– Winter cabbage seeds sown today
– calabrese seeds sown today
– summer salads – lettuce, spring onions, radish and beetroot sown today.
– onions planted out in the greenhouse (to see how they get on)
Delighted to be giving away parsley plants and coriander plants.29th May, Planted out the Caro Rich tomatoes, all of the pole and runner beans, except the Barlotto are through. Some cucumbers are planted out, but more available in pots. Same with squashes. Cropped the greenhouse potatoes, beautiful, and the winter onions in copious quantities.

13th May,
Tempus fugit, we’ve plenty of tomatoes, peppers, and leeks coming along. The runner beans and pole beans are planted out or sown in situ. Planted out the cucumbers today. We’re a bit short of squashes so I sowed some more yesterday and we haven’t sown the Dwarf French Beans yet. We’ve started cropping the winter onions.

16th April popped over for an hour to sow tomato seeds, just in case. Tomate de Colgar, Galina, Grushovka, Latah, Plum Lemon, Sungella,gardener’s Delight, Black Russian, plus Big Banana Pepper.

15th April. Wonderful hot day today, first time this year that I’ve used the awning under the pergola.
Learned yesterday that my supply chain has suffered a major interruption in service and that I shall have to bring back in-house the out-sourced seed germination.
It was not total as the Courgettes plants will be delivered on Wednesday, but tomatoes may be four weeks late and squashes and cucumbers are non-existent.
Today therefore was catch up day, design and build a large cloche (3m X 1.3m,) sow numerous seeds in numerous pots in numerous trays, and the original job for today, build the cucumber bed….. all done.

Seeds sown today:
Courgette Tondo Di Piacenza
Straightneck yellow courgette
Cornichon Fin de Meaux
Lemon Apple cucumber
Miniature White Cucumber
Maascara Lettuce
Canasta Lettuce
Little Gem Cos Lettuce
Pablo Lettuce
Blue Banana Squash
Butternut squash
Early Golden hubbard squash
Lemon Drop pepper
Purple Sprouts
Flat-leaved parsley

Next we need to sow some tomatoes in case this fails as well. Hey Ho.9th April, What a fabulous Easter weekend. Finished the digging for a neighbour, so I can now relax and not feel guilty when I was working on my own allotment. Sowed beans galore in the greenhouse, plus some Cherry Piccante Peppers, Curly Parsley and Blue Banana squashes. I must quote www.realseeds.co.uk “We use it in risottos because the flesh doesn’t breakdown when cooked. Also very nice cubed and roasted with herbs, garlic and olive  oil.”

Harvesting Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Rhubarb, plus a few new potatoes from the compost heap. Wonderful!!

1st April. Aren’t we lucky having a garden or allotment to work on. A bit cold first thing but warmed up continuously during the day, turning into a lovely sunny afternoon.

Written off the peppers etc that got killed when the greenhouse itself suffered terminal damage, so replaced today with short rows of seeds – Leeks and Squashes, plus some Cupidon bush beans. Planted out the Italian onions grown from seed.

Sowed the summer onion sets some white and 2Xsome reds and covered them with fleece (first time I’ve used fleece.) I noticed that last year I sowed them at the end of February rather than March. Also cleared a bed ready for something else, possibly leeks or courgettes..

Apparently we’re in for a beautiful spell of weather during the week so I watered the onions and potatoes. First watering of the year.

Broad beans not doing well. Red currants have some purple curled leaf, so pinched it all(?) off. Plum and damson coming into flower, so another gale, then fruit will set and then we get a frost; betcha!!

Picked rhubarb and broccoli. Great.
18th March The new greenhouse had been damaged in a recent gale, so the first job was to repair this by adding new struts to support the main roof. I used stiff plastic water piping to get the curve of the roof plus metal rods to give a vertical wall up from the ground. I’ll use the excess piping for polytunnel cloches. Picked the Purple Sprouting Broccoli for the first time this week, so much of it that we’ve had to freeze most of it.

18TH February, turned the greenhouse inside out and it’s fine now. Planted a few spuds (Maris Bard) in the greenhouse and sowed Winter Density and Canasta lettuces plus some Short top forcing radishes also in the greenhouse. Moved the blackberry to its permanent home.

17th February, finally I got to put the cover on the new greenhouse frame and sorted out the beds inside. Shame I put the cover on inside out!! Set up a composter at the main house ready for the comfrey, weeds, shredded paper etc. More daffodils are flowering, flowering currant has its first flowers,

28th January. Out on the plot today, and lost the thread

So I was clearing a bed ready for the new greenhouse and collected some old spring onions. At lunchtime I returned home for a snack and I had ryvita and humus. Naturally I dipped the spring onion in the humus and was stunned when it turned out to be garlic and not only the first one but also the second, a little one, which just had to be onion……. So I’ll be free of colds this winter.But what a lovely day to be working on the allotment. Removed the torn fabric from the plastic greenhouse, weeded all the beds, removed the artichokes and winter radishes.

It’s great shame. The jerusalem artichokes and winter radishes have produced a lovely big crop and we just don’t like them. The good news is that this means we now have an extra bed free for this summer.

First daffodils are in flower. Spring has sprung, Hooray.

17th January – I may have bought a new greenhouse, the potatoes have arrived, the radishes are showing in the greenhouse, now the year has started…. except that there’s a gale blowing. Anyway it was not a good day for planting ‘roots’. So I didn’t plant any.

2006, getting ready for 2007

Planning for Summer 2007, must make the notes now, while we’re harvesting! DONE

The view in December:- we have permission for next greenhouse, but have not yet ordered it. This will be used for raising seedlings and then for some of the tomatoes and groundcherries
– moved summer raspberries out of the shade
– the over-wintering onions, garlics and shallots all doing well as are the sage and the rosemary
– got loads of seeds and beans all ready for next year, the only one missing is the Caro Rich tomatoes

18th September. The die is cast. The seeds have been ordered from www.realseeds.co.uk, the surprises are carrots and lettuce for ‘she who shall be obeyed’, Blue Banana Squash, Thai Long Green Aubergine, Latah Tomato, Grushovka Tomato, Galina Tomato, De Colgar Tomato, Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean, Cupidon Bean, Lemon Drop chilli pepper, Jaune de Poitou Yellow Leek, Bleu de Solaise leek, D’Eysines Carrot, and Mascara lettuce

4th September. Must have Tomatillos again next year, they are beautiful. Purple Sprouting Broccoli now seem to have a new life after mulching, trimming and treating plus rain. Canasta lettuce getting established. 3rd September. Well an opportunity to simplify things a bit. It seems that peppers and chillies may well be able to overwinter in the greenhouse. So it’ll be a shorter list of new seeds (will try Aubergines as well) and also that I’ll set aside a permanent bed in the greenhouse for them. This means we’re really trying for early and unusual tomatoes and squashes. If I can’t get another plot, I’ll definitely ask permission for another greenhouse.

19th August make sure that all the exotics (toms, peppers, cukes) are the earliest we can get. Try to get another plot; composters OK; need another, larger polytunnel for peppers and tomatoes, over-wintering geraniums and palms etc need more space for beans, squashes, courgettes, etc etc. Another plot would give me a further ten 24′ long raised beds.

10th August. How have the ideas moved forward? From this years crops we should be able to get the seeds for some of these as there are no F1 hybrids:


–          Caro Rich (save some seed) – huge

–          Plum Lemon (save some seed) – prolific and tasty

–          De Colgar (cj to order)

–     need a cherry tomatoe ?Galina

–     Grushovka (cj to order)


–          Blanche Ronde de Oeuf (Ordered)

–          Thai Long Green (cj to order)


–          Buran (in stk) (save some seed) (Overwinter)

–          Antoi Romanov Pale Yellow Pepper (cj to order)

–          White Cloud (save some seed)(Overwinter)

–          Orange Bell (save some seed) – looks prolific (Overwinter)


–          Joes Long Cayenne Chilli (In stk) (save some seed)(Overwinter)

–          Etna Chilli (save some seed) (Overwinter)

–          ?Angies chillies from last year (Overwinter)


–          Early Golden Hubbard (save some seed) – Superb

–          Blue Banana (cj to order)

–          Waltham Butternut (cj to order)


–          Crystal Apple (Tortarello) (save some seed) – Superb

–          Dimara Miniature White Cornichon (save some seed) – Superb

–          Fin de Meaux Cornichon (Ordered)

–          Melothrie (already in stk)


–          Cantaloup Charentais (Ordered)

–          w:st=”on”style=”font-size: 9pt;”Minnesota Midget (save some seed) lost the lot


–          Zucchini (save some seed) – Superb

–          Tondo di Piacenza (ordered)

Tomatillo aka Ground Cherries

–          Mixed Purple & Green (In stk) (save some seed) (Superb)

–          Poha (In stk) (save some seed)

We are having some wonderful foods, yes, we did well with potatoes, beans, squashes, courgettes, radishes, onions, garlic and shallots but the brassicas (with the exception of the Spring Hero cabbage) have been useless. I think we should give the whole plot a rest from brassicas for two or three years. Next year we will get more soft fruit and rhubarb. Angie’s flowers have been a great idea. The whole plot looks pretty good.

5th August. The idea is to make sure we get the best of what we’ve done this year plus new ideas, new trials, plus correcting weaknesses.

More flowers

More raspberries, not enough have survived and grown enough to give us the crop we want – probably the most important decision.

Potatoes, Maris Peer are peerless so far.

Over-wintering onions and garlics are already ordered, and christmas new potatoes already planted. Winter salad and radishes already ready to go, just need to clear and refill the hotbeds in the greenhouse. Some of the stuff can be sown outdoors.

Now what are we going to get from www.realseeds.co.uk? Could be any or all of these
– Thai long Green aubergine, very early, lime green
– Los Algarros, v large black, vigorous aubergine
– ‘Cherokee Trail of tears’ pole beans
– ‘Cupidon’ green bush bean
– White beetroot
– Sanguina red beetroot
– ‘Full white celery’
– ‘Giant Red’ Dark Orange Carrot
– Early Green Jalapeno Chilli
– Lemon Drop Chilli
– Trieste White Courgette
– Parisian Pickling Gherkin
– ‘Striato d’Napoli green striped courgtte
– ‘Miniature White’ Cucumber
– ‘jaune de Poitou’ leek
– ‘Bleu de Solaise’ Blue  leek
– ‘Flame’ Cherry Red lettuce
– ‘Sicily Giant’ radish
– ‘Long Scarlet’ radish
– ‘Ashworth’ Sweetcorn
– ‘Yankee Bell’ Green pepper
– ‘Sweet Chocolate’ pepper
– ‘Lipstick’ sweet conical red pepper
– ‘Latah’ super early salad type
– Grushovka Pink
– ‘De Colgar’ storage tomato
– ‘Blue banana’ squash

Don’t they sound wonderful, and going on this year’s performance they will be magic.

Then there’s the french beans, the potatoes, main crop garlic and shallots to order, plus Crystal Apple/ Lemon cucumbers.

Get Shallots later

2005, What’s this allotmenting all about then

What’s this allotmenting all about then

The strands of change that came together and resulted in me getting an allotment were:

– giving up smoking, therefore the increasing the risk of putting on weight and therefore I needed to find another physical activity preferably outdoor

– taking up the GI Diet, Glycaemic Index, and finding out that there are a lot of beautiful vegetables out there, possibly because my taste buds are working better after non-smoking for six months

– moving to a house with a smaller garden, without the opportunity of growing any vegetables at all

– working from home and therefore having a need for a change of environment (and getting out of the house, getting out from underneath my wife’s feet)

So looking back over the last nine months, how has my attitude to changed, mellowed, matured, ripened, developed?

At first I was appalled at the amount of digging that would be needed to get it under control and then to keep it under control. But as it was early August 2005 the first job was to clear an area and get something growing.

We chose Dwarf French Beans and for fun we planted some two Courgettes for some immediate crops and also planted over-wintering onions, garlic and lettuce. I had heard the phrase ‘Raised Beds’ and we both thought this would be a great idea. Simultaneously I discovered permeable membrane so as each bed was dug I covered it with the membrane until we wanted to use it.

I acquired compost, manure, ripe manure randomly over the year and applied as I could whenever I ha dthe opportunity.

Suddenly I was confident that I could control it.

This meant that I had more time to think about sub-plots and ideas. I had painted the South-facing wall of the shed but now I put in a Victorian Hot Bed in front of it. Got that done and I had time to think out and get a polythene greenhouse and embed it into the ground.

As it was ‘off-plan’ I was able to build two permanent beds 3.5m long into it and I set these up as Hot Beds as well. For this summer we’re using it to extend the cropping season for tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers.

So we are ‘live’

Crop failures are a fault of:

– the weather
– the soil temperature or the air temperature
– the wind speed
– the chemistry in the ground
– the labelling on the packet
– the friability of the soil
– the appetites of the other living creatures who need to be fed
– my incompetence, standing on the plant, ripping it out because I thought it was a weed
– bad luck
– humidity and precipitation
– germination rates
– planting the seeds or bulbs upside down
– foxes
– snails

SUCCESS on the other hand is solely due to my brilliance as a gardener, a likely story!!

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