The plot has been fantastically busy of late and we are taking home lots of fresh fruit and veg! Such a great feeling after so much work! There’s even been enough to share with friends. I thought I’d give you a little update on how things are going!
Firstly, like most other gardeners we have been tackling the weeds and lots of them, I don’t think this has been helped though by our decision to use horse manure, we now have lots and lots of grass in big clumps that constantly need trimming and turning over. In some places, this is fine, as it serves to create grassy areas where we want them but in others, it’s a nightmare. I will be using other means of soil improvement in the future.
The Fruit Cage
Around the fruit cage we threw down some poppy seeds which have given a good show but they are now going over, the bees seemed to love them at their peak though. In the fruit cage, the gooseberry bush is looking healthy, no fruit yet though. The new redcurrant and blueberry bushes that we planted are looking strong and much bigger, I’m hoping they will fruit next year. There’s quite a bit of open ground in the fruit cage, where I am allowing the grass to grow around the bushes, I’m keeping this down by strimming.
The Rhubarb Patch
Now, I have been told that I probably have too many rhubarb plants and I must admit, we haven’t gone short! It is something that seems to be gratefully received by friends, so until I feel that I need the additional space, I’ll let the current plants do their thing. Around the rhubarb, we managed to squeeze an early row of crimson flowering broad beans, but I did make the mistake of not giving them enough support and they did get rather battered by winds earlier in the season. Alongside the rhubarb, we also managed a couple of teepee structures, one for runner beans and one for Kelvedon wonder peas, both of which are producing aplenty! We also have two rows of red onions in that area too, which we are now taking as required.
The Herb Patch
The herbs are one of the few things that we haven’t moved around since the first layout of the plot. We find that it’s working well having the herb garden next to the entrance to the plot, for those days when you just want to dash and grab for tea! So far we have rosemary, thyme, peppermint, marjoram, sage, a gorgeous lemon balm (great for tea), oregano and curry leaf. I’m also going to move the bay tree up into this area when I take the peas out.
To the right of the entrance, up until last week, we had our early potatoes which we are now eating. There are also two other locations on the plot which have a healthy show of spuds, we haven’t touched these yet though. Next year this funny shaped bed will be our cut flower area I think (I have been known to change my mind though!).
The Children’s Plots
I have been amazed at how well the kids have responded to having a little piece of ground of their own. Their plots have been entirely planted and maintained by themselves, giving them a huge sense of pride in their areas and a grin from ear to ear when anything actually produces food! All they were given were a few seeds or young plants and some basic instructions as to what that plant would need and away they went! I will be moving them onto another area in the spring to ensure good rotation.
Mixed Veg Areas
We have probably been a little unconventional in our layout, in that much of our plot is a mish-mash! Down the right-hand side, we now have shallots, radish (not doing too well), corn on the cob, beetroot, dwarf runner beans and broccoli. These are all youngish plants that I’m not quite sure if they will produce much at this time of year, but it’s worth giving it a go! To the left, we have celery, more peas, kale, tomatoes, courgettes and leeks and potatoes.
I’m really pleased to say that this year we are having much more luck with our cabbages, in that we have cabbages! Edible cabbages! We also have some healthy looking romanesco, cauliflower, sprouts and more broccoli.
This has been an ongoing thing for us, we are slowly improving with our succession growing and have had some really tasty lettuce and spring onions. We have unfortunately had an entire batch of baby gem wiped out by slugs, so armed with ‘slug gone’ are giving them another go. In the communal greenhouse, we have some slow to get going toms, but are now looking great and will hopefully ripen before then end of the season. We also have toms on the plot that are looking good too. I really must label things with a little more detail now that we are getting into it though as I really can’t remember what varieties we are growing. There are clearly differences, but I labelled them all ‘toms’!
Aside from the fruit cage bushes, we are also growing summer and autumn raspberries and strawberries. The strawberry runners are working themselves into a row of peas so that’s top of my to-do list to pot some of those runners and get rid of the unwanted ones, seems a shame but there’s so many it’s difficult to keep them all. I may add in strawberry plants in between my raspberry canes though.
The Wildlife Area
I think this little spot deserves a post of its own, but in short, I couldn’t be happier with the way it has turned out, poppy’s, nasturtiums, cornflowers, lots of wildflowers and weeds have completely brought the area to life. We have been rewarded with little frogs and many different minibeasts, I’m hoping this little corner will give great balance to our plot naturally (I hope the frogs eat the slugs!).
Since taking on the plot I have been desperate for a shed! Finally, we got there, after a day of flatpack hell, I now have a little spot to shelter from the rain, grab a brew and change my wellies. It’s made a big difference in our ability to pop into the allotment rather than hauling lots of stuff with us each time. The shed warming party went down a treat too! Next on my shopping list is a greenhouse, maybe in the sales…we’ll see!
There are lots of other little growing nooks that we have created including out teepee grow house but I’ll cover some more in another post. Well done and thank you if you have read down this far! I’d love to hear how you are getting on too!