Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Allotment update

Well, where to start?  It seems rather a long time since I got a proper regular 'this is me wittering on about what I've been up to' post up on here.  Perhaps a little allotment update as it seems to change daily at this time of year.  Every time I look around the seeds in the front window have grown another inch I'm sure!  Triffids on a bid for world domination!  (Yes, yes - I know that was an excess of exclamation marks then.)
My allotment is long and thin and one short edge abuts the track round the site.  Theres a small slope here from the track to the plot which was just dead space with grass on it which I wanted to utilise better with some 'raised' (built into the bank) 3 sided beds.  These could then be planted up with bee friendly plants - good for the bees and hopefully good for my plot by attracting more pollinators to it.  Well - mention it and it shall be done.  Chap was there with wood assorted and power tools and in a couple of hours I was the proud owner of 2 smart, free, upcycled beds.  All the wood came from other jobs - old fences, roofs etc.  The preservative I've used on the insides was a branded end of line one in £land that I've had sitting around at home for a good 8 years!  From this:

 Grassy bank and scraggy old bits of wood. 

To this:

Pretty smart eh?  (Ignore the rasps there - they need tidying up I know!)   Both are now nearly full of earth - as I've been prepping, raking over & planting each bed I've been shoveling the rock hard lumps that refuse to break up [see pic above left to see what I mean] into these.  I'll cover with some compost and plant up very soon.  I have various wild flower bee happy seedlings at home to go in and more seeds to sprinkle over.
Speaking of seeds here's some random exciting heirloom bean varieties a friend sent me.  I have planted a few of all of them and passed some on where there were spares.  I also got the Pea Bean recently after reading about it on littleblackfox's blog.  It's also a heirloom variety - I found them at Nicky's Nursery - incidentally very reasonable on price and very helpful on the phone when you realise you forgot something on your order the day before so call up to see if you can add it in!  Lovely people. 

I hope they all do ok - the Pea Bean is the only one not to have sprouted yet!  They're in loo roll inners at home along with 3 different runner beans, celeriac, 2 types of beetroot, the bee plants, asparagus peas, soya beans [they haven't come up yet either thinking about it], herbs, the Chap's chillis, pumpkin, 3 different squashes, courgettes, chard &c, &c, &c... 
Since these photos of the plot, where you can see my [somewhat straggly] broad beans; we've also planted the spuds, onion and garlic sets, peas x 2 varieties, parsnip x 2 varieties, salsify - not expecting much there as the seeds were somewhat out of date - I've put the lot in to see if anything happens, Hamburg Parsley and 3 different types of salad leaves as catch crops between these.  Also 2 different radish types in the centre of the runner poles which are in but so far only colonised by a few sweet peas - worth having a few in amongst the runners to attract the pollinating insects to the area.  More pollinators = more food for you.  Companion planting a go-go!  Plus I like sweet peas.  Anyway, this is the product of a couple of weekends.  Now the rest to do - toms, carrots, kale, perpetual spinach beet, the oriental radish the Chap bought, swede, land cress, saltwort, cabbage, cauli, sprouts, er - I'm sure there's lots more but I'll have to check the seed box[es.]  I defy anyone to have as many packs of seeds as me and remember them all!!  :-D  What have you planted?


  1. What a difference the raised beds have made to the look of the allotment Ruth, you've both done very well. You've worn me out just listing the things that you've been doing, I wish I had your energy.

  2. I'm sorry to hear you've been having all that trouble with your eyes, thankfully they're getting better now. I just don't know where you've got all your energy from!

    I'm busy hardening off my courgettes, cucumber, green beans etc., I've sown my first lot of carrots and another lot of micro greens and some potatoes. Not bad considering I mostly grow my veg in containers because my garden isn't very big. I'm trying potatoes in pots for the first time, so I don't know what will happen!

  3. Ooh - do let me know how you get on! They should be fine, just keep them watered in this lovely weather - that's always my problem with pots. Things sometimes get rather more frazzled than I intended!! :-D
    I love how the beds look - Chap's handy to have around. His next project is the shed!


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