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garybug

The Allotment Thread

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:D

My allotment request got accepted, so after a four month wait, I'm in business! Well excited...:P

Based in South Cambridgeshire, it's about 15ft x 30ft, and £22 for the year (incl. water) - I reckon that's a bargain.

Not too much clearing needed I reckon, there is a thin carpet of weeds, quite patchy in places, with the tallest maybe a foot high - nothing a weed whacker and some plastic sheeting shouldn't contend with.

This is my first patch, so thoughts / comments welcome - given the soaring cost of food, recommendations for what to grow in terms of effort / yield are welcome.

My first thoughts are

  • Want to grow definitely go for onions, broccoli, squashes, tomatoes, cougettes, beans, cabbage - all seem easy & give a high yield / effort
  • Carrots are pretty cheap anyway, so not much point growing these
  • Potatoes need too much water to get a decent crop
  • Saladings are out - too perishible
  • Peppers, chillis and the like ddon't yield enough
  • Herbs are just silly

Links to decent advie sites, experiences welcome too

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I'm thinking of starting a veggie patch at home after reading the main forum. With all this talk of bank collapses and TEOTWAWKI I think it would be smart to have a regular supply of your own produce.

Unfortunately I know nothing about growning my own food so I would be interested to see where this thread leads.

Good luck!

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home grown potatoes are one of the biggest suprises, fresh out the ground they are really sweet, you will never have tasted any spud so good from any shop or even farmers market and my personal fav from the veggie patch.

the only advice i can give you is look after your soil and water like a mad man, all veg need a lot of water.

Thanks Bob.

What variety of potato did you grow? Would I be right in thinking that they require more water than, say, courgettes? Also, do smaller potatoes e.g. charlotte / salad pots. require less than King Edwards for instance? Just trying to work out what gives most bang for the buck

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:D

My allotment request got accepted, so after a four month wait, I'm in business! Well excited...:P

Based in South Cambridgeshire, it's about 15ft x 30ft, and £22 for the year (incl. water) - I reckon that's a bargain.

Not too much clearing needed I reckon, there is a thin carpet of weeds, quite patchy in places, with the tallest maybe a foot high - nothing a weed whacker and some plastic sheeting shouldn't contend with.

This is my first patch, so thoughts / comments welcome - given the soaring cost of food, recommendations for what to grow in terms of effort / yield are welcome.

My first thoughts are

  • Want to grow definitely go for onions, broccoli, squashes, tomatoes, cougettes, beans, cabbage - all seem easy & give a high yield / effort
  • Carrots are pretty cheap anyway, so not much point growing these
  • Potatoes need too much water to get a decent crop
  • Saladings are out - too perishible
  • Peppers, chillis and the like ddon't yield enough
  • Herbs are just silly

Links to decent advie sites, experiences welcome too

Lucky you - been on the list for nearly 2 years and still number 18 in the queue! Will be worth it though; like another poster said, you won't taste veggies anywhere else like it!

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Ive grown some stuff this year in the back garden:

The question is what do you eat normally. grow what you normally eat, grow it in waves because it takes longer than you think, start with seedlings early, get one of those plastic greenhouses, use organic fertilizer, it makes a massive difference. Also buy seeds, pots and anything you need NOW! lots of garden centres are selling this years stock off cheap, it will save you a fortune.

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farmer's accent

rotate your crops, try to deal with pests naturally, give areas of the soil a rest in future years, good luck

In Poland they go in for allotments big time, courgettes by the bucketload, fantastic tomatoes, huge cauliflower, delicious broad beans and gorgeous strawberries

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Potato = I stated off growing Lady Crystal and Cara - grew them for a few years. Always much slug and millipede damage.

finally gave up and decided to try Arran Pilot - WOW! no pest damage and bumper crops! I'm an big Arran Pilot fan now.

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Put a row of cordon fruit trees at one end. Blackmoor do nice apple and pear cordons - vertical ones (known as minarettes). They can be planted as close as 0.5 metres - you should get about 8 in 15ft. This will give you a good variety of fruit in a small space.

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:D

My allotment request got accepted, so after a four month wait, I'm in business! Well excited...:P

Based in South Cambridgeshire, it's about 15ft x 30ft, and £22 for the year (incl. water) - I reckon that's a bargain.

Not too much clearing needed I reckon, there is a thin carpet of weeds, quite patchy in places, with the tallest maybe a foot high - nothing a weed whacker and some plastic sheeting shouldn't contend with.

This is my first patch, so thoughts / comments welcome - given the soaring cost of food, recommendations for what to grow in terms of effort / yield are welcome.

My first thoughts are

  • Want to grow definitely go for onions, broccoli, squashes, tomatoes, cougettes, beans, cabbage - all seem easy & give a high yield / effort
  • Carrots are pretty cheap anyway, so not much point growing these
  • Potatoes need too much water to get a decent crop
  • Saladings are out - too perishible
  • Peppers, chillis and the like ddon't yield enough
  • Herbs are just silly

Links to decent advie sites, experiences welcome too

A few tips from my experience.

Onions - get the bolt resistant variety.

Broccoli - put fly collars around the stems when planting out or they will be dead by June; cover with fleece or they will be destroyed by caterpillars.

Tomatoes - spay with Bordeaux mix early July and learn how to "pick out" the stems.

Cabbage - same as broccoli.

Grow salad leaves, rocket, spinach, etc - well worth it.

Mulch well to save watering.

Protect from slugs.

Good luck. :)

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What variety of potato did you grow? Would I be right in thinking that they require more water than, say, courgettes? Also, do smaller potatoes e.g. charlotte / salad pots. require less than King Edwards for instance? Just trying to work out what gives most bang for the buck

You do not have to water spuds at all. What you do have to do is 'mound up'. They benefit greatly from well manured soil. The best variety, IMHO, is 'Sarpo Mira'. You get huge yields and they are blight immune. Blight will destroy your crop in a couple of days. You have to check every single day and spray with Bordeaux mixture if you want to save them. This is biggest problem with growing the delicate varieties.

You only need one courgette plant. You pull them off as they ripen. Every novice grows too many to eat.

Put a row of cordon fruit trees at one end.

Fruit trees will suck everything out of the soil and shade the veg. He only has a tiny space. He is better off sticking with soft fruit. Blackcurrant, redcurrent, gooseberries etc.

Onions - get the bolt resistant variety.

Onions have a long growing season if you plant from seed. If you plant baby onions they fatten up quickly.

Broccoli - put fly collars around the stems when planting out or they will be dead by June; cover with fleece or they will be destroyed by caterpillars.

Broccoli bolts too fast for me. You have a nice head forming, the next week it has shot out stems which go on to flower. Caterpillars should be dealt with by spraying BT. One of the few organic solutions that works better than chemicals. Spray one day, the next no caterpillars. Germ warfare. Do the same with other brassicas.

Tomatoes - spay with Bordeaux mix early July and learn how to "pick out" the stems.

Blight comes down with the rain. Best to set up a mini cloche to keep it out.

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You do not have to water spuds at all. What you do have to do is 'mound up'. They benefit greatly from well manured soil. The best variety, IMHO, is 'Sarpo Mira'. You get huge yields and they are blight immune. Blight will destroy your crop in a couple of days. You have to check every single day and spray with Bordeaux mixture if you want to save them. This is biggest problem with growing the delicate varieties.

You only need one courgette plant. You pull them off as they ripen. Every novice grows too many to eat.

Fruit trees will suck everything out of the soil and shade the veg. He only has a tiny space. He is better off sticking with soft fruit. Blackcurrant, redcurrent, gooseberries etc.

Onions have a long growing season if you plant from seed. If you plant baby onions they fatten up quickly.

Broccoli bolts too fast for me. You have a nice head forming, the next week it has shot out stems which go on to flower. Caterpillars should be dealt with by spraying BT. One of the few organic solutions that works better than chemicals. Spray one day, the next no caterpillars. Germ warfare. Do the same with other brassicas.

Blight comes down with the rain. Best to set up a mini cloche to keep it out.

I've planted onion sets in late March and pulled by September.

If you find broccoli bolts, try planting it out in July and harvesting in April/may.

Fleece or netting is cheaper than spray and stops the eggs being laid in the first place.

Blight is also carried on the wind and cloches will only provide better conditions for it to spread, in my experience.

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Well rotted muck helps turn the nastiest soil into black gold.

My advice is to work out what veggies you will save most money on.

Growing salad/beans/summer stuff is when it's all plentiful and cheap in the shops.

Although new potatoes are the best ever when you've dug them up just.

WINTER VEG - is what really costs the money.

Go see what you can beg or borrow (from other plot holders) or buy at the local garden centre in the way of winter veg.

Plant fruit. That offers you good value too. Raspberries are £2 for 100g which is insane.

Although without regular jamming or a big freezer you'll run out of space.

Start saving screw top jars NOW. Get all your neighbours to save them for you too.

http://www.gardenandgardener.co.uk/2011/10/02/grow-save-money/

Read about this book this week. My library doesn't have a copy though so I have to gamble £2.30 to see if another library has it or try and find a copy secondhand.

My suggestions:

blackcurrant bushes

Gooseberry bushes

Raspberries - autumn and summer fruiting.

runner beans.

broad beans. cos anyone can grow these anywhere and they are good fresh.

then lots of winter veggie stuff.

But assess what you've got first.

Unless it's a completely new bit of land it'll have stuff planted.

Watch out for hidden crops that will have died back.

Ask neighbouring plot holders if they know what was growing on it before.

And congratulations on becoming a plot holder.

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OP: Sounds like you've got a good plot.

Unless you've got a lot of time on your hands, people should avoid any plots that have been long neglected.

My plot was one that the previous guy gave up on. He put tons of muck on and then left it. By the time I was given it, the weeds had rooted and spread. It was a nightmare. As soon as I finished sorting out one quarter, the first cleared part was back to square one.

Anyone who gets offered a plot shouldn't think badly for being fussy. Know your limits, as Your time at the allotment should be spent sowing, planting, growing and harvesting. It will be no fun at all if you're spending 80%+ of your time just weeding and digging roots out.

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ALL - fantastic advice - many thanks, so here's my first plan. But first - pics of the place - it's actually 44ft x 14ft:

I think this is spring cabbage, which the previous owner was growing:

DSC05352.JPG

Various weeds - anyone recognise what they are / how best to eradicate?:

DSC05354.JPG

Me and my helper!:

DSC05351.JPG

So, taking what everyone has said - here's my first draft:

  • TOTAL 15ft x 44ft
  • LENGTH of beds 14ft (4m)
  • WIDTH 2 @ 5ft; 5 @ 4ft (1.2m)
  • PATHS 2ft gap in between
  • LAYOUT 5ft 4ft 4ft 4ft 4ft 4ft 5ft = 7 beds (30ft, plus 6x 2 ft paths)

BED 1 EAST : 5ft : Potatoes (Sarpo Mira & Arran Pilot)

BED 2 : 4ft : Broccoli

BED 3 : 4ft : Onions / Salad bed (thanks Everybody Panic - amazing you can feed them all from that size bed!)

BED 4 : 4ft : Beans (various varieties)

BED 5 : 4ft : Tomatoes

BED 6 : 4ft : Cabbages, Beetroot, Courgette

BED 7 WEST - so no shadow cast: 5ft : Fruit trees / shrubs

Good point Sarah B. - raspberries are ridiculously expensive - same price as a pineapple flown all the way from Central America!.

One point though, a colleague says fruit & rhubarb take 2 years before you can eat them? Sounds not right to me...

Going to buy silage sheeting from a local agricultural providor to cover the weeds for the winter, after I've zapped them with my strimmer

Pile in with thoughts!

gb

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I have no idea about allotments - but I do about people. They like to feel wanted and important. So just wander up to a few experienced looking people in the surrounding plots and tell them you would like a bit of help and they look like they know what they are doing.

They won't be able to help themselves but give you advice. And because you said they look like they know what they are talking about - they will give you good advice as they want to prove that they do indeed know what they are talking about.

Although you may of course get one random grumpy old **** - but I can do nothing about that !!

PS - I fancy growing some stuff probably in a few years. So by then you can give me some tips. :D

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middle photo at the back could be spinach or some other leafy thing. Eat it and see what it reminds you of.

The taller stuff in the middle with little round seeds on - thats probably lettuce but not sure what sort - Keep the seeds for next year.

silage sheeting? Ooo how much is that? Need some for my plot.

Rhubarb. Plant is. Manure it. Leave it. All next year just admire it and weed it. Next year take two sticks tops. manure it again in autumn and the next year you will have a really good healthy plant that has got a great start.

My neighbour put a crown in I gave him when I put mine in. Mine is huge. His is weedy. He cropped his the first two years. Have two clumps so you can be greedy with one each year to rest the other (Still crop some but don't go excessive)

My gran used to force rhubarb every year but she had maybe 10m worth of the stuff.

Ask for a crown off someone else on the site to save you buying it. but lidl had some in the spring I think.

Have the biggest compost heap you can.

Assume they planted in rows and weed inbetween if you think there's something in still. If you find anything whilst digging that looks like a mini mop head then it could be something like asparagus that dies down in autumn.

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Get a few houses on those plots! B)

Our association will be signing a 25 year lease for our site.

I've not read in the legalese "don't build houses on it"

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Various weeds - anyone recognise what they are / how best to eradicate?:

The picture is not good enough. Think I see poppies, dock, fat hen,. redshank, ground ivy and black nightshade. The easiest way to clear any ground is glyphosate (round up). Buy a cheap pulveriser and a spray it, kills everything. Black plastic will do it too. You will not eradicate because the soil is full of weed seeds. Some remain viable after 50 years. Constant weeding is what gardening is about. You will get fewer weeds each year. Buy yourself a dutch hoe and keep it sharp. You are going to be running it between the rows several times each year.

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Have any of you who end up with masses of stocks of stuff ever try drying the produce out and then grinding it in a spice grinder :unsure:

If so, what has/hasn't been successful.

I'm looking to get growing a bit of stuff in the garden this year and be a bit more creative than just making lots of stews/stock and try making my own 'instant' soups/fortified breads etc.

Just wondered if anyone had tried it, time taken, difficulty etc.

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Have any of you who end up with masses of stocks of stuff ever try drying the produce out and then grinding it in a spice grinder :unsure:

If so, what has/hasn't been successful.

I'm looking to get growing a bit of stuff in the garden this year and be a bit more creative than just making lots of stews/stock and try making my own 'instant' soups/fortified breads etc.

Just wondered if anyone had tried it, time taken, difficulty etc.

No but...

I intend taking any surplus stock to farmers markets this year.

Maybe I can buy a couple of tanks of diesel + get working tax credits.

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Have any of you who end up with masses of stocks of stuff ever try drying the produce out and then grinding it in a spice grinder :unsure:

If so, what has/hasn't been successful.

I'm looking to get growing a bit of stuff in the garden this year and be a bit more creative than just making lots of stews/stock and try making my own 'instant' soups/fortified breads etc.

Just wondered if anyone had tried it, time taken, difficulty etc.

I use a cylindrical stockli dehydrator, plus on account of being Italians a few family members have rigged up mesh contraptions in their airing cupboards to dry wild mushrooms.

Last year we had heaps of wild mushrooms and apples and both dry well and produce a reasonable volume of decent product compared to the effort put in. Herbs are straightforward. I did a few onions and tomatoes happily last year as well.

The biggest problem afaic is that we don't have the weather or space to lay out crops on racks to dry naturally. So it's an energy intensive process. Wild mushrooms top my must dry list because they're so expensive to buy.

What types of produce did you have in mind?

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Mostly the generic 'easy' to grow stuff - tomatoes, bell/chilli peppers, parsnips, carrots, oniosn, broccolli, beets.

Are shrooms easy enough to do, they'd be good to dry?

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Mostly the generic 'easy' to grow stuff - tomatoes, bell/chilli peppers, parsnips, carrots, oniosn, broccolli, beets.

Are shrooms easy enough to do, they'd be good to dry?

Half the things on your list keep well, if properly stored, till at least springtime. Plus you can stagger your planting and plant slightly different varieties to extended the season and avoid a glut. I personally wouldn't bother drying stuff like parsnips or beets.

The stuff I dry is the higher-value seasonal produce that comes good more or less all at once at the end of summer - fruit, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, beans dry out more or less of their own accord. I dry a few onions more for convenience sake so I can pinch a few from a jar and toss them into something I'm cooking. If you do give this a try I'd start with using an oven (or airing cupboard) and skip the low cost £20-£80 dehydrators. The ones I've seen are badly made junk, really badly made, particularly the trays.

Dried wild mushrooms are a big deal in Northern Italian cooking. Wild mushrooms are a very seasonal crop plus you have very good years and very bad years. On top of that, drying them concentrates, sometimes even changes the flavour, in a good way. edit: and yes, shrooms dry easily and well

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  • 285 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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