Sunday, 11 April 2010

Allotment Tour

The shed was a thing of great amusement to other allotment holders when it was first erected as it's thin metal construction led them to believe it would disappear in the first gale - but it is still standing after all these years and numerous gales. There are three water butts at the side of the shed with one fed by guttering to catch rain water off the shed roof. One decent downpour can fill a water butt. This becomes extremely useful during long dry spells in the summer.

Our greenhouse was only erected two years ago but has proved to be our best investment it has two tables inside and slabs up the middle leaving soil down the sides so we can again grow plants in soil under glass. There is a potting table on one of the tables which sees a lot of use at this time of year. Two water butts collect water from the gutters either side of the greenhouse thus aiding the water requirement of a greenhouse.

The cold frame located to the rear of the greenhouse has a soil base so we can bring on plants under glass. The cold frame is also used for housing trays of plants when there is no space left in the greenhouse. Originally the cold frame had a base and was located adjacent to the shed but after erection of the greenhouse it was decided to extend the paving around the greenhouse and incorparate the cold frame in the same area.

Having seen the success others have had with raised beds it was decided to try an experimental raised bed to see what success we might enjoy with our attempt. The bed comprises a gravel and stone base to act as a drainage layer then the best soil from our allotment and finally six 60 litre sacks of general purpose compost. It measures 8' x 4' x 1' high. It was decided to grow a number of different things rather than one thing and the raised bed currently has the following;

2 rows of onions

1 row of peas

2 rows of carrots grown from seed

1 row of carrot plants

2 rows of stawberry plants (4 plants per row)

There are four trees on the allotment three apple trees and a pear tree. The apple trees are all on their second season and the pear tree is on it's third season. The pictured tree is a Bramley apple tree so we are hoping for some cooking apples from it this year. One of our apple trees produced fruit in its first year but unfortunately insects got to the apples and ate them all. Hope for better luck this year with our apples. You might not be able to see from the photo but the apple trees are already coming into bud.

We look set for a great year of brasicas if those in the adjacent photograph are a clue - they have been growing in the greenhouse but are currently on the slab surround hardening off prior to planting when time permits. Positive thoughts at this stage though can lead to sadness later if we have any visits from our little friends or should that be enemies.

Youngest member of the family has an area of the allotment that has been doubled in size this year following last years staggering success. The mounds are a clue to what is growing here - yes potatoes and in this case Charlotte potatoes. Care has been taken to get some goodness into the soil and add some potatoe feed to assist growth. This section of the alottment was previously used for strawberries but after a poor crop last year and the need to remove some of the older strawberry plants the chance to downsize the bed and reutilse some of the space was taken.

Crop rotation is soemthing that has happened each year on our allotment and this year the second early and main crop potatoes shown in this picture are located in the middle of our allotment. It is nice to break up the allotment with a bit of colour and height as shown in this picture with the daffodils and willow tree.

Composters are an important aspect of our allotment and we currently have three in full use. We fill them with grass cuttings, suitable vegetables and shredded paper together with annual weeds. Here endeth the tour - hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, 5 April 2010

More Strawberries

I love my strawberries so purchased another eight plants from a couple of garden centres today. Four are now in the raised bed.

At least I know what these are - previously we have cultivated runners from a neighbours allotment for our strawberries.

Last year was a worst year for strawberries for a while so it has been a case of back to the drawing board this year.

About our Allotment

It is 65 metres by 10 metres and comprises a green metal shed, greenhouse, raised bed and cold frame as "permanent" strutures.

There are three apple trees (2 eaters, 1 cooker) and a pear tree. Other fruit includes two rows of rasberry canes, rhubarb, gooseberries, black currents, red currents and strawberries. We like making jam!

We grow potatoes (early, main and salad), beans, garlic, onions, parsnips, carrots, sweetcorn, pumpkins, peas, leeks to name but some.

We currently have some daffodils to brighten up the allotment and we are growing some giant sunflowers.

Oh yes we started work on it about 8 years ago so we are starting to get the hang of it but still learning all the time.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

April Fool

A busy morning at the allotment saw 2 rows of onions planted in the new raised bed, 1 row of peas and 1 row of lettuces.

The second early potatoes are now all planted and occupy the equivalent of 4 10 metre rows.