Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Pause for Thought...

A number of things are beginning to come to light with regard to how we are progressing at the Hill – & having flicked back through the photos in an idle moment, one or two things have struck me:

First thought – paths:

Paths are important if we don’t want to b*gger up our soil structure – or have to wear Stout Boots every time we want to wander on to the plot.

I’ve bought 2 Weed Prevention Sheets from Tesco (1.5m by 10m of black plastic, in essence) for £2 each & I can cut the sheets into path sized strips (0.5m by 10m) and place them between each of the 4 plots, and have enough to split each plot lengthways again so that you can always reach the middle of a bed from a path.

The only disadvantage is that with north/south sowings, the centre path in each bed will bisect the row. Perhaps that’s ok though.

Second thought – plot A:

Approx one third of plot A (beans and peas) is taken up with the bear pit bean trench & if we grow runner beans on the whole lot, both us, our families, friends and anyone who knows us will all die of runner bean overload.

As the trench runs east-west, there will be a sunny side & a shady side – so I thought that we could grow runners, climbing French beans up a quarter of each side each & put the rest over to peas (which I prefer!). It will be interesting to see if there is a disadvantage for the shady side.

Next year I’d like to try an inverted wigwam of cans for the beans – you tie the opposing poles together so they pull on each other, and as the plants climb up the poles, the beans hang down for ease of picking – another Grapevine special!

Third thought – progress so far:

We’ve had charge of the plot for a quarter of the year! And to date we have:

  • Got rid of a whole heap of annual weeds – main culprits are chickweed & nettles – & prepared for sowing.
  • Got rid of half our grotty gooseberry bushes & half a row of huge beetroot & planted some fruit buses
  • Sown a load of seeds which haven’t done anything yet – & at home those that have, are really leggy, except the pea sprouts which are looking FAB
  • Made some Heath Robinson soil protectors because we (all right, I) have no patience to wait until spring to sow.
  • Successfully transplanted garlic which seems to be growing nicely
  • Learnt a whole heap from some really nice people – on line & at the Hill

That all sounds bit mixed – but, you know what? I wouldn't swap a minute of it!


  1. From experience, I don't think the North/South vs East/West sowing is much of a problem - at least not on an allotment scale! Experiment though. It's always fun to experiment - as long as you keep good records as by the end of the season i've always forgotten which was supposed to be what test. :)

    I've added you to my blogs list on my blog, and am going to add a few more as I troll around the Vine. (I'm Poledragon on there!)

  2. Hazel

    You mentioned earlier about 3 sisters planting - that should help avoid bean overload.

    Totally impressed with what you've managed to achieve. Your list makes mine look pathetic.

    Can't wait to be able to offer useful advice - it's just that I've no experience with anything except docks. mIn the meantime I'll have to keep wittering on about supermarkets.


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