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...........

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Any which way...?

True to form, Friday’s persistent rain gave way to a fine, if cloudy day, for a visit to the Hill on Saturday, although it’s pretty wet underfoot.

Reg-next-plot, a young man about next door but two & an older chap called Barry were there in various stages of work – Reg watering some secret ingredient on to the soil to combat clubroot, young man clearing the plot & Barry dispensing advice.

I checked all the seeds – NOTHING – but not to be put off I put in another row of BROAD BEANS (aguadulce), CARROTS (Adelaide) under fleece & LETTUCE (little gem) under the polycarb.

I took 5 Jerusalem Artichokes down to plant – but forgot to consult Hessayon so had to make a guess as to the planting distances. Everyone on the Grapevine seems to think that they’re jolly easy & you can’t go wrong, so we’ll see!

I’ve planted them front to back on the plot at the border, because they are supposed to grow tall and act as screening, so I thought that I may not be hugely popular with the chap at the back end of the plot if they shaded his bit.

I started to give this a bit of thought, actually – the plot faces south with the road & plot D at the south & the rhubarb & the seedbed at the north, & beyond that is my neighbour’s half plot. Everyone at the Hill seems to have rows east/west which I would have thought would mean that tall rows would shade the rows beyond. If you plant north/south, surely this would seem to make better use of the light for the entire plot?

I’ll give this some further thought – but I’d better get a move on and make my mind up as while I’m thinking, I’m also sowing east/west, and changing my mind halfway through is not going to be easy!

Jane joined me and besides doing our bit emptying all the bags of horse manure into the skip, we grubbed up alternate gooseberry plants down the boundary in order to plant our BARGAIN fruit bushes (pack of blackcurrant, redcurrant & raspberry for £1.99 from Aldi – oh yes! So I bought 2 packs). Unfortunately when we read the planting instructions it said to soak them in a bucket overnight before planting. Damn – could have easily done that last night.

We dug the holes, though, and took advice from Barry who stopped by to see how we are getting on. He dispensed an awful lot of advice, half of which I have now forgotten, but this included

  • put a handful of bone meal into each planting hole
  • sprinkle some growmore on the garlic for it to wash into the soil
  • water spare soil with fungicide to kill any nasties
  • plant red/blackcurrant a month ago (this one not massively helpful, obviously)

Not sure how ‘green’ all of these are, & must investigate fertiliser further as this is YET ANOTHER area that I’m not too hot on, but that’s for another day!

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