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 10, 2008

Aren't Some People Lovely...?

Some fine weather! We do have cool nights, of course, with it being quite clear – but it does feel like it’s time to ‘do something’.

But first, a Social. Last Saturday I was kindly invited down by Shelley & Paul to their home in the Forest of Dean, along with some others from the GYO Grapevine forum, so 10 of us had the most wonderful lunch in the delightful surroundings of Holly Cottage. I took some jars of beetroot chutney with me, biscuits & chocolate for our hosts, & some cheese to help the buffet along & came away with a bottle of home brewed wine, & clutching a handful of delicious new recipes. We were made most welcome – even by BC the cat – & a fabulous time was had by all.

On Sunday it was the potato day at Garden Organic at Ryton – the home of the Heritage Seed Library. Not that my membership let me off the £6 entrance fee, but there were about 100 varieties of seed potato to choose from, & I could have a good look round & there were various lectures & presentations going on too – including potatoes being cooked…

However, it was too cold & blowy to stop long, but I came away with two varieties of first earlies (12 each of lady crystl & orla), two varieties of second earlies (8 each of charlotte & edzell blue), & two varieties of maincrop (20 each of pentland dell & picasso). Having planned the spacings & varieties better this year I am hoping to avoid last year’s difficulties when digging up the potatoes, what with not being able to see the rows/varieties through bad planting.

In the week I started a batch of wine with the celery dug up from the Hill, supplemented by some extra from Aldi. It was more straightforward to make than the parsnip wine (which I am delighted to report is clearing nicely), & tonight I have put it in a demijohn to continue fermenting.

It was a lovely day at the Hill yesterday – the better weather had bought quite a few out to get their plots ready for spring. I saw Novice Neighbour Jody for the first time since his little one was born at Christmas, Haydn & Teacher Barry. I also met a new plot holder, a little further down the Hill – Andy – who was used to having more land, having spent some time in France, & a few others dotted up & down.

I finished the re-digging of plot D (legumes) & planted out 30 BROAD BEANS (barry plot19) which have been merrily growing in pots in the mini greenhouse. Barry asked if they’d been properly hardened off before planting out, & I said yes, but sloped off to cover them with fleece as soon as he’d gone – frost was forecast.

I dug the green manure in on half of plot B (roots) with a view to getting the bed ready for parsnips – I plan to sow them in loo roll inners then plant them out which may mean that I avoid parsnip overload this year…

To take home for tea, I picked PAK CHOI, KALE (alice), a TURNIP (snowball) & a RED CABBAGE. The red cabbage is small, but I think that these will start come into their own over the next few weeks

Now I have the mini greenhouse up & running, I have somewhere for seedlings to start hardening off after they’ve sprouted indoors, so I’ve started to sow a few more seeds – SPRING ONION (ishikura), CAULIFLOWER (all the year round), CABBAGE (red sprouting), LETTUCE (chartwell) & a couple of seeds each of PEPPER (purple jalapeno, big banana, jalapeno & cayenne chilli).

Runner up in the ‘most generous person’ stakes this week – after Shelley & Paul – has to be Pam, who took a full plot on towards the clubhouse at the same time as we did. She remembered a conversation that we’d had last year about sheds, & came down & asked me a couple of weeks ago if I’d like their old toolshed as they were getting another.

And when I arrived at the Hill on Saturday, there it was, all ready to reassemble – how wonderful is that? I couldn’t wait to get to the Hill this morning ‘tooled up’ & put it together – & bar some new felt, hinges for the doors & a lick of paint it is absolutely perfect!


  1. Nice shed Haze - now, which side is the kettle and fridge going :-)

  2. With the size of the shed being as it is, Clare, it's a case of a kettle OR tool store...

  3. Arn't your fellow plotholders generous. You are very lucky indeed.

    I might steal your idea of sowing parsnip seeds in toilet roll holders as I have quite a few put by for my sweet peas.

  4. Makes you think that perhaps the world is not too bad, after all, doesn't it Stringbean!

    Can't claim the credit for the loo roll idea - it's a tip picked up from the GYO Grapevine.

    I'm hoping that by sowing and planting out the number of parsnips that I need rather that just a row and hope for the best, I wont be QUITE so overwhelmed next year! They are lovely...BUT....

  5. See now a shed is the one thing I wish we had on our plot... Unfortunatly we're not allowed them, or greenhouses, which is a shame but then we have a big locked storage box so I guess we do ok... :)


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