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...........

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

End of year report!

Well doesn’t time fly! Mid November marked the end of our second year at the Hill, so it’s high time that I did the Annual Report…

As last year, we have some overall winners, losers & conclusions:

  • It is still fabulous fun – we’ve met more allotment holders on site, & no longer feel like absolute new girls. This said, I would think that we will retain ‘new girl’ status for many years to come in the eyes of the old hands, but there’s no harm in that.

  • Most prolific crop: parsnip – we’ve grown fewer this year – hopefully not too few!
  • Most disappointing crop 1: for the second year running – carrots – can’t seem to get these right at all, with early, mid season & late sowings still all getting decimated by the carrot fly. Either diligent covering of the carrots, or growing in high sided containers is the way forward here.
  • Most disappointing crop 2: again, for the second year running – tomatoes – although we did better than last year, blight still curtailed the crop. Perhaps growing half a dozen plants in pots at home is the answer.
  • Most delicious crop: here’s one thing I have learned – each crop is utterly delicious as it is eaten properly in it’s season. I can think back now to how wonderful the first peas, or runner beans were, the taste of the sweetcorn straight from the plant & also how much I’m looking forward to the first of the leeks.

  • The weather’s been ok overall – a bit of a lack of prolonged summer, but that’s meant that we’ve not had to water too much, & the potatoes have been marvelous.

  • The Show was terrific fun – it’s very much easier to enter classes that you can plan ahead for (e.g. cakes, pickles, potatoes, onions, rhubarb) than those for which the crops have to be ready for at peak of perfection on the day (e.g. beans, peas, tomatoes, radish, most other things), but I did better than I expected – although it was quite stressful!

  • I’m delighted with the compost bins – we now have two, & have turned out our first batch of compost on to the plot. Very satisfying.

  • Now the bed positions are pretty settled, we aim to make the beds rather more permanent – we’ll use pegs and boards (I think) & wood chippings for the paths

  • Another area to look at is that of the fruit from the plot. The gooseberries were completely rubbish this year, & the plants are full of terrible thorns - they will be lucky to survive the coming year! We do have strawberries in situ & covered with the cage, so hopefully we’ll benefit from those this year; & we still have to make a decision about the raspberries – i.e. whether we keep the suckers that keep popping up, or buy new ones & sort out posts & wires accordingly.

  • The little greenhouse has been a real asset at home for seedlings but it could have been used for a couple of chili plants too, I think.

  • We’ve started putting more flowers at the front of the plot – I must sow our own seeds for next year, tho’ – the bedding plants were our greatest expense this year.

  • We’ve grown more unusual & heritage varieties this year – particularly beans & peas which are not only good dried for the winter, but have easy-to-save seeds which I’ve been offering to other allotment holders at the Hill, & to on-line gardeners too. On the seed front, we have an embarrassingly high number of seed packets e.g. half a dozen varieties of carrots, when we can hardly grow one decent one. I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to have a good sort out, & to only have new packets from the Heritage Seed Library. Ha!

  • I’ve made a valiant effort with pickles (surprisingly good), preserves (er… needs further work) & wine making (pretty fab, actually!), & this is certainly an area to concentrate on next year…

What strikes me is that I thought we’d done a lot last year, & looking back on this year, so much more – fantastic! All in all, a very successful, tasty & enjoyable year – I shall raise a glass of parsnip wine to gardeners the world over – may your fingers be forever green!

1 comment:

  1. Green? Mine are usually a nasty shade of brown! Well done on another great year. Addictive, isn't it?


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