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, March 08, 2009

New Planting Season Begins ....NOW!

I’m running out of windowsills. I’ve started on March’s seed sowing & it will be a little while before the earlier sowings can be taken to the Hill for planting out. As soon as anything vaguely hardy pops up, it’s hoofed out to the mini greenhouse. Of course, that’s now full too, so I’m not sure where we go from here.

I sowed BRUSSELS SPROUTS (bedford filbasket & falstaff), CABBAGE (kilaxy f1 & red sprouting), CALABRESE (waltham), CAULIFLOWER (all the year round) , LEEK (mrs d) & SWISS CHARD (bright lights) at the beginning of the week, along with a second sowing of BROAD BEANS (crimson flowered) & various TOMATOES. I also potted on the first batch of TOMATOES sown last month.

The brassicas are already peeping through, along with the CELERY (lathom self blanching galaxy) & CELERIAC (monarch f1) – these are tiny, tiny seedlings – I suspect much patience will be needed when pricking out!

Although it has been cold again all week, yesterday was a little warmer with some sunshine, so I headed off the to the Hill with enough wood to peg out the side of bed a2 furthest from the onions growing there. At least I will be able to get the path down between a2 & b1, even if the rest has to wait for a while to be complete.

But the best laid plans (& all that) meant that when I got the cordless screwdriver out to fix the wood to the stakes, I found that the screwdriver bit had lost it’s edge so I couldn’t compete the job. No matter, I’m further on than I was.

I did manage to beef up bed b1, though – at the far end the ground falls away leaving a gap underneath the level beds from where the soil can escape so I sneaked an extra panel in each side underneath the existing one which has done the job & then emptied a few manure bags into that end of the bed to bring the soil level up.

At the path end of bed b1 & b2 – this year’s potato plot – I planted out the first early POTATOES (dunluce & lady cristl), just six of each, so that is officially the start of the season!

I had a chat with Reg-next-plot, then up to the clubhouse where I gave one of the chaps a garlic bulb in return for some of his tomato seeds – I love seed swaps! Then on my way back to the car I saw Lionel (by the gate at the back) – he really would like to grow a row of a particular variety of climbing peas which he can’t get hold of in the catalogues, but I know a very nice man who will send me some, so that’ll be my good deed for next week!


  1. Oh my, oh my, oh my, I have RAISED BED ENVY.

    How sad am I that I've clicked on your picture to enlarge and have sat drolling at those lovely beds, the freshly dug soil, the compost on top? I'm guessing they are 4 foot wide with 2 foot inbetween?

    Wiping dribble off keyboard, going to get a bib . . .

  2. They are indeed 4' wide, Bilbo, however the paths are only 18-20" - I don't quite have the room for 2' paths.

    It's taken two growing seasons for me to be happy that my layout (simple as it is) will work on a long term basis (and even now, I wonder if I should have split the 20' beds to have a central path...)

    So just a thought with regard to your own veg bed plans - it might be worth working on a less permanent bed basis for a couple of seasons before you set your beds 'in stone' just to make sure that your theory works just as well in practice!

  3. Thanks Hazel, your advice about not rushing into a layout is sound and much appreciated.

    In truth, I have been cogitating this for the last 12 months (almost the day we moved in here I mentally earmarked this area at the front for veggies) so have got a fairly good sense of what I like and what doesn't appeal.

    Could you go back and retro-fit a central path?

  4. Hazel, do you not have a bit of room in the communal polytunnel?
    Evict some of yout stuff to there.


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