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 29, 2009

Unintended Consequences

There have been a number of knock on effects from building the raised beds

  • having muddy boots from a visit to the Hill is a distant memory – the bark paths are better than I could have hoped
  • you don’t have to plant out things in rows with a gap in between in order to put your clodding great hoof, but can just plant things out equidistant in blocks as each part of the beds can be reached from the paths – saving loads of space. Haven't quite grasped this point as yet!
  • there is an end to digging over & bed preparation. Once it’s done, it’s done.

This last point will turn out to be pretty revolutionary, I think – take yesterday as an example. I had a list of what I wanted to do – plant out the LETTUCE (hsl stoke), half a dozen CAULIFLOWER (all the year round), both types of main crop POTATOES (pentland dell & rooster) & the PARSNIPS (hsl guernsey). I got the whole lot done in the space of a couple of hours, & that included having Julie (2nd best plot) coming down for a natter.

Mum & big sister Helen arrived as I was finishing weeding the flower border at the front, so I showed them round the site (we dropped off a bottle of raspberry & blackberry wine into cheery Brian & Pauline’s mini greenhouse) before picking the first lot of RHUBARB.

And that was it – all jobs done, & off to the garden centre for tea & toasted teacakes!


  1. I should have got one of those early rhubarbs! Both my crowns are Stockbridge Arrow which I really can't fault for flavour - but it's never in a hurry in spring. Somehow I thought 'arrow' implied rapid arrival! Good job I've still got some in the freezer.

  2. Cor, that looks fabulous. Raised beds and paths are terrific and it is lovely to see that the beds DO NOT have to be full of compost/soil/etc before you plant.

    I'm with you on the 'do it properly, do it once, never dig again' school of veggie growing!

  3. PS: meant to say, pea supports look brill.

  4. We have marked our (half)plot out in beds (the raised bit will happen eventually!) and I'm having trouble getting my head round the planting bit.
    I'm going to have to replant today the onions we put in on Sunday as I did it in rows and they're never all going to fit in.

    I was admiring your pea supports too. And your rows are across not lengthways- is that so they're north-south or is there another very clever reason for it? I need all the help I can get!
    DH is great with the digging/making/shed erecting and the children are enthusiastic, but I'm definitely on my own when it comes to the technical stuff...

    Hazel N

  5. I think that the 'arrow' may refer to 'as straight as' rather than to 'as swift as', Flum! This particular crown really is early - I've not seen anyone else's at the Hill so far on. Must try blanching part of the crown next year.

    I guess that the bed level will build up over time, Bilbo - I can see next winter's manuring being particulary comprehensive, which will work through the whole plot eventually.

    The rows do run N-S, Hazel, as you point out - besides the fact that this suits the orientation of the plot, I can't see a great deal of merit in a 20' row length of anything - much better to do 4' rows/blocks in succession to extend the season, in my view.

    By the way, you can always cram your onions in closer than recommended - you can then start using every other one as fresh small onions early in the season, and leave the others to swell for later drying/storing.


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