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, November 01, 2009

Lovely News!

The weather forecast for the weekend proved spot on, in that Saturday was a better day for being outside than Sunday. Too right - if I'd gone to the Hill today instead I would have been blown all the way home again!

So it was T-shirt weather yesterday - especially after a bit of light forking of the two miscellaneous beds (d1 & d2) at the front of the plot. I dug up the CUCUMBER plants but left the COURGETTE in place as it still seems to be producing the odd fruit.

The squash plants that were also in these beds didn't leave much room for weeds to grow, so it didn't take long to prepare the soil & plant out some overwintering ONIONS (electric & yellow senshuyi) & the bigger cloves from a couple of bulbs of GARLIC.

I saw that novice neighbour Jody had been busy on his plot, and he arrived soon after me with news that Mrs J had a little girl last Friday, mother and baby both doing well. Congratulations all round!

He has dug a shallow trench across his plot, and when I asked him what it was for he said, "it's for my elephant garlic - Reg-next-plot told me to plant them in a trench, and if Reg says that's the way to do it, that's good enough for me."

That seems sensible - Reg grows cracking veg. Jody then spread lime, saying "Reg's told me to add a load of lime too."

When I asked if the trench was so he could earth up the garlic (although I've never heard of this before), he said, "I have no idea - Reg hasn't said yet." Fair enough.

John Badger passed by on his way home - we chatted about the grapes & have decided that I should make grape wine, & not mix it with other fruit, & he even asked if I wanted a 5 gallon fermenting bucket, a demijohn & a couple of other bits & pieces - I'll say so! Hurrah!

I dug up the first of the SWEDE (virtue) which looks very respectable, a couple of disappointingly forked PARSNIP (hsl guernsey) & a couple of LEEKS (mrs d).

Potager Chrissie came down for a chat & we discussed the pilot project the site has undertaken whereby a couple of the full allotments have been split into quarter plots.

There are pros & cons here - personally, I think that a quarter plot is neither here nor there - you wouldn't have much room to grow, or room for a shed or greenhouse - however, I suppose that people will be able to see if they like having an allotment, and can maybe more to a bigger plot if they do.

Mind you, it's also a jolly convenient way for the Council to reduce the number of people on the waiting lists without the expense & bother of setting up new allotment sites...

I thought about this whilst I dug a bean trench for next year - the compost bins are way beyond full, so the plan is to take the excess off the top of the heap, putting it and any other weeds and other compostable stuff in the trench which will rot down & be covered over in Spring to form a good water retaining layer for the beans next year.

I finished up by roughly forking over the next section between the beds & the boundary with Neighbour Ted - I'll make beds in this area for fruit this winter, but in the mean time, the weeds are hell bent on making it their own...


  1. An excellent day indeed. I've heard a lot recently about councils splitting up plots as a quick way of reducing waiting lists. Agree with you that ¼ plot is neither here nor there but do feel an awful lot of people are going to give up in a couple of years when they realise that gardening takes a long time and is not all Ground Force and a quick bit of decking.

    Now, if only I could remember where I read last week about not doing the compost/trench thing for beans, yes I know, it's what we all do, always, but I know I read somewhere . . .

  2. You got lucky with the weather. We had a village event on Saturday - at which were were helpers, so no ducking out! - and Sunday brought the most vile weather we've had for ages. Lucky chickens now have their roof so they kept dry.

    Congrats to Mrs J and the new baby.

  3. What a busy day you had! May I just say a BIG thank you for the surprise pumpkins left in my greenhouse- lovely, it's due to rain again tomorrow so I feel a cooking session coming on!

  4. I wouldn't normally leave an open bean trench, Bilbo - I think it looks a right mess, if I'm honest.

    The problem is that the compost bin is so overloaded already, and I have so much more in the way of weeds & green stuff (inc. rasperry volunteers that I am determined to dig up & compost) AND still two horrible gooseberry bushes to hoik out, I felt I had to do something!

    I'd be interested in hearing the theory though, if you find the article again.

    I guess we've been spoilt with the autumn weather that we've had so far, Flum - it couldn't last! The days are dark by about 4.30pm already - and there's months until it starts to cheer up again. Boo!

    Glad you found the red kuri squash, Julie - as you see, I'm not depriving myself at all...


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