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 21, 2010

An Achievement of Sorts

Although the weather this year to day has been very cold & miserable, it has been generally quite dry - but earlier in the week we had a shower or two, then on Friday into Saturday it was really quite persistent, & I wondered if I would get the pea frame up as planned this weekend, so I could get the sweet peas planted out.

I was alone at the Hill yesterday, & admired the garlic coming up - it takes about 3 months to sprout, but then zooms along - then I started to set out the 8' canes for the frame. I was just arranging them into two rows, splayed outwards slightly, on which to attach green pea netting to, when Julie (second best plot) arrived.

This was excellent news as Julie is a key holder for the store shed & I wanted to buy the netting.

"I'm glad to see you, too," said Julie, "I think that you said that you'd like some of my spare seed potatoes - how many would you like? I've ended up with a few extras - partly as I ordered a little bag of one variety & they sent me 4 bags. They only charged for the one that I ordered, so I'm not complaining!"

Of course my mind went blank at this point & I couldn't remember how many I'd like, but as the potatoes are all chitting in her greenhouse, Julie said to help myself to a few of the 'accord' & 'anya' when I'd worked it out.

(note to self: a sketch & some maths reveals the answer to that to be 6 of each, for future ref)

I finished putting the bamboo sticks in - the whole affair seems unsatisfactorily flimsy, despite horizontal bamboo sticks top and middle, & shorter lengths between the two sides to brace. Further supporting sticks are required, I think - but I'd run out of wire twists by then, & it had started to rain quite hard, so I dug up three LEEKS (mrs d) & came home.

Going back today, the frame is no more pleasing to me than it was yesterday, but I figured that I can beef it up when I am in possession of more garden wire twists from Wilko, but in the meantime I can get the netting up, attaching it to the structure with those bag-ties that you get with a packet of plastic bags.

Maneuvering pea netting would test the patience of a saint - it's like wrestling fog. After stopping & unsnagging the bloody stuff about a million times from anything & everything, I eventually moved the 10m length (enough for each side) up the plot to the frame.

It's 2m wide, which is the height of the frame, so it was a case of tying the long edge to the highest horizontal pole all the way along, then down each side, & then to the middle and bottom horizontal poles.

Again, it's sort of ok, but I was running out of time (& patience, frankly), so I planted out the sweet peas by the first 4' stretch of netting, & in front I planted out a row of BROAD BEANS (self saved) & went home.

The joys of putting the netting up the other side are still to come.


  1. All your little seedlings look so strong and hearty, I shall hold my breath and just hope that the sticks & supports hold up for you.

    You won't thank me for this, but is there an argument for biting the bullet, buying a pile of wood and making something very big and hefty that will last a good few years and that you won't have to worry about as soon as the wind gets up? (I say this having listened to another gale up here last night).

    You'd only have to do it once . . .

  2. Ohh picture please BW :)

    *willing H's sticks to stay put!

  3. I find that the thicker netting - about 2" sq and thick brown or green plastic - is not only easier to manage in a wind but it is rigid enough to help support your canes. I'm also a believer in wigeams for stability.

  4. What an exciting time on your allotment! Your garlic will be romping ahead now we are getting longer days.

  5. Re: supports - I know that some growers have permanent beds for legumes, Bilbo, and I can certainly see the benefits of only doing the framework bit once! However, it feels more 'right' to me to include these in the rotation - and once I have settled on the system of support which works in the beds (this is only the second year of bed growing, after all), I'm hoping that it won't be too much of a menace!

    If this frame isn't robust enough now (even with your positive thinking, Pisk!), I'll have to think about wigwams - which are stronger, I know - I just think that the frame as it is will be easier for pea picking. Assuming it stays upright, of course {gg}

    The garlic is growing about an inch a week at the mo, Matron - and our first rhubarb nearly ready to pull!

  6. Think you are right Hazel, makes sense to rotate beans along with everything else - now, if only you could come up with a frame that was robust enough but could be moved easily ...

  7. I have a bean bed and a pea bed, both needing frames, but I'm hoping that I may have cracked the climbing bean frame this year, Bilbo, (it needs to be more robust than that for the peas, I think) - the 'V' frame will be installed again (next bed along) with only minor modifications.

    This pea frame is the result of going back to the drawing board - If it works, I don't think that it will be a huge faff to take down in winter & move along for next year.


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