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 28, 2010

Spring is Here!

With nearly a full day spent at the Hill in the Spring sunshine yesterday, I got plenty done - & even allowing for chatting with my fellow plotholders, also lured out by the lovely weather, I'm still pleased with how much I achieved.

I even remembered to pop a bottle of redcurrant wine in the car for retired Maureen, made from her redcurrants last year & put it by her shed before starting off with some planting & sowing.

In no time at all I sowed a row of RADISH (french breakfast) & planted out three LETTUCE (dazzle), then the second early POTATOES (charlotte & osprey).

Reassessing the potato beds (always easier to work things out when they are in front of you!) I realised that I have room for three & not six each of Julie's (2nd best plot) kind offer of accent & anya potatoes. I nipped up to fetch them from where they are chitting in her greenhouse & came back to pop them into holes 18" apart dibbed into the beds with a big stick.

I then applied myself to the pea frame - by adding additional bracing, the whole caboodle is much stronger than it was - there are just four extra bamboo canes still to be tied in - which I thought of after a lightbulb moment earlier on today - to really finish the job off well.

Even putting the netting up on the second side wasn't overly problematic, & all in all, I am finally pleased with it.

I retired for refreshment to the Clubhouse, spending a pleasant half hour with the Saturday Old Boys discussing potato varieties & cursing pea & bean netting, then back to the plot to move the strawberry plants to their new quarters in the small square fruit bed.

The strawberries produced lots of new plants from runners last year, but not much in the way of fruit, so dug up & moved 25 of the youngest plants which should produce more fruit than the older plants. The netting cage fitted over the bed pleasingly well & will protect the fruit from the birds in due course.

I saw retired Maureen's car arriving and she parked up at the top & stopped on the way past to say hello. "My, these beds are the business, aren't they?" she enthused.

"Thank you," I beamed, "I am pleased with them. I'm very glad to see you, actually - I've left you a bottle of redcurrant wine, made from your redcurrants - it's by your shed. Oh, and do you want any strawberry plants, I have about a dozen spare, if you'd like them?"

She didn't need asking twice & soon produced an old washing up bowl for taking the strawberry plants to her plot.

I turned to the compost heaps - they are wildly out of control & the front one far too full. Investigating the back bin, it was pretty much rotted down, so I took the side off & moved most of the contents onto the potato bed. The spuds will love it, & they are robust enough not to worry that the compost is a bit on the coarse side.

With the bin mostly emptied, I was left with a whole load of sticks & prunings, & the three gooseberry bushes dug up over winter, which are both too big for the bins & too robust for my secatuars to tackle - not to mention the thorns which yet again laughed in the face of my gardening gloves.

I decided to burn the sticks (bonfires permitted until the end of the month) & I'll take the rogue gooseberry bushes in green bags to the council tip. Reg-next-plot arrived just as I was trying to light a bonfire in the metal fire barrel that we have for the purpose.

"I can see that you were never a girl guide," he said, casting a critical eye over my feeble fire lighting attempts, & in between letting me have the latest news about new people on the site he re-built my fire & had it burning nicely in no time.

Once everything dry enough to burn had gone up in smoke, I put the fire out, roughly dug the ashes into the ground & went home smelling like Smokey Joe. Yet another day for stripping at the back door and heading straight up to the bath...


  1. Your plot looks fantastic - all the effort you went to making the raised beds is really paying off. The black gold at the bottom of your compost heap looks splendid too.

    Nowt wrong with having to stip off at the backdoor and head straight for a shower - sign of a good day in the garden!

  2. Don't you just love a day like that, when you count up the jobs you've done and it's SEVERAL (instead of the usual one-and-a-bit!)

  3. I love having bonfires on the patch to clear everything up. I use the wood ash to put under all my fruit trees - they enjoy a feed of potash this time of year!

  4. I feel I'm getting to the end of the 'big jobs' (or are those Famous Last Words??) and will just be able to titivate about with some plants & soil soon! It really was a very good day.

    I'm not so practised with bonfires, Matron, so I was worried about setting fire to everything in sight - I didn't dare keep the ashes for the fruit bushes but emptied the fire bucket & roughly chopped the ashes into the spare ground. I thought that it was rather a waste at the time, but better safe than sorry...


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