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...........

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chatting & Cropping

I had a wonderful afternoon at the Hill yesterday - although I suspect that I would have had a more productive day if I had done more & chatted less.

The first job was to tidy up the front border - deadheading the calendulas & thinning those which are overwhelming the lavender plants. I was just eyeing up the ripening seed heads on the self seeded poppy plants when John Badger from the bottom came up to say hello.

"Can I pinch some of the seeds heads off those poppies?", he asked.

"Of course - I want to save some for my friend in Cumbria too - do you think that they are ready to pick?" As we rattled one of the pods, it scattered seed like a pepper pot, so we concluded that they are - and of course there is no need for me to sow more for next year now.

Deciding that snapping the heads off to take home would leave a trail of poppy seeds all over the car, I left them for the time being, to be collected next time round.

We exchanged news - he gave me an update on his chickens (five out of six of his ex-battery hens laying each day) & his pond at the bottom (froglets galore), & admired newcomers Carl & Wendy by the gates magnificent floral front of plot, concluding that if they didn't win 'best front of plot', then we were Dutchmen.

Returning allotmenteer Christine came by as I was digging up my second early POTATOES (osprey) & was so impressed with a particularly big one that she told me to enter into the show as 'heaviest potato' & took a photo of me & it to put on her blog.

She was back & forth busy 'dressing her shed as a beach hut for the best dressed shed competition - wonderful photos on her blog. If they run the competition next year, I might have a go, depending on any rare sparks in the creativity department.

I dug up all the onions - they've finished any growing now - and rather disappointing they are too.

Not that big (some of the red onions were no larger than they were when they went in as sets in the autumn - what have they been doing for the last 6 months?) & quite a few split - maybe I should go for spring sown sets next year instead. Or some of both, perhaps. And some shallots too.

I sowed green manure in this bed in rows, hoping that the grazing rye would do better than it did last year - i.e. at least sprout.

Neighbour Jody arrived as I was on picking duties - his onions are brilliant. "Ah," he winked, "secret weapon - they are from Reg-next-plot's seedlings," which goes some way to explaining it.

I had a last scout round the plot to assess what might be there or thereabouts to enter for the show next week then picked more bloody courgettes & came home to make courgette soup - which turned out to be surprisingly good.


  1. 'done more and chatted less' sums up my gardening achievements some days! Overwintereing onions haven't been great here either - 6 out of 100 made it through the snow and the ones I planted in the spring are well and truly baked into the ground! Hey ho, you win some lose some.

    Thanks for the poppy seed reminder - must go and track down the purple poppy heads

  2. Please do tell - what are bloody courgettes? are they a more interesting and tasty variety than Soliel, Black Beauty or Defender and will you please remind me not to plant any of the b*ggers next year .... that's right, none of them. I shall grow redcurrants instead and make lovely preserves like young Nic!

    PS: thank you for remembering the poppy seeds.

  3. It always seems a good use of land to over-winter onions, Nic - but on reflection, maybe I'd be better off with Spring sown sets. Maybe a few of each this time round.

    Less of your cheek, Hobbit - I know that you are overrun too! I can thoroughly recommend redcurrants - no trouble at all, as long as you remember to net them.


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