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, February 27, 2011

First Outdoor Sowing of the Year

I had a lovely hour or two at the Hill yesterday!

On my List was:
- Sow onion sets which Julie’s has kindly offered me - no tempting trip to Wilko for me!
- Dig parsnip
- Fork over this year’s roots bed & sow parsnip (& radish seeds as ‘markers’ for the rows)

I arrived at the Hill to the sound of hammering coming from the bottom end, & I saw Rhubarb Brian in the distance erecting some sort of sentry box on the front of his plot.

As I went to get the fork out the shed, I spotted the tops of some rhubarb stalks from the very early crown over the top of the compost bins, & could not resist going across & pulling half a dozen of the longest (still only 6-8” long) which I later cooked in lemon juice & a little honey for tea.

I busied myself digging out a parsnip, & forking over one of the roots beds, & sowed a couple of rows of PARSNIP (saved white gem) & RADISH (French breakfast). The parsnip seed is a year past it’s best, so I’ve sowed quite thickly & hope that even if – say – only one in 15 or so come up, I’ll still have enough in each of the two rows.

I went up to collect the RED ONION SETS from Julie’s greenhouse – a couple of good sized handfuls was enough to fill in the rest of the bed between the overwintered white onions & the rather good-looking garlic.

Sowing done, I starting to fill the big trug bucket with manure from the skip, Brian headed past, & so I asked him what he was building.

“It’s a tool shed!” he beamed, “like Carl & Wendy’s by the gate. It looks a bit like an outside privy at the moment, but it’ll look better when it’s tiled – I’m just going to get the tiles now, back in a bit.”

I emptied half a dozen big trug buckets onto this year’s potato beds where possible – some re-sprouting parsnips are still in situ (I feel a batch of parsnip wine coming on!), & forked it level to the top of the boards, & felt that I’d more than finished what I’d set out to do.

I did do a little extra job, though – as I was putting the fork & trug bucket back into the shed, I spotted the bag of lime, so after the mental gymnastics that thinking about crop rotation always necessitates, I figured where it should be spread, & gave this year’s legumes beds a good dusting.

And because I had also given me a good dusting, I went home zombie-like, heading straight for the bath.


  1. Busy day! I went to look at my allotment this morning! Doesn't look too bad but I must get a good session down there. Whenever I have the time, the weather disobliges!

  2. Still so soggy underfoot you might end up doing more harm than good, Flum. I bet you have Spring springing though - buds breaking on your blackcurrants yet?

  3. That garlic looks ~splendid~. Of course, mine went in late - again ...

    I have definite "raised bed envy", your plot looks so organised and tidy.

  4. What you don't see is the fact that the beds should be fuller, the fact that the woodchip on the paths should have been replaced (or at least beefed up) this winter, and the broken board on the very first bed nearest the shed. The latter because I didn't use as robust a timber edging as you did on yours.

    Also you don't see the wonderful new growth on the comfrey - you'd never guess that it was in a new 'home', and I promise you a pic at the weekend. :)

  5. shoulda, coulda, woulda. Tish m'dear, it looks very good and you should be proud of it. Glad the comfrey is doing well.

    Seriously, if you replace any timber, you could try facing the soil-side with heavy plastic: try rolls of DPC, not too expensive and very durable.

    http://www.screwfix.com/prods/33975/Building/Damp-Proof/Damp-Proof-Course-150mm (sorry, too early for a proper link!)

    Do a search at Screwfix for "Damp proof" and you'll see how many different widths it comes in.


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