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...........

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Now, Where Was I...?

Despite not blogging for a week or two (or three), I have not been idle*, & since last blogging I have achieved the following at the Hill:

• Put up the bean 'V' - i.e. ran two pieces of stout fencing wire down the length of the bed between the two end T pieces, one to each extremity of the 'T'.

Once taut, I inserted twenty 8' canes along the centre line angled towards the wire on alternate sides, & tied the canes to the wire.

• Weeded all the beds, inc. digging over the two misc beds B ready for planting up.

• Prepped the asparagus bed & planted out the crowns - this was a real faff, & the crowns themselves like horrible squids with long roots for tenticles.

The roots were much longer than the planting guide seemed to think they would be, so rather than spreading the roots out evenly on a mound of soil in the bottom of a pathalogically weed free foot-deep trench, they were a bit spiralled round. Picky beggars - all that, & I can't even eat the spears for 3 years.

• Weeded the strawberry bed which lives under a cage normally, & so tends to get ignored.

Flowers are on the strawberry plants - a report in the paper this week says how prolofic the soft fruit will be due to the unseasonal warmth of April. Didn't say how the fruit was going to swell, given the unseasonal dryness of April, but there you go.

• Planted out the last batch of peas & strung the wigwam round & round.

• Pulled lots of rhubarb to make crumbles, for mum, godmother (who is stopping with mum), neighbours, & enough to get a batch of rhubarb wine going.

At home:

• Sowed seeds for all of the 'tender' crops - dwarf & climbing beans, courgette/squash/cucumber, another batch of leeks, sweetcorn & spring onions; as well as the final batch of peas.

• Planted out the tomato plants into their buckets, & lined these up against the sunny south dwarf wall in the courtyard.

One of the plants came to a sticky end almost immediately when the washing basket careered off its handy spot on the wall and landed on two of the buckets, with only one survivor.

I planted up a spare in it's stead, and put a long cane in each bucket to tie the plants to - it might look a bit daft now, when the plants are tiny, but they will soon grow & need support - as well as protecion from flying washing baskets.

• Planted up a spare recycling bag with the competition potatoes in a layer of grow bag compost - I was late going up to the store shed to pay my £2 for the grow bag & seed potatoes and so the spuds only had a few days on the windowsill to chit.

I wanted to get them planted up, though, as the official weigh day is that of the Show (14th August), which is only 14wks away. Mind you, I can hardly do worse than last year's efforts.

Phew! That brings us pretty much up to date, & yesterday evening I went to the Hill to see how everything is getting on (which is very well, thank you - particularly the weeds which have gone crackers now that we've FINALLY had a good soaking of rain over last weekend) & planted out half of the dwarf french beans.

I can see 'weeding' being top of the List for this weekend...

*Not strictly true - I am just back from having been particularly idle in a horizontal-lying-on-the-beach type way for a week or so.


  1. Glad to see you've found time to post in the midst of all that whirlwind activity. Hope your beach jaunt was restful.

  2. Asparagus is worth the wait. We planted a long row at our old allotment - we moved here in Year 4! D'Oh!
    Weeding is Job of the Week here too. You realise how much difference the rain makes when the weeds zip up.

  3. It was fabulous, thank you, Kris - for me, I think that it's the not having to do anything if you don't want to that is so restful.

    Bad planning there, Flum! Do you have a bed planted up with crowns yet on your new plot? If I'd have pulled my finger out when we first had the plot, I'd be eating my own by now!

  4. Your plot is looking good Hazel! Keep up the grea work. Looking forward to seeing everything climb up those canes.

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  6. I love your bean frames but I suspect they would be blown over up here; everything is looking fantastic, you have been SO busy. Next time you cast aspertions about how much I have been doing at Bag End, I will gently point you back in the direction of this post!

  7. what an industrious gal you've been :o)

  8. PS: asparagus - or you could do what's happened here - plant 10 crowns, wait years and then see more than 50% of them die over the winter ....

    PPS: talk of industrious, have you SEEN Nic's plot - WOW, I am going to see if I can kidnap her and put her to work at Bag End.

  9. Thank you, Craig - the only beans climbing at the moment are the suposedly dwarf 'emperor of russia'...

    I think that the knack is to put some cross pieces in to keep the long horizontal wires parallel, Bilbo - but I suspect that you may be right about your more challenging weather. Wigwams are mathematically the most stable structure, I suspect.

    Thank you, Nic!

    The bloody asparagus better thrive, Bilbo - it's a real prima donna, but I will be delighted if/when I am eating the spears the year after next! Now that you have the man-machine which is LP, perhaps you can leave Nic in the Cotswolds!


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