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, January 25, 2015

More Winter Work

It's still quite wintery here - as it should be in January - with cold winds, temperatures in the low single figures, and the odd flurry of snow and sleet showers.  So when I made my trip to the Hill at the weekend, I made sure that I had a definite plan in mind to busy myself with.

My first job was to work out how to take a photo of the plot from a good vantage point.  I'm a member of a gardening forum, and am taking part in an interesting topic where members take a photo of their plot or garden from the same point each month so we can all see the changes that occur through the seasons.

The obvious vantage point for my plot is the top of the manure skip, however the handy set of steps that used to be lashed to one side are no longer in situ, so I had to clamber up the other end and make my way over the manure and leaf mould mountain to my chosen spot.

Great - although I'm not sure what I'll do later in the year when the skip gets less full as the manure is used up.   I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The photo is as I arrived at the plot, so the first job was to mend the brassica tunnel (not for the last time, I fear) - I need to have a look at why other people's seem more robust than mine.  More canes lashed to the hoops, perhaps.

I took the canes down from the bean frames, collected the black turtle bean pods for drying and shelling, then forked over the bed.  I moved the big T-shaped frame ends to their new bed for this year, securing them as usual by digging them in deeply, thumping them home and screwing them to the bed ends.

My last job was to empty the third dalek composter, spread around the good compost and put back the uncomposted stuff with a couple of sacks of leaves to get it going for the next round.

Irritatingly, I've planted garlic where the fourth composter should be moved to, so that will have to wait till midsummer before that one gets moved.  No matter.

Chris from down the bottom stopped for a chat as she was on her way home - it was getting dusk by then and so I headed off before I chilled down.  Not before forgetting to pick kale and leaving my lumphammer out, though - both of which I remembered as I wallowed in a very welcome, very hot bath.


  1. I love how you move your daleks each year, so very sensible.

    Thanks for mentioning your "T" frames and reminding me that I always thought this was a terrific idea - no prizes for guessing how my peas will be supported this season :}

    1. In terms of structures, the T frames have worked well for me - this netting tunnel no so much. The design is a work in progress!

      Haven't forgotten about the dwarf beans I promised you - will get them in the post.

  2. Woops, missed this post. Lots of work to get the garden ready for spring planting I see. It'll be great to see photos from the same spot each month. Take care.

    1. It's a good vantage point, and I hope that it will be interesting to see how things change through the year.

  3. That's a great idea, the monthly picture from the same spot. I think I might give it a go. Hardest part would be to choose the spot (I don't have a manure mountain to climb).
    It's feeling slightly autumnal here in my part of Australia so spring will be on its way for you soon. Happy growing.

    1. I take pics from top and bottom end each time anyway, but they aren't half as clear as from this vantage point. The set of steps that used to be kept by the manure skip gave me the idea - but now those have been moved, I'm left with hopping up on the skip. Not that I'm suggesting you run round with a set of steps to take pics!

      You'll be enjoying all your autumn produce at the mo - it seems ages till our first fresh crops - the kale having to keep me going until the first of the broad beans kick in.

  4. No hurry for the bean seeds, not like I could sow them yet :}

    Have you thought about linking the hoops of your netting tunnel with a bit of wood/cane? I did this once and screwed a batten horizontally across the top of each hoop and it pulled the whole structure together and gave it much more rigidity. You could also use cable ties/string.

    1. Part the problem is that the horizontal batten is too heavy for the blue hoops. And that the hoops are jointed in the middle with a length of bamboo, which get sodden and rotten (the blue hoops were cadged from Chris at the bottom and design for beds half the size/half the height). Oh, and the horizontal batten isn't long enough for all four hoops, so there is an extra batten cobbled together at the right hand side. And I could do with an extra hoop.

      Apart from that it is a well thought out and executed design. *grins*. We'll call it a work in progress, I think!


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