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...........

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Marshalls Trial Seeds and Other Seed Sowing

To tell the truth, I'm a little unnerved about being organised this year.  I went to the Hill last weekend and had a wander around, spotting what might be parsnips germinating, and weeded out a few dandelions in the asparagus bed, but that was all.

Perhaps it has all kicked off now though - I had an email through from Marshalls asking me if I would like to trial some of their new seed varieties and blog about my experiences, and last week the seeds came through the post.

I only sow carrots and parsnips direct at the Hill - if the seeds do germinate down there, they have to contend with weeds as slugs, so it always seems to be a better bet to get everything sown here at home in the courtyard garden.

So I have a giant mid-April seed sowing-fest, and at the weekend I turned the kitchen into a potting shed.

The Marshalls seed varieties are interesting - a couple of squash, a pumpkin, a courgette; a couple of tomato varieties, and a couple of brassicas.

The packets are colour co-ordinated by family, with a description and sowing instructions on the front.............

........... and no. of seeds (not many!) and best before date on the back.

I'll see how I get on with them.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

A Job Well Done

For once, this year I don't feel like I am on the back foot - the beds are all prepared, the first seeds are sown, the potatoes are in; and today, I have turned my attention to the strawberry bed.

The strawberry plants are ancient - I've not got the knack of replacing the plants with new, grown from runners every three or four years and consequently, the yield is practically non existent.  What strawberries do grow are promptly scoffed by slugs and the whole bed is full of weeds.

So time for a revamp with some new plants.  I bought a tray of six Elsanta plants for £2.99 from Aldi a couple of weeks ago, and if I find this is too few, I can grow on some of the inevitable runners for new plants.

I dug over the bed, ditching all plants and weeds, then gave it a good layer of horse muck, and another good layer of compost from the old pallet composters; covered with weed suppressant and planted through holes cut in the suppressant. Fab!  I'm rather sorry that I forgot to take a 'before' pic - because this is a real improvement.

I turned my attention to getting the maincrop spuds planted.  The kale is in the way, really, but they are still throwing extremely tasty side shoots, so I'm reluctant to pull them up just yet - and even when I'm done with them, brassica flowers are very popular with bees, so I'm inclined to leave them as long as possible.

I compromised by pulling up two and leaving two, and making holes for the potatoes with a stick - the potatoes will just have to grow around them.

Once I'd finished that and tidied up, I just had time to nip up to the clubhouse for a swift half.  I do love these lighter evenings when my trips to the Hill coincide with opening hours!
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