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colettedeann

a bit of an anticlimax

yesterday i got my new plot and after googling what to do with my new 'jungle' i posted on the thread

"this has been an interesting read - got my plot today - 10 rods - VERY overgrown so was looking for advice - and have found a fair bit of info that i will try out

by overgrown I mean waist high grass and weeds - but also some huge rhubarb (made myself a very nice rhubarb crumble tonight ) - there are also some fruit bushes - i think raspberries and was told there was also red currants - and 2 small trees that i haven't been able to identify

other inherited finds so far is a strawberry patch that looks salvagable if i can carefully get rid of weeds - i think spring onions - a concrete slabbed area where i can put a cheap greenhouse - a shed in very good nick with a small chest of drawers, a few shelves - string, canes and a few other bits

some of the rhubarb had gone to seed, so an experienced allotmenteer suggested i rid myself of seed, so we yanked them all off and ended up with loads of usable rhubarb and a load for the compost!! - that reminds me - there are also 3 compost bins made from pallets that are overflowing and coming apart - which i will deal with later (maybe very much later) - we also pulled up some of the ?spring onions? which i have cleaned but not eaten any of yet

tomorrow i am going to go around the plot and remove the weed seed heads that are in abundance before i start hacking the grass down (unless i can find a cordless strimmer to borrow which will be easier than hacking!) we are not allowed to use carpet on our sire - so will probably go for cardboard and black plastic sheeting (which they sell in the allotment shop) to kill off some of the plot weed and grasses

all in all i am really happy with the plot i have been allocated - and hoping to find so more 'goodies' when i start clearing "


after work i went to the allotment and scythed around the strawberry bed and then completely weeded the strawberry patch and it looked great and was bigger than i originally thought agter all tyhe grass was cut down.

and bonus - council man riding on lawnmower asked if i wanted him to have a go with the mower on my plot - and within 5 mins most of the jungle has been cleared - bar the areas that have fruit bushes and trees and near the concreted area

checked email when i got home and had an email from the allotment offficer - the one half of the plot has not been given up, although she thinks it has been abandoned but has to check - and this is the much better side where i did the strawberries and scything and removing flowers and seed heads from rhubarb - although i suppose it isn't 5 hrs wasted - i feel a bit flat! Here's hoping the (previous) tenant has abandoned the plot as I REALLY REALLY want it Crying or Very sad
sean

Fingers crossed for you. Most places will kick you off your allotment if you're not maintaining it.
Nick

Fingers crossed for you. Most places will kick you off your allotment if you're not maintaining it.


Yes. But this ones recently been tended, scythed and harvested. Wink
colettedeann

lol yeah something like that - i will go and do 112L tomorrow - maybe get a bed done and some potatoes in now that nice mr council mower man has done such a grand job Smile

i have taken pics yesterday and today - but i don't know how to put them on the thread Sad
sean

Click on Attach File at the bottom of the box you type into.

Use the Browse function to find your image, click 'open', click the Upload File button.
colettedeann

colettedeann

colettedeann

colettedeann

thanks Sean Smile

yesterday

today (think it is from other end of plot

and today scythed and weeded strawberry patch
Mistress Rose

Well the mowing helped a lot, as long as it didn't cut anything useful down. Good work with the strawberry patch. Hope you get some good strawberries from that after all your hard work.
colettedeann

nearly had the plot a week now - two beds done - 1.2m x 4m - but 1.2m is proving a tad wide :/ - have planted potatoes and broad beans

have started 3rd bed - was going to get my brassicas in - but allotmenters have said i need to wait a bit till they a bit bigger (they about 7cm) so maybe parsnips or perhaps carrots and radish

an allotmenter was given a wheelbarrow by a neighbour this week - and having 3 decided to give me his old one Smile it is a very old construction wheelbarrow - but solid and very functional Smile

i have not heard about the adjoining allotment yet, but folk who knew him said he gave away bits from his shed before leaving and dug out some of his gooseberry bushes, and said he didnt have time to tend it any more - so just waiting for the official go-ahead - hopefully by this time next week i will have some positive feedback from the alotment officer
Mistress Rose

I would suggest from experience that 1m wide is the maximum you want for a bed. We started our raised beds at something like 1.2m and they are too wide. The only way to dig them is to stand on the undug bit. The 1m wide ones are far better, and as we have light soil I can dig the entire bed from the edge.

Builders wheelbarrows are good and sturdy, so should last well. Always tip up when not in use though as they will go rusty easily.

Sounds as if you are doing well. I am waiting for my cabbage to get big enough to go out too. As we have slugs/snails and pigeons, I will have to organise the bed with copper, beer traps and net first though.
dpack

thinking of pests ,sparrows are a mixed blessing(they ate all my lettuce this year) but they do eat loads of aphids and pillars,cage anything with tasty seeds or nice young leaves.mice are monsters for pea seeds but a lot of "cat pepper" puts them off etc etc .

allotment growing needs more pest control than small scale domestic garden style
Tavascarow

Organic no dig gardening.
colettedeann

I was told today the other plot is mine Smile - so i can crack on and get netting over the strawberries Smile

I started my 4th bed today - somehow i have maintained the 1.2m width - but hey ho - will just have to manage this season - i have not managed to plant out my stuff - they are all leggy now being grown in a flat and been told that it would be a waste of time pitting them out Sad - the tomatoes look good tho - think it is warm enough to plant out soon Smile - the brassicas are still quite small and have been advised to wait a tad longer to plant out. It seems the butternut should also be ok o plant out

my third bed ended up being used to plant out early potatoes and onion sets which one of the men brought round to me and said they had a sale at b&q and only wanted a few - and also had a gift from an old allotmenteer of a potted mint plant - which i need to think where to put as i know it can take over if allowed

tavascarow - i hear u and yep agree - but to get anything in this season i need to get rid of quite deep twitch in some sections and i also have sections of thickly knitted what seems like moss
Mistress Rose

If you can harden the plants off before planting out- putting them outside in the day and bringing them in at night, it should be late enough to plant most things out now. Watch out for any frost warnings though and have some fleece of something to cover overnight.

I agree about the non-digging policy. If you have deep rooted perennial weeds, digging is the only way.
wellington womble

You can plant mint in a pot, sunk into the ground. Just leave the top sticking up a bit to stop it spreading.

Plant out your leggy stuff. You've got nothing to lose, and you never know (I've got a whole greenhouse full of leggy stuff to plant out Embarassed)
dpack

a neat trick when planting most types of mint is to put the lower part of a plastic bottle (approx 2 litres worth) in an extra deep hole ,refill it with soil and plant the mint on top so as it can put roots into the wet or surrounding soil.

this gives an reservoir of extra wet soil for the mint as well as room to spread.

some do best with a bottle base or even a bucket under them a few do best as pond marginals and some need a "normal" moisture location and very very few prefer a dryer location.
ie a 2lt res is a fair bet whatever sort of mint you have .

mint can be a bit invasive so it is sensible not to plant it near perennials such as fruit or herb bushes but at the end of a deep bed is ok as the spread can be removed by hoe or when planting and it smells ace underfoot on a pathway
Mistress Rose

I might try that tip with the bottle Dpack, because although mint is supposed to grow like wildfire, I can't get it to grow here. To anyone trying mint, I would suggest following WWs advice and grow in a pot or bucket as if it is happy it will take over the garden.
dpack

re the mint/bottle thing, i worked that out when i had about examples of about half the national mint collection on a roof garden.(35 named varieties and 15 un named/unidentified ones)

re m r's problem iirc your soil is quite chalky as well as fairly easy draining ,most mint prefer a slightly acid high nitrogen soil so adding farmyard manure under and to the soil will help as does a vegetative growth high nitrogen liquid feed.
most prefer full sun but a few do best in good light but little direct sun which scorches the leaves

re invasive spreading any sort of impermeable barrier sunk at least 500 mm into the soil will prevent(well seriously reduce)side spread but eating,hoeing or mowing the excess also works.spreading is only a bad problem if one variety starts to swamp another but they can be a pain if they get among perennials that they out compete .

pps it will grow in containers or soil dividers but it does best in oversized spaces (ie repot every year) once the roots reach the perimeter and start to grow back through the existing root system and so compress it it seems to stress them to death rather than just containing them.

imho it is worth growing several varieties as they are often good for one use but not others eg the apple mints make good mint sauce ,penny royal is ace for home made mint sweets,spearmint is good as a potherb with lamb or for making raita etc etc etc .some taste horrible but are hardy in unlikely conditions or perhaps are very medicinal.

i have just got a "chocolate mint" which might refer to use or to it's dark brown leaves ,i look forward to experimenting with it.

ps ace for digestion but it seems to inhibit wound healing so best avoided if you are damaged.

i only have a few at the mo due to space considerations but if and when i have more space i will be collecting mints again as they are both useful and interesting.
colettedeann

thanks for all the info Smile

mint in till pot bound but looking happy enough on the plot - bed 4 is dug and planted with parsnips and radishes - and i have planted courgette seeds into pots t o transplant next month (hopefully)

i cleared out the shed and cleaned it up today - covered a few gaps on the inside of the shed before my son silicones it and it gets some paint in nect few weeks

my son and i have cleared a lot of the overgrown grass around some fruit bushes and rhubarb -and found what looks like a makeshift animal hutch buried in the long grass - am thinking about how i could adapt it to put over smallish plants that need protecting from birds - creative i am not :/

bed 5 has been started - and i took most of my tomato plants to allotment today to start hardening off - hopefully i can get them in the ground soon

...and about stones - i have several thousand - including a big pink laundry basket half full of them that i have inherited from the previous guy - just trying to have a think about what to do with them !!! any ideas? other than my idea of a bed in the corner with a border of about 10cm x 15cm deep for my wild flower seeds i have between the several sedum plants that i have ??
dpack

as heaps they do provide homes for the slimey hoard but trampled in they are good for paths and help reduce mud issues in the wet season

we had a chat about using a hole full of heat sink material ,a pv panel and a pooter fan for temp buffering in a green house.iirc broken glass was mentioned but stones would work.i dont recall if anyone tried it yet.
colettedeann

d pack - if i understand correctly - it can be trodden in as flooring for greenhouse or for paths instead of the grass paths i have atm between beds?

re the mint - i have been thinking of a rectangle plastic window box sunk into soil with mint in (maybe within a herb bed or border) - giving it some growing room but still containing the growth
Mistress Rose

Thanks for the info on growing mint Dpack. It could well be that the soil isn't rich or heavy enough. It used to grow really well where I lived as a child, but that was on clay.

Stones are good for paths, but depending on the soil, they could sink and move outwards so you end up digging them up again. Dick Strawbridge tried the broken glass method of heat storage in his greenhouse in 'It isn't easy being green', but not heard of anyone using stones. It should work in the same way I should think.
colettedeann

so far it's been a really productive week - especially as I am able to work from home for the next few weeks and have booked leave for the next 2 weeks from my weekend job

i have built 3 compost bins and finished bed 5 - it is a wide bed but decided to follow where previous tenant had left black plastic for a couple of years so it was mainly very soft and weed free - however it had loads of stonmes and some glass in it - planted out tomatoes in it - and ended up with loads from 2 other allotmenters - the man who gave me his his spare wheelbarrow came over - took a look at my tomato plants nad said 'well - they don't look very healthy!!' Sad - and came back later with 3 plants for me...not to be outdone - another great man who has been huge in practical help and encouragement came over the next day with 11 tomato plants - and they look the healthiest of the lot - so i have 21 in the ground and about 17 still in pots!! WHeelbarrow man - when i returned his pots and bucket to him yesterday showed me his lettuce - pulled some out and plonked them in my bare hands - with nowhere to put them I have placed them inbetween the tomatoes and will hope for the best.

bed 6 has been started and i did a load of pulling up grass at the top end of the plot by the shed - i think that i have done half the area now Smile

on sunday my grandkids are coming over and we are going to build a scarecrow Smile
dpack

lettuce are compatible with toms.

composting is addictive but for feeding a mixture tub works wonders

get a 50 gallon barrel,add stuff add water let it ferment ,dilute as required for feeding plants

good stuff includes ;nettles,comfrey,rats,chicken manure,pigs heads,nasty perennial weed roots,farmyard manure(pig is ace)a few wood ashes now and again and many other similar things.

tis rather smelly but it makes stunning plant food and compost heap accelerant and uses stuff that would be horrid or wasted in a compost heap,a lid helps but it is best kept at the far end of the plot Laughing

once it is very active a good mixture tub will eat almost anything organic including bones

if you tip it out after a year or two keep some sludge as a starter for the next fill and use the sludge under things like pumpkins, cucumbers, melons.rhubarb and fruit bushes/trees
colettedeann

I have had the plots almost 2 months now Smile and all is going well

I have loads planted and growing as they are supposed to and have been eating the fruits I have inherited - from what I have grown only the lettuce and radishes as nothing else is ready - but the runner and broad beans are doing great - tomatoes are also looking good but have been warned that we get late blight every year and crops amount to nothing - my sweetcorn is getting taller and I will soon need to think about getting a strong border around to keep the badgers out!!

with a huge increase in extra hours at work, weeding and watering have been the main focus so new beds have taken second place - however I have finished digging my 14th bed today - and still have about a quarter left before I can say I have dug the whole plot - altho about a most of this quarter can only be dug in autumn when i thin and move the currants, raspberries, valentinas and gooseberries as they are very closely clumped together

I have 5 days off work next week Smile so will see if i can finish the rest of the beds (while keeping the weeds down)

I made a lovely (well I think it is lovely!) wildlife area - and have little frogs making their way out - I just hope some stay and that all don't locate elsewhere - I already have resident frogs - the one in the strawberry bed does not like me weeding!!

I am really looking forward to harvesting some of my labour, and when fellow allotmenters have asked about plans for next year - well I have no idea - I am too bust trying to stay on top of this years work

(a big thank you to the poster in the brexit thread for keeping me smiling - it is so good to see online allotmenters with a similar mind -albeit with a different sense of humour - to me, when I am surrounded by vastly different thinking on the allotment by me Smile )
Mistress Rose

If you have frogs emerging from your pond, the survivers should be back next year to spawn. They return to their home pond on the whole, although they have been known to deviate to more inviting ones nearby.

Sounds as if you are doing well. Great.
gregotyn

The more you work the allotment the easier it gets, so don't despair!
colettedeann

A quick pick your brains session

my gooseberries have loads of fruit on them - but they are a tangled mass and picking the gooseberries was extremely difficult with many scratches and pricks this evening - will i damage the bushes if i prune them back hard now? - or should i wait till winter as advised in tutorials i have watched?

Mistress Rose - I have 3 resident frogs on my plot (that I am aware of) - one in strawberry patch has been there all along - one amongst the potato plants and a little one that I think must be from my puddle as it lives in the logs I have placed around the edge

and thanks MR and greg Smile
dpack

winter is the best time to prune gooseberries,one can also turn bits down to the soil and hold them in place to give more bushes.

they are always going to be spikey beasts but keeping them small enough to reach the middle and fairly open makes life easier.
Mistress Rose

Nice to hear about the frogs. The idea with goosberries is to prune so you open them up enough to be able to pick. Think they usually recommend that you open up the centre of the bush for access.
colettedeann

no longer an anti climax as I have had loads of veg from my plot Smile the marrow I can't give away - and I have teeny butternuts getting bigger every day - i have one halloween pumpkin and loads of foilage and flowers which are mainly male - so not expecting many more pumpkins from 5 plants!!

potatoes are all up and i have had loads - those under straw were fewer - but much larger - so weight wise the yield from each bed was pretty much like for like

tomatoes - blight arrived at out ollotment - and within a few days i noticed a black patch here and there on the stems - i was mercenary - all the tomatoes were cut off and plants pulled out - the tomatoes are indoors and seems to ripening on the windowsills and shelves and cabinets :/ (indoor bean plants have all been demoted to the compost heap)

all other produce are doing well and my project atm is building a chicken coop - i have spent 4 days on this so far - and with weekend here have 2 more days to crack on

i live the internet - i am always getting advice and ideas and have been able to change and improve plans Smile - everything has gone so well and I am really pleased that my yield have been as good and sometimes better than older allotmenters Smile am looking forward to getting some time to start planning out next years allotment plans (a lot of changes I think) Smile
dpack

wait til you finish going through the seed catalogues before finalising any planting plans and even then leave a bit of scope for the thigs that will come to mind or get gifted Laughing

allotments can be bad for blight on toms or spuds as most folk grow them every year .
i had most success with things like sweet million started early indoors then planted out under big cloches which are removed after any frost risk.getting an early crop seems to work.

that said a couple of the old timers had dedicated tomato greenhouses and even planted into the same soil year after year ,they were often cropping into november iirc they grew blight resistant(ish) old style varieties and went for numbers of plenty of plants rather than fewer high yield ones.

fingers and hooves crossed my two burpee big boys (triffid toms at over 8ft tall,6 ft wide and heavy with fruit) will continue for a while and vine ripen most of the crop.
colettedeann

crossing fingers for u dpack Smile

am hoping that at least half my tomatoes ripen - (have had 4 from approx 100 so far :p) - i have 2 more small beds of tomatoes i am keeping my eye on - and hoping they escape (including my free heinz tomato plants Smile )

I haven't even looked at seed catalogues yet!! but have been gifted a fridge britax water jug and a seedplanting info wheel inlast few days - as well as been loaned a cordless drill and cordless screwdriver from another allotmenter (the old fella who gave me the honeysuckle that is now moving across the back of my shed ) for continuing my coop as I have blisters on palm of right hand

awww the allotmenters are all so lovely - but i really am not as helpless as they seem to think - but i do appreciate that they are always on the lookout for me Smile
Mistress Rose

That is one advantage of allotments, that you all look out for each other, at good ones anyway.

If you want to ripen up some tomatoes, try putting them in a bag with a ripe banana, that is supposed to work as the banana gives of gases to ripen other things. If all else fails, there is always green tomato chutney to fall back on.

The honeysuckle is lovely, but make sure you keep it under control, as it can get rather over enthusiastic. Very Happy
colettedeann

having had such a good few months i am excited about planning for next season's planting (am soooo looking forward to a huge harvest of garlic next year) - especially after my weekly shoppng walking through the fresh section and saying in my head - "don't need that...don't need that...don't need that" Smile

[picked many red tomatoes, which with those I have ripening indoors is over 200 tomatoes so far - and I have loads still on the bushes - altho I am (overly) diligent of checking for blight - and am ready to pull up any suspicion of blight on one of my other beds of tomatoes]

my corn, butternut, pumpkins, parsnips, broccolli and leeks are looking great and fighting a good fight against the weeds where i haven't had time to get stuck into that task

i can't believe all the produce i have harvested and all i have left to come in the 3 months i have had the plots - and hoping that after a full growing season next year I have plenty more

thanks for the advice to just plant the spindly sadder looking plants i started off in my flat - they have given great yields - a lesson that once in the ground they start flying and recover from the less than perfect start Smile
wellington womble

I'm so glad you enjoyed the fruits and vegetables of your labours. I planted everything very late this year, and am only now digging up tiny early potatoes. Although I did disappear on holiday for two months and it didn't rain, so I'm pretty chuffed that anything at all grew. The ones in the spare room have produced nothing, which just goes to show.
colettedeann

this season is almost done - i still have leeks brassicas parsnips to get up - and pumpkins to harvest when grandkids come over next weekend

i still haven't done my planning for next year (well i have done some in my head - but need to put in on paper as i will forget)

i was given the edge plot alongside my plot as the bloke gave it up when he harvested his pototoes Smile so i now have 3 halves - i have limed and blood, fish and boned it and planted green manure aver a large section- and have planted out onion and garlic sets this week - next week i have more onions and elephant garlic (given to me by an allotmenter to try) - this plot has a few damson trees (i think) and a big group of valentino raspberries Smile there is space for a small shed which will be opposite the coop and for early potatoes in the spring Smile
dpack

i found big cloches (plastic waterpipe for hoops and 500gm polythene for a skin ) were really useful for getting both winter salads and providing a really early start to broad beans ( try aquadeluce), early peas/mangetout etc
after the early legume harvest just cut off the tops and leave the roots in as the nodules will continue to fix nitrogen while the next crop grows.
a few quid on making covers can add several months to the growing season

green manure is good for adding organic matter to soil but a combo green manure/crop plant is even better .things like black mustard seed and coriander are cheap in asian supermarkets , most can be green manure after a couple of months but saag is nice.

if you have a perennial weed problem (docks etc ) solarisation (a sheet of clear plastic over the soil) during winter and early spring will get them to shoot early so they can be hoed off a few times before real planting. it takes a few goes to get rid of them but will weaken them quite quickly.
gregotyn

dpack, that sounds like a good idea-encouraging the weeds to germinate/shoot early, and so getting rid before you need to use the plot for cropping. A couple of seasons should deal the perennials quite a blow.
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