An inner city allotment

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October 2017

I just put the date as September, the year is passing too fast!


Yesterday was a brief visit. We had to keep dodging the rain, long showers that seem to have been falling since August. The paths have turned back into the slushy mud of the winter already despite the layering of wood chip and the greenhouse has developed a couple of leaks. Buckets at the ready!


This little corner was forgotten about until now really. The zantedeschia, lillies etc just seemed to get on with flowering and needing the occasional feed and water. They looked great as a display and still look good now I think. We’ll be putting them to bed, nicely mulched, in a plastic greenhouse we’ve got.

While moving some of the pots we saw this, a rogue sweet pea among the clematis, nice surprise though. Apologies for the blurry pic.



We cut some of the Ageratum to save for seed. It’s such a lovely colour, and a reliable long flowering bloom. It’s drying out in the leaky greenhouse, here’s hoping its not too damp.



There’s still a lot of colour on the allotment, the dahlias and rudbekia are going strong, but the lychnis had to be pruned. We always leave the cuttings so any wildlife can escape. And there was wildlife. A lot of it. The spiders are HUGE this year and they seem to be everywhere. We were told that means it’s going to be a colder winter than usual. Hopefully so.


Happy plotting!!


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September 2017

Autumn seemed to come round early this year. No chance of an Indian summer, in fact the rain began in August and it hasn’t stopped. We were waiting for a few good days to fix the greenhouse, seal it properly, but they didn’t seem to arrive. Anyway, must stop moaning …

The raspberries have been amazing, we’ve got bag fulls of them. Smoothies for the rest of the season! They just keep coming, and we always leave some for the birds. We like to think it’s because of the leaf mulch we dumped on the canes last winter when we travelled from the old plot to this. We also have a blackberry which grows around the back of the shed, a nice surprise.


Never had so many razzers!

The bean cage has come down, netting them with string was so much better than using the plastic stuff. Everything could go straight into the composter! We emptied the last of the spud bags last week and even though the potato skin was a little speckled there was nothing wrong with the taste. Some of the older gentleman on the allotment manage to keep spuds going until Christmas!

We brought the herbs into the greenhouse, they were beginning to dampen off. Fresh herbs are addictive, a much stronger flavour, so they’ll be getting babied for a while to keep them going.

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Plums. We were advised to prune the plum tree in the orchard. We read the books. Don’t leave it too late, prune on a dry day etc etc. We did this. And the plum harvest was a disappointment. The old fellas on the allotment offered some advice about this. DON’T DO IT! Just a good feed, (potash? Nitrogen heavy?) in the spring. Confusing.


Don’t mess with your plums …

Happy plotting one and all!

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July 2017

It’s still July … just, and the allotment is in full bloom. We’ve had so many flowers this year, the house is full of them. We planted Rudbeckia and dahlias, wish we could remember the variety but although very slow at first they have taken hold of our cut flower patch. For the first time we’ve managed to get some Echinacea to flower and it’s stunning.


They’re huge!!

The Sweet Pea ‘maypole’ is now covered, but it’s took ages with the trimming etc and constant harvesting to keep it in bloom. They smell lovely though, apologies for the rubbish pic.


Alas, we have had our failures… the Florence fennel bolted, all of it. It seemed over night, they just exploded! It was a shame it’s never happened that all of the bulbs bolted before.


trimmed before we dug it up

… and the celery is putting up a fight. We dug it in deep, with loads of compost but it just seems to be doing nothing at the moment. Fingers crossed eh?


Still netting everything from those pigeons. When will they stop??

What has been a huge success has been the kohlrabi. It’s been polished off mainly in coleslaw pretty quickly, and happily handed out to family who have christened it ‘sputniks’. You can see why.


wish we’d grown more.

We hope you’re all very busy and raking in the lovely produce. It’s the allotment ‘Open Day’ this weekend which is always a laugh. Happy plotting!




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June 2017


I know that it’s meant to be summer, but it’s been like winter around here. We heard the wind getting stronger through the night on Monday and our fingers were crossed that we would not have too much damage. We’d been lucky after storm Doris (?) a few months ago and were hoping for the same this time. Hmm. We opened the gates to the allotments yesterday, and broke into a fast walk then sort of a run.

Disaster! The bell tent greenhouse had been devastated! Even though it had been dug into the ground and held down with bricks etc it had been carried away and over. Thing is it had all the tomatoes in it. Various types, some in hanging baskets, flung all over the place.


Before the storm!

So we raced around trying to salvage what we could and we didn’t do too bad. The actual metal poles had snapped! Must have been a strong gust that took it.

We lost a couple of the Beefs and the others are all very bedraggled and bent but hopefully they will recover. Meanwhile the tomatoes are all convalescing in the green house (one that is held together with sheets of plastic and clothes pegs but did not budge !). We would have taken a pic of the disaster scene but we were too busy swearing!


Tomato ER ! Standing room only.

So, here’s hoping the good weather is on it’s way. We’re off to RHS Chatsworth on Friday for the flower show, we’re really looking forward to it and no doubt we’ll come back with more plants … with no where to put them. Happy plotting!

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May 2017

The merry month of May, when it’s crazy in the greenhouse and the hardening off area, (a fancy term for a plastic tent, that will soon become the Aubergine house!) is crammed. The herb ladder is in its new ‘lean too’ place around the back of the shed, it will get a good amount of sunshine there as we’re quite shaded on the main allotment, but it’s great to have some proper fresh herbs again. The sorrel never took off, well I think we got one seedling which is being nursed like an only child, but everything else is going OK.


Nice big crack in the pot of oregano, must change it!

We planted the beans last Sunday; French, green and purple and runner beans from saved seed. All was well until the next day … pigeons! Bl**dy pigeons had decided to snack on them!! Our fault though, we forgot to net them, never having had any trouble with them before. Now they are under a safety cordon of dangly jar lids, old cds, a string grid and netting. Good job there was some spares. Does everyone do this? Grow the spares, just in case? Usually we end up giving them away but we’ll need them this year.


They’ll plug the gaps.

The mangetout have fared much better, maybe the pigeons haven’t got a taste for them. They were planted in a trough over a week ago, and seem to be flourishing. In a way, it was another go at the ‘bean and pea wall’ we tried last year. After seeing a picture on the internet of a spectacular wall of various sweet peas and beans all in various shades of purple we decided to give it a go. We bought some various coloured mange tout in green purple and yellow. It was just that they were all in the same bag!! So the purple wall had some green and yellow in it as well!


Wonder what colour we’ll get this time?


The Purple Pea and Bean wall! ( with added Yellow!!)

The Maypole for the sweet peas has gone up and the varieties we’ve planted are ‘Mumsie’ and ‘Tiller Girls’. We’ve planted more out, ‘Royal Family’, Air Warden’ and ‘Giant Wave’ on a bamboo wigwam next to the Maypole. We became addicted to the scent of the flowers in the house last year, so where there’s some spare space we’re planting sweet peas.


Also now covered in pigeon proof netting!

There’s so much to go out this weekend; the courgettes, borlotti beans in giant pots, lettuce etc. The fennel seedlings are getting stronger and the cauliflower seem to be picking up after a slow start. The squash have finally shown up as well! So, we’ll finish this post with a nice colourful pic of some radish. Nice and colourful, just like the allotment. Happy plotting!


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April 2017 Seedlings

Spring has sprung, although the cold weather today in these northern parts wouldn’t have you reaching for your flip flops. It feels like this week the plot has begun to burst with colour. Daffs, muscari and tulips have all bloomed  and there’s blossom on the fruit trees, the daylight is lasting longer, there are more people at the allotment.

So, everyone is busy, busy,busy in their green houses and window ledges are packed. We used our heated propagator to start off our peppers, aubergines and cucumbers, everything else was planted at the allotment. Our house is so dark, sitting the poor seedlings on our window ledges would be rubbish. We’ve started making the newspaper pots again, we begrudge the prices that garden centres and certain shops have started to charge for those plastic module sets! Here are just a couple of pics of some of the seedlings.


Cabbage, dahlia and in the distance red cabbage and khol rabi

I know the paper pots look a bit manky but they’re better for the environment and cheaper!!


Bit worried about the mottling on the aubergine…


Our plot,coming along nicely.

You can’t see the orchard or most of the onion bed on this but it’s good to have a view of the whole place, and as for that bell tent green house, or as we now call it, ‘The Big Top’, be wary of buying items without a box … or instructions. Happy plotting!

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March 2017

The allotment is on the go. Familiar faces have returned and everyone is busy. But first … we thought we’d show you the repairs we had to do on the greenhouse that resulted from Storm Doris. It’s a very leaky ship this new greenhouse and we’ve been repairing as we go since we moved, but the storm left us with a small flood. Until we can get the glass etc it will have to look like this !!!


Clothes pegs coming in handy!

It looks like it’s had a fright but it works! The problem is at the apex and until we can get  the repairs done properly this will have to do. We’ll replace the pegs though, maybe with clips.

Then we had to save one of the trees in the orchard. It had listed with the wind, so gently we straightened it up and braced it being careful not to rub the bark in case of any disease setting in. The old tea towel came in handy, just hope it stays upright.


Can you spy the rogue gooseberry popping up?

Yesterday, after a week of hardening off, the broadies went in. They’re usually well in the ground by now but with the move, we held off. They’re Sutton, reliable and good croppers. We’d also began some Scorpio. We’ve never grown them before, they’re in the plastic tent, and will go in in a couple of weeks. It’ll be good to compare the two varieties.


Went posh this year with our Poundland cloches. Usually use the top off squash bottles!

A moment of happiness yesterday. Sat in the (dry & warm !!) greenhouse. Radio on low, birdsong everywhere, attempting to get seeds from some cayenne peppers that had dried out.It was great, just what having an allotment is about. Happy plotting.