PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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Odd Jobs!

The little jobs we have to do around the allotment in autumn always remind us of how the year is coming toward its inevitable end.

We have a huge tree that overlooks us. It belongs to the houses that circle the allotments, and ever since we took over our plot, I have gathered the fallen leaves in bin bags, leaving them for two years to rot down for leaf mold, one of the best mulches ever.

Every year we have bag fulls of leaves, they all go in our decomposing bins.

Every year we have bags full of leaves, they all go in our decomposing bins.

We have three bins next to each other, and just move the bags along each year. By year three the bags are flat and stink, but we’ve had some of the best crops of raspberries when we’ve put the leaf mold on them.

Err...they look very straggly but the razzers will be better next year after this.

Err…they look very straggly but the razzers will be better next year after this.

We have also been doing some pruning, especially of our apple trees. They have been trained into a goblet shape, but didn’t do so well fruiting this year. A lot of bulbs have been planted up. I can’t resist buying them when I see them! Space is limited in the plot so I get them in pots. I’ve a small ambition to do a pot garden (Not that type!!) next year.

Grapes and Daffs

Grapes and Daffs

I dare say there will be more jobs to do this weekend after Hurricane Gonzalo has run it’s course. We just hope there’s still a roof on the shed!

D.C.

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Saving Seed!

At this time of year,possibly earlier, we like to start our own plants off from seed we have saved ourselves. From the first year we became allotment holders, we have saved seed and saved our selves a considerable amount of money. It annoys me that more gardeners don’t do this. It’s FREE SEED! But year after year I watch flower heads get thrown away which could be dried out and stored.Peas and varieties of beans are left on the plant then binned instead of saved. It only takes just a few minutes to shell  and store them in a mouse free zone, ie a tin!

Dried Runners & French beans. Chillies & various flower.

Dried Runners & French beans. Chillies & various flowers

It’s especially gratifying to use seed from flowers that you find it difficult to buy. We grow white Lychnis on the plot, and every year we get asked for some of the seed heads. We’ve started more off again this year to replace the ones grown a couple of years ago.  We have also got some seedlings from a poker shaped Primula plant we bought in Spring. It quickly flowered and we were left with the seed heads. We dried them out and started them as we would ordinary packet seed. The strike rate was great, I just hope we can baby them through the winter!

Primula seedlings,some Lavender cuttings & the newly sewn Lychnis seed.

Primula seedlings,some Lavender cuttings & the newly sown Lychnis seed.

Save yourself some money and time, save seed!

D.C.


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Autumnal return!

Plotdaze has been absent for a few months, mainly due to illness, but that has not stopped work happening at the allotments.

It’s the end of the summer season, harvests have been gathered and stored in the glasshouse. Our tender plants have been put to bed, which leaves very little room for manoeuvre in the greenhouse. Our cold frame has to be dismantled also, so the shed is full of rattling old window frames, the bottom half (we call it the coffin!) tipped on its side waiting to be repaired for next year.

Greenhouse

Our little plot was entered for the city Allotment competition this year. Five were entered from our site, and, I think, we came in the top fifty for the city although trying to work out the scores was slightly mystifying! It was fun to take part, hard work and if we get entered again next year, great … I don’t think we’ll ever win though, especially with lino holding the green house roof together!

So after a season of successful beans, nicked peas and Romanesco broccoli that never made an appearance, we wind down to the Autumn.  Huge pumpkins are scattered about the allotments, some will need a lorry to get them home, and plots begin to look bedraggled and empty. We’ve begun planting bulbs for next year, looking forward to next Spring and Summer already!

Bulbs

This is a favourite time for us; cup of hot coffee and a misty cold afternoon, nothing better!

D.C.