PlotDaze

An inner city allotment


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December 2018

Another year nearly gone, and we’re itching to get the 2019 growing season underway. Some people start their chillies off this early or their tomatoes. we’re going to leave it for a couple of weeks. There are some jobs on the plot that need doing – woodchipping, always woodchipping!!- as well as maintaining the shed and greenhouse.

So, we thought we would share a few of the pics from over the last year – it’s Christmas, there’s always repeats! But, it’s good to look back upon the year gone and look forward to the next.

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In January the water froze not just outside the waterbutt but inside as well. It looked pretty, but little did we know that ‘the beast from the east’ would appear in the spring to kill off a lot of the seedlings. There were quite a few complaints about the weather this year. Too cold – causing the seedlings to dampen off. Too hot – problems with watering. We’re never happy!!

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By Spring the seed trays ( posh words for the reusable food cartons!) we’re bursting. It’s great when the green house starts getting full. We have a small plastic green house for hardening off.

Come summer and it’s all about watering and feeding. The weather was great. Hot and sunny! Then came the watering restrictions, but we all coped.

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May 2018

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July 2018

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July 2018

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End of August 2018

We had such a lot of delicious crops, and beautiful flowers, we were very lucky, and we have some good neighbours who watered our plot when we couldn’t. It’s been a great year. We can’t wait for the next. Happy New Year everyone and Happy Plotting!!

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November 2018

The weather is miserable. No ice, no snow, no freezing fogs. Just wet and cold and miserable. Yesterday, I visited the allotment and after feeding the birds ( those Thrush gangs are ruthless! ) I sat in the green house with my cup of coffee and just stared at it trying to remember the lovely summer colours.

I brought the chillies home with me and some dried off beans ready for next year. The green house feels too damp now for them to dry off any further. The beans looked good, cannot wait to get planting in spring.

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French (purple), Runner & Borlotti

The chilli peppers are going to be strung up! I may make a garland to hang in the kitchen. I want the Poblanos to dry out more. The heat of the summer was great for the chillis.

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Vibrant!

One of the main jobs is getting the wood chip down. We’re very lucky, in that one of our fellow allotmenteers brings huge piles of the stuff for everyone to use. So when a fresh batch is dumped the wheel barrows come out. It gets spread on all the paths just to soak up the mud!

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It just seems to go on and on!

Happy plotting!


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Final Flowers

After spending the day at the allotment, I suddenly came down with an attack of the blues. I couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. There are a lot of perennials on the plot. Loads in fact. I can’t be with out colour whether it’s from dahlias or salvias I have to see colour among the fruit and veg.

We had let a lot of the flowers go on for a lot longer than usual, and now with the first frosts knocking at the shed door I knew I had to put them to bed. I had dug up the dahlias – Yankee Doodle Dandy – which were grown from seed and had happily tempted the allotment bees all summer, brushed off the soil to let them dry. I trimmed down the various salvias, the air was scented with the blackcurranty aroma for ages and covered them with a mulch to offer some protection. The blackened Tithonia and Zinnias were lifted and taken to the compost heap. I mentally made a note to grow more of them next year, their tropical colouring had been as sunny as the summer had been.

The Rudbekia – Black-Eyed Susans and the giant Marmalades were looking a little bedraggled, so they were for the chop. We have an open plot, that can be savaged by strong winds, I was surprised they had lasted this long. I looked forward to the time next year when I would be carrying armfuls of them home to fill the vases.

So I got on with the bulb planting. I had already filled some pots with dwarf narcissus and tulips of various varieties, but the flower I am most looking forward to seeing is the bronze iris. I must have planted over thirty bulbs and my back was hurting the next day, but it’ll be worth it next June when there’s a new blaze of colour on the plot. A good contrast to all the aliums out there.

 The flowers that did not get mulched were placed in a bucket and brought home, ready to be put into vases. The final flowers from the allotment for 2018. No wonder I felt a bit down. They looked so beautiful – different varieties and colours and scent, that I think they can stay together in the bucket! Roll on 2019.

D.C.

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October 2018

One of our favourite months on the allotment. Bright sunshine, crisp cold mornings and lots of birds waiting for the feeders to be topped up. We’ve done a bit of D.I.Y. on the plot this month. Moving things about, building ramshackle raised beds, it’s been hard work but great.

Firstly, we began putting the dahlias to bed, these were the last of the … lost the name tag, but they’ve been a great bloomer all summer. The colour is amazing.  We spent a good couple of hours digging up all the tubers and drying them off, unfortunately we haven’t got a ‘Dahlia cupboard’ like a certain TV gardener, so some newspapers and large pots have to do for cover.

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Coffee Time.

We had to move one of the apple trees from the orchard. It had almost toppled over in the last strong winds we had, and was getting shaded by the other trees. The apples are delicious from it. We had moved the rhubarb bed, so decided to give it a new home there. It promptly decided to immediately shed it’s leaves. Hope we haven’t done more harm than good.

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Fingers crossed!

We needed somewhere to park our roses. We’ve been given a few, and bought a couple, each one means something to us. So we decided to build a raised bed from all the old bits of wood on the allotment. It was a spare bit of space, that had previously been used for growing peas in containers. As well as the roses we’ll be putting a lot of various herbs in there so it’s not just for decoration, but we can’t wait to see the flowers next year.

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Has since been creosoted!

This month has passed so quickly. Winding the allotment down seems to have produced more work. Looking forward to November. Happy Plotting!

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September 2018

Here we are in autumn. It’s come around so fast, maybe it was because of the very hot summer, but the days have flown. We’re glad really, sometimes it can be a bit exhausting. So we have begun putting some of the beds to sleep. We’ve dug them over and covered them with a tarp, leaving the flower beds either side. Don’t know when to lift the dahlia tubers, should be soon though, it’s getting cold at nighttime.

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Still lots of colour.

We cleared the smaller beds at the far end of the plot, and left it uncovered. We’re going to grow green manure (mustard) in them. We’ve never done that before. Some of the fellow plotters don’t really like it, but we’ve heard a lot of good reports, so we’ll give it a try. The soil could do with it. There’s been no horse muck delivery this summer for us to dig in, and we’ve got a lack of leaf mold, so we need to get some nutrients back in to the ground.

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Looking a bit bleak …

Always a bit sad when we clear out the greenhouse. There was a still a small haul of peppers to be had. The chilli peppers are drying out nicely. The aubergines weren’t up to much, don’t think we’ll be growing as many (3) as we did this year.

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Not massive, but tasty!

It’s been a nice September, very quiet at the allotments. Lots of seed catalogues popping through the letter box, and you know what that means … planning for next year!!

Happy plotting!


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August 2018

August has been a little bit disappointing weather-wise, compared to the heatwave of July. Everything just becomes that little bit ‘messy’ at the allotment. The sweet peas have quickly ‘gone over’, the leaves attacked by powdery mildew – not enough watering in the heat, the same with the courgettes although they just keep on producing … and producing. The spuds have been plentiful and lovely. We’ve still got one tub to tip out. The sweetcorn has been great. It was slow to germinate and we kept it under the large net cages we have, until they were poking their way out. They deterred the greedy squirrel that likes to hang around.

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Eaten within seconds of this photo being taken!

The orchard is producing fruit, which feels a bit early but … very few pears though. We’ve got loads of plums which either get jammed or scoffed. Other plot holders have had their plum trees die off this year, just hope it’s not some sort of disease. Ours are doing well though.

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Love the plummy colour!

It seems like this season has flown. It’s been so short, the ‘beast from the east’ seen to that. We’re trying to keep things ticking over for as long as possible.  The flowers have done well for the variety of colour and we’ve saved a lot of seed for next year. Tithonia and the Zinnias have been extra special.

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Sunflowers, Verbena,Tithonia, Lychnis,Zinnia,Bells of Ireland, Delphinium.

Autumn is coming, the sun seems to have set on another busy season. Here’s hoping we have an Indian Summer.

Happy plotting!


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July 2018

The weather has broken for a bit, but that has not stopped a hose pipe ban being enforced from the forth of August in our area. Should be fun, queuing up at the taps, but thankfully there has been quite a bit of rain in the last few days so the water butts have filled nicely.

At this time of year the plot always looks a bit chaotic and messy which we quite like but already we’re thinking about next year and how we can improve the soil in the beds. We’ve been collecting seaweed on our beach and coastal visits, letting it soak to get ready to dig in the soil. The water stinks … I mean STINKS after wards but it makes great fertilizer for crops. We’ve also been digging in rhubarb leaves, anything to get some air into the soil, some of the beds just seems a bit compacted and tired.

We grown some Zinnias from seed called ‘Molotov Mix’ and they are gorgeous. They have repeatedly flowered, in some very zesty colours.

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We will grow these again!

Sadly they got attacked by the dreaded black fly, which we tried to kill mainly by scraping them off and spraying as a last resort.

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PESTS!!!

The beans are plentiful this year even though we grew half the amount of what we usually do, and they suffered from pigeons and ‘the beast from the east’! The courgettes are in full glut. Who isn’t sick of them yet?

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Lovin’ the borlotti

Thought we’d show you a picture of a rose we bought called ‘Rock n’ Roll’. It’s so pretty and is scented which we wanted for the new rose bed we’re building. It sounds very grand but it in the far end of the allotment that’s next to the orchard. It’s a forgotten area really, but we love roses so why not?

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Rock n’ Roll

And to finish, here’s a photo of some of the fruits we’re picking and smoothying and freezing and scoffing. The blackberries are from a bush that grows wild behind the shed so we’ve adopted it.

Happy plotting everyone!

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